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. Virginia was built under the direction of shipwright Mr Digby of London 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. After sailing to England in 1608, Virginia was sold to the Jamestown colony and in 1609 crossed the Atlantic again as a supply ship for the southern colony. The building of Virginia is the beginning of Maine’s 400 year tradition of quality shipbuilding.
Maine’s First Ship is a reconstruction of the 17th century Virginia, and the vessel intends to sail with Coast Guard certification so it can be used as a floating classroom for students of all ages – dockside and underway. Virginia was built by a crew of volunteers in and around the historic Bath Freight Shed under the direction of master shipwright Robert Stevens.