Current status of Virginia - March to September 2020
The pine log for the bowsprit (the spar extending forward of the prow) is in the boatyard, and Fred Gosbee is hewing it. This is the last of the spars and masts for Virginia. Fred might need to concentrate on his music when we run out of woodwork for him to do.
The main deck (that is the only deck) of Virginia is complete. There is still work on the hatches and work is starting on the bulwarks (the planking above the deck). The railing is done and the first bulwark plank is on. The rest of the pine boards are patiently drying inside the freight shed.
In the engine compartment the mounts for the engine are being readied. This is 17th century ship meets 20th century propulsion. The mounts are a 6×14 inch block with cutouts to match the contours of the bilges.
Inside the freight shed (and sometimes in the boat yard) work continues on the rigging. There seem to be innumerable pieces of rope both short and long to twist and braid and tar.
Most of the approvals are done for the wharf, and the old dock supports which were visible at low tide have been removed.
On the floor of the freight shed, a first look at the sails. We are starting to “bend” the sails onto the spars. This is the tops’l which is the first one out of the bag. The color is tanbark which was used as a preservative.
Work continues on the main deck which is getting ever nearer completion.
Below decks in the engine room carpenters are fitting beds for our diesel motor, and even lower than that, more lead blocks are being winched into place and bolted to the keel.
Behind the scenes, volunteers are speccing out and sourcing all of the other equipment needed for the propulsion and other systems.
More of the crewe have returned to the boat shed to continue work on Virginia. In the freight shed work has resumed on the rigging. The safety of the volunteers is still very important and we are taking precautions. The decking is mostly done and the transom is built out. In the boat yard the rudder is starting to take shape.
The Visitors Center is open after being reconfigured to allow social distancing.
The boat shed is coming back to life with a restricted set of volunteers. There is still a lot of working going on at home including building the rigging.
Much of the decking is in place. Pieces of the lead keel have also been waiting in the boatyard, ready to be installed.
The Virginia is waiting quietly in the boat shed, and the clover is growing in the boat yard. Inside the freight shed pine for the bulwarks is drying. The boat shed is flying the quarantine flag. The crewe of Virginia is working at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The launch of Virginia has been delayed until 2021. This will also give us time to construct a wharf next to the freight shed.
The six pieces of the lead keels are delivered. These are used instead of ballast. These are very heavy (3000 pounds each) and were handled by heavy machinery until they got to the boat shed. There old fashioned methods like rolling on pipes and a tripod crane were used to move them. This turned out to be the last work day BC (before COVID).
The sails have also been delivered in their sacks. We can see the color of the sails when the sacks are opened.