SCHOONER ERNESTINA-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.

Celebrating Cape Verde and Bridgewater State University

SEMA Director Mike Gomes, SEMA President Julius Britto, President of Cape Verde, Jose’ Maria Pereira Neves and SEMA Vice-President Bob Hildreth.

On September 22, 2022 Bridgewater State University celebrated 20 years of partnership with the Republic of Cape Verde. President Jose’ Maria Periera Neves was the honored guest. Mike Gomes, a member of the Board of SEMA, was presented with the highest civilian award that Cape Verde gives to an individual. Mike has worked over these 20 years to help establish the Cape Verde University in Cape Verde. He has been like a father to so many young Cape Verdeans at the Bridgewater Campus as well as the Cape Verde University campus in Cape Verde. Mike is also involved with the Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies at BSU.

At the celebration Bob Hildreth, SEMA vice president and Julius Britto, SEMA  president,  presented President Neves with a framed picture of the Ernestina. Painted by Jeff Eldrige in 1988.

A Message from Captain Krihwan ·

I am still looking for Deckhands, AB and a Cook. SSV Ernestina-Morrissey is in the water and we are currently up rigging the vessel. We plan to do our sea trials in Mid-October and the COI. After that is complete sail back to New Bedford. The starting pay for a deckhand is $2,200 a month and live aboard. The AB pay rate is $2,400 and live aboard. The Cooks pay rate is $2,800 and live aboard.


Able Seafarer (AB)


Want to be one of the first to sail on Ernestina-Morrissey in 2022?  Check it out!

Thursday September 1 A New Dock!

On Thursday September 1, Ernestina-Morrissey was moved “around the corner”  to a new dock at Hodgdon’s Marina. With easy access back to the Shipyard and their berths, the  crew will continue working on the vessel there.  Rigging and ballasting and other preparations for sailing are on the work list.   For the latest news visit and follow ssv.ernestins.morrissey Facebook page.



Captain Tiffany at the helm.

The neighborhood

Checking dock lines and fenders

Tuesday August 30 at the Shipyard

With the railway cleared and no audience, Ernestina-Morrissey slid down the railway and was afloat!

Ernestina-Morrissey made her way down the railway without incident. Lines had been set for when she floated free of the car.

Ernestina-Morrissey was positioned at the dock. Notice the car is still there.

Captain Tiffany watches as the dock lines are led over the frame of the car to the dock. When they were ready the car could be pulled back into the Yard leaving Ernestina-Morrissey at the dock.

Fenders are set. Notice the car has been taken away. Her banner, fastened to the starboard side of the main boom doesn’t look too big anymore! Soon it will fly high!

Ernestina-Morrissey's crew Harper, Cyrus, Tiffany, Susannah, Jason. Afloat at last!

There is still a lot of work to do before the boat leaves Boothbay Harbor. There are still equipment supply-chain problems including the watertight doors for bulkheads between the holds.  Until they arrive and are installed as well as some other equipment, the boat cannot have the final Coast Guard inspection. The only timeline SEMA has been given for her arrival in New Bedford is “in the fall”

Monday August 29 at the Shipyard

Although the exact day Ernestina-Morrissey would be launched was not certain, a small celebration was held on August 29. An early-morning dedication is described in a recent post. Although there was no formal announcement word spread locally and a number of folks and the Boothbay Register were present.  The photos show the rest of the story.

SEMA President Julius Britto honoring all those who have supported this effort to see Ernestina sailing again! And thanking those who sent this water for use to celebrate with

Here SEMA Vice President, Bob Hildreth speaks the those assembled. John Bullard ,Julius Britto, SEMA President, and Andy Tyska, Bristol Marine President, also spoke.

Julius, Bob and John ready for the slide down the railway.

As the keel was just touching the water the progress down the railway stopped. Captain Krihwan, (red shirt) scans the water.

While everyone waited, the diver on standby was sent to inspect the rails.

The diver reported what was found.Ernestina-Morrissey was hauled back up the railway.

The shipyard crew would fix the problem at low tide in the evening when the tide was the lowest and try again on the 30th.

Ernestina-Morrissey, Re-dedicated, Prepares for Next Chapter

In January we announced a project which would allow folks to participate in the

The bottle of mingled waters on Ernestina’s newly-restored aft-cabin compass. With the taste of those waters and this compass the vessel will know where to go!

celebration of Ernestina-Morrissey launch no matter how distant they were. We asked them to collect water from oceans and seas, bays and ports, that represented the diversity of all of Ernestina-Morrissey’s history.  Containers of water came from near and far and are listed as they came in.  The water listed at the top of the post is the most recent.  When the first list got too long, we started another. The water will continue to be used in celebrations as Ernestina-Morrissey visits various ports.  We co-mingled all of those waters which were used to re-dedicate Ernestina-Morrissey when she was launched in August.

Early on the morning of August 29, 2022 Captain Tiffany Krihwan (with the water) and Chief Mate Susannah Winder (with the dedication), gathered on at the bow to begin the celebration of Ernestina-MorrisseyTHIS VIDEO lets them share the moment with you.  You may have to open the download in a new window.

Here is the text of the dedication:

Today is the beginning of a new life and adventure for the Ernestina-Morrissey, the 5th chapter in a remarkable story of missions and voyages. In her previous chapters as a Fishing Vessel, Arctic Exploration vessel, a trans-Atlantic and Inter- Island Cape Verdean Packet, and an Ocean Educator she has sailed on many Oceans, Seas, Bays and Sounds and into many harbors and anchorages. As a way of welcoming her back to the water The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association invited people familiar with her travels to collect  water from the various areas where she has sailed. The response has been extraordinary as the list of places and people I can share with you here today, and which is on the SEMA website, shows. SEMA nearly 50 samples collected from near and far! A small sample from each place has been combined in this bottle to be poured upon her bow as she returns to her element.  Symbolically it’s a way for her past lives to welcome her to her new one.

With great gratitude to everyone who has participated, and to all whose financial support and shipbuilding and outfitting skills have gotten us to today it is my honor and pleasure to do so now.

Ernestina-Morrissey Is Launched!

From the crew:

View the TicTok video HERE.

We sea-ed the day here in Boothbay!
Today was the day! The shipyard successfully launched the Ernestine-Morrissey this afternoon with her floating free at 12:56pm on August 30th, 2022. This is a historic moment as we are now closer than ever to heading South!
As exciting as this launch is, we want to remind everyone that the work is not yet over and so the crew will still be very busy at the shipyard! So please stay tuned as we reach even more historic milestones!

The tide is high, the rail car carrying Ernestina-Morrissey is moving!

The keel is fully in and the stem is getting wet!

Ernestina-Morrissey fully afloat, the stern is being drawn in to the dock.

Tied to the dock showing her proud bowsprit!

Back in her element!

Ernestina-Morrissey Nears Completion

The exciting and positive letter below from Andy Tyska, President of Bristol Marine, describes the current status of the Ernestina-Morrissey project.

The complications Covid created for us all over the past two years also had a significant impact on the cost and timing of finishing the Ernestina-Morrissey project. Successfully responding to these challenges has required the collective collaboration, communication, and creativity of all the parties involved. By providing donations of in-kind labor, required materials, and equipment the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and the Shipyard have worked tirelessly to find ways to reduce the overall costs without compromising the quality of the project .

SEMA has reached out to previous supporters to fund the remaining costs. Thanks to the efforts described above, renewed support from the Hildreth-Stewart Foundation ($115,000), the H.F. Lenfest Foundation ($100,000), and Morley Crapo Hyde Eccles Fund of New Bedford ($85,000), and a Manton Foundation‘s $300,000 match of these three donations, the funding required to complete the project has been secured!

Soon the Ernestina-Morrissey, truly The Phoenix of the Seas, will indeed sail again!


July 19, 2022

Dear Supporters of the Ernestina-Morrissey,

Yesterday we reached a milestone at the Shipyard as the framework for the covered structure was removed from the rail car. Installed nearly seven years ago, under this cover thousands of hours have been spent by the world’s best shipwrights restoring the Ernestina-Morrissey.  The removal of the cover anticipates the installation of the newly crafted, historically correct masts and booms using wood from a tree that was a mere sapling when the Ernestina-Morrissey was launched in 1894.  The masts will be stepped next week, held in place with new meticulously spliced traditional standing rigging, and some of the most beautiful custom handcrafted metalwork on top of the mast will then be towering above the water below.

After the installation of the custom gold-plated bolt used to fasten the grounding dynaplate underwater, all hull penetrations will be complete and in six weeks we will launch the Ernestina-Morrissey.  The bolt is an example of the detail and level of customization found throughout the vessel, most which will go unnoticed, and unmatched in every other vessel of this type.  Much of what has gone into the ship cannot be bought, and must be made.  The individuals who have accomplished these tasks possess unique talent.

Thank you for your continued support to make the Ernestina-Morrissey sail again.


Andy Tyska

Since we received Andy’s letter the work has continued. As of August 23, you can see below the bowsprit is now in place. In the next two weeks the rigging and mast will be raised and then launching will be scheduled.  (see posts below)

A Visit to the Shipyard

On Monday August 22 Mary Anne McQuillan and Fred Sterner visited Boothbay Harbor Shipyard to see the progress and deliver tee shirts to the crew. Since 2015 they have visited many times and it is wonderful to see her almost ready to go!

On Friday the crew posted a video walk-thru on their Facebook page HERE. If you can access Facebook.  Amazing to see the progress in just four days!

November 18, 2015

The structure for the cover is in place waiting for the cover. The aft deck is being removed.

August 22, 2022

New masts are stepped, the rigging is being tensioned and the blocks will be hung for the running rigging. The interior is being finished, work continues despite continuing "supply chain" issues.

Here are some random images that caught our attention:

The masts have been stepped and next is finishing the rigging.

The deadeyes are in place and the ratlines are next.

Chief Mate Susannah Winder and deckhand Jason splicing ratlines.

Access to the new drive train under the aft cabin sole.

Bowsprit. Red building #3 contains the machinery to run the railway.

The chains from Building #3 pull up and let down the car that carries Ernestina-Morrissey on the railway.

Ernestina-Morrissey will launch stern first. The car will be let down the railway which, during very low tides in early Spring, was been inspected and tuned up in preparation for the launch.

The crane lifted the heavy main boom onto the deck on mast stepping day.

The fore boom will be loaded later, the new hardware is being fastened to the spar.

The main gaff, with the jaws at the far end, the fore gaff and in the corner the club for the jumbo. All waiting for hardware.

One project that must be completed before launching is applying a fresh coat of bottom paint. The staging will make the job easier.

Meanwhile Captain Krihwan has assigned some of her crew to sand the bottom. They will do the painting too.

There is a lot of work going on in each of the holds. But you can see how the fo’c’s’le table looks now that the foremast is in place.

Folks familiar with the Ernestina's layout will notice the biggest change in the configuration of fish hold. Here's a new table.

Another change folks will notice is watertight doors between all the holds. This photo was taken from on deck so you only see the bottom half of the opening. This is between the fo'c's'le and the fish hold. The opening is ready but the doors haven't come yet.

As required, David Short is carving the documentation numbers into the main beam. This is the same number Effie M. Morrissey was given in 1894!

We checked the boat from top to the main mast bilge! The tape was to help guide the mast into the pocket in the step.

Ernestina-Morrissey is not ready yet but soon she will be sailing the waters of Buzzards Bay, proudly returning to her homeport, New Bedford! And in the Spring of 2023, sailing to Commonwealth ports and some of the other waters she has known. under the careful stewardship of Massachusetts Maritime Academy!

Ernestina-Morrissey’s Masts are Stepped!

The week of August 8, 2022 was rigging week for Ernestina-Morrissey! Tom Ward of Traditional Rigging, LLC and his crew have been working to fabricate the components of Ernestina-Morrissey‘s rig in their shop.  On Monday they “dressed” the masts. And on Tuesday the masts were raised by Cote Crane and Rigging’s crane and their skilled operators. As the masts were lowered (FYI: the main mast weighed 6900 pounds) the rigging crew, the shipyard crew and the Ernestina-Morrissey crew guided the tenon of the mast into the stepCheck this description and photo from Robert Mitchell, who has shared many photos with us for sharing with you during the last 7 years!

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

The spars are "dressed" with all the standing rigging, carefully gathered up ready to be deployed when the mast is in place.

Ready to lower the main mast.

The main mast being guided by the crew on deck as the crew below gives directions to line up the tenon to the mortice and set the mast into the step.

You can see the main mast already stepped and the crane operator has the fore nearly vertical and is ready to lift it up and over the forward step.

Looking forward from aft of main mast. You can see the main boom is already in place. The crane is lowering the foremast.

Everyone wants to know about the mast coins.

Looking through the hole in the deck ready to receive the mast. In the mortise below, which will receive the mast's tenon, you can some of the coins placed there.

Mast coins. When we get details we will update this post.

Mast coins When we get details we will update this post.

Mast coins in mortise When we get details we will update this post.

Mast coins in mortise When we get details we will update this post.

Crew aloft rigging stays.

Foredeck from aloft.

Looking down to the aft deck. The boom is in place. Captain Krihwan inspects.

The fore shrouds are in place, the crew is sorting out the stays.

Masts are in! Wednesday the rigging continues! "The crew will be hard at work tensioning the rig and getting ready to hang blocks" for the running rigging.

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