USS Constitution officially opened its lottery program to the public for the first time in three years in Charlestown, Mass., on Feb. 1.
The lottery, which selects 150 winners to ride Constitution for her annual July 4th turnaround cruise, closed in 2008 due to the ship undergoing a restoration period that wrapped up in November of 2010.
“Our partners at the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston have completed a major restoration of the ship, further restoring her to her 1812 configuration,” said Cmdr. Timothy M. Cooper, Constitution 71st commanding officer. “As part of that work, the caprail has been lowered almost two feet and a section of the waist in the vicinity of the main hatch has been removed. In addition to her more accurate look, the ultimate benefit to our guests is that they will now have a better view of Boston as the ship moves through the harbor.”
Each winner will be allowed to bring one guest, and all winners and guests must be of or between the ages of eight and 70. Entries must be made by completing the entry form and returning it by e-mail or mail. The lottery will close April 29, and the drawing will be held May 2.
“This lottery gives the common person the opportunity to be a part of history on this great ship,” said Lt. Albert Sharlow, Constitution’s operations officer. “It cost nothing more than two minutes of your time to enter. We appreciate the public’s patience waiting while the ship’s restoration was in progress; this is our way of saying ‘thank you.’
The July 4th turnaround cruise celebrates the nation’s birthday by firing from Constitution’s saluting batteries a 21-gun salute exchange with Fort Independence located on Castle Island. The voyage is about 4.5 miles total, typically lasting three hours.
“I lived here for 10 years and have dreamed of sailing on USS Constitution,” said John Upton, Charlestown resident. “It is a blessing to even have the chance.”
To enter the lottery or for more information on the lottery program, visit www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/Lottery.html.