SCHOONER ERNESTINA-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.

Progress in the Shipyard – January 08, 2021


Happy New Year! We are looking forward to spending the next New Year’s Eve together, watching fireworks through the rigging of Ernestina-Morrissey again!

While we wait please enjoy the latest report for the Shipyard:

Thank you, Bristol Marine, for sharing the latest news of the great work your crew is accomplishing during the pre-launch fitting out of Ernestina-Morrissey!  In the attached series of photos, you will see progress on the restoration of the Ernestina-Morrissey at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor.  Currently, all work on the Ernestina-Morrissey at the Shipyard is being funded through the generosity of the Lenfest Family.


Foc’sle bunks

Sam Perkins is carefully fitting the last few vertical partitions for the port side benches. These benches will serve a dual role in this space. A large mess table will be built in the center of the cabin and these benches will serve as the seating. The benches will also serve as storage spaces for the personal belongings of each bunk occupant.

Waste Tank installations

Devon and Mike have carefully loaded all the remaining waste tanks in the ship. Here, they are installing the starboard side black water tank. This tank was built of fiberglass by our team at the Shipyard. We chose fiberglass for it's non-corrosive properties and durability. These fiberglass tanks are incredibly strong.

Sink installation

The Aft Cabin sink has been installed, and looks terrific! The cupboard door will remain off until the plumbing is completed in the next couple of weeks. Once everything is hooked up, a final coat of varnish will be applied before the entire unit is wrapped in protective coverings until sea trials next summer!

Aft Head Door

We all have been following this project closely. The door is finally hung, and it looks perfect. The quality of work speaks for itself.

Plastic Tanks

In this ship, we have different tank construction methods for different purposes. The tank shown here was recently delivered from our partners at Triple M Plastics in Kennebunk, ME. Plastic, or more accurately polyethylene tank construction is light and durable. This style tank is used across the industry for many different purposes. We chose to use this style for our grey water waste tanks. Unlike the black water tanks, these will never be pressurized and should serve their purpose very well for years to come.

Ventilators installed

These large ventilators have been placed and installed on top of their respective dorade boxes. These are quite large, and look terrific as a pair. The dorade boxes were built specifically to match the exact camber of the deck while remaining level along the top surface. Unlike other ventilators on the ship, these two have a very important purpose. These provide a specific volume of air to adequately ventilate the Engine Room. The port side ventilator is designated as the intake, while the starboard side will be mated to an exhaust fan in the engine compartment to cycle the air through the space. Like everything on a ship, they are beautiful but also serve a purpose.


Jose Centeio Elected Chairperson of SEMAB


SEMAB held their second meeting Friday December 18, 2020.

SEMAB Chairperson Jose Couto Centeio

Jose Couto Centeio was elected chairperson and Captain Elizabeth Simmons was elected vice chair.

An Education Committee was was established with the first members: Dagny Ashley, Melissa DeValles, Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes (Chair), Dr. Brian Rothschild and Dr. Timothy Walker.  Read more HERE.


The Tallest of Tall Ships

In the 2014 Autumn issue of Sea History Magazine, (you can access all issues by scrolling down HERE)  Captain Walter Rybka wrote about his ranking of the most historically significant American vessels. The first three are naval vessels, the USS Constitution, ex USS Olympia and ex USS Constellation. The fourth? Ernestina-Morrissey!  ( The article was published just before the name change)

Check what Captain Rybka wrote below, or better yet, get lost in the past issues of SEA HISTORY , the magazine of the National Maritime Historical Society, a long time supporter of Ernestina-Morrissey!

Progress in the Shipyard – December 17, 2020

Thank you, Bristol Marine, for sharing the latest news of the great work your crew is accomplishing during the pre-launch fitting out of Ernestina-Morrissey!  In the attached series of photos, you will see progress on the restoration of the Ernestina-Morrissey at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor.  Currently, all work on the Ernestina-Morrissey at the Shipyard is being funded through the generosity of the Lenfest Family.

Head Door

This image shows one of our newest carpenters Kazimieras, who joined a few short months ago. He has been the man behind the head compartment installation in the Aft Cabin. Here he is showing off his most recent craftsmanship. This door will complete the head compartment project. It is currently in the paint booth being varnished before installation. We are all excited to see it hung in place next week.

Aft Cabin Sink

David Thorpe carefully placing the front face of the sink platform for the Aft Cabin. This beautiful piece will be installed on the port side of the cabin between the aft bunk and companionway steps. Like the other details in this cabin, we chose high quality pine and oak. The top piece will be coated bright, while the vertical face will be painted white.

Engine Room Flooring

Jason Brassard is hard at work here installing the diamond plate flooring in the engine room. Each piece of high-quality aluminum flooring is custom fitted according to the spacing and arrangement of the sole beams that run athwartship. Special consideration is also given to maintenance and regular use of the ship's systems. Certain pieces of this plate flooring will be conveniently secured to allow for quick lift out access to machinery spaces that will exist below the floor level


The remainder of our custom aluminum ventilators have arrived ready for final paint and installation. These pieces are truly functional works of art. Not only will they help to properly ventilate the interior of the ship, but I think they will also serve as pleasing aesthetic decorations for the deck and exterior.

Fiberglass Tanks

Ross and Kevin are hard at work laying down fiberglass tape on the interior faces of our new waste tanks. These tanks are superior in strength and durability compared to polypropylene for certain uses. These particular tanks will experience pressure that requires the level of structural integrity that fiberglass provides. Ross is very experienced in this type of construction and has been critical to the clean and efficient construction of these components. Kevin has been his right-hand man through the process, and has also prepared the necessary foundations for this tank inside the ship. We look forward to their installation next week.


An Anniversary of a Record Run!

Ernestina-Morrissey, as Effie M Morrissey and as Ernestina, has had many close calls since 1894. In 1912 under Captain Harry Ross she left Portland Maine

for her fishing grounds, Lurcher Shoal, near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in December.


“From the dock in Portland to anchor in Yarmouth, she had made the 200 mile passage in 20 hours – an average of 10 miles per hour. The mainsail and jib were on her for four hours of that period; for eight-and-a-half hours she carried foresail and jumbo only, and the last seven-and-a-half hours of the passage was made under foresail alone.”



Onboard was Frederick William Wallace who often sailed with Ross taking photographs and writing of life on the Banks.

Wallace tells the tale of the 20 hour voyage in this excerpt of his autobiography.

He wrote a ballad inspired by his experience:

lyrics here: The Log of a Record Run  “The Mary L. McKay”

Or listen HERE

“one of Ernestina’s very best “Friends”

Photographers Ron Barboza and Peter Pereiera joined a group of SEMA directors and former Commissioners soon after Governor Baker signed AN ACT TO PRESERVE THE SCHOONER ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY. The group gathered last summer to recognize Tom Lopes’ role in establishing the stewardship of Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

© Ron Barboza l-r Benjamin “Benny” Tavares, Derek Stevens Family, Fred Sterner, Julius Britto, Mary Anne McQuillan, Willi Bank Photo Credit Ron Barboza

This new banner which will fly from the top of Ernestina-Morrissey‘s mainmast, was donated by Brewer Banner.

In 1977, the Foreign Minister, speaking on behalf of President Aristides Pereira said, “The Government of Cape Verde offers the Ernestina as a gift to the United States of America as an expression of the high regard of the people of Cape Verde for the people of the United States and we deliver the vessel to the State of  Massachusetts as a representative of the people of the United States.”  US Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young responded; Cape Verde is to be saluted for its “generous return of a piece of our common heritage.”

Former Chairperson of the Schooner Ernestina Commission, Laura Pires-Hester recently remembered “Tom Lopes was probably one of Ernestina‘s very best “Friends”. It took several months of community and official negotiations to determine how best to receive this extraordinary gift from the newly-independent Republic of Cabo Verde. It was Tom’s legislative leadership that made it possible that the State of Massachusetts would receive the historic vessel “for the people of the United States” and that the Schooner Ernestina Commission would be formed to accomplish this. This critical milestone helped set Ernestina‘s future on a good foundation. We can honor his loving leadership by supporting Ernestina-Morrissey as she continues to sail, to educate, to cross ethnic/economic/cultural/geographic boundaries, to transform lives, and to inspire young and old.”

The Massachusetts Schooner Ernestina Commission was established in 1978 to receive official title to the returned schooner. State Representative Thomas D. Lopes, with support

Juilis Britto at memorial to Tom Lopes. © Ron Barboza

from Senator George Rogers, sponsored the enabling legislation establishing the Commission. The first Commission, appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis, included Chairman Julius Britto, currently President of SEMA, William Baker; Margaret Sibley; Kermit Morrissey and Richard Ward. Britto related that, “Tom was a calming source of encouragement for me at a time when I felt a little intimidated about the responsibility of being a State commissioner appointed to receive this gift from the Republic of Cape Verde to the people of the United States. He would always say to me ‘Julius we can do this’”.

Tom Lopes was very active telling Ernestina’s story and engaging supporters through Cape Verdean News. Lopes visited Cape Verde with CVN cable to record the work on Ernestina as well as her departure in 1982.  He later produced the film “Mystery Lady” from his Cape Verdean footage.  As the internet came into popular use, he shared his videos on his video channel.  Tom was still documenting Ernestina at the 2010 Forum and in December 2011, video-recording the masts being removed and producing YouTube videos on his channel.  He was a true advocate of Ernestina until his death in 2012.

With the recent Act to Preserve the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, New Bedford’s legislators, Senator Mark Montigny, who introduced the bill in the Senate and Representative Antonio Cabral, who sponsored it in the House, continued Tom Lopes’ legacy.  The course of Ernestina-Morrissey’s life may be changing, as it has three times before, but New Bedford’s importance looms large, as it has since Captain Henrique Mendes brought the Effie M. Morrissey into the harbor for repairs in 1948,  seventy-two years ago, before the first voyage to Cape Verde.


Progress in the Shipyard – December 4, 2020

Thank you Bristol Marine for sharing the latest news of the great work your crew is accomplishing during the pre-launch fitting out of Ernestina-Morrissey!  In the attached series of photos you will see progress on the restoration of the Ernestina-Morrissey at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor.  Currently, all work on the Ernestina-Morrissey at the Shipyard is being funded through the generosity of the Lenfest Family.

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

Engine Room Ventilation

Today, we were visited by the team from P.E. Luke Inc. The Luke name has been synonymous with high quality marine construction for many decades. They are supplying the large custom ventilators used in numerous locations across the deck of Ernestina-Morrissey. Today, they dropped off the largest of the group. These large ventilators are used to supply air to the engine room at sufficient volume to satisfy USCG regulations. These aluminum ventilators have been primed, and will receive their final coats of paint in the spring prior to launching.

Aft Head

The Aft Cabin continues to come together. This image shows the first coat of polyurethane applied to the beautifully constructed head enclosure. Next week, we expect to see the custom louvered door hung in place to complete the installation.

Bulkhead painting

Jon and Kevin are seen here finishing the second coat of satin white paint on the forward face of the engine room bulkhead in the Main Cabin (Fish Hold). In the coming months this will become a very busy area of the ship. Along this bulkhead will be two rows of crew bunks, a shower, and the primary head. A watertight door will be installed in the opening just visible on the left to provide access to the engine room.

Galley progress

This image shows our continued progress in the Foc'sle. David Short, our lead shipwright has been busy framing out the structure for what will become the galley on Ernestina-Morrissey. Along the bulkhead will be the sink station and food preparation counter space. Outboard will be another counter space with a large freezer compartment beneath. A watertight door will be installed in the opening just visible on the right which will provide access from the Fo'c'sle to the Main Cabin (Fish Hold).


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


Giving Tuesday

Don’t forget Ernestina-Morrissey!

To see why you can easily access all our past posts about the Ernestina-Morrissey rehabilitation project HERE.

Just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.

Many thanks to all the crew that has brought us this far , we welcome new crew every day!  Join Us!

Progress in the Shipyard – November 20, 2020

Thank you Bristol Marine for sharing the latest news of the great work your crew is accomplishing during the pre-launch fitting out of Ernestina-Morrissey!  In the attached series of photos you will see progress on the restoration of the Ernestina-Morrissey at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor.  Currently, all work on the Ernestina-Morrissey at the Shipyard is being funded through the generosity of the Lenfest Family.

3D Design

This is a 3D model of the engine room on Ernestina-Morrissey. Our talented design team is working hard to define all interior spaces well ahead of later installations. This helps us be as efficient as possible when it comes time for engines, tanks, and plumbing to join the ship.

Foc’sle fit-out

For the past few weeks, our shipwrights have been busy in the Foc'sle building out the accommodation spaces. This area of the ship will include the Galley, 12 berths for the crew, a head, and a dining table.

Fuel Tanks

Our custom aluminum diesel fuel tanks have arrived. These tanks will each house 500 gallons of fuel storage to be used by the Main Engine and two generators. The tanks are built of high-quality aluminum for corrosion resistance and weight-saving purposes.


Kaz, one of our newest shipwrights is seen here in the final stages of a custom-fitted corner post that will be used to finish the Aft Cabin head project. This is a great example of the time and attention to detail that our team regularly devotes to all the projects on the Ernestina-Morrissey. This particular component has turned out beautifully and we look forward to seeing it installed and brightly varnished.

Main Cabin Projects

In the Main Cabin, where accommodation installations will begin soon, work is underway preparing for the final fit-out. Sam is seen here working on the interior "light-ceiling". This inner planking is installed to isolate the hull planking and frames from the interior spaces. Ventilation holes are included across the top edge to ensure that air can freely flow between the "ceiling" and the hull to help keep the wood from deteriorating over time. All of the vertical partitions that create bunks, cabinets, and lockers will be built directly to this surface in the coming weeks.


Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Advisory Board Appointed.

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Advisory Board has been appointed and was sworn in on November 13, 2020 by Joe Maynard of the Governor’s Office via Zoom.

Newly appointed Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Advisory Board members Jose Centeio, Brian Rothschild, Tim Walker, Melissa DeValles and Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes are sworn in. Captain Elizabeth Simmons, Wendy Pearl, Dagny Ashley and Jonathan Carvalho serve ex-officio.


“to advise the academy on matters that relate to the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey”

Section 182A.  There shall be a Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey advisory board that shall consist of the following members: the commissioner of conservation and recreation or a designee; the president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy or a designee; the executive director of the office of travel and tourism or a designee; the secretary of education or a designee; and 5 members appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a resident of the city of New Bedford, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. or its successor organization and 3 of whom shall have expertise relevant to the mission of the advisory board, expertise in Cape Verdean history as it relates to the Schooner-Ernestina-Morrissey or expertise in the history of the ship as the Effie M. Morrissey.

Dagny Ashley

Dagny Ashley - MOTT

Dagny Ashley is the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT)’s representative on the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Advisory Board.  She has served on the Schooner Ernestina Commission since 2015.  A graduate of Lesley University, her career in tourism & marketing began at the Southeastern Massachusetts Convention & Visitors Bureau, then at MOTT.  In 2013 she became the Director of Tourism & Marketing for the City of New Bedford where she implemented a new tourism department.  She is currently the City of Quincy’s Director of Tourism.

Jonathan Carvalho

Jonathan Carvalho is the Executive Office of Education (EOE)’s representative on the Advisory Board. A New Bedford resident, he is the Public Information Officer for the City of New Bedford, and previously worked as the Community and Public Affairs Manager for the New Bedford Public Schools, and as a news reporter at The Standard-Times. He has served as the Executive Office of Education designee on the Schooner Ernestina Commission since 2016, at the recommendation of the late Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Jose Couto Centeio

Jose Couto Centeio - appointed by Governor Baker

Jose Couto Centeio was born in Fogo, Cabo Verde Islands.  He came to Boston in 1971. He graduated from Tufts University and Boston College Law School.  He has been practicing law in Boston since 1989.  His practice areas are residential and commercial closings, landlord and tenant laws, and civil litigation in state and federal courts.  He visited Ernestina-Morrissey whenever the vessel came to Boston.  He joined Schooner Ernestina Commission (SEC) in 2017.  He was elected the Chair of SEC in 2018.  He was appointed to the new Advisory Board appointed by Governor Baker in 2020.

Melissa DeValles

Melissa DeValles - SEMA, right, with MMA cadets at an Ernestina work day in 2012

Melissa DeValles is the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association’s representative on the Advisory Board appointed by Governor Baker. She was a member of Ernestina’s crew before attending and while she was a cadet at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. She graduated as a Marine Engineer and has since worked in the energy industry for 17 years.  When she returned to the SouthCoast she joined the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association Board of Directors. She worked with Captain Thomas Bushy on the Academy’s first plans for stewardship of Ernestina-Morrissey. As SEMA’s designee, she was appointed to the Schooner Ernestina Commission in 2018.

Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes

Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes - appointed by Governor Baker

Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes was appointed by Governor Baker. She is the Curator of Social History at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  A fourth-generation Cape Verdean American, de Barros Gomes learned of the significance of the Ernestina Morrissey through her work at the museum and from members in the community.  She continues to work to document the history and culture of Cape Verdean Americans.  In 2019, she installed a collaborative exhibition with Museu da Pesca in Tarrafal, São Nicolau, Cabo Verde which highlighted the enduring ties between Cabo Verde and the United States.

Wendy Pearl

Wendy Pearl - DCR

Wendy Pearl is the Director of the Office of Cultural Resources at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and serves as DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery’s designee. Over her 25 year+ career with the agency, Wendy has managed numerous historic preservation projects and developed interpretive and educational content around cultural resources across the Commonwealth.  Since 2015, Wendy has been the DCR Project Manager for the rehabilitation of the schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.

Captain Elizabeth Simmons

Captain Elizabeth Simmons - MMA

Captain Elizabeth Simmons, LP.D is the Vice President of External Affairs encompassing both the Enrollment Management and Advancement departments at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. She is responsible for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of short- and long-range strategies, goals, and objectives for the Office of Enrollment while managing relationships with the Academy’s external stakeholders at the local, state, and federal level.

Dr. Brian Rothschild

Dr. Brian Rothschild - appointed by Governor Baker

Dr. Brian Rothschild was appointed by Governor Baker. He is a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Professor Emeritus, founding Dean of SMAST, and a New Bedford resident. He has served on the Schooner Ernestina Commission since 2011.  Dr. Rothschild brings a focus on Marine Science and Technology as well as New England Fisheries to the Advisory Board.  This appointment strengthens the commitment to Ernestina-Morrissey‘s educational mission and to her fishing history

Dr. Timothy Walker

Dr. Timothy Walker - appointed by Governor Baker

Dr. Timothy Walker was appointed by Governor Baker. He is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he serves on the Executive Board of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, and as graduate faculty for the doctoral program in Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies and Theory.  He has taught maritime history aboard numerous traditionally-rigged sailing vessels, including the schooners Ernestina-Morrissey and Lettie G. Howard, the brig Niagara, and the ship “H.M.S.” Rose. In 2018 Walker was appointed a Guest Investigator of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, drawing historic climate data from archived whaling logbooks, Portuguese colonial, and other maritime documentation.

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