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.


Ernestina-Morrissey is IMPORTANT!   Check it out! and Donate Here!

# Giving Tuesday

Tuesday, November 27, reminds everyone, in this season of shopping and gift giving, to remember the organizations that work to bring good to our world.

SEMA’s mission is to raise funds and support Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey. For #GivingTuesday we ask you to help SEMA see that Ernestina-Morrissey SAILS again!

Just click the yellow DONATE button!

Let’s see her sailing again SOON!

Photo Credit: Fred Leblanc

Shutter Plank In!

The shutter plank (the last strake-plank) has been pounded in, the Ernestina-Morrissey’s hull is fully planked!  A HUGE Thank You! to the Ernestina-Morrissey project crew at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Thanks to the Whiskey Plank Club for your support and to our sponsors for helping the crew celebrate this wonderful achievement.  Please support our sponsors: Gloucester’s Ryan and Wood Distillers, New Bedford’s Bisca Tournament Club, and South Coast’s Buzzards Bay Brewing .

Gloucester’s Ryan and Wood Folly Cove Rum, Canadian Whiskey, New Bedford’s Bisca Tournament Club 's Cape Verdean Grogue and South Coast’s Buzzards Bay Brewery 's Sow and Pigs. Representing all the parts of Ernestina-Morrissey's history.

SEMA’s Secretary Mary Anne McQuillan and President Julius Britto helping bring the shutter plank home

Julius Britto and John Bullard celebrating a job well done!

Thank you, Robert Mitchell! photo credit: Mitchell Photography CONNECTIONS Publishing inc. October 25, 2018

Stay tuned for more photos here next week.

This Project is being supported with funds from the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program,

You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.

To help support this project please press the yellow DONATE button at the right.


The planks are being attached with silicon bronze screws and trunnels.  A trunnel (tree-nail) “is like a large dowel, pounded into a hole drilled through the pieces of wood to be fastened together, and set by pounding wedges into both ends, so that the treenail will not come out.”

Locust trunnels ready.

The trunels are coated with linseed oil for lubrication.

Ready to go!

Willy is measuring where the fastenings are in the frame and making notations on the plank below. When the next plank is clamped in position the crew can refer to the notes when they drill the holes for the fastenings.

You can see the notations on these planks that guide the crew's placement of the plank fastenings.

Drilling holes for fastenings

As the holes are drilled the ceiling clamps hold the plank tight to the frame and to the adjacent plank. The butt end of this plank is already fastened with silicon bronze screws. Notice as well the 5 inch garboard and 4 inch broad strake. The rest of the planking is 3 inch.

The trunnels on the left have been pounded in and need to be trimmed flush with the plank and wedged. Those on the right need to be fully set into the frame.

Once the plank is held tightly in place the last trunnels can be pounded in.

Almost set.

A wedge is driven into the locust trunnel to make it tighter. Notice the wedge is driven in at right angles to the grain of the plank to avoid splitting the plank.

This Project is being supported with funds from the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program,

You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.

To help support this project please press the yellow DONATE button at the right.

Fairing and Caulking

These photos were taken in July, 2018.  Thank you, Bristol Marine!

From the stern, lower planks faired, oiled and the caulking is progressing. Photo Credit: Bristol Marine

First a layer of cotton is fitted in the seam with a caulking iron struck by a caulking mallet then a layer of oakum is tamped into the seam over the cotton.

Caulkers. Also notice the here at mid-ships, the 5 inch garboard and 4 inch broad strake. The rest of the planking is 3 inches. Photo Credit: Bristol Marine

Photo Credit: Bristol Marine

You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.

If you would like to help just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.


Planking Progress Continues

During the Boothbay Harbor Windjammer days in June the crew presentated a demonstration of the planking process for the public. After you check out the video take a look at the photos below for further explanation.

The planking started in late winter as you can see in this post from late March.

The 3 inch thick oak plank is marked and cut. Here David Short, project manager,uses a spiling batten to mark the curve needed for this plank.

Once the plank is shaped and planed, shaping a caulking bevel is the last preperation before heading to the steam box. David Short, master shipwright, uses a planer to bring the bevel to the pencil line. The bevel will allow space for the oakum and cotton caulking.

The process creates a lot of wood chips!

Time in the steam box makes the plank hot and wet and easier to bend into place on the frame. The 3 inch thick planks are steamed for 3 hours, 1 hour per inch.

Here’s a video of the crew loading a plank into the steam box.  Meanwhile the frames are being prepared.

The seams between the futtocks of the double sawn frames are caulked where the watertight bulkheads will be positioned.

The ceiling clamp is positioned, ready to hold the plank in place.

Bedding for the plank is applied to the frames.

Preparing to hoist the plank from the steam box.

The plank has to be raised above the staging inside the shed.

Here’s a video of part of the hoisting process. The photos below are a different plank than shown above in order to show the sequence of the process.

The crew carries the hot plank into position. (note the gloves) This new plank will be mid-ships.

The new plank is clamped into place next to the the previously fastened plank of that strake. The trunnels have not been trimmed from that plank yet

Check this post for more information about trunnels.

This specialized tool is called a ceiling clamp. It can tightly clamp the plank to the frame and to the butt of the adjoining plank, until the trunnnels and other fastenings can attach the plank to the frame. Notice in the video at the beginning of this post, one of the crew is using the light from an Iphone to make sure the joint between the plank and the stem is tight.

Wedges are used to force the plank tight against the plank above.

The ceiling clamps were fabricated in the shipyard machine shop.

Shipwright, Ross Branch explained the process to the crowd at the Open House.

Here’s the link again if you would like to see the video again.

This photo taken by Laura Orleans on September 12 shows the progress since the shots shown above which were taken in late June.

View from the stem Photo credit: Laura Orleans

You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.

If you would like to help just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.


Thank You, New Bedford

The City of New Bedford showed its commitment to Ernestina-Morrissey by authorizing $100,000 in Community Preservation funds recently.

New Bedford Harbor photo credit R. Morin

Soon the Ernestina will no longer be just a “dockside attraction”  but a SAILING ambassador for the Commonwealth and for her home port New Bedford!

The next time you see one of the Community Preservation Committee members or City Councillors thank them for their hard work and dedication!

and we LOVE your new logo!

H.F. Gerry Lenfest; philanthropist and longtime supporter of Ernestina-Morrissey dies at 88

We are very sad to pass along the news that H.F.”Gerry” Lenfest, a great benefactor of the Ernestina-Morrissey, passed away on August 5th. A naval officer, lawyer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Gerry at age 12 in 1942 was supposed to sail on the Effie M. Morrissey as a “Bartlett Boy”, but the war intervened and the vessel was transferred to government service.

Gerry never forgot his dream of sailing on the Morrissey and followed the schooner’s story through the years. In 2014 he donated $1.8 million dollars to the current $6.3 million-dollar rehabilitation underway in Maine, a significant catalyst to securing the additional private and state funds the project requires. He actively followed the project’s progress and he and his wife Marguerite visited the shipyard in 2016 and saw first-hand what their support was helping to accomplish.

We regret he will not be able to see and enjoy the beautiful strong renewed vessel be launched, but are pleased he was able to see how far Ernestina-Morrissey has come and know what a difference his support and leadership had made.

This short video by talented film maker Richardo Lopes chronicles his remarkable life and philanthropy.

Thank you, Gerry, and fair winds from SEMA and the schooner you loved.

Preparing Planks for the Transom

Ernestina-Morrisssey’s new transom is being fitted to the frames.

The topmost planking on the transom is cut to fit together above the water line.

Later the same day the last piece of the puzzle is fit and fastened. Tomorrow the first full plank will be attached.

The transom has an extreme curve and some of the planks must be steamed and bent to a form to set the needed curve of the planks.  Some members of the crew are in the workshed working on the plank for the next day.

This form will be used to bend the planks to fit the transom frame. Notice the steel I-beams that support the frame and will give a strong structure to fasten the clamps to.

The crew hurries the 3 inch thick oak plank to the form.

The process starts with a chain and a lenth of angle iron so the chain will not scar the edges of the plank. This will hold the end of the plank to the form.

Manpower starts forcing the plank to the form as Alessandro Lopes film the action for the Sails over Ice and Seas documentary.

A hydraulic jack is used to force the plank to the curve of the form as clamps are added to hold it down.

The jack tightens the chain that is looped from the U-channel on the jack to the I-beam.

More clamps are added as the plank gets closer to the form.

At last the clamps get a final tightening and the plank is fit to the form where it will stay overnight until the crew is ready to fasten it to the transom.

You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.

If you would like to help just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.


Fair Winds and Congratulations, Melissa DeValles

Melissa DeValles has resigned from the Board Of Directors of SEMA and has been sworn in as a member of the Schooner Ernestina Commission.

Melissa on right, with two MMA cadets at a Ernestina Work Day in the spring of 2012.

Melissa brings great experience to the Commission.  In addition to her time on the SEMA board, she has served as deckhand and engineer on Ernestina and is a Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) grad.  She is well prepared to help as Ernestina-Morrissey transitions to her exciting future.

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