Colonial America

Written By: Frank Bongiorno

Colonial America: All About the Mayflower Ship

How Big Was the Mayflower?

Many people may think of the Mayflower as a really large ship, but in reality, it was not all that big. The Mayflower's deck was about the length of a basketball court, approximately 80 feet long. The entire length was 106 feet, and the ship was only 25 feet wide. The Mayflower had three masts.

Where Did the Passengers Sleep?

The gun deck is where passengers slept, and this is also where the cannons were located. The gun deck is also known as the "between deck" area and was above the cargo hold. The crew slept in the cabin, and the forecastle is where passengers' food was stored and cooked.

What Route Did the Mayflower Take?

The Mayflower left on Aug. 4, 1620, from Southampton, England, bound for Virginia. It would have arrived in North America much sooner, but it was slowed down by its partner ship leaking. The Speedwell continued to leak, and it was ultimately forced to turn back and dock at Plymouth. The Mayflower took on as many extra passengers as it could accommodate from the Speedwell and headed out on Sept. 6, 1620. Thrown off course by storms, the Mayflower landed at Cape Cod in November of 1620.

What Was it Like on the Mayflower?

The Mayflower was crowded with 102 passengers in small quarters. There was no running water or restroom. There was no fresh air below deck, so the smell alone would have been horrific. During stormy weather, the passengers were crammed into their quarters for days at a time, with no way of knowing if they were safe or how long they would be tossed around in their cramped, dirty, and smelly living quarters.

What Did the Passengers Do?

The passengers on the Mayflower were in charge of cooking their own meals, mending their own clothes, and tending to the sick. Seasickness was common. Children played games and had to rely on their creativity to keep busy. Adults and children alike probably read and prayed a lot.

How Big of a Crew Did the Mayflower Have?

Although exact numbers are unknown, it's thought that the crew of the Mayflower probably consisted of around 25 members. Christopher Jones was the captain, and there was also a surgeon, a cooper, and a cook. There were quartermasters in charge of the cargo and a master gunner. The boatswain was in charge of sails and rigging, and there was a carpenter for wood repairs.

Interesting Facts About the Mayflower

All About Colonial America