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.

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.

Busy Spring for Ernestina

Paul Alexio, DCR Supervisor, and volunteers have been busy since the winter cover came off.  And the planning for Ernestina-Morrissey’s future continues.

Capt. Harold Burnham and Naval Architect Garrett Norton conduct stability tests with water filled barrels

Harold is consulting for DCR on the plans for Ernestina.

Aft cabin hatch repaired.

The galley hatch has been re-glazed and repaired.

Ernestina has a new Charlie Noble thanks to a donation from SEMA and the expertise and labor of Dennis Tetrault’s Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies students at Greater New Bedford Regional-Vocational Technical High School.

Linking Ernestina-Morrissey’s Lives

We love it when Ernestina-Morrissey’s lives intertwine!

David Langdon, who's the Great-Great-Great Grandson of John Fletcher Wonson the first owner of the Morrissey met SEMA Director Derek Stevens, who's the Great Grandson of Henrique Mendes the Cape Verdean Captain who renamed the ship Ernestina in 1948


The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park sponsored a Park-wide clean-up recently.  SEMA volunteers took that opportunity to organize Ernestina’s interpretive materials in preparation for the Charles W. Morgan New Bedford Homecoming.  If you would like to help please CONTACT us.

Chuck Smiler paces of the largest Ernestina Banner

Cleaning and organizing the interpreter's shed.

Annie, Sarah and Chuck organizing the interpreter's materials for the summer season

Volunteers for New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park's Lend-A-Hand Day clean the planting beds at Coast Guard Park, Ernestina's front yard.

Ernestina”s Role in Cape Verdean Culture

The New Bedford Historical Society sponsored an exploration of Cape Verdean culture at the National Park recently.  SEMA President Julius Britto and Director Derek Stevens participated.  Derek is Henrique Mendes’ great-grandson.  Julius spoke passionately about the importance od the great sailing Cape Verdean packet ships, well described in this Standard Times article. Click on Len Cabral’s photo to scroll through the rest of the photos.

A New Charlie Noble for Ernestina

Ernestina has a new Charlie Noble thanks to a donation from SEMA and the expertise and labor of Dennis Tetrault’s Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies students at Greater New Bedford Regional-Vocational Technical High School.  They took the old rusted-out part and fabricated a new one.  Here’s how:

As you can see the old part's rough rusty edges were too dangerous to leave on the ship.

The first thing the students had to do was create a pattern from the old part.

The stack has some complicated joints.

Cutting the stock to size.

The saw blade is lubricated to insure no distortion.

The top of the main stack

Grinding the joints smooth

The smoother the joint, the better the weld.

The hole in the cross piece.

the stack and cross piece



Then the baffles have to be fitted to the cross piece. These prevent water from entering the smoke stack.

another perfect joint!

Next ... welding

jigs hold the work in position to insure proper alignment

More grinding to smooth the edges

Benjamin Gilchrest and Justin Bamber did a great job!

Here's the new Charlie Noble in place on Ernestina.

A huge THANK YOU to the students and staff of Greater New Bedford Regional-Vocational Technical High School for making a new Charlie Noble.  We are looking forward to the time you can come for a sail when the ship regains Coast Guard certification.  Your work will show the many visitors during the Charles W. Morgan Homecoming Celebration that New Bedford is proud to be the home port of  Schooner Ernestina, Massachusetts Official Vessel.

Meghan Kish Named Superintendent of NBWNHP

Philadelphia, PA – Meghan Kish has been selected as the next superintendent to lead New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and Roger Williams National Memorial. Kish replaces Jennifer Nersesian, who is now superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area. Kish most recently served as chief of interpretation, education, and outreach at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (NRA) in California, and brings nine years of experience in the National Park Service (NPS).

“Meghan’s ability to establish and maintain effective teamwork, and inspire, motivate, guide, and challenge others towards goal accomplishment makes her an excellent choice for this important position,” said Regional Director Mike Caldwell.

While at Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Kish provided leadership and management for a complex interpretation, education, and outreach operation. She led the park through the design and construction of a new state-of-the-art Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) platinum visitor center, and established a new branch for community outreach and volunteerism to better engage underserved park audiences.

On accepting the new assignment, Kish said, “I am incredibly excited to work with the communities, partners and staff at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and Roger Williams National Memorial. I am honored to be given the opportunity to further the already successful community partnerships that share the parks’ rich histories and provide benefit to local communities.”

Kish has a wide range of experience in both private and public organizations. She has worked for the National Park Foundation, the Department of Interior’s National Invasive Species Council, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama.

Kish began her career with the NPS in 2005 as a business plan consultant at Fire Island National Seashore, and then worked in Washington DC for NPS’s Budget Office and as Chief of Resource Management and Visitor Services at Rock Creek Park. She has held seasonal positions at the Washington Monument, Shenandoah National Park and Glacier National Park. Kish holds a master of environmental management from Duke University, and a bachelor of science from Stanford University.

Kish begins her new assignment on June 29th, 2014. She will be joined by her husband and young son. For more information on New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park or Roger Williams National Memorial, please visit their websites at:, and

It’s Spring! The Cover is OFF!

Saturday April 26 was DCR’s Park Serve Day.

Despite the rain over 20 volunteers mustered to help take off the winter cover.  With the assistance of several DCR staff and an early start, the job was done before noon.  Some of the crew started at 8 am to try to get ahead of the forecasted rain and despite of reports of downpours in other areas the heaviest rain held off until the job was done.  Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey is Massachusetts’ Official Vessel and the volunteers were proof of that with some traveling from Boston and the western part of the Commonwealth to help out.

Step 1, Remove the plastic, here Ernestina's new DCR Supervisor, Paul Alexio, uses an improvised cutter.

Volunteer Joe Pacheco freeing the starboard side while his son Joey bags the trash.

The crew made short work of the plastic.

The cover was off the bow before 9

Screw guns made quick work of the fastenings

Soon the ribs were passed up to the pier so the battens and plastic could be removed.

There were a lot of screws!

By 10 the midsection was off

The aft beam will stay until next week but the forward rails were removed.

and the last few ribs are cleaned up.

Justin Keith, Nicky Cosio, Gigi McCoy and Mike Galvin

The Galvin family working for the third year in memory of their father Vasco Galvao who was a crew member on Ernestina in the early 1950′s and settled in the US in 1956.

Mary Meehan is ready to go sailing!

The aft beam of the cover has to be removed with a crane. Some ribs were left until that work can be done.

Thanks to all the DCR staff and the volunteers who made short work of this project.  Now Ernestina is beginning to look like summer is coming!

Ernestina’s Dories are Getting Ready for Summer

DCR’s winter maintenance staff, David Pires has brought one of Ernestina’s dories to the workshop to get it ready for summer.

Commissioner Fred Sterner and DCR's David Pires discuss the work needed.

The Commission plans to have a dory to display alongside the ship during The New Bedford Homecoming of the Charles W. Morgan this summer.

A few days later and the dory is ready for the water.

Motion Meets the Ocean

Schooner Ernestina has been recognized by The Zeiterion as a “Water Steward of the SouthCoast”   The “Z” invited SEMA and other area water stewards to share our activities with their audience at the performance of “Scattered” by Motionhouse.

SEMA Secretary Mary Anne McQuillan and volunteer Joseph Pacheco

Support this great community institution and thank them for their support of Ernestina.  Come to the performance on Saturday, tickets at the box office or online.

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