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Super-sized schooner back in 'ship-shape' at Mystic Seaport

The “Victory Chimes” is ready to return to Maine after its big maintenance project.

STONINGTON, Conn. — The usual buzz at the Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard in Mystic is happening this season, though, over the last few weeks, that buzz has been even louder.

In May, the expert team of shipwrights at the Mystic Seaport took in the historic schooner known as the Victory Chimes and, at 178 feet in length, it’s the biggest boat they have ever hauled out of the water.

“We’re one of the very few shipyards that are capable of this kind of work on the Eastern Seaboard,” Chris Sanders, the director of the Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard said.

Built in 1900, The Victory Chimes was a lumber hauler in the Chesapeake Bay for a half-century until it was sold and converted to a passenger sailboat and pleasure cruiser in the mid-1950s. Its home port is now in Rockland, Maine.

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The schooner was brought to Mystic for its five-year inspection with the Coast Guard and for other preservation projects that needed attention.

“The facilities that are large enough to handle this vessel are very scarce and there are few places that you can find both the facility that is big enough to haul it, but also have the skills and expertise to do the work on it, so Mystic has all the ingredients in one place,” Sam Sikkema, the captain of the Victory Chimes, said.

The team at the Preservation Shipyard spent more than a month getting the Victory Chimes back into ship-shape, the schooner will sail back to Maine on Friday where it will return to taking visitors on scenic excursions.

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Sanders added that this has been the busiest they have been at the shipyard, perhaps in its 50-year existence.

“It’s an exciting time to be here, we have probably been the busiest in the history of the shipyard,” Sanders added. “We live and breathe history here every day.”

To learn more about the Mystic Seaport Museum, click here.

To find out more about voyages along the Maine coast aboard the Victory Chimes, click here.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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