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2016 has been an exciting year for Ernestina-Morrissey and you can be a part of it!
The title of Chester Brigham’s excellent “biography” of the schooner, Phoenix of the Sea, speaks to the multiple times she has emerged from what looked like her end to begin new chapters in her life story. From fishing vessel, to Arctic explorer, Cape Verdean Packet, to maritime educator, this National Historic Landmark Vessel, Official Vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park has time and again survived difficult circumstances and flourished. Which leads us to her current situation.
The thrilling work now on-going at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard is replacing tired wood that has faithfully done its work with new strong timbers. It’s occurring now because a public/ private partnership has provided $5.3 million dollars of the $6.3 million required to rehabilitate her hull to Coast Guard Ocean Certificate standards.
Why is this important? It’s important because once Ernestina-Morrissey meets the standards required to receive an Ocean Certificate, Massachusetts Maritime Academy will become her steward; incorporating her into their curricula, having cadets living aboard and sailing her, and continuing to offer summer programing out of New Bedford.
SEMA has pledged to raise the $1 million remaining required to finish the hull rehabilitation, and your support can make a real difference in this effort! We have just $750,000 left to reach our goal.
Please give as generously as you can and support Ernestina-Morrissey’s latest Phoenix like transition to a new dynamic important life and role.
Join us and others, and be a part of both her historic past and her future. Donate Today!
Julius Britto and the SEMA Board of Directors
Fall in the Shipyard
In September the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard requested an amendment to Ernestina-Morrissey’s rehabilitation contract. Project Director David Short recommended additional frame and plank replacement in the bow. The Commission and DCR approved the change and the work has started.
Summer’s Over in the Shipyard
Philanthropists Gerry Lenfest and Bob Hildreth viewed the progress on Ernestina-Morrissey’s rehabilitation in August. Together they have provided $2.8 million toward this project and we thank them for their continued interest in the future of the ship. Join them, DONATE TODAY!
DCR’s Harold Burnham and the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard crew explained the work completed so far and demonstrated some of the processes they use as they rebuild Ernestina-Morrissey’s hull.
Here are some videos of the demonstrations:
At the September Schooner Ernestina Commission meeting Harold and Wendy explained that Boothbay Harbor Shipyard has proposed full replacement of frames forward of Frame #24. DCR and Harold Burnham considered the proposal and requested a change order for $135,000 and a contract extension to June 2019. The Commission approved these changes. Here is the progress report presented at that meeting.
Phase 1 Hull Overhaul
- Futtocks cut and frames assembled to frame #35
- Boothbay Harbor has proposed full replacement of frames forward of Frame #24. DCR and Harold Burnham considering proposal and requested change order for $135,000.
- Boothbay requesting contract extension to June 2019
- More Danish oak and framing wood delivered
- Naval architect submitted sketches to USCG
- Research on tonnage continues
- Gerry Lenfest and Bob Hildreth (and company) visited the shipyard on 8/30/16 and were pleased with the operation; discussion of Phase 2
Phase 2 Fit Out and Certification
- Phase 2 scope and rough preliminary developed, shared with SEC, MMA, SEMA; Harold Burnham working to refine scope, specifications and costs, will consult with other experts and MMA
- Private donors require formal agreement with MMA to take the vessel if they are to be involved in Phase 2 (no funding commitments for Phase 2 were discussed or offered)
- Need to return to State Pier to complete inventory (DCR, Harold Burnham)
Recycle + History = Art
This summer artists from the SouthCoast visited New Bedford State Pier to glean surplus material from the Ernestina-Morrissey storage area. Chuck Smiler and Gallery X‘s Chuck Hauck organized this opportunity for artists to “re-purpose” the material they gleaned with the cooperation of the Schooner Ernestina Commission and the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s project manager and pier manager. The Recycle+History=Art exhibit and sale were in conjunction with Gallery X’s Ship Shape: Boats and Boatbuilding exhibit. The sale of the works of art resulted in a donation of over $1,000 to Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association to benefit the ship’s rehabilitation.
Thank you to all the artists that participated. The beautiful work they produced is a wonderful way to connect the community with the Ernestina-Morrissey. Some of the pieces are still available. Contact Gallery X for information.
Why is there African Mahogany from a ship built in Essex, Massachusetts in 1894?
A knee is a structural element in the frame of a wooden ship. The Ernestina was renovated in Cape Verde in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Cape Verde has no history of wooden ship-building because the timber necessary to build ships does not grow there. But the islands have a long history of and much expertise in ship repair. Many Essex schooners were, at the end of their usefulness to U.S. owners were bought by Cape Verdeans like Captain Henrique Mendes and used as packets and whalers based in the Cape Verde Islands. Hardwoods were brought from mainland Africa to repair these vessels. That is how wood from Ernestina, originally built in Essex of American oak and pine, came to include tropical hardwoods.
The African mahogany found in some of the pieces in this exhibit came from scraps of wood that were removed from the ship during repairs done in the past.
New Commissioners Introduced
At a recent Commission meeting three recently sworn in members were introduced to the attendees. Dagny Ashley is the designee of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. Dagny is the Director of Tourism & Marketing, Destination New Bedford, for the City of New Bedford. Jonathan Carvalho is the designee of the Massachusetts Department of Education. Jonathan is the Community and Public Affairs Manager for the New Bedford Public Schools. Ed DePina brings financial expertise to the Commission. Ed is an Assistant Vice President for State Street Corporation.
The new Ernestina-Morrissey banner was donated by Brewer Banner Designs. Thank you!
Save the Date
There are a few events to share in September and if you can volunteer some time in Gloucester on September 3 or New Bedford on September 24 please CONTACT US.
Gloucester Schooner Festival and Maritime Heritage Day
The 32nd annual Gloucester Schooner Festival will be September 2-4, 2016. Part of the festivities is the Maritime Heritage Day on Saturday September 3. Come to Gloucester, check out the SEMA table ( and maybe help out) and find out about the progress at the Shipyard.
Ship Shape: Boats and Boatbuilding Opening Reception
Opening reception Sept 3rd. 5—8 PM
Gallery X 169 William ST New Bedford, MA
Check out some of the art!
The Upper William St. Neighborhood Festival
The Upper William St. Neighborhood Festival from noon until 4:00 PM on September 24 hosted by the Gallery and the First Unitarian Church of New Bedford.
Ship Shape: Boats and Boatbuilding exhibit will also be a central feature of the Festival.
During the festival the New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus, begun as a Schooner Ernestina volunteer activity, will host Sea Music at Tryworks from 11:30am until 6:00pm in the auditorium of the First Unitarian Church parish house on Eighth St., New Bedford.
169 William ST.
New Bedford, MA 02740
Gallery hours – Wed.-Fri. and Sat. & Sun. 11am-3pm;
AHA! Nights (second Thursday of each month 5am-9PM
Partially funded by The Island Foundation, and friends and supporters of Gallery X
Ship Shape will run concurrently with an exhibit of the paintings of Donald Beal and David Paulsen in the Frederick Douglass Gallery on the lower level of Gallery X
Partially Funded by the Island Foundation and Friends and Members of Gallery X.
Sea Music at Tryworks
During The Upper William St. Neighborhood Festival the New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus, begun as a Schooner Ernestina volunteer activity, will host Sea Music at Tryworks from 11:30am until 6:00pm in the Auditorium of the First Unitarian Church parish house on Eighth St., New Bedford.
Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days
The summer had a great kick-off for Ernestina-Morrissey with an invitation to Boothbay Harbor’s Windjammer Days. The vessel was celebrated along with the schooners of the Maine Windjammer Fleet. With the center of the action at Whale Park, just two blocks from the Shipyard, many visitors walked up from our table display to view the rehabilitation progress.
The Friends of Windjammer Days and Boothbay Harbor Shipyard held a reception and tour of the Ernestina-Morrissey which was a huge success. Thank you to Eric Graves and especially Ross Branch for his excellent commentary on the phase 2 rebuild project.
They raised a donation in the amount of $400 for the rehabilitation which Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. gratefully received.
Cape Verdean Recognition Parade
On July 2, Derek Stevens, SEMA director, led the Ernestina-Morrissey contingent in the Cape Verdean Recognition Parade.
Recycle + History = ART
SouthCoast artists made several visits to the Ernestina-Morrissey storage area at State Pier this summer answering the call to create artwork made with recycled items from the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey. With support from DCR and the Schooner Ernestina Commission SEMA provided surplus and other material which was beyond usefulness on a sailing ship. This initiative was spearheaded by SEMA volunteer Chuck Smiler and Chuck Hauck from Gallery X.
GALLERY X – SHIP SHAPE: the Art of Boats and Boatbuilding
To feature ART OF THE ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY and
Recycle + History = ART from salvage relating to SV Ernestina-Morrissey
The Gallery X September show, Ship Shape: Boats and Boatbuilding, will include ART OF THE ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY highlighting and celebrating the Official Vessel of the Commonwealth, the historic Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey. A portion of this section of the show will be new artwork created from material that was salvaged from or used in connection with the schooner. Seventeen artists received material from the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. (SEMA), made available by the Massachusetts Schooner Ernestina Commission through the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The artists’ media include found-object and wood sculpture, stained and painted glass, jewelry, wood turning, nautical ropework, mobiles and more. Half of the proceeds of sale of this “Recycle” art will be contributed to SEMA towards its fundraising for the current rebuilding of the Ernestina-Morrissey at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, in Boothbay, Maine.
Visit Gallery X Facebook Page for more information.
Onset Cape Verdean Festival
SEMA President Julius Britto with Sandy Britto and Director Derek Stevens greeted the many festival-goers on a beautiful day in Onset.
National Park Service Centennial
The New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus helped Ernestina-Morrissey celebrate the NPS Centennial with performances at both the Salem and New Bedford National Historical Parks.
At the Salem Maritime Festival we were excited to see that the Essex Shipbuilding Museum brought along the “Little Effie” a 1/6 scale model of Ernestina-Morrissey built by Fred Littleton, a Bartlett Boy in 1940. Fred sailed his “Little Effie” in company (scroll down for photos) with Ernestina when she visited Martha’s Vineyard.
In New Bedford at the August AHA! #FindYourPark the Chorus shared a song celebrating the NPS Centennial. The video can be viewed on the NBWNHP Facebook page.
July at the Shipyard
The ship is starting to look like herself again. It’s like watching a house frame going up. It seems like you will be able to move in in a month, and then all the rest of the building begins. It will be a couple more years to get her floating again but it will be WORTH IT!
Thank You, Fred Sterner
From Schooner Ernestina Commission Chairperson, Laura Pires-Hester.
“On behalf of the Schooner Ernestina Commission and all the lovers and supporters of Ernestina-Morrissey, I want to extend deep thanks and appreciation to Fred Sterner, who has served faithfully as a Commissioner since appointment by former Governor Deval Patrick in the fall of 2011. Throughout his tenure on the Commission, Fred has brought not only his technical expertise but also his passion and thoughtful observations and assessments to bear on the Commission’s deliberations. His maritime experience and skills have been invaluable as we have continued to seek the well-being of this historic and unique vessel, and to be good stewards of this amazing gift from the Republic of Cabo Verde.
Fred’s maritime experience is wide-ranging. In addition to having a 200-ton near-coastal Masters License/sail endorsement, he also holds unlimited radar and fire-fighting certificates. But his experience includes more than the requisite credentials. He has done rigging work for the New Bedford Whaling Museum on the famous Lagoda and Tea Party Museum ships. During the winters he has been Mate/Engineer of the Spirit of Massachusetts and the Harvey Gamage, and served as Engineer on the Corwith Cramer (in the Caribbean) and the Robert C. Seamans (in the Pacific) as part of Sea Education Association. For a couple of winters, he worked full time on the Ernestina when she was at Fairhaven Marine for repair work. His has been a consistent voice of advocacy and care for the Schooner’s proper stewardship, and ensuring her dynamic and purposeful life for generations to come. It has been a pleasure to serve with him on the Commission, and I know that he will continue to do whatever he can for her future.”
Three new Commissioners will be introduced at the September 22 meeting.
June at the Shipyard
Work is progressing on the Ernestina-Morrissey. Here’s what the ship looked like at the end of June.
And now to the new stern framing.
In June the crew was finishing up the cant frames, working forward to the frames that rest on the new keel.
The stern structure is in place now. This photo from last year will help visualize how it all fits.
The frame sections had to be lifted over the forward frame into the gap. You can watch the process here.
Once the frame is in place it is fastened to the deadwood with silicon-bronze bolts.
Check more photos in our Flickr album.