The USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship and the only ship currently in service with the U.S. Navy that has successfully sank an enemy ship in battle, returned to the waters of Boston Harbor on Sunday.

The legendary vessel sailed into Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston National Historical Park at approximately 11:15PM after the nearby dry dock it has been in for repairs was flooded upon the completion of her restoration.  For more than two years, the ship has been undergoing a complete overhaul intended to keep it in service for years to come.

The significance of the water coming in the dry dock is the start of the evolution,” said Captain Robert S. Gerosa, Jr., commanding officer of Constitution. “It’s the start of getting Constitution back in the water. This is it, this is what we’ve been striving for the last 26 months. We are again in the water where ships need to be.”

The restoration effort saw the replacement of 100 hull planks as well as the necessary caulking and sealing to ensure the hull remains water tight.  The ship’s cutwater (on the bow of the vessel) was entirely rebuilt, and the ship’s rigging and upper masts and yards were serviced in what has become an ongoing restoration and preservation process for the seemingly limitless amount rope required to manage the ship’s sails.  The team also repaired damages caused by a vandal in May.