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

Shore platform and piers for wharf

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 has four 10′ by 20′ floats held in place by two dolphins and connected to the shore platform with a 40 foot bridge. We have the piers for the wharf and the platform on land in place. We have built the floats and they are behind the boat shed. We have ordered the bridge but it has not yet been delivered.

This is not the first wharf on the site. From 1850 to 1892 this was the site of the railroad ferry dock, and later is was the Maine Central Railroad freight dock. 

Fitting the engine

Engine dropped into the engine compartment

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 focus of Maine’s First Ship 2019 Capital Campaign.

The engine is now in place, but we still need to fit the propeller and get everything connected.

Launching Virginia

The launch of Virginia

We launch of Virginia was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we now plan on launching in early June 2022.  Before launching we need to make sure that all necessary work is done, and we have the required approvals. The launch is the focus of Maine’s First Ship 2021 Capital Compaign.

To launch Virginia we need to break her out of the egg shell which is the boat shed, and move her into the water.  This will most likely be done using a crane.

Wood is a porous material and expands when wet.  When wooden boats are put in the water they leak for a while, so Virginia will need some time to adjust to the water. 

Installing the rigging

Virginia's rigging

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. With the rigging complete we will do sailing trials to achieve a Coast Guard certifcation.

We will need some volunteers with new abilities and skills (and willing to go aloft) for this effort.

Education as the mission

Virginia as a classroom

Even getting Virginia launched and the rigging installed is not the last step. After 11 years of construction phase for Maine’s First Ship, we will transition into the educational phase of the project. This is not a new effort as we have been involved in education all thru the construction phase with our visitor center and lectures. However, having Virginia in the water will make education the primary focus of Maine’s First Ship.

Again, we will need volunteers with new skills in education and in sailing.