19 November 2010
After many difficult negotiations and preparations, two ships were procured. The Speedwell was to carry the first group of passengers from the Netherlands to England and then on to America while the larger Mayflower was to carry the supplies and would be used for exploration. The Speedwell left the Netherlands and joined the Mayflower in Southampton. In August of 1620, the two ships set sail but the Speedwell reported that it was taking on water and had to return to port in Dartmouth. The leaks were fixed and they set sail again when once again the Speedwell reported that she was leaking water forcing them to return to port in Plymouth. It was decided that they couldn't continue with the Speedwell. Out of the 121 passengers, 102 were chosen to sail on the Mayflower where they had to also consolidate all their supplies. It was later learned that the crew of the Speedwell deliberately caused the leaks on their ship in order to get out of their one-year contracts.
Finally in September of 1620, the Mayflower set sail for the New World. At first, the sailing was smooth but they encountered rough seas. The crossing was very difficult for the passengers. The ship had to be repaired using some of the Pilgrims' construction supplies. During the passage, one passenger and one crew member died, however one baby was born.
Around November 20 of 1620, land was sighted at Cape Cod and due to the shallow waters they finally anchored the next day in present-day Provincetown Harbor. Before going ashore, the Pilgrims drafted and signed the first governing document with democratic principles in America, The Mayflower Compact. This constitution would govern the colony for the next 70 years.