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 Featured on NESN/NEBTV

New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus members treat NESN viewers to a few songs on Ernestina's deck . photo credit NEBTV

In the next episode of New England Boating TV, airing Monday, July 29, at 5:30 p.m.  on NESN, the crew visits the historic whaling and fishing port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. READ MORE


You can view the Ernestina segment if you scroll down to the video.


and you can view the entire show on the New England Boating YouTube Channel.

Also airing on NESN on Wednesday, August 22 at 7:00 p.m

Canadian Visitors

Bonnie Gallant at the helm as Commissioner Fred Sterner explains how the Schooner Ernestina Commission and DCR are working to get the ship sailing again. . Bonnie visited the ship recently. Her grandfather Leonard Gushue sailed as engineer on Effie M. Morrissey with Capt. Bob Bartlett.

Summer Programs at Ernestina

Tom Nixon has been appointed DCR’s Seasonal Interpreter for Ernestina. He will be providing programs for the public Wednesday through Saturday during the summer and is anxious to get started.  Volunteers will be needed to provide deck tours for groups boarding the ship.  You can CONTACT Tom through the website if you can help or are interested in a program.

Ernestina’s Masts Are UP!

May 31, 2013 dawned clear and calm.  The crane from N.C. Hudon arrived at 9 am and the crew was ready.   Ernestina was ready too!

Ernestina is ready to have her masts stepped.

Coins all set in the fore step

Placing the coins in the step is an important tradition. Read More …

DCR carpenter Manny Silva documenting the coins in the main step

The main mast rig is all sorted out

The new mast was rigged and rest of the rig was repaired and serviced with matching funds from DCR’s Partnership Program.  Shipwright Leon Poindexter and his crew worked on the project for nearly two months.

The strapping is in place on the fore mast.

The fore mast is off the blocking

The forklift supports the foot of the mast as the crane lifts

The new fore mast is lowered to Ernestina. From a life in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula of WA to Massachusetts Official Tall Ship!

This new foremast was donated to the Schooner Ernestina Commission by Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc.

Lining up the foot of the mast with the step. You can see the mortise that will match up with the tenon in the step.

The fore mast is through the deck, next through the table and fo'c'sle sole and into the step

far left Marty holds the jib stay which has to be walked forward clear of the rest of the rig.

sorting out the shrouds and lanyards

getting started on the starboard shrouds, the shrouds must be secured on the foremast before the main mast is lowered in

These three-holed blocks are called deadeyes because the position of the three holes resemble the eye and nose sockets of a skull.

The lanyards are threaded through the deadeyes and made fast. The tightness of the shrouds can be adjusted with this system of rigging.

Reeving the starboard foremast lanyards

Need to add reeve to your vocabulary?  Thomas Liddell Ainsley can tell you all about it in his 1871 book on seamanship.

Mast wedges going in

Foremast's in the step! Those coins aren't going anywhere now, the crane measured the mast and rig at 7500 pounds!

Rigging the Forestay to the Gammon Iron.

Steve and Willi taking the jib stay out to the end of the bowsprit

The main mast is off the blocks, up she goes.

As the crane lifts the top of the mast the forklift drives forward to assure that the foot of the mast doesn't drag along the pier

making sure the shrouds and lanyards are clear of the blocking

The shrouds were swinging along with the mast

The crane operator did an amazing job, the mast weighs several tons.

The crane swings the main mast to line up with the step as the crew guides it.

main mast coming down into mast step

Fred and Marty freeing the lanyard coils

the shrouds hold the masts in place athwartships

Reeving and tightening

The lanyards through the dead eyes secure and tighten the shrouds. When the job is done there will be a total of 18 strands of line which gives the rig a strong fastening.

main mast

main mast in the step

placing the wedges for the main mast

Marty tightening the port side main mast lanyards

the geometry of raising the rig, main mast, crane and foremast, beautiful!

Steve and Willi working on the fore stay

there is still work to do, rigging the spring stay and the head stays and more, but the crane is done and getting ready to leave

later that day ... still some tuning to do but Ernestina looks great with her masts in place

Later that weekend a great photo from Tiny Tavares

The masts were stepped May 31 on a perfect day.  It took less than 3 hours of crane work but there are still adjustments to make as the masts and rig settle into place.

It sure is GREAT to see those spars reach into the sky again!

Thank you everyone involved.

Ernestina Masts Going Up May 31

The coins are ready and the crane is scheduled for 9 am Friday May 31.

The coin placing was documented by SouthCoastToday in print and video.

The history of the coins that were already under the masts is interesting, just as amazing as Ernestina-Morrrissey’s history.

and the new coins that will be added this year include:

A 50 escudos Cape Verdean coin presented by Tiny Tavares to SEMA President Julius Britto.

NPS Ranger Emily Prigot with the new quarter.

Coins Taken from Ernestina’s Foremast – December 9, 2011

Coins Taken from Ernestina’s Mainmast – December 9, 2011

Coins to be added for 2013 mast stepping

  • 1945 Newfoundland 5 cent piece donated by SEMA director Catherine Dempsey representing  the Captain Bob Bartlett Arctic exploration years.
  • Cape Verdean 50 Escudos donated by Tiny Tavares
  • Cape Verdean 100 Escudos donated by Laura Pires-Hester
  • 2013 “America the Beautiful” series Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial Quarter recognizing Ernestina’s partnership with the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, her special relationship with Canada and a special message to all of us from Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry  “Don’t Give Up the Ship”

Schooner Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey masts will be stepped 5/31/2013

  • new foremast donated to the Schooner Ernestina Commission by Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc.
  • Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Partnership Matching Program provided the funds for outfitting the new foremast and for the repairs and maintenance to the main mast and the ship’s rigging.

Re-Rig Project Has Begun

Leon Poindexter’s and his crew are preparing the masts and rigging and will raise the masts by June 1.  Return here often to check on the progress.

Leon and his crew began working on preparing the masts and standing rigging for re-rigging Ernestina in mid-April.

The main mast is on the left the old foremast and the new foremast still in the wrapping on the right

Rob and Leon planning out the trestle-trees and cheeks

John working on the locust cross-trees.

By the end of April the new cheeks were on the main mast and the trestle-trees were ready.

Here you can see the top of old foremast on the left and new one on the right. The Spar Shop sent it as it came out of the lathe so you can see how big the upper part of the log was before they shaped the mast. When the new spar is marked for the rigging from the old foremast the top will be cut off to size.

Check out a video of the Spar Shop lathe in action.

Once the cheeks are in place the trestle-trees ate fitted into place

Meanwhile the new foremast is shaped to receive the cheeks

This new foremast was purchased by SEMA and donated to the Ernestina Commission.   This donation was matched 2:1 by funding from DCR’s Partnership Matching Program to pay for the contractors to fit out the masts, repair the rigging and raise the masts.

By early May the top of the main mast had been repaired and was ready for capping

Fitting the cap rings on the repair.

The hardware from the old foremast was removed as needed for use on the new.

Main mast ready for paint

the top of the new foremast is measured and shaped

and the mortise on the foot is ready to fit into tenon in the mast step.

Notice the new mast has been receiving several coats of linseed oil. and the standing rigging is being repaired as needed and coated with pine tar.

Dead eyes and shear poles too

Notice the main mast foot is the opposite of the fore, here's the tenon.

new battens fitted to the main mast for gaff jaws chafe gear.

It’s mid-May and the it’s exciting to see the progress.  Soon those masts will be scraping the sky again.

the lower part of the new foremast had to be reduced to fit the mast step. How? first you make it square, then eight sided ...

then 16 sided and continue to 32 .....

until it's round and will fit the step.

the top of the new foremast is ready for the hardware for stays and topmasts

and the crosstrees are being fitted

Steve is working on the battens for the gaff jaw chafe gear on the new foremast

Crosstrees on the main are nearly finished

all the hardware for the stays and topmasts and the copper on the main are done

the oiled up new mast looks great!

Deadeyes are ready, some are refinished, some were replaced

Saturday, May 18, Rigged! Ready for paint.

Mast hoops on!

Sunday May 19, It's amazing what a difference a little white paint makes!

Landfall Sailing Club Welcomes “E”

Saturday night Julius Britto and Stephan Platzer traveled to Hingham, MA to present Ernestina’s story to the Landfall Sailing Club, a group of sailors from along the eastern and south coasts of Massachusetts who meet monthly in Weymouth, MA.

Julius explained Ernestina’s current situation and the efforts to get Ernestina sailing again.  Stephan presented  the story of the ship’s repatriation in 1982.  He is the author of “Bringing E Home”, an account of his experience as a crew member for the trans-Atlantic voyage from Cape Verde.   Ernestina, launched in Essex, MA as Effie M. Morrissey, was returned as a gift to the United States from the Republic of Cape Verde.

It was a great evening to celebrate Ernestina.  Thanks to the Landfall Sailing Club for the opportunity.

Lend a Hand

The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

is holding its Annual Volunteer Cleanup

& All American Cookout on Saturday, May 18.

Give Emily a call and let her know you’ll be there!

Spring 2013 Marketing Survey Completed

Members of the Ernestina Commission and SEMA met with students to receive the results of the  latest survey. The Schooner Ernestina Commission and the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. commissioned the University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth Charlton College of Business Center for Marketing Research to conduct a second marketing survey this spring to follow up on the information acquired last fall by the first survey.  This survey will be used in the planning for Ernestina’s future operations and programming.

We thank Dr. Nora Garmin Barnes,  Director of the Center for Marketing Research, for offering this invaluable service to Ernestina’s future.

We congratulate the students,  Amy Ingraham, Ashkan Taheri, Patrick Leonard, Joseph Veduccio, and Sanghyuk Nam for their excellent report.   With an understanding of the demand and potential return on the various activities Ernestina might undertake, the Commission, SEMA, DCR and the Ernestina community can then use this information to build a suite of programming that will help ensure a sustainable and dynamic future for a restored, sailing Ernestina.

SEMA supported the Commission again by paying 50% of the Center’s fee.

Park Serve Day Brings Spring to Ernestina

A GREAT thank you to all the volunteers who worked so hard to get the cover off Ernestina and THANKS to DCR crew Manny and Dave.

DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert told the Ernestina volunteers that they were among 5,000 volunteers in parks across the state.   During this statewide day of service, volunteers worked together to get parks and beaches across Massachusetts ready for summer by cleaning coastlines, clearing trails, planting flowers, painting picnic tables, and more.

Here’s how the day went aboard Ernestina.


9 am, a beautiful day for getting that cover off

DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert stopped by to thank the volunteers who were ready to get started.

SEMA President Julius Britto started at the bow

The plastic cover came down quick!

From past experience Volunteers devised many ingenious methods to cut the plastic overhead.

Tim Connor had his own variation, Sonny and he made a great team

Chuck Smiler brought his pruning saw!

The saw worked great for the overhead!

Meanwhile Commissioner Fred Sterner and volunteer (former crew) Katie DePrato were oiling the spars up on the pier

cordless drills were handy to remove the countless screws that held together the cover structure

DCR's Dave Pires working on the top of one of the rafters

Once the rafters were removed from the ship another crew stripped the battens that held the plastic.

Spars almost done!

What a difference, it must be spring!

the crew, What GREAT volunteers, THANK YOU!

rafters ready for storage

Great job, The Saturday crew left the rest for Monday

By Monday noon Manny and his DCR crew had removed the aft part of the cover frame

and just the forward section was left

Thanks to the DCR crew and Saturday's volunteers the cover is OFF! It is officially SPRING! and with all the work done this winter the ship looks GREAT!


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