The Susan Constant, largest of the three re-created ships at Jamestown Settlement, marks its 30th anniversary this year. The 120-ton vessel was constructed in 1990 at the museum along the shores of the James River, where a sprawling lumberyard dotted the landscape. Massive timbers of greenheart, mora purpleheart and courbaril, collected from around the world, were fashioned into a ship by a team of skilled carpenters and shipwrights.
Under the leadership of Eric Speth, Maritime Program Manager for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Stanley Potter, a naval architect, and Allen Rawl, the master shipbuilder, a team of 70 craftsmen brought maritime historian Brian Lavery’s research to life over the course of a little more than a year. After a fanfare christening and launch on a chilly morning in December 1990, the Susan Constant underwent sea trials in February 1991 and was officially commissioned on April 25, 1991.
The Susan Constant — a “floating classroom” that has welcomed countless visitors aboard over the past three decades — is regularly seen moored at Jamestown Settlement alongside re-creations of the Godspeed and Discovery, designated “the official fleet of the Commonwealth” by the Virginia General Assembly.
August 25, 2005: Susan Constant under sail. Courtesy of Virginia Department of Transportation.
April 25, 2007: Sails unfurled, Susan Constant makes its way along the Chesapeake Bay.
April 25, 2007: Stern view of Susan Constant.
March 21, 2009: Broadside guns are fired from Susan Constant during the "Military Through the Ages" event.
April 1, 2010: Susan Constant returns to Jamestown Settlement from routine drydock to a crowd lining the ships' pier.
December 14, 1990: Susan Constant is launched after a fanfare christening at Jamestown Settlement.
April 25, 2007: Susan Constant under full sail in the Chesapeake Bay.
April 25, 2007: Susan Constant sails past Godspeed in the Chesapeake Bay.
April 25, 2007: Crew aboard the Susan Constant prepare to unfurl the sails on the square-rigged ship.
September 26, 2014: Susan Constant, at left, joins Godspeed and Discovery at the museum pier.
April 14, 2010: A profile view of Susan Constant at the museum pier.
April 19, 2011: A view of Susan Constant's beakhead decorated in gold.
April 25, 2007: Captain Eric Speth holds a line on board Susan Constant.
April 25, 2007: A bird's eye view from the roundtop of Susan Constant.
April 25, 2007: Captain Eric Speth aboard Susan Constant in the Chesapeake Bay.
September 6, 2006: Lines, ropes and rigging frame the decoration of Susan Constant's hull, featuring three horizontal stripes of a green and yellow diamond pattern, red and white chevrons, and a white-on-blue design.
April 25, 2007: A sailor climbs the rigging of Susan Constant while under sail in the Chesapeake Bay.
August 19, 2013: Sailor's quarters and navigation tools on board Susan Constant.