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Bluenose II, Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador, heads to port in Lunenburg, N.S. after sea trials on Tuesday, June 24, 2014.

Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Bluenose II will be available for public tours on Saturday after undergoing a major restoration that went over budget and took much longer to complete than scheduled.

Members of the public will be able to tour the ship after it sails into the harbour in Lunenburg, N.S., and before it begins offering sailing harbour tours on July 19.

The schooner is making its return as Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador after a restoration that has been fraught with problems.

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It was supposed to return to the water in 2011 and was the subject of a report by the province's auditor general, who blamed the delay on the Heritage Department's failure to follow basic management practices.

The Transportation Department estimated earlier this month that the restoration has cost $19.5-million, plus about $5-million remaining on an outstanding claim yet to be settled.

When the restoration was announced in 2009 by the provincial and federal governments, the budget was set at $14.4-million.

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