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Maine's First Ship

November 18, 2015

Dear Friends of Maine's First Ship,

Maine's First Ship has had a very busy and successful year. Our Annual Dinner was a wonderful success with another full house at Maxwell's and Joee Patterson's talk and slides of her crewing the F. W. Morgan was truly from the heart of a sailor. In June we made our first visit to Mystic Seaport and the Wooden Boat Show. Thanks to Jeremy Blaiklock, Jim and Beth Parmentier, Rob Stevens and Dan Wood we were able to visit and to talk to many new friends, old friends, and visit other venues. We even took a hackmatack stump down with us to shape into one of the fifty knees that will go on "Virginia". In July we took the impressive eight foot sail rigging model of "Virginia" to the Tall Ships event in Portland where the lines to get on board the vessels stretched for a city block. In August we participated in an encampment at Pemaquid with "Jane Stevens", our historic shallop.

Our Information Center has garnered a significant grant from Maine Humanities Council. Kudos to Allison Hepler, Lori Benson, and Roger Barry for putting this grant together. We have seen an increase of visitors and sales have doubled with our placement of brochures at three of the Maine State Information Booths.

"Virginia's" progress has been slow and steady. This spring we attached three inner streaks (rows) of planks called clamps to the bilge area giving us the satisfying experience of fashioning, steaming and fitting planks to her. Fairing has been continuing with scaffolding built to reach the upper half of the hull. We have been working as a team raising and lowering battens to find the high and low spots that need to be faired. Another gang of volunteers have been diligently attacking our pile of planking with the 20 inch planer. The Boothbay Railroad Museum has graciously loaned us a blade sharpener that we have found very useful as the 20 inch planer blades need to be sharpened after every third or fourth plank. The purchase of more planking has been delayed since we put a deposit down last November, and we have now been forced to order from Newport Nautical Timbers in Rhode Island. Their planks will be significantly longer and straighter, some of which will be seasoned.

This year our students worked on fairing "Virginia" with direct individual supervision and they also built canoe paddles and half models. They again visited local woodworking venues, Shelter Institute and The Kennebec Company, both of which supply scholarships to students.

Our partner The Bath Freight Shed Alliance has replaced the sills on the west, south and north ends of the freight shed completing that stage of stabilization of the freight shed. New wooden doors have been ordered for the two front main entrances. The City has obtained funding for new sidewalks along the west side of the freight shed. By collaborating with many of Baths' organizations MFS is rising on a spring tide and helping to make Bath a more vibrant community.

Major goals in 2016 for "Virginia" are working on rigging with the able guidance of Jim Nelson renowned rigging expert and author; and to plan the utilization of "Virginia" once she is launched.

Over the past year MFS has brought in $80,000.00 in funding, and development is continuing its' work on the Three Year Capital Campaign. Your gift to this annual appeal is fully deductible under the IRS code for a non-profit 501 © 3.

Fair Winds and dry bilges, Orman Hines, President MFS

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