The iconic Bluenose II is set to begin dock and sea trials more than three years after it was pulled out of the water for restoration.

The rebuilt replica of the famous fishing schooner Bluenose was undocked from the Lunenburg Marine Railway and towed across the water to the Lunenburg Foundry plant wharf Friday morning.

The launch was delayed for more an hour due to a technical glitch but the vessel was eventually returned to the water.

"Seeing Bluenose II back in the water will be a welcome sight," said Lunenburg Mayor Rachel Bailey in a statement.

"We look forward to successful trials and many more years of service as our sailing ambassador."

The Nova Scotia government says the ship will receive its rigging in the next few weeks.

The original Bluenose II was built in 1963. The current Bluenose II, considered a restoration of that vessel, was officially launched in Sept. 2012 but had to be pulled out of the water because the $16-million restoration job wasn't complete.

The original budget was $14 million but Peter Kinley, who heads the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance, says standards imposed by the American Bureau of Shipping resulted in delays and cost increases.

Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Leonard Preyra couldn't say how much over $16 million the final bill will be.

The last major repair for the ship was replacing its steel rudder, which Kinley says is three tonnes heavier than the vessel’s original wooden rudder.

Kinley says the new rudder will affect the handling of the boat.

The Bluenose II will undergo several trials at sea to make sure it's seaworthy, before being returned to the province. Once back under provincial jurisdiction, it will be opened for public tours.

"Bluenose II is a Nova Scotian and Canadian tourism and heritage icon, holding a special place in the hearts of the people of Lunenburg, and it is spectacular to see her back in the water," said Preyra.

"The hard work and precision of the craftspeople of the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance will ensure her role as Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador for many years to come."

The original Bluenose was launched in 1921 and won worldwide acclaim for its design and speed. It became a dominant force in the racing world, before it sank off Isle aux Vache in Haiti in 1946. Its image is featured on the Canadian dime.

With files from