Reconstructing the 1608 Pinnace Virginia
The pinnace Virginia was the first English ocean-going ship built in the Americas. It was built in 1607-1608 at the Popham Colony’s Fort St George located near the mouth of the Kennebec River. There were about 100 colonists (all men and boys) including a shipwright Mr Digby of London. Virginia was built to aid in coastal exploration and fishing, but was repurposed when the colony was abandoned in October 1608 and was used to return some of the colonists to England. The building of Virginia is the beginning of Maine’s 400 year tradition of quality shipbuilding. After sailing to England in 1608, Virginia was sold to the Jamestown colony and in 1609 crossed the Atlantic again.
Maine’s First Ship is 51 foot reconstruction of the Virginia, meeting Coast Guard requirements allowing it to be used as a floating classroom for students of all ages.
Viginia was built by a crew of volunteers in and around the Bath Freight Shed. Virginia was launched on June 4, 2022 and construction continues in the water. In the summer of 2023 we expect to get a Coast Guard certification and start public sailing.