SCHOONER ERNESTINA, Ex. Effie M.Morrissey, was built in 1894 at the James and Tarr Shipyard for the Gloucester fishing fleet. Under Captain Bob Bartlett she sailed to within 600 miles of the North Pole, and later brought immigrants to the U.S. under the power of sail. Returned to the US in 1982 as a gift from the newly independent Cape Verdean people, she sailed as an educator until 2005.

Great Work, DCR!

Since the last post 3 weeks ago the SouthCoast has experienced storm after storm along with bitter cold.

Fresh snow has settled on the ice around Ernestina-Morrissey

The winter cover was not installed this year because we all anticipated a break in the weather to allow the ship to be moved to Boothbay Harbor Shipyard by now.   With no winter cover, Supervisor Paul Alexio and all the DCR staff helping him have done an amazing job to keep Ernestina-Morrissey safe.

Tons of snow has been removed from the ship in the past three weeks.

Checking lines, removing snow and ventilating and inspecting below deck have been a priority for the Department.

Ice surrounds Ernestina-Morrissey, not close to the ice she has seen when she sailed the Arctic with Captain Bartlett.

Salt has been added to the bilges to treat any fresh water that may accumulate.   Let’s all hope that March will bring us the weather we need to get the ship to Maine and her future.

There is open water not far astern of the ship.

Ship Safe After Blizzard

DCR staff were assigned to watch over Ernestina-Morrissey during the recent blizzard.  Today Paul and David are busy clearing snow from the deck.  The winter cover is not in place anticipating the trip to the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, but the weather has not cooperated to allow a safe passage for the ship since mid-December.  Hopefully the weather pattern will change soon and the ship can be brought to the shipyard and work on her rehabilitation can commence.

The snow was drifted all the way from the floating dock to the top of State Pier

The first task for Paul and David was to shovel a path along the floating dock, before they could start clearing the deck.

There is a lot of snow to be removed before it settles and solidifies. The deck has to be clear to safely move the ship to Maine. Thank you, Paul and David! And thank you DCR for making Ernestina-Morrissey a priority!


Patrick Administration Announces Funding for Rehabilitation of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey

NEW BEDFORD—December 18, 2014— The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced funding to restore the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts official sailing vessel. The SchoonerErnestina-Morrissey is currently berthed in New Bedford at the State Pier. The Ernestina-Morrissey was launched in February 1894 at the James & Tarr  Shipyard in Essex, MA under the name Effie M. Morrissey. The vessel was owned by the John F. Wonson, Co. of Gloucester, MA and Captain William Morrissey, who named the boat after his daughter. The Effie M. Morrissey was later purchased in 1926 by Captain Robert A. Bartlett, a Canadian-born Arctic explorer. As an Arctic explorer, Bartlett focused on pursuing several expeditions and in 1940 the “Little Morrissey” (as he frequently referred to the vessel) reached within 600 miles of the North Pole. In 1948, the ship, which had been damaged by fire, was purchased and restored by Captain Henrique Mendes and used as a Cape Verde packet. Renamed Ernestina, the schooner regularly sailed between the Cape Verde Islands and the United States, and was the last sailing ship, in regular service, to carry immigrants across the Atlantic to the United States. The Ernestina was donated as a gift to the United States by the newly independent West African Republic of Cape Verde in 1975 and the ship was restored and returned to her land of construction in 1982, where additional restoration took place. The Ernestina was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990 and enjoyed its fourth career, as an educational vessel. “The restoration of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is a great

The ship's name has been officially changed to Ernestina-Morrissey and new quarterboards have been installed.

example of the dedication and commitment the Patrick Administration has to preserving the Commonwealth’s historical ship,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Maeve Valley Bartlett. “The vessel will serve as a historical landmark reminding us of the cultural opportunities the ship brings to the Commonwealth.”

The restoration project is made possible through the funding from DCR’s capital budget,

Commissioner Jack Murray presents replicas of the new quarterboard fashioned from the ships old foremast to Bob Hildreth (l) and Julius Britto and Mary Anne McQuillan (SEMA) while Schooner Ernestina Commission Chair Laura Pires-Hester presents to Andy Tiska representing Gerry Lenfest.

as well as private and nonprofit contributions. Philanthropists H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest of

Philadelphia and Robert Hildreth of Boston advocated for the restoration and rehabilitation of the ship for many years and together are contributing $2.8 million toward the restoration of the vessel. In addition, SEMA (Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association) is providing $1 million (HELP US BY DONATING TODAY!) and the Patrick Administration is investing $2.5 million to preserve the vessel for future generations and to ensure that the ship will once again become seaworthy.

“We’re thrilled that Governor Patrick allocated the funds to set these repairs in motion,” said DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. “This work could not happen without the very generous and philanthropic gifts of our benefactors; Mr. Gerry Lenfest, Mr. Robert J. Hildreth and SEMA. We look forward to seeing the Ernestina-Morrissey seaworthy and sailing from New Bedford Harbor once again.” Over the past several years, DCR has been involved in a structural assessment of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey in an effort to identify what repairs are essential for the ship. That study yielded several

Harold A. Burnham, Master Shipwright from Essex, MA, 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellow, developed the plans for DCR.

recommendations that the agency will undertake including:

  • Redesign of the keel to lower the ballast’s center of gravity
  • Rearranging the water tight bulkheads to meet current standards
  • Replacing clamps and hanging knees
  • Restoration of lines and profile where needed

In planning for the Ernestina-Morrissey’s future role and use following completion of the rehabilitation project, DCR has been in discussions with officials at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) to develop a plan for its use during parts of the year as a training vessel. As a part of these plans, the Ernestina-Morrissey would also maintain its home berth in New Bedford and be available during the summer months in that community in order to provide continued access to educational programming and tours.

We are very thankful to the Governor, the Commissioner, the Ernestina Commission,

(Left) Cape Verde’s Consul General to Boston Pedro Graciano Gomes de Carvalho receives the "Ernestina" quarterboard removed when the new Ernestina-Morrissey quarterboards were installed. Center DCR Commissioner Jack Murray, right Laura Pires-Hester

SEMA, the elected officials from New Bedford, and the donors for paving the way for her to sail again,” said Pedro Graciano Gomes de Carvalho, Cape Verde’s Consul General to Boston. “The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, as in the past, will always represent the friendship between the people of the United Sates and Cabo Verde, and the voyages of our forefathers, that gave way to the thriving Caboverdean community in America.”

“Let us not be under any illusion that any one individual, group of people, or entity, established the restoration of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey,” said SEMA

SEMA President Julius Britto expressed the heartfelt response the ship elicits in everyone who knows her.

President Julius Britto. “It has been her  soul, her spirit and her dignity that has compelled us all to restore her to sailing glory; because when this gracious lady sails she teaches us all about the humility of being.”

Philanthropist Gerry Lenfest was one of the main donors of this project and he notes that, “I am so pleased that the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey will now have a new chapter to add to her illustrious prior life.”

“It is fantastic that after 15 years of being associated with trying to repair such an historic ship, it is finally happening,” said Philanthropist and donor Robert Hildreth. “It took many hands on deck.”

“The restoration of this historic schooner, the Ernestina-Morrissey, represents something much greater than mere vessel maintenance. This restoration is symbolic of the state’s commitment to honoring New Bedford’s history while also promoting its trajectory into cutting edge industries, like wind energy. We saw over the summer, with a visit from the restored Charles W. Morgan, what a great boon to the area the restoration of our historical ships can be,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “I applaud the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, and all other stakeholders on this great achievement. I look forward to setting foot on its celebrated deck and seeing the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey sail once again.”

“The Massachusetts Schooner Ernestina Commission is pleased that we have reached this new milestone in Ernestina-Morrissey’s unique and diverse lives. Throughout her 120 years, she has persisted as a boundary-crossing force of resilience and adaptation, whether in the icy Arctic, in the fishing grounds of Gloucester or Newfoundland, in Cape Verdean

Dr. Laura Pires-Hester, Chair of the Schooner Ernestina Commission

inter-island waters, in transatlantic voyages filled with dreams,” said Chair of the Schooner Ernestina Commission, Dr. Laura Pires-Hester. “She is an amazing educator. Her ‘stories” have been extraordinary, including her 1982 return as extraordinary gift from the newly-independent Republic of Cabo Verde. So many thousands have walked her decks, sailed and/or worked on her, studied on her, created songs to her, and worked to keep her alive and working. We salute and give thanks to all–volunteers, donors, advocates, elected officials, educators, community organizations, friends, all. We look forward to writing her “whole new history”, together.”

“The Ernestina is a piece of living history that is an important educational tool that should not be squandered by neglect but cherished for its rare ability to teach us about our past”, said State Senator Mark Montigny. “The Ernestina is a direct link to our proud maritime and seafaring history that is why during my tenure in the Senate I have routinely secured funds to repair, operate and provide educational programming through amendments to the annual budget and state grants. As Chairman of the Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures, and States Assets, I secured $ 2.5M for the restoration of the Ernestina as part of an environmental bond bill which is part of the funds being utilized to complete this project. The preservation of the Ernestina is another significant milestone in creating and fostering a tourist based development of the waterfront and downtown with critical state investments in the arts, culture, history and tourism sectors of the economy.”

“The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is an important part of history for both New Bedford and Massachusetts, and after so many years of advocacy, I’m pleased the vessel will be ready to sail again,” said Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral.

“I want to thank Governor Patrick and his administration along with philanthropists Gerry Lenfest and Robert Hildreth for stepping up and ensuring that the complete restoration of the schooner is finally a reality and I look forward to the return of the vessel to herhomeport of New Bedford,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell.

Admiral Richard Gurnon said Massachusetts Maritime Academy “cadets … will keep the traditions and history …… alive”

“Massachusetts Maritime Academy is pleased and proud to be able to be part of the next chapter of the life and legacy of the famous Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey,” said MMA President Admiral Richard Gurnon. “She was once a fishing vessel, then an Arctic explorer and finally a packet ship bringing immigrants from Cape Verde to America. Now she will start a new life as a sail training vessel bringing the young people who sail on her to new horizons of understanding, growth and opportunity. Once she is fully restored, she will be placed into service on the waters of the Atlantic, replicating her many voyages of scientific discovery and personal challenge. Rather than a museum piece on display, she will be a sailing ship, alive on the waters of New England. By having our cadets live aboard the schooner – sailing and maintaining her throughout the year – they will keep the traditions and history of the Morrissey, Bartlett and Mendes families alive, and they will be part of the next generation who will sign the logbook of this spectacular example of American shipbuilding skill.”

DCR received two bid submissions for the rehabilitation and repair of the

The event closed with Tom Goux performing his song about Ernestina-Morrissey "Sail Her Home" "You've seen her sailin' home, Brava to New Bedford, we all claim her as our own". There were few dry eyes as he finished with "There's a memory in her wake, Buzzards Bay to Nome, Sail Her Home, Sail Her Home"

SchoonerErnestina-Morrissey. After an extensive internal review of both proposals, DCR selected Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine to complete the work. A contract of $6,048,025 has been awarded to complete the necessary improvements to the historic ship.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner Jack Murray, the agency’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit Contact us at


Just 7% Left to Raise for Ernestina-Morrissey Restoration Project!

We will see Ernestina-Morrissey sail again. I say that today not as a hope or a wish,

Ernestina-Morrissey: On the brink of a new chapter in her life of sailing.

but as a certainty.  Thanks to your generous support, her next voyage will be as a fully restored ship, sailing from Boothbay to Buzzards Bay.

So many people have told me that this ship is deeply important to them personally – their family members sailed on her during her first years as a Grand Banks Fishing Schooner; they began their immigrant journey aboard her from Cabo Verde; they had a life-changing overnight educational experience on the sea; or their ancestors went on an Arctic expedition aboard Ernestina-Morrissey. They are changed by her.

We will see her sail again, and here’s the plan that is now in motion to make it happen:

Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine will complete the total renovation for $6 million.

  • Two private philanthropists have donated $2.8 million.
  • The Commonwealth has pledged $2.5 million.
  • SEMA has raised $285,000 to date.
  • SEMA has agreed to raise the additional funds needed — $415,000 — to complete her restoration.
  • Mass Maritime Academy has committed to be Ernestina-Morrissey’s future caretaker, ensuring her sailing future for many years to come.

The ship will be towed to Boothbay Harbor Shipyard within the next month. We will gather at the State Pier in New Bedford (and I hope you will join me!) and say, “Farewell,” or perhaps more appropriately, “Fair winds and following seas.” We will envision the day when she will return, sails full of wind, a shiny bowsprit reflecting the bright sun, and thousands of people — all who were touched by her — joyfully cheering her on.

The total restoration is only assured if SEMA can raise the $415,000 needed to complete the work. We are in the home stretch of what’s been a marathon, and we MUST make it happen! Please give generously as you are able to ensure Ernestina-Morrissey swift return from Boothbay to Buzzards Bay. Thank you.

With gratitude for the realization of our collective dream

Julius Britto

Commissioner Pastore Honored

Commissioners Fred Sterner and Karl Pastore and SEMA Secretary Mary Anne McQuillan

Schooner Ernestina Commissioner Karl Pastore represents DCR on the Commission.  Recently he was awarded “DCR Friend of the Year” award.

SEMA, a member of The Massachusetts  Forest and Park Friends Network, nominated Karl.    Our nomination best describes why we feel Karl deserves this award.

NOMINATION: We at the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. (SEMA) met Karl Pastore two years ago when he was appointed director of the newly formed MassParks South and was designated as the DCR representative to the Schooner Ernestina Commission.  The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is an unusual asset for MassParks.  The 120-year-old Essex built ship joined the State Parks system when DCR was formed 10 years ago.  Since 1982 her primary mission had been education until she lost her Coast Guard certification in 2004.  Karl quickly understood her importance and his enthusiasm grew as he learned of her history as a Gloucester fishing schooner, an Arctic explorer, a Cape Verdean packet, and of her years since 1982 educating thousands, a sovereign gift from the Republic of Cabo Verde to the people of the United States entrusted to Massachusetts.

Karl has listened to Ernestina-Morrissey’s many friends and clearly understands her unique history and special challenges.  He has worked to insure that the ship renewed her Dock-side Attraction certification from the Coast Guard and also that deferred but critical maintenance was completed.  Karl has also made sure the ship was staffed with a seasonal interpreter providing the DCR presence for SEMA volunteers to offer tours and “Open Ship” This year was special because Charles W. Morgan visited New Bedford for 10 days.  It was important that the Commonwealth’s Official Vessel be shipshape for the occasion and Karl provided the staff to work with SEMA volunteers both on ParkServe Day and the National Park’s “Lend a Hand” work days.   Then Karl worked with SEMA so that the ship could be open to visitors for 10 days while the “Morgan Homecoming” was going on.  Many visitors commented that the ship looked better than she had in a long time.  And we made many new friends who had their first introduction to this amazing ship and all her ”Lives”

The most exciting news is that Ernestina-Morrissey will be traveling to a shipyard soon to complete her reconstruction so that she can sail again.  Over the past two years Karl has worked with the Schooner Ernestina Commission and SEMA and Commissioner Murray on this project.

Karl has listened, has coordinated, has followed up on promises, has seen work done to completion, and has been a wonderful partner.  I look forward to the day when he can sail on Ernestina-Morrissey for the first time and see why we are all so excited about what he has helped us accomplish.

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Assoociation nominates Karl Pastore for Friends Network DCR Friend of the Year.  He certainly deserves it!



Department of Conservation a­nd Recreation

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Saturday, November 22, 2014

From: Laura Pires-Hester, Chairperson

The Schooner Ernestina Commission is pleased that the Restoration Contract between the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine has been finalized, signaling the start of another important milestone in Ernestina-Morrissey’s life journey.  We are confident that Boothbay will accomplish this restoration with the same care, quality craftsmanship, and respectfulness exhibited in their restoration of the vessel’s bow in 2009.  As a public body we pledge to stay abreast of their progress and maintain our part of the stewardship responsibility.

This journey is not over.  Restoration is expected to take 2-3 years, and partnership agreements are being worked on regarding her post-restoration role.  Current plans call for the restored Schooner to continue her educational role not only for training Cadets at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) but also for educational and sailing programs in and from New Bedford, her home port.  Fund-and friend-raising will continue in partnership with Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. (SEMA), to support restoration and future programming.   “Out of sight” will not be “out of mind.”

Ernestina-Morrissey last sailed in 2004, and the restoration decision comes after a long and thorough process.  We want to acknowledge and thank other bidders and communities that participated in any way.  Their participation reflects the broad and diverse interest that has kept her alive and working these 120 years, and we trust that this interest will continue.   We especially thank DCR Commissioner Jack Murray for his steadfast leadership and all DCR staff for their diligence in this challenging process.  The selfless donations of Mr. Gerry Lenfest of Philadelphia and Mr. Bob Hildreth of Boston are key catalysts in mobilizing private and public donations, and we are eternally grateful to them.   Elected officials Representative Tony Cabral and Senator Mark Montigny must be thanked for their constant watchfulness and support since Ernestina’s repatriation in 1982, the extraordinary gift from the Republic of Cape Verde to “the people of the United States.”  The City of New Bedford continues to be her beloved home port, with the wonderful support of Mayor Jon Mitchell and his municipal colleagues.

Throughout Ernestina-Morrissey’s 120 years, many thousands have walked her deck, visited her, sailed on her, worked on her, studied on her, revived memories and acquaintances on her, and even married on her.  She has plied the fishing grounds of Gloucester and Newfoundland, the icy Arctic seas, the Cape Verdean inter-island waters, and the wide open Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  She and her human partners have crossed boundaries of climate, geography, ethnicity, cultures, and aspirations, demonstrating always a limitless resilience of spirit.  Her power as an educational platform on all levels is unsurpassed.

We give thanks for all who have loved and supported Ernestina-Morrissey, and we look forward to writing together her next story—a “whole new history.”


Bangor Daily News

The Bourne Courier

Portland Press Herald

Boothbay Register

SouthCoastToday 11/19/2014

SouthCoastToday 11/22/2014

The Ship of So Many Memories

Recently, Ernestina-Morrissey was visited by the family of Dr. Lamar Soutter who served on the crew of the 1935 voyage.  Dr. Soutter later went on to become founding dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School He also pioneered revolutionary filtration and preservation techniques at the blood bank at Massachusetts General Hospital.  His decendants were excited to have this opportunity before the ship takes the long trip to Boothbay Harbor.

Two Soutters at the ship's wheel

Dr. Soutters Great-granddaughters gathered near the same spot on the deck as he did nearly 80 years ago.

Welcome Commissioner Do Canto

Governor Deval Patrick has appointed Licy Do Canto to the Schooner Ernestina Commission.

Mr. Do Canto has a personal connection to the ship. His paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother traveled to the US on the Ernestina, and he is “… excited to serve on the Commission.”

Licy M. Do Canto is the founder and president of The Do Canto Group, a bipartisan government relations firm specializing in public health and health care legislative and regulatory policy, focusing on underserved communities. The prominent Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill named Licy one of Washington DC’s top lobbyists for five consecutive years (2010-2014), describing him as “a name to know in the competitive world of Washington advocacy” and dubbing him “a highly regarded healthcare lobbyist” and “an ardent defender of public health programs who makes disadvantaged communities his main focus.”

He previously was a principal at the Raben Group, where he also served as co-director of the firm’s health and education practice group, and he was CEO of the AIDS Alliance for Children Youth and Families, a national non-profit advocacy organization focused on improving access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care for underserved communities.

Licy previously served as federal affairs director for the National Association of Community Health Centers, and founded and chaired the Partnership for Medicaid, a nationwide coalition of Medicaid safety net providers. He previously served as the American Cancer Society’s senior manager for federal affairs, and spent over 8 years on Capitol Hill, serving on the staff of former Congressman Barney Frank and the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Licy has played a leading role in many of the most important legislative and policy issues affecting the public health and health care safety net communities over the last fifteen years, including passage of the Patient Navigator Act, the Medicaid medical home program, the FQHC Medicare and CHIP payment systems, and the Federal Home Visitation program.

Licy is a native of Boston, and is a graduate of Duke University and holds a certificate in public health leadership from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The Ship Needs a New Nameplate!

Gloucester Schooner Festival

Commissioner Fred Sterner on right, Chet Brigham, to his left, Al Bezanson, center.

Labor Day Weekend brings the Gloucester Schooner Festival, a celebration of the schooner heritage.  Of course Effie M. Morrissey, now Ernestina-Morrissey is one of the 6 remaining Essex schooners and the only Grand Banker left.  There are always visitors to our booth seeking the latest news.  Chet Brigham has just finished his book about Ernestina-Morrissey, Phoenix of the Seas, which will be published in early Spring.  We were glad to see so many Morrissey family members and others with stories of the past, and all looking toward what the future holds for the ship.   The traditional Heritage Day is hosted by Maritime Gloucester.

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