The Mayflower voyage was a plan for two groups that were escaping religious persecution in their homeland. The separatists were living in Holland while their counterparts were from the UK. The two groups were to meet at Southampton to discuss their journey in the port on the South Coast of England.
The groups arrived in Southampton in two ships: the Mayflower and the Speedwell. The Mayflower ship had the crew as well as some additional passengers known as the strangers who joined the expedition to try a new life in America.
Shopping at Southampton
The crew intended to spend a few days in Southampton to prepare for the long voyage to America. Fortunately, being a thriving seaport, Southampton had the essential items for the crew. Additionally, they were able to repair the Speedwell at the Southampton extensive shipbuilding facility.
The team met other seamen, who gave them insight into the journey. The seamen also helped by creating essential trading links with Virginia, the crew’s final destination.
The Challenges on Board
On August 15, 1620, Mayflower and Speedwell began their journey to Virginia. However, it did not take long before the Speedwell started to leak, soon needing urgent repair. The Speedwell was repaired in Bayard’s Cove harbor, in Dartmouth and the two ships began sailing to the North Atlantic.
Unfortunately, the Speedwell started leaking again after sailing 300 miles off land. This time, crew members decided not to risk sailing with Speedwell. Understandably, the crew was frustrated with their forced return to Plymouth. Some of the passengers felt that the journey was a wasteful adventure. Sailing for six weeks was expensive, and failing to reach their destination was disappointing.
The Stop at Plymouth
After a few days in Plymouth, some passengers from the Speedwell headed back to Holland while others remained at Plymouth. The Mayflower began sailing to America with 30 crew members and 102 passengers.
The additional people could probably be from the Speedwell. Notably, the crew left what is now known as the Mayflower Steps on the city’s historic Barbican.
On September 16, 1620, Mayflower was seen on English soil before heading to America.