Interesting Mayflower Facts


  • The Mayflower was a three-masted ship that likely measured between 90 and 110 feet long, 25 feet wide, and the bottom of the keel was about 12 feet below the waterline. 
  • The ship had a square rig with a beakhead bow, along with high, castle-like structures fore and aft that were meant to protect the main deck from the elements. This design-type was typical for early 17th century English merchant ships.  
  • The stern carried a 30-foot high, square aft-castle which made the ship difficult to sail against the North Atlantic’s prevailing westerlies, causing the voyage to take around two months. 
  • There were three masts of the ship, including the aft, midship, and fore, as well as three primary levels, including the main deck, gun deck, and cargo hold.
  • The steerage room on the main deck housed berths for the ship’s officers, the ship’s compass, and tiller extension for sailing control. The main deck also included a forecastle space for the ship’s cook to prepare meals and it was possibly where the sailors slept.
  • The gun deck was where the passengers resided during the voyage. It measured around 50 by 25 feet, with five-foot ceilings. This was a dangerous area for the passengers with the gun ports near and the gun room in the stern area of the deck. Passengers were not allowed in the gun room. 
  • The cargo hold, below the gun deck, held all passengers' personal possessions, including personal weapons, military equipment (armor, muskets, gunpowder, swords, and bandoliers), tools, and utensils needed to prepare food in the New World.  
  • The Mayflower was heavily armed with a 1,200-pound minion cannon which was made of brass and could shoot a 3.5-pound cannon ball a mile away. The ship had an additional 800-pound saker cannon and two 200-pound base cannons. 
  • The ship carried at least ten pieces of ordnance on the port and starboard sides of the deck. 



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