Upcoming work items
While the hull and rigging for the Virginia are nearing completion, and we have the sails, there are some major work items to be done. These items require a lot of work from Volunteers, and additional funds.
Building a wharf for Virginia
In order to complete Virginia after the launch, we need a safe and secure mooring place. Building the wharf for the Virginia is the major item in Maine’s First Ship 2020 Capital Campaign.
The wharf design has been evaluated by city, state, and federal officials, and we are closing in on final approvals. The plan is to construct four 10′ by 20′ floats using volunteers, and purchase a 40 foot bridge.
We welcome both volunteers and donations to help us with this.
Fitting the engine
While the 17th century Virginia used sails for propulsion, to sail with passengers in the 21st Century requires that we have an engine. This is also necessary if we do not want our sailing times to be strictly set by the tide. Buying the engine was the primary focus of Maine’s First Ship 2019 Capital Campaign, but it still needs to be installed.
This work has started with building the supports in the engine compartment. We will need to install the engine, fuel tanks, the line for the propeller, and all of the pipes and fittings to connect them.
We had originally hoped to launch Virginia in 2020 as part of Maine’s bicentennial. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of a secure mooring location to complete her, we delayed the launch until 2021 (along with many other bicentennial events). However, before launching we need to make sure that all necessary work is done, and we have the required approvals. We also need to conform to the Maine COVID-19 requirements.
To launch Virginia we need to break her out of the egg shell which is the boat shed, and move her into the water. Planning is now going on for the logistics of doing this. We need as high a tide as possible, and we would like to do it on a weekend.
Wood is a porous material and expands when wet. When wooden boats are put in the water they leak a bit, so Virginia will need some time to adjust to the water.
Launching Virginia is not the end of the construction. After the launch we will need to rig her. For a number of years we have been constructing her rigging in the freight shed and by volunteers at home. A large number of items of rigging were built, including blocks, deadeyes, belaying pins, and cleats. We have our own rope factory in the freight shed to use as lines and shrouds and all of the other uses of rope on a ship. In the boat yard we have built masts and spars. We have started to “bend the sheets” (that is mount the sails on the spars) and as much as possible of this is done in the freight shed. The rigging is patiently waiting for the hull to be done and launched, so we can complete the rigging of Virginia.
We will need some volunteers with new abilities and skills (and willing to go aloft) for this effort.