♪ ♪ [WILL GATES] The story of the Ark and the Dove, the story of the founding of Maryland Colony in 1634 is the story that resonates, the story that needs to be told.
So, we're going to represent our best understanding of what that Dove of 1634 did indeed look like.
(hammering sound) [SAM HILGARTNER] There still is very little information about the Dove.
It became kind of like a detective story.
How would it have sailed?
What would it have looked like?
[PETE LESHER] This is one of the largest and most interesting projects happening in maritime preservation, and because of that, we have lured some of the best craftsmen to this project.
(hammering sound) [MARLEE PUTNAM] It's a way to preserve skills in a trade that is quickly dying... (chainsaw noise) [SAM] But there's also, a great cultural value in the story of this project.
♪ ♪ [PETE] This is part of our immigrant story.
[ANNOUNCER] Discovering the Dove is made possible by the MPT New Initiatives Fund established by Irene and Edward H, Kaplan.
[NARRATOR] On November 22nd, 1633, two ships, the Ark and the Dove, set sail from the Isle of Wight in England embarking on a grueling 3000 mile journey across the Atlantic.
Aboard, someone 140 men and women awaited a new life in a new world.
Their destination, though they didn't know it yet, was a stretch of land about 10 miles from the mouth of the great Potomac River on the ancestral homeland of the Piscataway and Yaocomico people, but they would christen it St. Mary's City, the first capital of the new British colony of Maryland.
[MARLEE] Following the trade winds, it typically takes about three and a half months to get here.
So, in the case of the Ark and the Dove, they got here mid-March 1634, and that's what starts Maryland as the fourth English colony here in the new world.
And the Ark would've been about three and a half times larger.
[NARRATOR] Marlee Putnam is an education supervisor here at Historic St. Mary City.
[MARLEE] Basically, in charge of dressing funny and talking to people.
[NARRATOR] Today, the one-time capital is a living history museum where visitors can step back in time to learn about the early days of the Maryland colony, including how those first colonists got here.
(cannon shots) This representation of the Dove, the smaller of the two famous vessels, was designed by historical naval architect William Avery Baker and built in 1978 under legendary Chesapeake shipwright, Jim Richardson.
[MARLEE] I think there's a major advantage to being on a ship rather than just reading about it or seeing pictures.
It makes it tangible.
You can see and feel the space for yourself.
You can hear the noises, so basically engaging your senses really puts it into perspective what these voyages were like.
And you can see this big middle section as we move through.
This is the cargo hold.
[NARRATOR] But after decades on the water, the '70s Dove is starting to show her age.
[MARLEE] The ship, according to Jim Richardson, was only built to last 25 years anyway.
She's starting to see some structural integrity issues and because of that, we're building a new one.
[NARRATOR] Not just new, but more historically accurate, or at least that's the plan.
There's just one small problem.
[MARLEE] We do not know what the original Dove looked like.
[NARRATOR] There are no paintings, no blueprints, or even detailed descriptions of the Dove of 1634.
In fact, the only period image in existence is a stylized plaster rendering on the ceiling of a house in England, a house that once belonged to the Calvert family, the founders of the Maryland colony.
Not a whole lot to go on, but there are clues, hidden away in art and archeology, a trail of historical breadcrumbs for those who know where to look.
[PETE] From a small acorn grows a mighty oak, and from a single timber, we begin construction of a great vessel.
[NARRATOR] Pete Lesher is the chief curator at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum across the bay from Historic St. Mary's.
Here, in the museum's St. Michael Shipyard, the build is just getting started, and a crowd has gathered to kick things off in style with a keel laying ceremony.
[PETE] The keel is more or less the backbone of the vessel and the frames, if you can picture them as the ribs, connect into that backbone.
[NARRATOR] And while, the build itself has only just begun, Pete has his eyes on the distant prize.
[PETE] We can take it one step farther and have a vessel even closer, we think, to what sailed here in 1634.
[NARRATOR] First though, they'll need wood.
Deliveries of durable hardwoods from Georgia and South America ensure that this new Dove will be built to last.
But it's a local Maryland wood, white oak, that most closely resembles the English oak likely used in the original Dove.
[JOE CONNOR] The reason we prefer white oak in boat building is, it doesn't absorb water as fast as other species of oak.
[NARRATOR] Joe Connor is the project's head shipwright, overseeing construction of the hull or body of the vessel.
Right now, he and his crew are trying to find in nature some of the same curved shapes that appear in the ship's design.
[JOE] So, we can't go to a normal hardware and lumber store, and pick up these really odd shapes.
They're just chucked aside for firewood or mulch.
So, we spend a lot of time on the road out in the forest looking for all these different pieces.
[NARRATOR] Today, they're paying a visit to a Talbot County property owned by Marylanders Paul and Deven Callahan.
[PAUL CALLAHAN] During Hurricane Isaias, we lost about 15 or 16 trees, and one of those trees is this white oak tree right here.
It's probably about 150 years old and we decided to donate it to the museum.
We hated to lose this tree, but the fact that it gets to go on a ship like the Dove, it gets to live on.
[JOE] This section here will end up getting cut to make really important kind of crotch, we call them knees.
[NARRATOR] A kind of bracket used to attach major ship components.
Yet, another part of the tree will have an even more prominent role.
[JOE] The large diameter butt is actually going to end up being the forward windlass.
[NARRATOR] Part of the system used to lift and lower the ship's anchor.
[IVER FRANZEN] This is the forward windlass.
[NARRATOR] According to Naval Architect Iver Franzen.
[IVER] Look at that, went right to it.
That's the windlass.
So, if you're bringing up an anchor, you need a windlass to bring up that anchor.
[NARRATOR] A specialist in historical sailing ships, Iver was enlisted to create the plans for this new Dove.
[IVER] This drawing is the basic structural drawing.
[NARRATOR] Building off the design of her predecessor.
[IVER] They first supplied me with Baker's drawings.
Then, it was also, a matter of getting caught up on the research that the folks down at St. Mary's had done.
The hull profile, Baker got pretty close, so we actually haven't changed the hull profile very much.
[NARRATOR] One of the few things we know about the Dove herself is her size.
Thanks to a firsthand account, "A Brief Relation of a Voyage Unto Maryland" by Father Andrew White.
A Jesuit priest, Father White traveled to Maryland aboard the much larger Ark which carried all 140 some settlers, plus, the bulk of the supplies for the new colony.
The Dove meanwhile, bore no passengers.
[MARLEE] So, a ship like this one would've been meant to get across 3000 miles of Atlantic Ocean and then intended to stay here to conduct intercoastal trading and serve the needs of the colony.
[NARRATOR] White describes Dove as a 40 ton pinnace, pinnace...meaning a vessel used for trade and exploration.
But sadly, his account tells us little else about the smaller ship, except perhaps that her Atlantic crossing was not without its share of drama.
[MARLEE] A couple days into the voyage, they get caught in a storm.
[FATHER ANDREW WHITE] The wind grew still louder and louder, making a boisterous sea.
And at about midnight, we spied our pinnace with her two lights, from which time till six weeks-- we never saw her more, thinking she had assuredly been foundered and lost in those huge seas.
Father Andrew White, Voyage Unto Maryland, 1634.
[NARRATOR] But against the odds, the Ark and Dove reunited in the Caribbean and continued together on their way to Maryland.
[MAN] One, two, three up... [NARRATOR] Back in the 21st Century, assembly continues amid stacks of wood waiting to be cut into the correct shapes and sizes for use in the vessel, but what shapes and which sizes?
Other ships from the same time period provide clues about construction.
[JOE] We've taken not only written information from the 17th century, but we've also been looking at shipwrecks.
[NARRATOR] Among them, the Vasa, a 1620s Swedish warship recovered in the 1960s, which offers insight into 17th century sail-making while several Baltic and North Sea wrecks provide tangible examples of other period details.
[JOE] The ship wrecks helped us out a lot with things like, how big these frames and everything was in the ships of that era.
So, we were actually able to take measurements of those pieces that they had brought up.
[NARRATOR] Right now, they're about one year into the build and despite a few modern advantages, progress isn't necessarily faster than it was 400 years ago, and that's because the build itself is a process of constant experimentation and discovery.
[JOE] The yard, back in early 1600s, they would've had four or five boats under construction.
So, your framing crew just frames, your planker just planks, and you get into this rhythm.
Whereas, by the time we get really good at framing, well...now, it's time to plank.
By the time we get really good at planking, well...now, it's time to deck.
[NARRATOR] Today, they're working on the beam shelf, part of the support system for the ship's deck.
[JOE] So, we've taken this beam shelf piece, this four by six oak, and we've put it in a kind of a pressure cooker with steam for the last four hours.
That's how we achieve a lot of these really strange curves and different things that you look at a really stiff piece of hardwood when it's dry and you're like, "How do you make, you know, it take all of this shape?"
[NARRATOR] Back in Dove's day, wood was likely heated over an open fire to accomplish similar curves, a time-consuming process replaced in the 18th century by steaming them.
Back then, in wooden boxes.
But whatever the method, once the piece takes the shape of the hull...it's fastened into place.
[JOE] The way these are put together, what I'm holding in my hand right here is a black locust treenail or a trunnel.
[PETE] It is much more expensive because it's much more time-consuming to put a vessel together with essentially wooden nails.
But when you join wood to wood, if it is dense enough and tight enough and water doesn't penetrate, there's no opportunity for rot.
And so, using the actually more authentic 17th century joinery method, it's actually going to lend to the long-term preservation, the durability of the vessel as well.
[NARRATOR] There's also value to be found in the practice of these age-old techniques.
[SAM] It, to a great degree, is built using historical methods.
Materials are used in similar ways that they would've been used, and it helps establish this tradition in the 21st century where we still have these projects.
We still have these skill sets in the Chesapeake.
[NARRATOR] Sam Hilgartner is the lead rigger for the new Dove while Joe and Company assemble the hull, Sam is busy working on most of the rest of it.
[SAM] Rigging includes a number of components that most people are familiar with, including masts and sails, but it also includes lines, ropes, sometimes wires.
[NARRATOR] In the case of the Dove, perhaps the biggest mystery of all lies here in the rig.
What configuration of masts and sails did those 17th century builders choose, of the countless options available?
[JOE] There's a near infinite number of configurations and there have been historically so many different types tried.
[IVER] The simplest extreme would be one sail.
The other extreme are the big China tea clippers, three or four masts, and the sail count is somewhere in the teens, and then there's hundreds of variations in between that.
[NARRATOR] Knowing the vessel size helps to narrow things down.
[SAM] There's only so many different configurations that would be common for a 40 ton vessel.
[NARRATOR] One being the rig seen on the '70s Dove three masts and square sails.
But Captain Will Gates, who has spent more than 30 years at the helm of the older vessel has reason to believe that this probably isn't what the original Dove looked like, thanks to something called experimental archeology.
[WILL GATES] Experimental archeology, it's a fuzzy thing.
Building something as closely as the evidence provides and then trying it out and seeing if it actually works.
What we find is that it takes nine to 12 people to operate our three masted vessel.
[NARRATOR] Meanwhile, court documents from 1635 tell us that the original Dove's crew consisted of just seven sailors plus, a ship's boy.
[WILL] Well, you don't start an ocean crossing shorthanded.
[NARRATOR] Telling us that the Dove of 1634 almost certainly had a simpler rig.
[WILL] Our specification to Iver was to design a vessel using the Dutch Boyer rig.
[NARRATOR] A style of rig with just two masts, the Boyer also appears in artwork of ships from the period - yet another clue that they could be headed in the right direction.
[SAM] This rig was a type that was common in the time period.
It's a type that would be easy to convert to a rig that's really good for sailing in the ocean, and then to convert back to a type of rig that's really good for sailing in a bay where you have more restricted maneuverability.
[NARRATOR] In other words, a sensible choice for a vessel like the Dove meant to conduct trade up and down the coast while also surviving an Atlantic crossing.
Install of the rig won't take place until the ship hits the water.
But in the meantime, in the rigging shop, there are hundreds of individual components that all need to be built from scratch.
[SAM] In this period.
It's very craft focused, so there's handy work and craftsmanship put into every piece.
[NARRATOR] Eleven spars, the masts and poles used to support the sails shaped to precise specifications.
All of the ropes, the lines, plus about 200 blocks.
The pulleys used to manipulate lines, just to give an incomplete list.
[SAM] We have a lot of spreadsheets.
[NARRATOR] Beyond the rig itself, there are metal components cast onsite by local sculptor Christian Benefiel.
[CHRISTIAN BENEFIEL] I do a lot of the metal casting with the Maritime museum, and so that sort of led to this project.
They're trying to do as much of the Dove in-house as possible.
This is a gudgeon, one of the top gudgeons on the Dove.
[NARRATOR] Part of one of the hinges that attaches the rudder to the ship to enable steering.
[CHRISTIAN] This one looks good.
I want to kind of open the other one and see what it looks like because then we can have a side by side.
[NARRATOR] And of course, all the while, work continues on the hull.
With planking, decking, painting, and building out key components like that local white oak tree turned anchor windlass.
All leading up to one cloudy March afternoon.
As a crowd looks on in anticipation-- the Dove takes flight.
[JOE] To see it really culminate into a day and a moment where the boat floats through the air and comes into the river.
I feel great.
I feel great.
[NARRATOR] And with the ship's hull complete, there are a few giveaways that this isn't the 1600s.
[JOE] We're below decks on the new Maryland Dove.
This would've been the cargo space.
You can see we have wires and pumps and all kinds of things running everywhere.
We've got room for a couple of engines that are actually going to go in tomorrow.
So, in order to meet modern regulations to take people out sailing, we have to have all of these more modern systems that would've not been on the original vessel.
For the builder, the engineer, the architect, that is kind of the biggest challenge is how you make all of those things meld.
It's a real mesh of you know, 17th and 21st century going on down here.
[NARRATOR] But before the new Dove can leave the dock, she'll need her wings.
Several weeks later, Sam and his crew are starting the process of installing the ship's rig.
Step one, craning the 50-foot mast into place.
[SAM] Some of these things, we built almost a year ago and they've been stowed away, so you're like pulling them back out.
It's like, "Oh, okay, I haven't thought about this in a while."
And also, it's kind of the time when if all of this stuff's going to more or less work or not.
[NARRATOR] So far, so good.
[SAM] So, it's a sigh of relief.
There's a lot of buildup to this point in the project.
So, it feels really good.
It's really exciting.
So...now, we start the process of what we call uprig, which is you know, we've got all of the rigging that's made and now it all needs to be attached to the vessel.
[NARRATOR] And if you ask Sam, it's the little things that make this ship so special.
[SAM] So, this is made of solid ash and it's local white ash.
We know that ash was one of the most common materials used for blocks in the 17th century, and then these soft rigging details are very similar.
So, the way that this line terminates, in the 17th century, they often just had the end of this piece of running rigging just attached to this what we call a strop that goes around the block.
So, all of these really fine little details are details that you would see in this period and that you see in the historical or in the archeological record.
And this is just one piece that I just randomly picked up off the deck.
[NARRATOR] Finally, more than three years from the laying of the keel, with everything in its proper place comes the defining moment for any new ship... ...her maiden voyage.
[MARLEE] So, we are on our maiden voyage delivering new Dove from Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to St. Mary's.
[NARRATOR] A two-day journey.
[WILL] The route we're following today, departing St. Michael's as you see over my shoulder.
We will motor and sail down the Miles River.
[NARRATOR] Then, into Eastern Bay, and finally out into the Chesapeake proper.
[WILL] We're going to be turning into the wind shortly, standby to brail up the staysail and then the mainsail.
[NARRATOR] Because of current wind conditions, the crew is motor sailing or propelling the ship using a combination of the 21st century motor and the 17th century rig, which means they're finally starting to familiarize themselves with the latter.
[MARLEE] It's really neat, like a slow moving puzzle.
For the past three years, we've been looking at plans on paper and diagrams, and you think you get a feel for how the lines, and how the boat's going to work, but it's nothing like actually being on deck in the wind and doing it.
[WILL] We built our best understanding of what was represented in several of the paintings and etchings from the 1600s, and now we get to try that out, and see whether our interpretation of those paintings, and etchings works.
If something doesn't work, the question is, "Well, does it not work because we didn't build it right or because we don't know how to use it."
And it's going to take time to kind of figure some of those things out and we all learn from the process.
[NARRATOR] Beyond her value as a piece of educational technology, for passengers, the new Maryland Dove evokes a crossroads in history, a moment when two cultures collided.
Once, across the bay, it's just a short sail up the Potomac and into the St. Mary's River.
And a few special guests have joined the crew for this last leg, which follows the same route traced by those first British settlers.
[FATHER WILLIAM GEORGE] Coming in the way they came in.
Oh, my goodness, what a trip.
[MARLEE] A lot of the coastline would've looked similar.
It hasn't changed much in 400 years.
Of course, there'd be a lot less boat traffic than there is today.
(chuckles) [WILL] Well, this kind of looks like, a welcoming committee.
♪ ♪ This is sort of the grand arrival of the new Dove to St. Mary's.
This is a great reception.
[NARRATOR] Back in 1634.
No one knew, not the British, and certainly not the Yaocomico, just how much changed these two ships would bring to these shores.
But today, after years of planning, research, design and construction, this new Maryland Dove promises all who step aboard, the chance to travel back in time, and connect to that turning point in our shared past.
[SAM] When you think of each moment, each headache, each problem, it seems like, "Oh, that took a while."
But right now as I stand here on the dock, it's like that was nothing.
[JOE] So, you ready to do another one?
[SAM] Yeah, sure.
(Joe and Sam laugh) [ANNOUNCER] Discovering the Dove was made possible by the MPT New Initiatives Fund established by Irene and Edward H. Kaplan.
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