The Canadian Press
September 29, 2012 — After a $15.9 million restoration, thousands watched in Lunenburg, N.S. as famed schooner Bluenose ll relaunched. Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says Bluenose II is a source of extraordinary pride for the province.
Onlookers clapped and small boats sounded their horns as the newly restored Bluenose II made its historic relaunch as a light drizzle gave way to a Nova Scotia sunrise early Saturday morning.
Thousands of Nova Scotians and visitors from across Canada donned rain gear and clutched coffees as the 43-metre vessel made its slow descent into the Lunenburg harbour. The event marked the famed schooner's official return to the water after an extensive two-year, $15.9 million restoration.
The schooner's entire hull and much of its deck made from Douglas fir have been replaced. Premier Darrell Dexter was among the crowd that gathered along the waterfront, the same spot where the original Bluenose was launched more than 90 years ago.
"The excitement and anticipation leading up to today speaks of our love of the ocean and our ability to thrive by it," Dexter said as the vessel made its way down the slipway and into the ocean.
"Future generations of Nova Scotians will now know what it means to have the same pride as their parents, their grandparents and their great-grandparents before them."
More than 100 boats — from canoes to yachts — bobbed in the waters surrounding the Bluenose II as divers disappeared beneath the surface to detach the supports and chains holding the vessel to a transfer carriage.
The schooner towered over the others, even without its two masts, canvas sails and rigging, which will be installed in the coming months. People -- young and old, huddled under umbrellas aloft a hill and a ripple of applause could be heard as a tugboat pulled the vessel across the harbour towards the town's fisheries' museum.