July 9 was the day that the Godspeed was to have sailed majestically into Jamestown harbor, the grand finale to its recreation of the voyage charted by the original Godspeed when it brought 39 English settlers and 13 crewmen to Virginia in 1607.
But unfavorable winds caused the 68-foot, wooden, square-rigged ship to linger in the English Channel for several days after setting sail on April 30.
Later, after leaving Tenerife in the Canary Islands, headwinds stifled the voyage again.
Now, with a presumed three weeks of sailing left between the ship -- now anchored in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands -- and Virginia, the Godspeed is headed for the dock, once again failing to live up to the hope embodied in its name.
The danger of tropical storms will prevent it from completing its voyage until November at the earliest, and possibly until spring, a spokesman for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Godspeed's sponsor, said yesterday.
The ship is a copy of the one that sailed to Virginia 13 years before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. Since late April, a crew has been recharting that original course to commemorate the voyage and promote Virginia tourism.
But for the next several months the Godspeed will be a better advertisment for a vacation in Puerto Rico than for historic Jamestown.
The Godspeed will set sail Thursday on a two-day trip to San Juan, where it will be stored until hurricane season ends, said Allan Libby, spokesman for the foundation.
In a normal year, this would mean the Godspeed could finish its voyage in early December, but it could be months longer, Libby said.
But foundation officials insist that the Godspeed will eventually complete its voyage. "The trip will be resumed; it's just a matter of when," Libby said.
H. Benson Dendy III, a special assistant to Virginia Gov. Charles S. Robb and a trustee of the foundation, said he did not expect the delay to diminish the ship's promotional value.
"They had no control over the weather. It's clear there would be potential for grave disaster," Dendy said, adding that the problems the Godspeed has faced in its voyage will make people "recognize even better the hazards our great forefathers faced."
The Godspeed's problems began early when its completion was several months late, said Ross Weeks Jr., the foundation's executive director.
Then, just before the vessel was scheduled to be shipped to England aboard a container ship almost 10 times as long as it, it was discovered that several bolts on its hull had corroded and had to be replaced at a cost of $3,000 to $5,000, Weeks said.
Trouble continued when, once the ship arrived in England, it was found that sometime during the transport it had been broken into and the inside ransacked, Weeks said.
After setting sail on April 30, the ship faced unfavorable winds for nearly the full month of May. In Tenerife, two of the ship's original crew of 14 decided to leave, one citing seasickness, the other personal problems.
The further delays will push up the cost of the Godspeed project, which is being split between the state of Virginia and individual and corporate donors. The state paid $600,000 to build the ship, Weeks said. The actual voyage was expected to cost about $250,000, of which the state was expected to pay $60,000.
It was not immediately clear who will pay for the additional expenses incurred by leaving the ship in Puerto Rico. "The foundation will try to pay for any additional costs with its own money. We don't want to go to the state if we don't have to," said L. Ray Ashworth, a foundation trustee.