Thousands of people are expected to attend the long-awaited re-launch of the Bluenose II this weekend in Lunenburg, N.S., but some of them might not get the photographs they’re hoping to get.

Many people are likely expecting to see the iconic vessel as they know it – thundering through the waves under full sail, as it appears on the Canadian dime.

But the Bluenose II is still a long way from sailing anywhere. The vessel will be simply pulled out into the harbour on Saturday.

“I have launched three large schooners and none of them had the masts in,” says Martin Clark, who spent his life sailing schooners.

Still, those organizing Saturday’s all-day event say the Bluenose II is back.

“She is really back,” says Bill Greenlaw of Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage. “Hull complete, floating, means that we have a vessel and something that we can be proud of.”

While the vessel may not look exactly the same as it does in many iconic images when it re-launches Saturday, it will look the same as the original Bluenose did when it launched in Lunenburg in 1921.

“Trying to hoist a mast up from ground level and get it in place, where if you could do it alongside the wharf, it was a lot easier,” says museum curator Ralph Getson.

Clark agrees it’s easier to hoist up masts once a vessel is in the water, but there could be another reason at play.

“If you’re in a hurry, and I expect they’ve got some deadlines here, then probably the spars aren’t ready to go in yet,” says Clark.

The government says the spars will be in next week.

Meanwhile, there is a flurry of activity around the vessel this week as crews scramble to finish the repairs on time for the re-launch.

Lunenburg residents say they are counting down the days until Saturday.

“There’s a whole two or three generations who have never seen this, never witnessed this,” says Mayor Laurence Mawhinney. “So this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, a really special time.”

The Bluenose II will be ready to sail next spring.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell