Mayflower Voyage: Turning Back

After being delayed with repairs for The Speedwell, the ship originally hired to travel with the Mayflower, the voyage to the new world began. On August 5, 1620, The Speedwell and The Mayflower set sail with the Separatists and colonists for the New World.

However, once again the Speedwell was found to be taking on water. The two ships returned to Dartmouth for repairs.

A second attempt was then made, but after traveling 300 nautical miles {350 miles}, The Speedwell once again began to leak. For a second time, both ships returned to Dartmouth.

Upon return to Dartmouth, the Separatists decided to go to America on the Mayflower.

According to Bradford, the Speedwell was sold at auction in London, and after being repaired made a number of successful voyages for her new owners. At least two of her passengers, Captain Thomas Blossom and a son, returned to Leiden.”

“ William Bradford wrote that the “overmasting” strained the ship’s hull, but attributes the main cause of her leaking to actions on the part of the crew. Bradford later assumed that Speedwell master Reynolds’s “cunning and deceit” (in causing what may have been man-made leaks in the ship) had been motivated by a fear of starving to death in America. Passenger Robert Cushman wrote from Dartmouth in August 1620 that the leaking was caused by a loose board approximately two feet long”

Only eleven people on The Speedwell boarded The Mayflower. Twenty people, including Robert Cushman, remained in London.

One hundred and two people gathered on The Mayflower for the voyage.

For a third and final time, The Mayflower left Plymouth on September 6, 1620.