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.

New T-shirts Recognize Ernestina/Morrissey’s Refits

New shirts are available!  The shirts feature the “classic” front.   On the back is a line drawing of Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey‘s hull, rig and sail plan produced by the HAER Maritime Recording Program of the National Park Service.  Below the drawing is recognition of the ship’s several refits as she sailed though her many “lives” : 1894 Essex, MA – built for the Gloucester cod fishery * 1926 Staten Island, NY – refit for Arctic Exploration*1982 Mindelo, Cape Verde – refit for return to the United States * 2009 Boothbay Harbor, ME – restoration begins * Official Vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The color is “ash”.

M&R Screenprinting did a great job on the shirts.  We are thinking of ordering some in children’s sizes. what do you think?

Arthur Moniz Art Gallery has generously offered to accept donations for the new shirts.  Stop by their gallery at 22 William St. in Downtown New Bedford.  We have sizes small, medium, large and extra large and the donation is $15.

If you would like to have a shirt mailed to you we can do that too.

If you want to make a donation by check the donation is $20 which includes mailing expenses.  Please CONTACT US. for instructions.

If you want to order online with a credit card or PayPal the donation is $20 which includes mailing expenses.  Please visit PayPal and enter $20 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.

We do have a few of the full-color shirts designed by George Fonseca available in sizes medium, extra large and extra-extra large.  Same donation, $20 includes mailing expense.

Thank you, Jen! Welcome, Laurel! Congratulations Frank!

Jennifer T. Nersesian has been selected as the next superintendent to lead Gateway National Recreation Area. This facility is one of the top 10 most visited National Parks.  Jen will be the only woman superintendent assigned to those 10 parks.  We understand perfectly why NPS has chosen Jen for this assignment.  She was a wonderful partner to the Schooner Ernestina serving as a commissioner and then as secretary to the Commission.  We will miss her.

Commissioners Fred Sterner, Steve Walsh, Karl Pastore, Supt. Nersesian, Commissioners Laura Pires-Hester and Gene Monterio.

The Commission and SEMA expressed their appreciation at the September meeting.

Laurel Racine, from the NPS Northeast Museum Services Center, will be serving as Acting Superintendent at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park over the next few months while the NPS work on filling the permanent position.

Laurel A. Racine comes to New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park from the National Park Service’s Northeast Museum Services Center (NMSC) in Charlestown, MA, which serves eighty NPS sites from Maine to Virginia. She is the Senior Curator for Research and Planning overseeing research and writing projects with a specialization in American material culture and historic house museums. She writes collection policy documents, collection management plan chapters, historic furnishings reports, and exhibit plans. In this work she has engaged with many types of partners, from nonprofits to government agencies to the private sector.

Laurel has worked as a museum educator and/or curator since 1989 at institutions including the Fuller Museum of Art, Heritage Plantation of Sandwich, Pilgrim Hall, Plimoth Plantation, and the Winterthur Museum. Laurel holds a B.A. in art history from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, a certificate in Museum Studies from Tufts University, and an M.A. in Early American Culture from the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware.

She is delighted to be in New Bedford where she conducted her first historic house walking tour and her husband’s family calls home. Laurel lives in North Attleborough, MA, with her husband and two children.


In the most recent news from the NPS Frank Barrows, chief of Interpretation and Education at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, has been awarded the Freeman Tilden Award for the Northeast Region, for his work with the Youth Ambassador Program.

We are all very proud of Frank who has been helping on Ernestina for years!

Frank Barrows working on Ernestina's main boom during the 2006 NPS Work Day.

10th Annual Working Waterfront Festival

The 10th Annual Working Waterfront Festival drew large crowds with two days of beautiful weather to enjoy the music and food and the New Bedford waterfront. Nearly 2,000 visitors came aboard Ernestina for a tour.  We had a wonderful turnout of volunteers that made this possible.  THANK YOU!

Ernestina looked great with her gleaming new foremast

Meghan Lapp reads from her book Fast Friends

Fast Friends is the delightful tale of two small boats who get into big trouble! As they work together, they learn important lessons about friendship, doing things the right way, and following the rules.

Daisy Nell and Captain Stan returned this year to read from their new book

Captain Stan’s Foo Foo Band is delightfully illustrated by celebrated artist, George Ulrich. The book has a single-song music CD inside. Suitable for kids aged 3 to 9, entertaining for all ages.

SEMA Director Melissa DeValles explaining the ship's windlass

Melissa was only one of the many volunteers that staffed the ship.  They made the Open Ship possible.  Joe Pacheco came early both days to “dress ship” and deploy the safety equipment and helped in many ways.  Special thanks to DCR’s Manny Silva and Michelle O’Bannon whose presence and hard work made the weekend possible and to volunteers Annie, who scheduled and coordinated the deck volunteers and Chuck who worked with Jim Kendall on the very successful Blessing ceremony.

The Very Reverend Father Constantine Bebis offering a blessing.

On Sunday afternoon Ernestina’s deck hosted the 44th Annual Blessing of the Fleet.  An inter-denominational delegation of clergy officiated including The Very Reverend Father Constantine Bebis; from St. George Greek Orthodox Church in North Dartmouth, Monsignor Stephen J. Avila,  Pastor, St. Mary’s Parish, Mansfield, MA and Reverend Debra Lee, North Baptist Church of New Bedford.

SouthCoastToday published an account of the program. Mayor Jon Mitchell welcomed everyone and several elected officials mentioned the importance of Ernestina to the City and the State.  Kudos to Jim and Verna Kendall for a wonderful afternoon.

Attorney General Martha Coakley spoke of the importance of the fishing industry

Schooner Ernestina Commissioner Gene Monteiro and SEMA Secretary Mary Anne McQuillan thanked the officials and the audience for their support of Ernestina.

29th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival

On Saturday August 31 Maritime Gloucester hosted their Maritime Heritage Day as part of the three day Gloucester Schooner Festival.  The occasional downpours didn’t

Volunteers Mary Meehan, Al Bezanson and Chet Brigham

dampen the enthusiasm of our volunteers or the many visitors who stopped to talk.  Some had their first introduction to Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey and some shared family lore of parents and grandparents who were dorymen on the Morrissey or had other connections to the “salt-banker” days.  The vessel will always have a second homeport in Gloucester!

SEMA also collected signatures asking Massachusetts Congresspersons to

SEMA Director Kurt Hasselbalch

support the reintroduction in the 113th Congress of H.R.6145 — New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Resources Assistance Act (Introduced in House – IH) introduced in the 112th Congress by Representative Frank and Representative Keating.  Schooner Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey is an important historical and educational resource and the ship deserves their support.  This drive will continue through the Working Waterfront Festival at the end of September.

On Sunday Schooner Adventure, one of Ernestina‘s Essex sisters came in second (with just 4 lowers) by only 4 minutes to Virginia (with topsails) in the Esperanto Cup race.  We congratulate all the folks who worked so hard to make this happen after a 20 year campaign to return the vessel to sailing.  Ernestina won the Esperanto Cup in 2001.  We look forward to the day when she will compete again!

Welcome Commissioner Murray

Jack Murray was recently appointed as DCR Commissioner to replace Ed Lambert who has taken a position with University of Massachusetts – Boston.   We thank Ed for his work to assure a good future for Ernestina and wish him the very best in his new position.  Murray has served as Deputy Commissioner at DCR since 2007, managing the operations of the Massachusetts State Park system and all of its divisions and bureaus with an annual operating budget of $75 million. He assisted in managing the department’s 1,000 full time and 3,000 seasonal employees. Murray has extensive experience in transportation and environmental management in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining the Patrick Administration, he worked for the United States Public Health Service and e-Hands On Network to coordinate recovery and relief activities in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Biloxi following Hurricane Katrina. Murray is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Jack is already hard at work on Ernestina-Morrissey initiatives begun by Commissioner Lambert and we all look forward to working with him to provide the very best for Schooner Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey.

What’s in Ernestina’s Library?

Visit us in the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (33 William Street)

September 12, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

SEMA Secretary Mary Anne McQuillan & a sample of Ernestina's library

Explore some of the books written about Ernestina and about her life as Effie M. Morrissey.  You will be amazed at how much literature was inspired by our own ship and vessels like her.  Fishing. Exploring. Traveling to Cape Verde and Back…  (scroll down for a sample)

Take a look at the books she carried when she sailed from 1982 until 2004.  Recommend books that should be in her library when she sails again!

The Full AHA! Schedule

There Was Dancing in the Streets of New Bedford

There was “Dancing in the Streets” to celebrate the 31st anniversary of Schooner Ernestina’s return and gift from Cape Verde to the United States in 1982.  The event was part of New Bedford’s AHA! nights.

The Accordion and percussion trio TreeOfU showed how musicians informally play together in plazas and street corners in Cape Verde as the crowd gathered at the Whaling Museum plaza.  Many thanks to Tony Cruz for making this evening a success!

It seemed most were shy about dancing on the plaza but everyone enjoyed the music.  Especially the children.

The arrival of the drummers got the crowd on their feet.

The energy of Sodat, a street drumming group from New Bedford, got everyone’s attention.  More and more people arrived to see what the excitement was.

This video is on Facebook, I hope you can watch it.

soon the procession started down William St.

down to the waterfront along Front St.

and entertained the patrons at Cork!

Rose Alley Ale House and Cork Wine and Tapas are taking advantage of the new pedestrian friendly Route 18.  The drummers and dancers attracted a lot of attention!

The CV Dancers lead the way with the Ernestina banner.

Sodat, a street drumming group from New Bedford marches up Union St.

The celebration continued with a traditional Cape Verdean street dance procession through Downtown.

“It (the drumming) added energy to the other activities, all of downtown was hopping” said one bystander enjoying the spectacle.

The procession ended at the Cape Verdean-American Veterans Club where the party continued with Cape Verdean dance music by the CV Friends.

Thanks to TreeofU, Tony Cruz, Chuck Smiler and Buddy Andrade for a great event.

SEA Students Visit

Captain Carl Herzog,  former Schooner Ernestina mate, visited the ship several times this summer with his classes of high school students from Sea Education Association.


DCR interpreter Tom Nixon explains Ernestina-Morrissey's history to the students.


Carl explains the windlass


The group explored the waterfront, discussing the fishing industry.




Peggy was an incredible person with a magnetic personality.  She was the ultimate

survivor, which made her passing from lung cancer on November 2000, about a week

after her birthday, so hard to take in…(Sister Kathie Talbot, July 2013)

…everyone loved Peggy. She had a way about her that always made you feel good.

She was a great sister to me and a wonderful aunt to my kids.  She was very creative

and outgoing, a go-getter, and a trustworthy friend.  (Sister Chris Chiaro, July 2013)

Peggy Lyons was the only woman of the 14-person Crew of 8 Cape Verdeans and 6 Americans that sailed Schooner Ernestina back from Mindelo, Cape Verde in the summer of 1982.  Born in Peekskill, NY and living in downtown New York City near South Street Seaport, Peggy was a licensed Captain, had her own 30-foot Sloop Repose, and absolutely loved sailing.  She was a dedicated volunteer in the 6-year campaign to repair, return, and repatriate Ernestina after being dismasted in her first voyage back to the U.S. in 1976.  She had her own graphics and design company, Jetsetters.

Peggy decided to move to St. Thomas in 1993, sailing down on her own boat with a friend.  The trip was not “without challenges”, and sister Kathie recalls that it “probably took about as long as the Ernestina took to sail from Cape Verde to Newport!”  She re-established her company, which became highly successful.  While in St. Thomas, she also met and fell in love with a musician, Ike, and they married.  She died aboard the Repose.

As an Ernestina volunteer, Peggy was cooperative, wonderful to work with, and leaves a unique Ernestina legacy.  Her creative stamp is all over the Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey: Commemorative Edition (by Laura Pires Houston and Michael K. H. Platzer, 1982), and also on the 8 wooden panels retelling the story of the historic Schooner.  In the making of “Mystery Lady” the wonderful video produced by the late Tom Lopes documenting the 1982 transatlantic voyage, Peggy’s parents and sisters were interviewed by Alberto Pereira as they excitedly awaited the return of their daughter and sister. In New Bedford, she raised the U.S. flag after the Cape Verdean flag was brought down. In addition, Peggy maintained a full photo album and several taped cassettes of the 41-day trip.  These have been transferred to the Ernestina/Morrissey Archives at the Archives Library at UMA/Dartmouth.  We give thanks for Peggy’s life, friendship, and heart.

Laura Pires-Hester, Ph. D.

Chairperson, Schooner Ernestina Commission

July 2013

Commission Chair Laura Pires-Hester received Peggy's records of the voyage from her sister Kathie Talbot recently.

“Dancing in the Streets” for Ernestina-Morrissey.

Join us for "Dancing in the Streets"

There will be “Dancing in the Streets” as we celebrate the 31st anniversary of Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey’s return and gift from Cape Verde to the United States with a traditional Cape Verdean street dance procession through Downtown to the Cape Verdean-American Veterans for a party continuing after AHA!

Tony Cruz, New Bedford performer and cultural organizer, has arranged an evening of traditional and contemporary Cape Verdean music and dance.  Starting at 6:00 PM at the Whaling Museum plaza, the accordion and percussion trio TreeOfU will show how musicians informally play together in plazas and street corners in Cape Verde.  The women of CV Dancers will join in the rhythm, dancing in the streets.  According to event organizer Buddy Andrade, when packets like Ernestina arrived in New Bedford and Providence the community would go down to meet them and the party would start with a festive procession from the dock to the Cape Verdean clubs.

Sodat, a street drumming group from New Bedford, will introduce this Cape Verdean tradition and starting at 6:45 will lead a street procession through Downtown to the Verdean VETS at 561 Purchase Street arriving around 8:00 PM.  There the party will continue until 10:00 PM with Cape Verdean dance music by the CV Friends, a band of professional musicians and storytelling by several elders of the Cape Verdean community.


6:00 PM

TreeOfU, trio traditional CV music

CV Dancers

Sodat, CV street drumming group, approximately 12 people

6:45 or before

Procession departs WM plaza, William St. to N. Water to Hamilton to

N. Front to Union to Second to Elm to Acushnet to William to Purchase to the VETS

8:00 – 10:00 (or when procession arrives) storytelling by CV elders, CV Friends band playing CV and other dance music.

Viva Ernestina!

IN CASE OF RAIN the performances at the Whaling Museum will move inside to the theater, and the events at VETS will take place as scheduled.

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