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.

An Important Step Toward Ernestina-Morrissey’s Future

We applaud the hard work of Senator Mark Montigny along with Senator Vitiato deMacedo, Senator Michael Rodrigues and Senator Marc Pacheco.  This vote in the Senate brings us closer to a SAILING Ernestina-Morrissey!  “The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration.” Thank you, Senator Montigny!

FROM THE OFFICE OF SENATOR MARK C. MONTIGNY

CHAIR, SENATE COMMITTEE ON STEERING & POLICY

Press Release

September 5, 2019

Senate Approves Montigny Ernestina Legislation

Senator’s bill is key to finalizing vessel’s restoration and long-term maintenance

BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts State Senate engrossed Senator Mark Montigny’s legislation to complete the long-anticipated restoration of the historic Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.  The Senate Committee on Ways and Means reported the bill favorably in the morning followed by unanimous approval by the full Senate later the same day.  The legislation will permit the Commonwealth to receive significant funding form private philanthropy, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in renovation costs.  The bill also seeks to honor the strong ties between the historic vessel and local Cape Verdean community.

Senator Montigny has long supported the vessel’s restoration in collaboration with the local delegation.  Since 2015, the vessel has been undergoing a complete restoration at Boothbay Harbor, Maine thanks to a combination of legislative earmarks and generous donations from Philanthropists Robert Hildreth and the late H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, totaling approximately $2.8 million.  The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association (SEMA) also pledged $1 million.

Montigny began drafting S2287 earlier this year with input from the Academy, DCR, and other interested stakeholders.  He also ensured that the bill designates New Bedford as the vessel’s home port in perpetuity and requires significant access for New Bedford school children at no cost.  The Ernestina-Morrissey will also be made available in New Bedford for major cultural events such as the annual Cape Verdean Recognition Week.

“For decades, the people of New Bedford cared for and maintained the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey,” said Senator Montigny, who has long-supported capital and operating needs for the Ernestina-Morrissey during his Senate career.  “This meant we had to forgo public funding for other worthy projects in order to ensure we had the funding necessary to keep the Ernestina at sea.  After many years and countless, dedicated volunteers, we are now poised to complete a fully restored vessel accompanied by a thoughtful long-term maintenance and operations plan.  I am thankful for the Senate’s approval today and look forward to swift action in the House.”

With Phase I of the restoration project nearly complete, long-term plans to ensure the vessel’s operations and maintenance are now underway.  The Massachusetts Maritime Academy will assume control of the Commonwealth’s official vessel to provide for its operations and maintenance while still maintaining the vessel’s local connection with New Bedford.  The Academy, with the assistance of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, will ensure the Ernestina-Morrissey is docked in New Bedford at no cost for residents, school children, and tourists when not in use for training or official voyages.

These plans, however, are dependent upon legislation to formally transfer the vessel to the Academy and state appropriations to ensure the annual operations and maintenance needs are funded.  In May, Montigny worked with Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues and Senator Viriato deMacedo to secure $500,000 in the FY20 Senate Budget.  This funding has been secured in the final budget.

The legislation is cosponsored by Senator Viriato deMacedo (R-Plymouth), Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-New Bedford), Representative Christopher Hendricks (D-New Bedford), and Representative David Vieira (R-Falmouth).  Former New Bedford Mayor John Bullard has also played a key role in facilitating the connection between the private donors and the Commonwealth.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

SEMA Selected for Don Turner Award

The Board of Trustees of the USS Constitution Museum has selected Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association to receive the 2019 Don Turner Award.  This award recognizes a person or team of people who have contributed significantly to efforts to preserve important vessels. We will proudly accept this award on behalf of all SEMA members, donors and supporters who have helped us give voice to our conviction that in order to honor her past and serve the Commonwealth in the future, Ernestina-Morrissey must be SAILING!

off Isles of Shoals - photo credit: Susan Bank

From Award letter:

“The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association has demonstrated its dedication to preserve, protect, and restore this ship.  While pursuing the fundraising needed for the restoration, the Association continued to contribute to public education about the ship’s history, documentation about her restoration, volunteer maintenance, and consistent advocacy for her rich archives of historic records and objects.”

We are all honored to be in the company of the amazing people and organizations that have received past Don Turner Awards!  And we thank The Board of Trustees of the USS Constitution Museum for recognizing the importance of Ernestina-Morrissey to the Commonwealth and the Nation.

Tickets are available for anyone who wishes to attend the ceremony on the USS Constitution on September 12.

Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days

We visited the Shipyard in June during Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days.  Bristol Marine held a reception on Monday to share the work they are doing. Ross Branch described the work and the shipwrights provided an above and below deck tour of the progress since last year.

Many people toured the work during Bristol Marine's Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor's Reception during Windjammer Days in June and made generous contributions to SEMA!

Celebrating her Ernestina years as a Cape Verdean Packet under Capt. Henrique Mendes.

Celebrating Effie M. Morrissey's Arctic years under Capt. Bob Bartlett.

Here’s a remote version of the tour:

You will have to agree the Shipyard is doing a superb job.

Her name honors all the parts of her history, all stories to be proud of!

To compare, here’s what she looked like a year ago, June 2018.

June 2019

The new bowsprit

The forward end of the bowsprit hardware

New, port side, fore mast chain plates

The freeing port (''dog door'') at the break in the deck

The newly painted starboard quarter

Port side, looking aft, the pin rail and tops of the chain plates for the main mast shrouds.

Looking aft to the new aft deck and deck houses and in the foreground, the deck installed during the 2009 rebuild

The fo'c'sle showing the new shear shelf (white) and the African hardwood sampson post from the Cape Verdean rebuild and the deck beams 2009 rebuild.

And David Short sent these photos, it must be painted by now!

David Short working on carving Ernestina-Morrissey into the rail. You have to start in the center to get it right!

There was a lot more to see!  The next step, the contract for Phase II.

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.

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

You can easily access all our past posts about the Ernestina-Morrissey rehabilitation project HERE.

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

42 Years Ago: Bajanga Remembered

We are nearing the 37th anniversary of Ernestina-Morrissey’s return to Massachusetts as a gift to the people of the United States from the Republic of Cabo Verde.  John Braman recently sent us this story about some of the efforts to make that return possible.  He was the “Representative of Friends of Ernestina” in Cape Verde, funded by an Arnold Fellowship from Brown University in 1977. He lived in Mindelo for about 6 months, working with the government on the vision for the ship’s purpose in the U.S. and ways to fund the restoration. He interviewed most of the crew of the 1975 attempted crossing. In a rolling sea, running downwind, the main boom jibed across with such force that the stays parted, and down went the mast. A very close call for the crew! And all of this happened only a few miles from port!”

1978 Eugenio das Dores Lopes “Bajanga” credit John Braman

Bajanga means “friend” in the local dialect. “Bajanga” was the nickname for Eugenio Das Dores Lopes, beloved by many as the caretaker of the of Ernestina when she was dockside in Mindelo after the failed 1975 transatlantic voyage. He pumped out about 300 gallons of harbor water daily to keep the ship afloat and safeguarded tools and equipment. This was no Boothbay Harbor! He lived aboard in a makeshift cabin and fished over the side or from the ship’s dories for the protein part of his cachupa. Earlier in life, Bajanga sailed in the packet trade between the Cape Verdes and West Africa, and he was a salty dog!

1977-Cummins engineer in Mendelo preparing engine room. credit John Braman

From John Braman:

“Here’s the Cummins engineer (I wish I could remember his name) who was assigned to rebuild the diesel engine with help from Bajanga, me, and an assistant in the photo whose name I’ve forgotten. He was a wonderful Scotsman, totally dedicated. Day after day, improvising and toiling. We did the work with the ship floating at dock. It was a very big day when we fired up the engine and took her for a spin.  I think it was the first time she’d gone anywhere in a few years. Jaoa Brittes, the port official, came aboard for that. We were frankly worried the hull might come apart. Bajanga took the helm. I’ll never forget the elation of that moment! It seemed miraculous. No, it was miraculous, feeling her shiver back to life and roll again in the sea.”

Bajanga at helm. John on the left. credit John Braman

Phase I Nearly Complete

We are lucky that we have supporters that send us photos so we can share the progress with you. Our last post was April 24.  We have some catching up to do:

New sign for the Shipyard, Thanks to all the crew in Boothbay Harbor for a terrrific job well done! credit John Fialkowski

In mid-May Dave Thompson and John Fialkowski sent us these:

The steering gear has been restored and installed on the purple heart rudder shaft and it is ready for the wheel. credit Dave Thompson

Here’s a photo of the rudder shaft in place from David Short.

Working on framing for aft cabin companionway and caulking the cabin top. credit Dave Thompson

The main fife rail will hold the belaying pins for the down haul and Main Topsail gear and the main bits at the forward side are for the mainsail throat and peak halyards. credit Dave Thompson

2009 fore deck and new covering boards, stantions and bulwarks. credit Dave Thompson

Looking aft with the new deck, the open engine room hatch and the aft cabin. credit Dave Thompson

In the stern, the monkey rail is complete and the lower rail is ready for the main sheet tackle on the boom buffer. credit Dave Thompson

Here’s a photo of what this looked like in Fall, 2015.

From the port quarter looking forward to the bow. credit Dave Thompson

The cutless bearing is ready for the propellar shaft and the bottom paint is done. credit Dave Thompson

This is an earlier photo showing the final caulking, for a "before and after" port side. credit Dave Thompson

Anti-fouling paint all set port side. credit John Fialkowski

Chain plates for foremast shrouds are installed and the starboard bow is ready for final paint. credit John Fialkowski

Aft cabin and quarterboard primed. credit John Fialkowski

Here's the prop, ready to go! credit John Fialkowski

On May 31 John Bullard documented an inspection visit:

DCR Commissioner Leo Roy and members of the Schooner Ernestina Commission met in Boothbay Harbor on May 31 to inspect Ernestina-Morrissey. credit John Bullard

Commissioner Roy gave an update before the group viewed the vessel.

The planning for Phase II is nearly complete.

Commissioner Roy and DCR Project Manager Wendy Pearl had questions answered by Harold Burnham and Andy Tyska. credit John Bullard

Captain Harold Burnham explained the work, here with Bob Hildreth. credit John Bullard

Wendy Pearl, Leo Roy and Bob Hildreth at the bow with Ernestina-Morrissey inscribed above. credit John Bullard

Final painting is complete. credit John Bullard

MMA's Captain Craig Dalton (left) has been working on the plans for Phase II. credit John Bullard

Craig was recently interviewed by Marlinspike Magazine.

The propellar is in place. credit John Bullard

Bristol Marine owner Andy Tyska (left) and Craig Dalton (right) credit John Bullard

The windlass is ready for action. credit John Bullard

Andy Tyska, John Bullard and Bob Hildreth discuss the new deck.

Bob Hildreth "at the wheel" credit John Bullard

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.

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

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

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

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