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.

Adapting for New Work

Ernestina-Morrissey has always been working vessel. As she became “old tech” for one use she was adapted to serve another captain and function.

Ernestina-Morrissey is a State and a National Historic Landmark and any rehabilitation and change must be supervised by The Massachusetts Historical Commission. Over her life the fish-hold was morphed in to a scientific collections work and storage space, a cargo-hold, and most recently accommodations for passengers sailing on educational voyages until 2004. Change for new uses is part of her history and now plans are being drawn up up for Phase II of her rehabilitation.  As we look forward to her new mission it is valuable to look back at her past configurations as documented by the Department of the Interior’s HABS-HAER (Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record) program.

FISHING 1894-1923

ARCTIC EXPLORER 1924-1946

TRANS-ATLANTIC PACKET 1947-1982

EDUCATIONAL SAILING VESSEL 1983-2004

We are looking forward to the future of a sailing Ernestina-Morrissey.

Almost Ready for Paint!

Thanks to Robert Mitchell and Bristol Marine we have more great photos to share.  As Spring arrives in Maine Ernestina-Morrissey is undergoing the final preparations before painting. The work is on schedule to finish Phase I by  June 30. Check out last summer’s post about fairing and caulking before taking a look at the latest: 2.5 miles worth of seams to seal!

Here the last bit of the stern is being caulked. The lower planks already have the finishing seam compound. credit Robert Mitchell

The new Douglas fir aft deck is sealed. Now the sealant is being applied where the planking meets the break in the deck which steps down to the foredeck. The platform masked in blue is where the opening for the main mast will pass through to the mast step on the keel. credit Robert Mitchell

Below the waterline a mixture of roofing tar/Portland cement is being applied to seal the seam with the cotton and oakum already in place. credit Robert Mitchell

The topsides are sealed with white seam compound and here are being sanded before painting. credit Robert Mitchell

The beautifully and traditionally detailed cap rail tops the bulwarks. The scuppers are at deck level. These details will show her restored sheer here on the port side, aft. credit Robert Mitchell

This is a view from the stern looking down the port side. On the right side foreground is the hatch that will cover the steering gear. It is resting on the hatch covering the scuttle to the lazarette. credit Robert Mitchell

If you don’t already get our Newsletter you can sign up in the right-hand column HERE.

This Project to rehabilitate Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is being supported by a public/private partnership with funds from  the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Lenfest Foundation, the Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation, The Manton Foundation, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts - Mary Morley Crapo Hyde Eccles Fund, the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program, the Carney Family Foundation, the Island Foundation, other grants and many individual contributions.

You can easily access all our past posts about this project HERE.

If you would like to help just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.

Rudder

Rudder: an underwater blade that is positioned at the stern of a boat or ship and controlled by its helm and that when turned causes the vessel’s head to turn in the same direction.

In 2015 the shipyard crew removed the old rudder. This rudder was fiberglassed in Cape Verde during the reconstruction there.  The bronze gudgeons and pintles were in good shape and were saved.

The pintles (P) and gudgeons (G) connect the rudder to the prick post.

The bronze gudgeons and pintles were in good shape and were saved to be used with the new rudder.

This rudder hardware is not is not the original Essex type.  It was likely added in Seattle in 1928 when  Capt. Bartlett was headed up to the Bering Sea.

When the work on the new rudder was complete the new rudder was installed in March 2019. These photos were published by North Atlantic Shipbuilding & Repair.

The completed rudder was moved out to the dock. You can see the three bronze pintles have been attached. credit North Atlantic Shipbuilding & Repair

The crew is getting ready to lift the rudder into place. They give scale to the size of the rudder. You can see two of the three gudgeons on the prick post ready to receive the three pintles. credit North Atlantic Shipbuilding & Repair

It's a hard-hat job as the chains and straps lift the rudder into place. The top of the rudder post will be lined up to enter the shaft and then the rudder is lifted into place. credit North Atlantic Shipbuilding & Repair

The pintles are lined up with the holes in the gudgeons. credit North Atlantic Shipbuilding & Repair

The rudder post is up the shaft and the rudder is hanging on its hardware, just in time to miss this very high tide! credit North Atlantic Shipbuilding & Repair

On deck you can see the top of the rudder post shaped to receive the steering gear hardware. credit North Atlantic Shipbuilding & Repair

If you don’t already get our Newsletter you can sign up in the right-hand column HERE.

This Project to rehabilitate Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is being supported by a public/private partnership with funds from  the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Lenfest Foundation, the Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation, The Manton Foundation, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts - Mary Morley Crapo Hyde Eccles Fund, the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program, the Carney Family Foundation, the Island Foundation and other grants and private donations.

You can easily access all our past posts about this project HERE.

If you would like to help just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.

The New Rudder Is Coming Together

Robert Mitchell made another visit to the shipyard and sent along these photos.

The first two sections are fastened together. Photo Credit: Mitchell Photography

The rudder post is purpleheart. One of the defining characteristics of purpleheart wood is the strength, density, and durability of its lumber structure.  The contract with the shipyard requires the use of “best available” materials for the Ernestina-Morrissey rehabilitation project. On the right side of the post what looks like shadows are the notches for the pintels (pin on which the rudder hangs and turns) which will be inserted into the gudgeons to fasten the rudder to the prick post. (A better view) In the photo below you can see the silicon bronze rods, another example of “best available” materials, which will be driven in to hold the rudder parts together.  The ends are threaded to accept the nuts.

David prepares the surface for the next section of the rudder. Photo Credit: Mitchell Photography

The next section it lifted into place. The holes are drilled and a countersink to accommodate the nut is ready. The void around the nut will be filled and tarred as you can see in the first photo. Photo Credit: Mitchell Photography

If you don’t already get our Newsletter you can sign up in the right-hand column HERE.

This Project is being supported with funds from the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program,

You can easily access all our past posts about this project HERE.

If you would like to help just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.

The Past and the Future

We recently heard from Jose Andrade.  In the 1990′s we knew him as the deckhand

Joe onboard Ernestina in 1995 with another crewmate.

“Little Joe”.  Fred Sterner says he could throw a heaving line further than anyone.  His Dad, “Big Joe” and his Mother were, and still are,  strong supporters of Ernestina.

Joe, who learned navigation onboard Ernestina, is now navigating the skies for JetBlue. He sent along these photos and these encouraging words.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on the progress. I want to sail on her again. She was an immense part of my life growing up. The experience and the people I sailed with and learned so much from helped mold me. I want to stand on deck and feel the nostalgia.”


Jose "Little Joe" Andrade (R) and Dad (L)

We’d love to have you share your experiences and influences of your time on Ernestina-Morrissey !

CONTACT US

Decking Nearly Done, Cabin Trunk Rising.

Robert Mitchell has sent us more photos!  Thank you!  We are excited to be able to share these with you, just AMAZING!  These are of the work on the deck and cabin trunks.

Looking forward the foredeck, renewed in 2009 and oiled, is dark. It's hard to see now that the new Douglas fir decking is complete to the break in the deck. The crew is just about done bunging the fastenings and caulking the new decking. The row of white tufts is the cotton caulk near where the wheel will be. In the lower left corner you can see one of the new quarterbits and forward the bulwark cap rails are going on the stanchions. photo credit - Robert Mitchell

Here’s a post from last spring about the “break in the deck”.

Here's a closer look at the cap rail along the fore deck. You can see the windlass still in place and the opening where the new bowsprit will go. photo credit - Robert Mitchell

You can just see the top on the transom in this view of the aft cabin trunk, looking aft. This side is curved to accommodate curve of the cabin top, built so it will shed water. photo credit - Robert Mitchell

A close look at the dovetail joints at the corners of the cabin trunk. photo credit - Robert Mitchell

If you don’t already get our Newsletter you can sign up in the right-hand column HERE.

This Project is being supported with funds from the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program,

You can easily access all our past posts about this project HERE.

If you would like to help just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.

Thank you, New Bedford!

(L-R) SEMA Secretary, Mary Anne McQuillan, New Bedford Preservation Planner, Anne Louro, and SEMA President, Julius Britto

On the last Friday of 2018, Julius and Mary Anne met Anne Louro, the Preservation Planner in the offices of the New Bedford Department of Planning, Housing and Community Development, to receive a $100,000 grant from the City’s Community Preservation (CPA) funds .   ”CPA is a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. CPA also helps strengthen the local economy by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs, and by supporting the tourism industry through the preservation of a community’s historic and natural resources.”

New Bedford’s $100,000 contribution to the current rehabilitation of Ernestina-Morrissey will be matched 1:1 by The Manton Foundation, bringing SEMA very close to completing our $1 million pledge toward the rehabilitation project.  In addition to The Manton Foundation, SEMA’s campaign has been supported by the Mary Morley Crapo Hyde Eccles Fund (of CFSEMA), The Carney Family Charitable Foundation, Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation, The Island Foundation and by thousands of individual donations from those committed to SEMA’s mission to see the historic Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey working as a cultural and educational vessel for the benefit of the public again.

It’s not too late to join them and send a gift to SEMA’s 2018 Annual Appeal!

Soon Ernestina-Morrissey will be sailing in New Bedford Harbor again! photo credit R. Morin

As we said in our grant application: “New Bedford needs a certified, sailing Ernestina-Morrissey to return. She is a proven platform for excellence in education and a striking focal point on the New Bedford waterfront, masts rising to the sky. She is a matter of pride for Cape Verdean Americans, a touchstone to the past for the shipbuilding and fishing industry, an example for scientists and explorers who look to her Arctic history for inspiration and a happy memory for the thousands of excited students and citizens who experienced home port New Bedford as a route to Buzzards Bay and beyond. In addition to preserving this irreplaceable icon of Massachusetts’ maritime history, and providing exemplary educational programming, this project will provide recreational opportunities for residents to experience New Bedford’s maritime character by sailing out on the water surrounding this City whose history is tied so closely to the sea. Throughout the year Ernestina-Morrissey will be flying the New Bedford flag as the she sails to ports in Massachusetts and beyond.  As an irreplaceable example of the best of our maritime history: Fishing, Exploration, Immigration, Education and Service to our Nation, she is New Bedford at its best!”

Thank You, New Bedford!!

Transom’s Done, All Hull Planking Complete!

On October 25 this was the only opening left in the sides of Ernestina-MorrisseyShutter Plank day had arrived.

The last opening is ready for the shutter plank, the ceiling clamps are in place to hold the plank tight until the fastenings can be inserted.

This last plank “shuts up” the hull and is 26 feet long, 3 inches thick like all the planking,  and from nearly 6 inches wide at the butt end to 4+ inches at the transom end.

SEMA President Julius Britto and his wife Sandra explain the names to a visitor.

The whole plank has two caulking bevels, top and bottom (the sides in this photo).  The names are inscribed on the inside of the plank.

The seam above and below the shutter plank has to be caulked so two bevels are shaped.

The shutter or whiskey plank was inscribed with the names chosen by Whiskey Plank Club members and others whose contributions combined to make a sailing future for Ernestina-Morrissey possible.

The crew assembled to commemorate the last plank. Thank you, Robert Mitchell! photo credit: Mitchell Photography CONNECTIONS Publishing inc. October 25, 2018

Then the plank was carried to Ernestina-Morrissey.

The plank was brought in from the bow to be able to clear all the staging.

All the tools and wood blocks are in place, ready to use.

It takes quite a bit of maneuvering to bring the plank into place.

Linseed oil is applied to the inside of the plank.

From this perspective you can see how long the plank is.

While most of the crew works on the shutter plank the caulker continues driving the oakum in over the cotton caulking. There is nearly a mile of seams in Ernestina-Morrissey.

The butt end is going into place.

Clamping the butt end. The rest of the crew has to be sure the plank is lined up exactly and not twisted at all while the clamp is tightened.

Willy Leather calls for more leverage from the transom end.

Clamping the midsection.

Blocks of wood keep the head of the clamp from denting the plank.

Mary Anne McQuillan and Julius Britto with the honor of "bringing it home".

John Bullard and Julius finish the job. VIDEO LINK

The ends of the last few planks will be trimmed and then the transom can be finished.

Three weeks later the last plank goes into the transom.

The last plank goes into the transom. Thank you, Robert Mitchell! photo credit: Mitchell Photography CONNECTIONS Publishing inc. November 16, 2018

Picture in your mind when this transom says: Ernestina-Morrissey - New Bedford .... Thank you, Robert Mitchell! photo credit: Mitchell Photography CONNECTIONS Publishing inc. November 16, 2018

This Project is being supported with funds from the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program,

You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.

To help support this project please press the yellow DONATE button at the right.

A Milestone Reached, Thanks All Around!

The last plank for the rehabilitation of Ernestina-Morrissey was placed on October 25, 2018 at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Julius Britto and John Bullard celebrating a job well done!

Some of you have stopped by the shipyard to watch the progress and you know how truly amazing the work the shipwrights are doing to bring Ernestina-Morrissey back to sailing condition again. We try to give you an idea with the photos and information on this page, but you really need to stand there and watch to appreciate work that is being done. Ernestina-Morrissey will be, as Julius told the Commission this week, “a superior ship that the Commonwealth will be proud to have as the Official Vessel” Thank you to the talented crew at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor!

Thank you, Robert Mitchell! photo credit: Mitchell Photography CONNECTIONS Publishing inc. October 25, 2018

Before the installation, the last or “shutter” plank was inscribed with the names chosen by members of SEMA’s Whiskey Plank Club and others whose contributions combined to make a sailing future for Ernestina-Morrissey possible.

Thank you Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

Thank you to Governor Baker and Governor Patrick whose vision of the future is assuring that we have a “superior ship”.  Thank you to the governor-appointed Schooner Ernestina Commission, working with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to oversee the work and plan a future for Ernestina-Morrissey that will serve the citizens of Massachusetts and will honor the diverse constituencies that treasure the vessel, from descendants of Gloucester fishermen, Arctic explorers and scientists, Cape Verdean-Americans and thousands of people that sailed, learned and celebrated aboard Ernestina after she returned to Massachusetts in 1982.

Thank you to both Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest and Bob Hildreth who were instrumental in convincing the Commonwealth that there would be private financial support that together with public funds would provide sufficient resources to rehabilitate Ernestina-Morrissey and ensure that  she would sail again.  Thank you to the other “convincers” who were all the members of SEMA who continue to support the vessel with their donations and by communicating how and why they value her.

The names of the early captains whose decisions ensured that Ernestina-Morrissey will go down in history as the most important working vessel, even as she sails into her future!

It is inspiring to see the many names of the generations who have supported Ernestina-Morrissey, from the descendants of Gloucester fishermen and Arctic explorers, to generations of Cape Verdean-Americans and all the “crew” who have loved the vessel since 1982.  Above are inscriptions from the Education, Bartlett and Cape Verdean eras.  All the inscriptions, supported by donations from Whiskey Plank Club Members were mixed together like this one.  Effie M. Morrissey’s and Ernestina’s crews together!

John Bullard, who attended the ceremony, said “We celebrate this milestone in her journey to rebirth.  To come this far in her restoration is a testament to SEMA, the City of New Bedford, and the highest levels of state government working together with a common goal.  It is our shared anticipation of her future teaching the public about ocean science and maritime history that excites us most.”

Julius Britto was beaming as he said, “The craftsmanship and materials used in this revival of the Ernestina-Morrissey will make everyone associated with this project proud.  Those who participate in her future cultural, educational and sailing programs will receive a world class experience.”

This Project is being supported with funds from the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program,

You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.

To help support this project please press the yellow DONATE button at the right.

Thank You, Whiskey Plank Club Sponsors!

Under cool, sunny skies the ceremonial, final “shutter” plank was laid into the hull of New Bedford’s very own historic, Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.  The October 25th event marked a major milestone in the complete rebuild of the Schooner that has been ongoing since the Spring of 2015.

The crew gathered around the plank just prior to installation to document the event. This shows all the names inscribed on the plank's inside surface. Thank you, Robert Mitchell! photo credit: Mitchell Photography CONNECTIONS Publishing inc. October 25, 2018

It was an emotional event enjoyed by all, marked by the blessing of the plank with Gloucester rum, Canadian whiskey, Cape Verdean grogue and Buzzards Bay Sow & Pigs beer. The libations represented the vessel’s unique history as a Grand Banks fishing schooner, an Arctic explorer, a Cape Verdean trans-Atlantic packet, and most recently, a cultural and educational sail-training vessel and the Official Vessel of Massachusetts.  The plank was inscribed with the names of donors to the Whiskey Plank Club.

Gloucester’s #RyanandWood Folly Cove Rum, Canadian Whiskey, New Bedford’s #BiscaClub 's Cape Verdean Grogue and South Coast’s #BuzzardsBayBrew 's Sow and Pigs. Representing all the parts of Ernestina-Morrissey's history.

These sponsors provided the libations which made this event special:

Gloucester’s Ryan and Wood’s Distilleries for Folly Cove Rum,

SEMA members for Canadian Whiskey for the Arctic years,

New Bedford’s Bisca Tournament Club for Cape Verdean Grogues: St. Antao and Brava,

and South Coast’s Buzzards Bay Brewery for Sow and Pigs beer.

Representing all the parts of Ernestina-Morrissey‘s amazing history.

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This Project is being supported with funds from the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program,

You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.

To help support this project please press the yellow DONATE button at the right.

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