A $17million replica of the ship that brought settlers to America 400 years ago has had to change course to avoid landing the reenactment 'Pilgrims' in quarantine.

The Mayflower II is due to land in Plymouth tomorrow to commemorate the arrival of North America's founding colony in 1620. However Covid 19 is rewriting history as the ship has had to make a number of alterations to the reenactment route. This includes missing out a stop, last minute, in Rhode Island due to new quarantine restrictions being put in place for the state.

Travel restrictions which were brought in by Massachusetts Public Health last Wednesday would have required the sailors of the replica vessel to self-isolate for 14 days, throwing the commemorative sailing off course.

"Due to Governor Baker's recent change to the restrictions on travel to states including Rhode Island, Plimoth Plantation has decided out of an abundance of caution to keep Mayflower in New Bedford ... until Saturday, Aug. 8 when the ship will make its way to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy," said a statement from the reenactors.

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The replica 17th century ship has already had to make an unscheduled stop in New Bedford, Massachusetts to shelter from tropical storm Isaias.

Plymouth Rock, the landmark was defaced earlier this year. Photo / DOCR Mass
Plymouth Rock, the landmark was defaced earlier this year. Photo / DOCR Mass

The Mayflower II is a reproduction of the ship sailed across the Atlantic to America 400 years ago, built in Mystic, Connecticut. USD$11 have been spent on restoring the ship using traditional techniques.

The commemorations have been almost 70 years in the planning, but there have been a number of challenges to the project. In February the Plymouth Rock landmark, which marks the arrival of the settlers, was vandalised.

In February the rock was covered in red paint along with sculptures in the park dedicated to the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620, though the Department of Conservation and Recreation said it was not clear if the graffiti had any connection to the centenary celebrations.

Arriving in America amid a pandemic and reexamination of the colonial attitudes towards the indigenous peoples already in the area, the Mayflower II project could not have anticipated the less-than-warm welcome when the restoration work started in 2012.
The Mayflower II arrives in Plymouth on Monday, at around 3pm local time.