On 21 July, the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") sailed free for the first time in almost 116 years. The venerable frigate last sailed on 15 October 1881 from Newport, Rhode Island, to just off Cuttyhunk Island, and was towed back to Newport, where the Board of Inspection and Survey found her so deteriorated that it recommended her removal from active service. She left regular service late on a rainy afternoon the following December.
From 1992 to 1995, she underwent her seventh major overhaul, the most complex aspect being the return of innovative structural elements that had been removed in the 1870s and thus contributed directly to her decommissioning in 1881. Recent model tests and computer simulations had shown that the return of diagonal riders originated by naval constructor Joshua Humphreys in 1794, together with associated knees, stanchions, and "thick plank," would significantly strengthen the ship's resistance to hogging in a seaway.