Photos of the building process
The Mayflower embarked about 65 passengers in London at its homeport in the Rotherhithe district on the Thames about the middle of July in 1620. She then proceeded down the Thames into the English Channel and then on to the south coast to anchor at Southampton Water. There the Mayflower waited for seven days for a rendezvous on July 22 with the Speedwell, coming with Leiden church members from Delfshaven in Holland.
About August 5, the two ships set sail. The unseaworthy Speedwell sprang a leak shortly after and the ships put into Dartmouth for repairs. After the repairs, a new start was made. They were more than 200 miles beyond Land’s End at the southwestern tip of England when Speedwell sprang another leak. Since it was now early September, they had no choice but to abandon the Speedwell and make a determination on her passengers. This was a dire event, as the ship had wasted vital funds and was considered very important to the future success of their settlement in America. Soon after the Mayflower continued on her voyage to America, Speedwell was sold, refitted, and, according to Bradford, “made many voyages…to the great profit of her owners.” Bradford later assumed that the Speedwell master Mr. Reynolds’s “cunning and deceit” (in causing what may have been ‘man-made’ leaks in the ship) had been motivated by a fear of starving to death in America.