Colonial ship replica in Bath to stage Women's Shipbuilding Day

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BATH — It may have been a group of men who built the original pinnace Virginia at the ill-fated Popham Colony, but more than 400 years later there are plenty of women lending a hand constructing the replica.

The Maine’s First Ship group, which has been raising funds to reconstruct the 51-foot vessel – the first European ship built in New England – will host its second annual Women’s Shipbuilding Day Sunday, Nov. 8. The event will be held at the Virginia’s shipyard, the 19th-century Bath Freight Shed at 27 Commercial St., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’re excited about doing this again,” shipwright Rob Stevens of Woolwich said in an Oct. 14 press release from Maine’s First Ship. “It’s a great day and we hope all who are interested in what building a boat is like will spend the day with us.”

The volunteers building the Virginia figure the project is about half complete. Once it is completed and sets sail, the ship could be available for environmental and educational programming, and for carrying visitors as they learn abut Maine’s time-honored shipbuilding tradition, according to MFS.

Hand and power tools will be provided to participants Nov. 8. Volunteers are finishing up fairing the ship’s frames, and will soon hang its first planks, the organization noted.

A harsh winter on the shores of the Kennebec River in 1607-08 helped bring the Popham Colony, part of what is now Phippsburg, to an early end. Named for the venture’s financier, Sir John Popham, the settlement was a partner endeavor with the better-known Jamestown colony in Virginia.

The Virginia pinnace later returned many surviving colonists to England, and returned to the New World in 1609 to resupply Jamestown, according to MFS.

Contact Orman Hines at 389-2419 for more information, or log on to

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Maine’s First Ship, which is reconstructing the early 17th century pinnace the Virginia, will be hosting its second annual Women’s Shipbuilding Day Sunday, Nov. 8.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.