16 September 1620: Weighed anchor. Wind E.N.E., a fine gale. Laid course W.S.W. for northern coasts of Virginia.
400 years ago, on this day, after seeing multiple delays and making unplanned stops at various ports to repair Speedwell, the Mayflower sailed out of Plymouth alone into the Atlantic, and into the pages of history books.
She carried 102 people – a motley group Separatists and Strangers – people seeking opportunity in the New World, 74 men and 28 women, and 31 children.
The Mayflower carried with the following food supply -
Biscuits or ship-bread (in barrels).
Oatmeal (in barrels or hogsheads).
Rye meal (in hogsheads).
Butter (in firkins).
Cheese, "Hollands" and English (in boxes).
Eggs, pickled (in tubs).
Fish, "haberdyne" [or salt dried cod] (in boxes)
Smoked herring (in boxes).
Beef, salt, or "corned" (in barrels).
Dry-salted (in barrels).
Smoked (in sacks).
Dried neats'-tongues (inboxes).
Pork, bacon, smoked (in sacks or boxes).
Salt [" corned "] (in barrels).
Hams and shoulders, smoked (in canvas sacks or hogsheads).
Salt (in bags and barrels).
Beans (in bags and barrels).
Cabbages (in sacks and barrels).
Onions (in sacks).
Turnips (in sacks).
Parsnips (in sacks).
Pease (in barrels), and
Vinegar (in hogsheads), while,--
Beer (in casks), brandy, "aqua vitae" (in pipes), and gin ["Hollands
"strong waters," or "schnapps"] (in pipes) were no small
or unimportant part, from any point of view, of the provision supply.
The Mayflower was destined to make the voyage across the Atlantic alone. After repairing Speedwell in Dartmouth, both ships had set sail on 2 September 1620. However, within a day of sailing Speedwell developed leaks again and both ships turned around and returned to England – this time to Plymouth Harbor where they anchored on 6 September 1620.
Speedwell’s logs would have read as follows:
2 September Weighed anchor, ‘as did also MAY-FLOWER, and set sail. Laid general course W. S. W. Wind fair.
3 September Fair wind, but ship leaking.
4 September Wind fair. Ship leaking dangerously. MAY-FLOWER in company.
5 September About 100 leagues from land’s end. Ship leaking badly. Hove to. Signalled MAY-FLOWER, in company. Consultation between masters, carpenters, and principal passengers. Decided to put back into Plymouth and determine whether pinnace is seaworthy. Put about and laid course for Plymouth.
6 September Wind on starboard quarter. Made Plymouth harbor and came to anchor. MAY-FLOWER in company.
It was in Plymouth that the ship which had caused so many delays was finally deemed finally to not be seaworthy. It was decided that the Mayflower would sail alone. Some of the passengers who had sailed from Leiden, Netherlands abandoned their plans of going to the New World, while other crammed into the Mayflower to continue their journey.
On 14 September 1620 after transferring its cargo to Mayflower, Speedwell “Weighed anchor and took departure for London, leaving Mayflower at anchor in roadstead.”
On 16 Septeber 1620 Mayflower continued on this journey alone and sailed into history books.