The latest report from the shipyard is that the framing of Ernestina-Morrissey is complete!
For more photos and reports on the progress check the January Commission Report.
Harold Burnham, DCR Owners Representative for the Ernestina-Morrissey project, presented at a panel for the Tall Ships America Annual Meeting. The theme for the conference was “The Way of a Ship: Linking our History, Heritage and Future.” , with one topic being Historic ship preservation and utilization. The panel discussed Maritime Heritage and included representatives from the USS Constitution, the Schooner Adventure, and the Schooner Ernestina Morrissey, all historic ships undergoing rehabilitation. Good company for Ernestina-Morrissey!
Save the Date!
SEMA RECEIVES $375,000 Challenge Grant from Manton Foundation!!!
The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. (SEMA) announced the receipt of a $375,000 1:1 challenge grant from The Manton Foundation. The funding will support the final stage of the three year, $6.3 million-dollar restoration/rehabilitation of the historic Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.
Julius Britto, President of SEMA, stated; “We are enormously grateful to The Manton
Foundation for approving this most generous grant at such a critical stage in our campaign. The challenge gives SEMA a powerful catalyst to raise the $750,000 needed to complete the project. We are also grateful to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and numerous private donors who already contributed $5,550,000 to the project, which launched in 2015.”
The Ernestina-Morrissey is a National Historic Landmark Vessel and the Official Vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She was launched in Essex, Massachusetts in 1894 as a Grand Banks dory fishing schooner and subsequently made 20 voyages as an Arctic exploration vessel under the legendary Captain Bob Bartlett. The Ernestina-Morrissey was then purchased by Captain Henrique Mendes, who used her as a trans-Atlantic and inter- island Cape Verde packet. She was rebuilt and presented to the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Republic of Cape Verde as a living symbol of the connections between the two countries, and served as an ambassador for the Commonwealth, a sail training vessel, and sea classroom before becoming a shore side exhibit in New Bedford.
Upon completion of the most recent renovation, currently underway in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, the hull will meet Coast Guard standards for an “Ocean License,” a necessary requirement for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to add the vessel to its fleet. Thus, the Ernestina-Morrissey can begin yet another chapter in her remarkable life: training new generations of mariners, continuing to provide public programing, and serving as a sailing ambassador for the Commonwealth and our maritime heritage.
Anyone interested in helping SEMA meet the match can use the Donate button at the right.
Year End at the Shipyard
Happy New Year Ernestina-Morrissey! We look forward to exciting progress in 2017.
Phil Smith, a longtime friend of the ship visited the Shipyard last month. He shared some great photos.
About a week later photos from Harold show the bulkhead between the fo’c'sle and the engine room has been removed and the new frames are now resting on the keel and supporting the deck.
During December work continued on the forward part of the ship.
Check the Heavy Lifting post for what it looked like.
Thank all of you who have made this possible. The SEMA board members are working hard and will have exciting news in the New Year. Consider helping this work to ensure a SAILING future for Ernestina-Morrissey. Please DONATE.
Your support can make a real difference! Give Today!
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.