50 Facts about the Mayflower Ship
The following facts about the Mayflower Ship provide interesting facts and an overview and description of the vessel and the living conditions of the passengers.
Fact 1: The Mayflower was the name of the sailing ship that took the people, who would become known collectively as the 'Pilgrims', to the New World. The voyage on the Mayflower sailing ship took 66 days
Fact 2: There were 102 passengers and between 25-30 crew members. The maximum number of people this type of ship would normally carry was 140 - the living conditions would have been very cramped
Fact 3: The owner of the Mayflower was Christopher Jones who was also the captain of the ship.
Fact 4: The Mayflower ship was at least 12 years old when it undertook the voyage to America
Fact 5: The ship had been employed as a cargo ship carrying wine and other goods from England to France
Fact 6: The Mayflower was a sailing ship that was propelled by the wind.
Fact 7: Vessel Description: The Mayflower was a type of ship called a carrack. The carrack design of ship had three masts, square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast. Carracks were ocean going ships that were large enough to be stable in heavy seas such as the Atlantic and roomy enough to carry provisions for long voyages in the cargo holds.
Fact 8: The class of vessel was a Dutch cargo fluyt. Fluyts were developed by the Dutch around 1600
Fact 9: A fluyt had large cargo spaces and were small enough to enter rivers, coves and small harbors that were unsuitable to large craft
Fact 10: The vessel had 8 small cannon and 4 medium sized cannon. The Pilgrims believed that it might be necessary to defend themselves against the Spanish or the French. Pirates were also a concern as were the possibility of hostile Native American Indians
Fact 11: With nearly 130 people on board the living conditions were very difficult. Each family was allotted a very confined amount of space for personal belongings
Fact 12: The majority of passengers slept and lived in the large low ceilinged cabins
Fact 13: Many of the families built smaller "cabins," using simple wooden dividers nailed together, to provide a small amount of privacy
Fact 14: In the days of sailing ships, a vessel would carry additional small boats. The Mayflower carried two boats, a long boat and a dinghy called a “shallop”
Fact 15: A longboat was a large open boat designed to be rowed by eight or ten oarsmen to take passengers ashore
Fact 16: A “shallop” was a small open boat, with a sail, used mainly in shallow waters designed to be rowed by one or two rowers
Fact 17: The size of the Mayflower was about 100 ft. It was approximately 90–110 feet (27.4–33.5 m) in length with a width of about 25 feet (7.6 m)
Fact 18: Number of Decks: There were 3 decks consisting of the Upper deck, the Gun Deck (referred to as the "Tween Deck" and the cargo hold
Fact 19: The passengers lived on the "Tween Deck" which was about 80 foot long and at its largest point was 24 feet wide. The Gun Deck, or "Tween Deck", had a separate 12 foot gun room. This reduced the living accommodation to just 68 feet.
Fact 20: There were three masts called the mizzen mast, the Main mast and the Fore mast. A mast was a tall, slim pole, usually tapering upward, used to support the sails on a ship. There was also a moveable Spritsail.
Fact 21: The “shallop” was taken on board the Mayflower by the Separatist group. It was dismantled and also stored on the Gun Deck
Fact 22: The vessel consisted of various areas which included the Upper deck, the Gun Deck (Tween Deck), cargo hold, the gun room, the steerage room, the crew's cabin, the captain's Poop house and the forecastle
Fact 23: The vessel had a series of hatches. A hatch is trapdoor set into a floor providing access from one deck to another
Fact 24: The Upper deck: The captain lived at one end of the upper deck in the poop house and the crew had their living quarters at the other end of the upper deck.
Fact 25: The Gun Deck (Tween Deck) was where the passengers lived on the voyage and where the arms and cannon were located. Sunlight never reached the gun deck so it was dark, cold and damp
Fact 26: The Cargo hold: Used to store the cargo of food, tools, and supplies during the voyage. Barrels contained four, biscuits, dried meats and vegetables. Other barrels contained water and beer
Fact 27: The gun room was the storage area for the ships munitions including guns, powder and shot
Fact 28: The steerage room was where the pilot steered the Mayflower. A stick, called a whip-staff was moved back and forth to move the tiller and rudder in order to steer the ship
Fact 29: The Capstan stood on the on the main upper deck turned round by wooden levers, called capstan bars, and used to lift heavy cargo between the decks
Fact 30: The windlass was a horizontal capstan used for heaving up the anchor, and was placed close to the bow of the ship
Fact 31: Sails: Three sets of sails swirled from the masts
The average speed of a carrack was about 80 miles/day
Fact 33: The carrack was distinguished by high 'castles' in the front and back and 3 or 4 masts, with square sails on the first two masts and primarily triangular sails (lateen sails) on the aft masts
Fact 34: The Upper deck: There was also a small galley, or kitchen, called the Forecastle where the cook prepared food for the crew
Fact 35: The Upper deck: There were pens for the livestock
Fact 36: The Cargo hold was also used to store possessions of the passengers. Each family was allowed one box for their possessions.
Fact 37: Sailing a carrack was difficult. It lumbered along slowly, always needing a following wind, and it had little or no manoeuvrability
Fact 38: The benefits of the carrack included its ability to go long distances without stopping at ports, the rigging of the sails allowed flexibility and carracks had good storage space for cargo
Fact 39: The ship's wheel stood at the stern of the ship
Fact 40: The binnacle was a fixed box that stood directly in front of the wheel. The compass was placed inside the binnacle. It was completely covered in, having a glass window, through which the man at the wheel could observe the course he was steering.
Fact 41: The navigational instruments, equipment and devices used by the seamen on the Mayflower included the compass, the astrolabe, the Cross staff, the Quadrant, the Chipboard and the Hourglass.
Fact 42: The Hourglass was used to measure any amount of time. Sailors used it to track how far they had travelled or how long they had been on duty
Fact 43: The Compass was used to determine direction and chart the course. The compass was kept in the binnacle.
Fact 44: The Astrolabe was used to measure the position of the sun, moon, planets, and stars. Navigators measured the angle of a celestial body above the horizon to determine their latitude positioning
Fact 45: The Cross staff was used to measure the height of objects above the horizon to enable them to determine how far north or south of the Equator they were
Fact 46: The Quadrant instrument was based on a quarter of a circle, employed to measure the altitude above the horizon of astronomical bodies
Fact 47: The Chip board measured the speed of the ship. The small board was tied to the end of several hundred feet of rope with knots at specific intervals, was thrown overboard. Sailors counted the number of knots to determine the speed of the ship
Fact 48: The captain was in charge of the ship and all of his orders had to be obeyed.
Fact 49: On April 5/15, 1621, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth in America to return to England where she arrived on May 6/16, 1621
Fact 50: The Mayflower ship was eventually sold and taken apart in May 1624. She was dismantled for scrap timber in Rotherhithe, London