215 Year Old Old Ironsides Sails In Boston Harbor

08.20.12 | Sarah Harnisch

The U.S.S. Constitution, or "Old Ironsides", is the U.S. Navy's oldest commissioned warship afloat. And it's still spry enough to go for a quick sail. The 215-year old boat sailed across the Boston Harbor at a brisk pace of 2 miles an hour for 17 minutes on Sunday. It was only the second time in a hundred years the ship has sailed on its own. The short trip - a distance of 1,100 yards - was to commemorate the Constitution's victory over a British warship of a similar size in a fierce battle during the War of 1812.

The ship, which was first launched in 1797, is stationed in Charlestown, and periodically is tugged into the harbor for historical display. Its primary mission today is to teach people about its history. Each year, about 500,000 people tour the ship, Neely said.

To see a video of its sailing, go here.