Mayflower Ship

Mayflower Ship in harbor

Mayflower Ship - The Mayflower Ship in harbor

This article on  Mayflower Ship provides facts and information about:

  • 50 Facts about the Mayflower
  • Description of the Mayflower Ship
  • Layout and decks of the Mayflower
  • Interesting facts and information about the Mayflower
  • Educational resource for teachers and kids
The Pilgrims & the Mayflower
The Mayflower Compact
The Pilgrims & the Mayflower
Mayflower Voyage
American Colonies Index

The History of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower

The Mayflower Ship: The Pilgrims, the Mayflower and the Plymouth Colony

The Mayflower Ship
This article contains 50 fast facts and information about the Mayflower ship that, in 1620, transported 102 English passengers from a site near the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, England to Massachusetts in America which would become the capital of
Plymouth Colony. The Mayflower ship fact files provides fast access to facts and stats on the design of the ship together with a description of the different parts of the ship. The facts about the Mayflower ship also provides interesting information about the living conditions of the passengers and crew.

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.

Facts about the Mayflower Ship

Mayflower Ship Fact 1The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 2There 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 3The owner of the Mayflower was Christopher Jones who was also the captain of the ship.
Mayflower Ship Fact 4The Mayflower ship was at least 12 years old when it undertook the voyage to America
Mayflower Ship Fact 5The ship had been employed as a cargo ship carrying wine and other goods from England to France
Mayflower Ship Fact 6The Mayflower was a sailing ship that was propelled by the wind.
Mayflower Ship Fact 7Vessel 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.
Mayflower Ship Fact 8The class of vessel was a Dutch cargo fluyt. Fluyts were developed by the Dutch around 1600
Mayflower Ship Fact 9A fluyt had large cargo spaces and were small enough to enter rivers, coves and small harbors that were unsuitable to large craft
Mayflower Ship Fact 10The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 11With nearly 130 people on board the living conditions were very difficult. Each family was allotted a very confined amount of space for personal belongings
Mayflower Ship Fact 12The majority of passengers slept and lived in the large low ceilinged cabins
Mayflower Ship Fact 13Many of the families built smaller "cabins," using simple wooden dividers nailed together, to provide a small amount of privacy
Mayflower Ship Fact 14In 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”
Mayflower Ship Fact 15A longboat was a large open boat designed to be rowed by eight or ten oarsmen to take passengers ashore
Mayflower Ship Fact 16A “shallop” was a small open boat, with a sail, used mainly in shallow waters designed to be rowed by one or two rowers
Mayflower Ship Fact 17The 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)
Mayflower Ship Fact 18Number of Decks: There were 3 decks consisting of the Upper deck, the Gun Deck (referred to as the "Tween Deck" and the cargo hold
Mayflower Ship Fact 19The 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.
Mayflower Ship Fact 20There 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.
Mayflower Ship Fact 21The “shallop” was taken on board the Mayflower by the Separatist group. It was dismantled and also stored on the Gun Deck
Mayflower Ship Fact 22The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 23The vessel had a series of hatches.  A hatch is trapdoor set into a floor providing access from one deck to another
Mayflower Ship Fact 24The 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.
Mayflower Ship Fact 25The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 26The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 27The gun room was the storage area for the ships munitions including guns, powder and shot
Mayflower Ship Fact 28The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 29The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 30The windlass was a horizontal capstan used for heaving up the anchor, and was placed close to the bow of the ship
Mayflower Ship Fact 31Sails: Three sets of sails swirled from the masts 
Mayflower Ship Fact 32The average speed of a carrack was about 80 miles/day  
Mayflower Ship Fact 33The 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 
Mayflower Ship Fact 34The Upper deck: There was also a small galley, or kitchen, called the Forecastle where the cook prepared food for the crew
Mayflower Ship Fact 35The Upper deck: There were pens for the livestock
Mayflower Ship Fact 36The Cargo hold was also used to store possessions of the passengers. Each family was allowed one box for their possessions.
Mayflower Ship Fact 37Sailing a carrack was difficult. It lumbered along slowly, always needing a following wind, and it had little or no manoeuvrability
Mayflower Ship Fact 38The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 39The ship's wheel stood at the stern of the ship
Mayflower Ship Fact 40The 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.
Mayflower Ship Fact 41The 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.
Mayflower Ship Fact 42The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 43The Compass was used to determine direction and chart the course. The compass was kept in the binnacle.
Mayflower Ship Fact 44The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 45The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 46The Quadrant instrument was based on a quarter of a circle, employed to measure the altitude above the horizon of astronomical bodies
Mayflower Ship Fact 47The 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
Mayflower Ship Fact 48The captain was in charge of the ship and all of his orders had to be obeyed.
Mayflower Ship Fact 49On April 5/15, 1621, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth in America to return to England where she arrived on May 6/16, 1621
Mayflower Ship Fact 50The Mayflower ship was eventually sold and taken apart in May 1624. She was dismantled for scrap timber in Rotherhithe, London  



Signing the Mayflower Ship

Signing the Mayflower Compact on the Ship

Mayflower Ship
The 50 facts about the Mayflower ship is a fast and accurate way to gain a good understanding of the the layout of the ship and the names of different parts of the ship. The information also provides and understanding of the limited help that was available to the seamen and sailors who guided the Mayflower in the 3000 mile trip across the Atlantic Ocean. The facts and stats about the size of the vessel provides an insight into the living conditions experienced by the passengers on the ship and their brave decision to travel so far, to unknown shores, to explore the opportunities that America had to offer.

The Mayflower Ship

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