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.

Open Ship Enjoyed by All

DCR’s Seasonal Interpreter Leah Burns and Supervisor Paul Alexio hosted several Open Ships this summer along with SEMA volunteers.  Childrens’ programs like “Something Fishy” a joint program of the New Bedford Whaling National Park and the Working Waterfront Festival visited the ship as well as tourists on walking tours and New Bedford residents just stopping by for a visit.  Even a rainy Sunday was fun, as we hosted, among others, Nicolau Dias who reminisced about sailing Ernestina in Cabo Verde.  It was evident he remembers how she handles under a good breeze and looks forward to sailing her again.  And last week volunteers were excited to provide a safety crew for a very special wedding party!

Leah explaining the fish hold to visitors on a rainy Sunday

Paul Alexio demonstrates the bowline knot

What happens when you pull a bowline really tight?

Kendra and Brandon Phillips and their son Brandon Jr. celebrating aboard Ernestina, once owned by Kendra's great-grandfather Henrique Mendes .

C.W. Morgan Visit Showcase for Ernestina Too

The New Bedford Homecoming of the Charles W. Morgan was the event of the summer for the city and for Ernestina Morrissey.  With the help of many wonderful volunteers, DCR staff and the Schooner Ernestina Commission hosted over 1600 people on the ship.  The weather was wonderful except for a short visit by Hurricane Arthur which cancelled July 4 events.   From the first weekend until the closing fireworks it was a great event!  Thank you to everyone who made it possible to tell Ernestina Morrissey‘s many stories to new friends from all over!

Every day celebrates this wonderful gift from Cabo Verde

Proud to be representing Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Massachusetts DCR and City of New Bedford Homecoming!

Chuck explaining photos to Humberto Lima and Ligia Barbosa Timas

Humberto Lima, president of Cabo Verde's Office of Cultural Heritage and his assistant Ligia Barbosa Timas

President Lima was in town with other officials from Cabo Verde’s Ministry of Culture and the New Bedford Whaling Museum to  cement a partnership that aims to enrich education and cooperation between the two.

Mystic Seaport's whaleboats were offering rowing tours during the Homecoming providing a waterside view of the Morgan and demonstrating rowing skills "threading the needle between Ernestina and the fishing boats.

Commissioner Fred Sterner took advantage of a chance to row and get a better view of the Mystic Seaport's Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard's amazing work.

Lady Maryland ducked into the safety of New Bedford's Hurricane Barrier and tied up next to Ernestina to weather the Hurricane Arthur.

Mary Silva's husband was an engineer on Ernestina. His granddaughter rings the bell.

Mayor Mitchell's Reception and farewell fireworks

Ernestina Will Sail Again!

The news we have been waiting for has finally been released.   Thank you to all the friends of Ernestina who donated money to SEMA and gave their time to showcase the ship.  Your perseverance delivered the message loud and clear that Ernestina is IMPORTANT!

We can finally tell you that Ernestina will be totally rebuilt. Bob Hildreth, a founder and vice-president of SEMA, and Gerry Lenfest, who has had an interest in the ship since a childhood acquaintance with Capt. Bob Bartlett, have committed a total of $2.8 million to the re-fit.  SEMA is committed to provide $1 million and the Commonwealth’s $2.5 million will insure that the ship will sail again!  Everyone that has been working very hard for this moment should be proud that this vessel, that was built in Massachusetts and returned to us in 1982 as a gift from the people of Cabo Verde will be able to proudly represent the Commonwealth again.

SEMA looks forward to our continued partnership with the Schooner Ernestina Commission and DCR’s Commissioner Jack Murray as we work to raise the final $1 million.  It is wonderful to see what can be accomplished when everyone works together toward a common goal.


July 29, 2014 SouthCoastToday …   August 3, 2014 SouthCoastToday .

August 7, 2014 SouthCoastToday … August 19, 2014 SouthCoastToday…

August 19, 2014 SouthCoastToday video…

The Bidders' Conference was held on the ship August 12. Shipwright Harold Burnham was on-board to answer questions. Bids are due September 4.

Representing Ernestina in Wareham

Our "Schooner Ernestina Congtingent" marched proudly behind my High School Class Float in the recent Town of Wareham 275th Anniversary Celebration and this was at the end of the Parade, when we were able to join the two for a picture...the theme for the High School Float was "Teens, Tunes, and Teams" and classmates did a fantastic job on the float....

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.

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