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.

Welcome Aboard, Robin Shields!

Robin Sheilds here with son Ben, husband Tim and daughter Abby!!!

SEMA is pleased to announce that Robin Shields has joined their staff as a fundraising consultant.

Robin joins the crew following a successful stint as the Executive Director of the Sippican Lands Trust in Marion, MA.  She brings with her expertise in fundraising, educational programming and community engagement.

A New Englander her entire life, Robin and her family moved back to Marion five years ago. Both a Tabor Academy and a Dartmouth College graduate, she is an avid sailor and can often be found on Buzzards Bay with her family aboard their sailboat “Meltemi.” Robin worked for Maine’s Hurricane Island Outward Bound School for many years as a sailing instructor and during that time received her 100 ton Coast Guard License.  In addition, she got a Masters in Marine Policy at the University of Rhode Island and worked as part of the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s water quality monitoring program.

Robin is excited to join SEMA and undertake her goal to help raise the monies needed to complete the ongoing restoration campaign for the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey. “The vessel has an incredible history; a great story to tell,” she said.  “As the official Vessel of Massachusetts, the Ernestina-Morrissey will undoubtedly have a positive impact on many more generations to come as a sail training vessel and an educational connection to the waters of Buzzards Bay and beyond.  I am honored to play a small part of her story”, Shields said.

A Visit to the Shipyard


Here workers are fairing frames for the next course of internal planks stringers which strengthen and stabilize the hull. [Peter Pereira/The Standard-Times/SCMG

In October Steve Urbon and Peter Pereira from the New Bedford Standard Times/SouthCoast Today visited Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.  Their report “Historic Schooner Gets New Lease on Life” was published on October 28.  Be sure you look at all of Peter’s photos in the slide show when you follow the link.  What a great article!  Thank you!

We Are Cabo Verde Gala Held in Boston

SEMA Director Mike Gomes and Cape Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva

Schooner Ernestina Commission chair Licy DoCanto was a keynote speaker at the We Are Cabo Verde Gala in Boston on September 30, featuring both the President Jorge Carlos Fonseca and Cape Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva along with elected officials and community leaders and others from across New England. DoCanto’s remarks highlighted the important work of the Commission, and the efforts being made by many in the public and private sectors in support of the Schooner, and was followed by a video of the Schooner.

Thank you, Governor Baker!

(L to R) Commission chair Licy DoCanto, Cape Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, and Governor Charlie Baker

During a recent visit,  Schooner Ernestina Commission chair Licy DoCanto and  Cape Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, presented a framed print, by New Bedford artist Arthur Moniz, of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. The print was engraved with the following inscription: “To Governor Charlie Baker and the People of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, We Thank You for your Unwavering Commitment and Support for the Beloved Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey – With Gratitude from The Republic of Cabo Verde and the Massachusetts Schooner Ernestina Commission”

Thank you Gene Monteiro

After two terms as a member of the Schooner Ernestina Commission, Gene Montiero fulfilled his last duty as
Master of Ceremonies of the “Celebrating Ernestina-Morrissey” Gala.  Gene’s broad connections to the SouthCoast and all of its communities served the Commission well as support for the vessel was cultivated and planning began for her future.   Those six years were so important to setting this course to the future that the vessel is now on.
SEMA looks forward to Gene’s help and participation in our role as an advocate supporter of Ernestina-Morrissey.

“We are getting a SUPERIOR SHIP”

SEMA President Julius Britto visited Boothbay Harbor Shipyard this week to view the progress and confer with Harold Burnham and David Short.  His response?  ”We are getting a SUPERIOR SHIP when ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY leaves Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.”

The floors are all in and a temporary platform will provide a work surface.

Installing the stringers and clamps is next

Sandra and Julius Britto excited to see the progress on Ernestina-Morrissey

Julius expressed gratitude for everyone’s hard work.

Terrific Prizes for Raffle June 9!

Even if you can’t attend our celebration on June 9, you can have a chance to win these terrific prizes.  They will be raffled off on the evening of June 9 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  The tickets are $10.00 each or 3 for $20.00.  You can get tickets by online using the DONATE BUTTON and  ordering your tickets securely.  Just make a note in the”special instructions” box that your donation is for raffle tickets for June 9.

First prize

Framed Arthur Moniz print “Ernestina by Palmers Island” 33”x 26”

Winner ! Jan daSilva

Artist Arthur Moniz has been painting the beauty of the historic maritime coastal communities for over 35 years. Visit his gallery at 22 William St. New Bedford.

Second Prize

Adirondack-type chair built by Karl Pastore, DCR representative on the Schooner Ernestina Commission.  The chair is made of wood from Ernestina-Morrissey’s foremast which carried her foresail from 1994-2014.

Winner ! Julius Britto

Third Prize

Public Sail for four on Schooner Ardelle and “The Shipwright and the Schooner” by Harold Burnham.  Sail Gloucester Harbor with Capt. Burnham and hear about the work progressing on Ernestina-Morrissey.

Winner ! Nicole M. P.

Fourth Prize

Arthur Moniz print “Ernestina Outward Bound” 28”x 15.5”

Winner ! Dagny Ashley

Artist Arthur Moniz has been painting the beauty of the historic maritime coastal communities for over 35 years.  Visit his gallery at 22 William St. New Bedford.

If you want to do more we have added a “Crew” sponsorship.  Your $100 sponsorship will recognize all the work of individuals whose efforts made it possible for us to Celebrate Ernestina-Morrissey on June 9.  AND your donation will be matched 1:1 by the Manton Foundation.  Just use the donate button. and enter Crew Sponsorship in the “special instructions” box.

Honoring the Past, Supporting the Future

The celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the return of Ernestina-Morrissey to

The Ernestina Committee consisting of Armando Perry, Cecelia Monte, Laura Pires-Hester, Eddie Andrade, Joe Monte, Luis Fernandes, and American Ambassador Melissa Wells meeting Cape Verdean Ambassador Amaro daLuz at the United Nations

Massachusetts (TICKETS HERE) will include recognition of five individuals who were part of the early efforts of repatriation and who continued to support the ship through the years.    Hundreds of people rallied to support Ernestina in the 1970’s. The effort to return Ernestina to the United States began in earnest after the Cape Verdeans won independence in 1975.  The Cape Verdean-American Ethnic Heritage Committee in Providence made the first proposals to the new government and was joined by the “Save the Morrissey” campaign.  In 1976, the Friends of Ernestina/Morrissey Committee lead by Laura Pires Houston was officially launched in New York. Chapters in the United States, particularly in southern New England, New York and Philadelphia, raised money and procured material and expertise for the Ernestina project.   The rest is history!

For more information check out the timeline or get a copy of Phoenix of the Seas.

Join us June 9, 2017 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum as we Celebrate Ernestina-Morrissey. Get your tickets TODAY! to celebrate the contributions of these five individuals:

Julius Britto was active in the National Friends of Ernestina/Morrissey as a charter member (Wareham/Cape Cod Chapter). He was appointed to the First Commission and served as chairman.  In 1982, he was chosen as executive director of Ernestina-Morrissey Historical Association.  He served on the Schooner Ernestina Commission Finance Committee in 2008 and is a charter member of Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc., currently serving as president.

Representative Thomas D. Lopes sponsored the legislation establishing the Schooner Ernestina Commission in 1978.  He was very active telling Ernestina’s story and engaging supporters through Cape Verdean News. Tom visited Cape Verde with CVN cable to record the work on Ernestina and her departure.  He later produced the film “Mystery Lady” from his Cape Verdean footage.  As the internet came into popular use he shared his videos on his video channel.  Tom was still documenting Ernestina in at the 2010 Forum and in December 2011 video-recording the masts being removed and producing YouTube videos on his channel.  He was a true advocate of Ernestina until his death.

Laura Pires-Hester, Ph D met Michael Platzer and became involved with the idea of repatriation in 1974.  She was founder and first chair of National Friends of Ernestina/Morrissey. She became president of Ernestina Morrissey Historical Association. Laura and Michael Platzer wrote a commemorative edition of a history “Ernestina—Effie M. Morrissey” in 1982 to celebrate the repatriation.  Appointed to the Schooner Ernestina Commission 2007, she organized celebration of 25th anniversary of repatriation and organized a Forum in 2010 to gather all Ernestina’ constituencies. Again, with Michael Platzer, she presented at the Sailor Series at Whaling Museum in 2011.  A Commissioner since 2007, she was elected Chair in 2010 and served until May 2017.

Michael K. H. Platzer was involved with the idea of repatriation before Cape Verdean independence who worked in the Office of Technical Assistance, United Nations, Cape Verde desk.  National Friends of Ernestina/Morrissey charter member.  Michael and the then Laura Pires-Houston wrote a commemorative edition of a history “Ernestina—Effie M. Morrissey” in 1982 to celebrate the repatriation Again, with Laura, he presented at the Sailor Series at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in 2011.

Margaret D. Xifaras, as Senior Advisor was assigned by Governor Dukakis to work with the new Schooner Ernestina Commission. She worked with Julius, chair of the Commission, on plans to return Ernestina to New Bedford. Her liaison work invaluable as the Commission worked with the state government as well as the Cape Verdean government and Representative Gerry Studds in the US Congress.  Most recently she has helped SEMA and Commission, communicating with the Patrick administration.  She also has rounded up work crews to volunteer on Ernestina during “Lend a Hand” Day with the National Park.


You’re Invited! Honoring the Past, Supporting the Future

Join us as we honor hard-working individuals who brought Ernestina back to the United States. They champion the ship to this day. You can celebrate their contributions and support the future of Ernestina-Morrissey.  Get your  TICKETS TODAY!

A portion of the $75 ticket price is a donation and is tax deductible to the extent of the law and and all proceeds will be matched 1:1 by the Manton Foundation.

Sponsorship opportunities LISTED HERE.

You can purchase tickets in person at the The White Whale at the Whaling Museum during regular hours.

Online Tickets are available at the The White Whale online shop on the Whaling Museum website .  Click the LINK and enter your number of tickets, click “Buy now”, click “View Cart”, click “Checkout” to pay with credit card or PayPal.


Thank you for supporting Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey!

Thank you, Laura!

We can’t say it better than Governor Baker!  Fair Winds, Laura!

← Older posts   |   Newer posts →