USS Constitution sets sail

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Aug. 19 2012 11:08 p.m. MDT

USS Constitution maintenance and repair crew member Michael Desmond, of Lynn, Mass., front, secures a line from the ship to the shore as the historic vessel is docked at her berth in Charlestown Navy Yard, in Boston, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. The USS Constitution, the U.S. Navy's oldest commissioned war ship, sailed under her own power for the first time since 1997 during an event Sunday. The sail was held to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the ship's victory over HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Associated Press

BOSTON — The 215-year-old USS Constitution has sailed for the first time since 1997, taking a 17-minute cruise across Boston Harbor.

The short trip Sunday was to commemorate the Navy ship's victory over a British warship of a similar size in a fierce battle during the War of 1812. Following the battle, the Constitution was nicknamed "Old Ironsides."

Chief Petty Officer Frank Neely says 285 lucky people were aboard Sunday as the Constitution reached a maximum speed of 3.1 knots.

The trip marks the first time the Constitution has set sail under its own power since turning 200 years old.

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