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MINOR DAMAGE REPORTED TO CONSTITUTION AFTER SAIL

The USS Constitution reportedly showed some minor damage during its one-hour sail this week, and the Navy says it will undergo tests before it sails again to make sure the 200-year-old ship is all right.

"Old Ironsides," as the wooden-hulled vessel is fondly known, sailed under its own power Monday for the first time in 116 years.

Hundreds of thousands of people watched the sail from land, boats and on television, whetting the appetite for appearances at other ports.

The Boston Herald quoted unidentified sources today as saying some minor leakage was reported below decks and that a tugboat tow line had loosened a piece of copper sheathing on the hull. A diver checked and found the damage, which was considered minor, it said.

Charles Deans, director of the Naval Historical Center in Boston, said extensive tests would have to be made before the ship could be towed from Massachusetts Bay.

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