LUNENBURG - Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador is set to move for the first time since its multimillion-dollar rebuild began two years ago.

The provincial government says workers are beginning to shift the Bluenose II into a position for its relaunch on the Lunenburg waterfront, another step towards its return to the water.

Over the next few days, the vessel will slowly travel sideways onto a ramp that will allow it to enter the water.

A massive dome that has covered the Bluenose II during its $17-million restoration was removed last week.

The government says it is expected to announce a relaunch date soon.

It has said that the schooner is expected to be ready for public sailing next summer.

The Bluenose II, launched in 1963, is a replica of the original Bluenose, a Grand Banks fishing schooner that won worldwide acclaim for its graceful lines and flat-out speed.