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.

Buy a Mask, Support Ernestina-Morrissey

Polly Zajac, SEMA Director and an educator on the sailing Ernestina has been running a fundraiser for Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.  She has been making facial masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19.  Some have links to Ernestina, some have a nautical theme, there is a floral print, and there is a Houses of Hogwarts print.  100% of the sales will go directly to the ship! They are $6 for 1 and $10 for 2.  There is a postage charge of $1.50 for up to 4 masks.  If you’re in the NB area, she is  happy to get out of the house and drop them off to you!

There are several designs in the inventory and a link to the choices and the  ORDER FORM HERE.

Here are some samples:

There are several more designs in the inventory and a link to the choices and the ORDER FORM HERE.

Welcome! DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery

Jose Centeio, Chair of the Schooner Ernestina Commission, welcomed DCR’s newly-appointed Commissioner to the recent Commission meeting.

DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery and Ernestina Commissioner Jose Centeio

Commissioner Montgomery is committed to seeing the Ernestina-Morrissey project to completion and to a smooth transition to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

From a February 5 release from the Baker-Polito

“Jim Montgomery, Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Recreation

Jim Montgomery has served as Interim Commissioner of DCR since September 2019.

He joined the Baker-Polito Administration in 2016 as Director of Administration & Finance for the Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Prior to that time, Montgomery served in the same capacity for the City of Boston’s Emergency Medical Services, and previously served as the Mayor of Taylorville, Illinois from 1997 to 2005.

Montgomery received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Millikin University, and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.”

All Hands On Deck: A Call to Action

Massachusetts Residents!

All Hands on Deck, A Call To Action!
Contact (call, write a letter, email) your state representative TODAY to support this bill which enables Ernestina-Morrissey to sail again!
An Act to Preserve the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey ( Bill S.2328)
This bill has passed the Massachusetts Senate and and has the Governor’s support. It is currently before the House of Representatives.  The bill will transfer the vessel from the Department of Conservation and Recreation to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
The Academy will operate and maintain Ernestina-Morrissey and use her for training their cadets as well as providing educational programs, including sailing programs, to the public.
Please contact your Representative and let them know that you want this bill to be acted on NOW! so that work in the shipyard can resume and Ernestina-Morrissey can be sailing and serving the Commonwealth SOON !

Tell them you don’t understand why this project, that has already had nearly $4 million of PRIVATE money (raised by SEMA) invested in this Commonwealth asset and has more millions waiting to finish the project AS SOON AS THE BILL IS PASSED. Tell them they MUST act so that work in the shipyard can resume and Ernestina-Morrissey can be sailing and serving the Commonwealth SOON!

Phone calls are best. Here is the contact information you need.

You can find the contact information for your Representative here:

and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo


Commission Meeting March 6

Looking Forward to a Fantastic 2020!

Looking forward to a 2020 when we will once again see fireworks bloom through Ernestina-Morrissey’s shrouds!

You still have time to make your 2019 tax-deductible donation to The Annual Appeal.

Just click the yellow Donate button on the right!


We have 3981 Facebook Followers. Share this post and ask your friends to follow the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association page. Let’s start 2020 with 4000 followers!



And the Final Installment!

We hope you have been enjoying the WoodenBoat series “A Schooner for the Ages — The six charmed lives of ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY ”  The final Part 3 is available now!  It tells the story of the current rehabilitation.  We are looking forward to her launch and for Ernestina-Morrissey to begin writing “the rest of the story”

If you don’t have a subscription to WoodenBoat, get one at your nearest newsstand or you can get a print or digital issue online from WoodenBoat. You can get back issues there too, including the Sept./Oct. issue with the first installment covering the Fishing/Arctic eras and the Nov./Dec. issue with the Cape Verdean and Education eras.


Dear Friends and Supporters,

SEMA’s excitement is palpable as we come to the end of a successful year of

The newly painted starboard quarter

progress toward the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey’s complete rehabilitation. Here are some significant highlights!

We are proud to announce that PHASE I, the entire hull rebuild, is COMPLETE thanks to the hard work of our

The new aft deck and stern rail with the refurbished original wheel.

partners at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor, ME.

In addition, Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) and DCR worked together in the planning process for PHASE II, the outfitting of the rig and below decks, which is also complete and ready for action!


The September passage of legislation by the Massachusetts State Senate, as supported by Senator Mark Montigny, to complete the restoration of the schooner was a major milestone for SEMA. The bill designates New Bedford as the vessel’s homeport in perpetuity, while MMA will assume control of the Ernestina-Morrissey to provide for its operations and maintenance.

We have one more step to go…the passage of Bill S.2328, “the Act to Preserve the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey” by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. SEMA and others are waiting anxiously for its passage so PHASE II can begin! PLEASE VISIT NOW TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN HELP BY CONTACTING THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE TO URGE THEM TO ACT AND GET THE BILL TO GOVERNOR BAKER’S DESK FOR HIS SIGNATURE! YOUR VOICE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

On September 12, SEMA had the great honor of receiving the “Don Turner Award” from the USS Constitution Museum. This notable award is given annually, “to a person or team of people, professional or amateur, who have contributed significantly to efforts to preserve important vessels or who have made significant contributions to our knowledge and understanding of ship design and construction.” SEMA is very proud to be in the company of previous recipients of this recognition.

On USS Constitution for Don Turner Award Ceremony: l-r Cmdr. Nathaniel R. Shick, Anne Rand, Paul George, r-Robert Hildreth, Mary Anne McQuillan, r-Matthew Stackpole, Julius Britto, Polly Zajac, John Bullard, Michael Gomes, Capt. Willi Bank, Derek Stevens

WoodenBoat magazine is currently chronicling the life of the Ernestina-Morrissey in a three-part   series entitled, “A Schooner for the Ages: The six charmed lives of Ernestina Morrissey”. Author Randal Peffer tells the tales of her story as fisherman, Arctic explorer, warrior, Cape Verdean packet, and educator.  The final installment will cover her current rehabilitation.   The articles include beautiful pictures and great coverage as you would expect from WoodenBoat magazine!

PLEASE SUPPORT SEMA TODAY! Your donation will help us accomplish our mission: that the Ernestina-Morrissey, a National Historic Landmark Vessel and the Official Vessel of Massachusetts, once again sails the waters of Massachusetts and beyond as a cultural and educational sail-training vessel. Just click the yellow DONATE button at at the top of the right hand column above.


Julius Britto, President of the Board

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with the purpose of raising funds to provide for the maintenance, equipment, manning, programming and operation of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey as a sail training vessel, school ship, and educational enterprise

Let’s Celebrate Ernestina-Morrissey ‘s Future on Thanksgiving!

Ernestina-Morrissey needs YOU to give us all something wonderful to give Thanks for this year.

How?  Contact members of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee and urge them to act on “The Act to Preserve the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.”

It’s easy! Just follow the link above, click on their name and you will have their contact

Ernestina-Morrissey needs to SAIL again! Photo Credit: Fred Leblanc

information.  You can email, write a letter or call their office.   Let them know they need to pass the bill,  S.2328, An Act to preserve the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey now.  Let them know the bill needs to be passed by the House and sent to Governor Baker before the Thanksgiving recess (November 20) so that the Commonwealth can have a great achievement to celebrate and give thanks for on November 28!

Then do the same to your own Representative and also Speaker DeLeo.  Let them know

Ernestina-Morrissey is important and the Shipyard is waiting for the legislation so they can get back to work again.

Let’s get this bill passed by Thanksgiving.

Then all of us who love Ernestina-Morrissey will have her future to give thanks for!

Links you will need:

Speaker DeLeo:

Ways & Means:

Find your Legislator:

The bill:  S.2328, An Act to preserve the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey

NOV./DEC. WoodenBoat Features Cape Verdean/Education Eras of Ernestina-Morrissey

The second in a three part series of articles in WoodenBoat Magazine has been released.  A recounting of the years from 1948 to 2014, the article also features great photos!  Editor Matt Murphy also gives a great shout-out to the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Archives at the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections at UMass-Dartmouth.

If you don’t have a subscription to WoodenBoat get one at your nearest newsstand or you can get a print or digital issue online from WoodenBoat. You can get back issues there too, including the Sept./Oct. issue with the first installment covering the Fishing/Arctic eras.

Here’s Matt Murphy’s page:

Fair Winds, MarDee Xifaras

Margaret Dexter (Strahorn) Xifaras, a New Bedford lawyer, citizen activist and stalwart Democrat, died shortly after midnight on October 8, 2019 of metastatic breast cancer.”

Margaret D. Xifaras’s life story should inspire everyone. We would like to share how she was so very important to Ernestina-Morrissey.  MarDee was first introduced to Ernestina in 1983 by Governor Michael Dukakis when she was assigned to work as his Senior Advisor to the Schooner Ernestina Commission.  She worked with Julius Britto, chair of the Commission, on plans to return Ernestina to New Bedford. Her liaison work was invaluable as the Commission worked with the Massachusetts’ government agencies, as well as the Cape Verdean government and Representative Gerry Studds in the US Congress.  More recently she had helped SEMA and Commission with her liaison work with the Patrick administration.

MarDee oiling the spars

She also has rounded up work crews to volunteer on Ernestina during “Lend a Hand” Day with the National Park.

At the Honoring the Past, Supporting the Future Gala in 2017 all her work in support of the vessel was recognized with an award from the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association.

The Ernestina-Morrissey community mourns that MarDee will not be with us to see vessel return to New Bedford.


Read SouthCoastToday


Read the Boston Globe


← Older posts   |