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.

Whaler’s Walk for Ernestina

Julius Britto, second from right, walked with family members from Rochester to the sea to raise money for Schooner Ernestina. From left, the others are Ben Varella’s great-grandson Ali Cabral; great-granddaughter, Dr. Vanessa Britto-Henderson; great-grandson, storyteller Len Cabral; and Dr. Galen Henderson (husband of Vanessa Britto). Julius Britto is president of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association.  photo credit Julius Britto

Julius and his family honored their great-grandfather and used the opportunity to raise funds for Ernestina. SEMA is always looking for unique fundraising opportunities.

Contact us with your ideas!

Busy Weekend – the Morgan’s Here!

DCR Supervisor Paul Alexio, Priscilla Geigis, DCR Director of the Division of State Parks and Recreation, Leah Burns Park Interpreter

Priscilla Geigis, Director of the Division of State Parks and Recreation stopped by after the Opening Ceremony.

Volunteers and DCR staff shared Ernestina-Morrissey's story with over 500 visitors over the weekend.

On Sunday the ship’s dory participated in the Boat Parade to celebrate the Charles W. Morgan’s arrival.  For a few days Ernestina will not be the oldest ship in the harbor!

Clem Littleton (Son of Bartlett Boy Fred Littleton) and Alex Heavey head out to the Parade staging area.

Beautiful form after more than two hours of rowing.

Alex Heavey and Clem Littleton with the giant cod they carried in the parade to honor Ernestina-Morrissey’s history as a “Salt-Banker”


The Morgan will be in New Bedford and open for visits until  Sunday, July  6 and Ernestina will be open for deck tours every day from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm.

42nd Annual Cape Verdean Recognition Parade

Join us for the 42nd Annual Cape Verdean Recognition Parade

Schooner Ernestina Commissioners Laura Pires-Hester and Gene Monteiro invite you to march with the Schooner Ernestina representatives.  CONTACT us for details.

Helping Ernestina During the Morgan Homecoming

The Charles W. Morgan is coming to town and thousands are expected to visit New Bedford State Pier.  This is a great opportunity to share Ernestina-Morrissey, Massachusetts’ Official Vessel, with all those visitors.  DCR personnel and SEMA volunteers will staff the ship for eight “Open Ship” sessions, 11 am -3 pm from Sunday June 29 until July Sunday July 6.  We need YOUR help.  Please CONTACT us and let us know when you can stand a watch (or several) as deckhand for Open Ship during The New Bedford Homecoming. Since safety training needs to be organized for all the volunteers we would like to fill the roster soon.  Please let us know when you can help!

2010 Working Waterfront Festival Commissioner Fred Sterner sharing "Tools of the Trade" with visitors

2013 Working Waterfront Festival Tom Nixon drew a crowd while presenting Ernestina-Morrissey history as he did all summer as DCR Interpreter.

Row for Ernestina

Ernestina needs two good hands.  Are  you a rower?  Will you join the dory crew?

Ernestina's dory is all fixed up and ready to go.

Ernestina’s dory will have a place of honor in the Boat Parade on Sunday June 29th during the celebration of the Charles W. Morgan’s Homecoming.   CONTACT US and we’ll let Fred Sterner know that you can help.

Parade of Boats Call to Captains Flyer

It will be a lot easier than the year there was no wind at the Gloucester Schooner Race and the dories were launched to help move Ernestina toward the starting line until the tide turned fair and the wind filled in.

Yes, that's Capt. Willi Bank with Peter Marshall and Phil Smith is in the lead dory.

The Cutest T-shirts!

Here they are, by popular demand, kid’s sized t-shirts:

The Families of Ernestina: the children of Captain Willi Bank and Captain Crista Bank and the children of SEMA Director Derek Stevens who is the great-grandson of Henrique Mendes

How can you order these shirts?  Send us an order and we’ll mail them to you.  There are toddler and youth sizes.

If you want to make a donation by check the donation is $15 which includes mailing expenses.  Please CONTACT US for instructions.

If you want to order online with a credit card or PayPal the donation is $15 which includes mailing expenses.  Please visit PayPal and enter $15 in the “donation amount” box.   Click “continue” next the the credit card icons or log-in if you have a PayPal account.  Fill in your information and indicate the size shirt you need and mailing instructions by clicking “add special instructions to the seller” and we’ll send you your shirt.  Follow this link to our PayPal account. and click the “Donate” button.  If you have any questions CONTACT US

Of course we have adult sizes too.

Busy Spring for Ernestina

Paul Alexio, DCR Supervisor, and volunteers have been busy since the winter cover came off.  And the planning for Ernestina-Morrissey’s future continues.

Capt. Harold Burnham and Naval Architect Garrett Norton conduct stability tests with water filled barrels

Harold is consulting for DCR on the plans for Ernestina.

Aft cabin hatch repaired.

The galley hatch has been re-glazed and repaired.

Ernestina has a new Charlie Noble thanks to a donation from SEMA and the expertise and labor of Dennis Tetrault’s Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies students at Greater New Bedford Regional-Vocational Technical High School.

Linking Ernestina-Morrissey’s Lives

We love it when Ernestina-Morrissey’s lives intertwine!

David Langdon, who's the Great-Great-Great Grandson of John Fletcher Wonson the first owner of the Morrissey met SEMA Director Derek Stevens, who's the Great Grandson of Henrique Mendes the Cape Verdean Captain who renamed the ship Ernestina in 1948


The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park sponsored a Park-wide clean-up recently.  SEMA volunteers took that opportunity to organize Ernestina’s interpretive materials in preparation for the Charles W. Morgan New Bedford Homecoming.  If you would like to help please CONTACT us.

Chuck Smiler paces of the largest Ernestina Banner

Cleaning and organizing the interpreter's shed.

Annie, Sarah and Chuck organizing the interpreter's materials for the summer season

Volunteers for New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park's Lend-A-Hand Day clean the planting beds at Coast Guard Park, Ernestina's front yard.

Ernestina”s Role in Cape Verdean Culture

The New Bedford Historical Society sponsored an exploration of Cape Verdean culture at the National Park recently.  SEMA President Julius Britto and Director Derek Stevens participated.  Derek is Henrique Mendes’ great-grandson.  Julius spoke passionately about the importance od the great sailing Cape Verdean packet ships, well described in this Standard Times article. Click on Len Cabral’s photo to scroll through the rest of the photos.

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