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Mary Anne McQuillan's picture

SEMA announces fundraising challenge

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Assn, Inc.
November, 2009
Dear Friend of Ernestina,
Since Paul Brawley, former Executive Director and Annie McDowell, former Ship's Accountant have been discharged due to the severe shortfalls in the State budget, I will be keeping you apprised of the ship’s status. Some members of the Schooner Ernestina Commission and some volunteers have formed the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. The purpose of SEMA is raising funds to provide for the maintenance, equipment, manning, programming and operation of the Schooner Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey as a sail training vessel, school ship, and educational enterprise. Our goal is to raise the $3,000,000 needed to rebuild the aft section of the vessel and refit her. SEMA is committed to the ship’s receiving full Coast Guard sailing school vessel certification as soon as possible so that she can return to serving the Commonwealth as she has in the past. Once we have achieved this goal we will continue to support the vessel as needed. SEMA has applied for 501 c 3 non-profit status and expects to receive the determination from the IRS in January, which will be retroactive for 2009. We do have a Certificate for Solicitation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and can accept donations.

mate's picture

November Update

Key Dates:

Programming Committee Meetings: , Thursday, November 19 and December 10, 5-6:30 p.m. at the National Park Visitors Center in New Bedford

Commission Meetings: Friday, November 20 and December 11, 1-3 p.m. at the National Park Visitors Center in New Bedford

Volunteer Day: Saturday, November 21, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Dear Friends,

As many may already know, effective Friday, October 30th, Annie's and my positions have been eliminated along with 35 others within the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) due to the state's revenue shortfall. (see links below.) click on "read more" on next line.

mate's picture

"Set the Mainsail"

Discouraged? Not Me!
It is easy to get discouraged about losing Paul and Annie, but think about what the boat has been thru, and these are jut a few of the stories.

I was on board in 2002 when the keel dropped down in LI Sound - we ran pumps and with help from another Coast Guard pump, we got back to Greenport and secured the boat. We got the keel refastened and were back sailing after a month of hard work refastening things. Not easy.

When Ernestina left Cape Verde for the US in 1976, it was dismasted. They towed it back, built new masts and did a lot more work on the boat,, and sailed to the US in 1982 were it was given to this country. Not easy. Click on "read more" in the next line below.

mate's picture

OH NO !!

This was a bad week for the boat. The state of MA has been doing layoffs because of budget problems and Ernestina's office was eliminated. Both Paul, the executive director, and Annie, the office manager were cut. This leaves Ernestina without an office or a director. One of the DCR's carpenters will look after some of the boat maintenence. There can be no fund raising without someone to raise funds, or even answer the phone or mail. There is no one to organize activities such as volunteer work days or boat visits by school children.

We will find out more at the Schooner Ernestina Commission meeting on Oct. 23rd. Click on "read more" below

Welcome Home Ernestina! - May 6, 7 and 9, 2009

Schooner Ernestina returns from Boothbay, Maine, to her home port in New Bedford on May 9, with stops in Gloucester on May 6 and Boston on May 7.

Come see the extensive work done to the forward half of the ship. Celebrate her return and contribute to her rebirth with musical and other fundraising events. Paul Brawley, Executive Director of Schooner Ernestina, and Harold Burnham, master shipwright who supervised the work on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will be on hand at each port to talk about the work and the future.

mate's picture

Oiling Spars

About 20 volunteers went to the State Pier in New Bedford to oil some of Ernestina's spars; the main gaff and boom, the fore gaff and boom, and the jumbo boom.
Ernestina spars

It was pretty hard to roll over the main boom without the forklift, since it weighs about 2100 pounds, so we borrowed one to stay safe.


They all were scraped down and then sanded. We applied a coat of boiled linseed oil.

They looked a lot better by noon.


The Great Gloucester Schooner Race Feature Artwork

I have just published my Spring 2008 Newsletter featuring a photo-impression artwork of the ERNESTINA during The Great Gloucester Schooner Race.

March Update

Dear shipmates,

As many of you may be aware, Ernestina/ex-Effie M. Morrissey has not set her sails since 2004. I began my tenure as Executive Director last July and have been very impressed with the level of support and encouragement to see to it that this venerable historic vessel will sail once again. Our volunteers (hundreds of them) continue to play an invaluable role and we are certainly grateful to them for their enthusiastic and unwavering support. We are also fortunate to have an enthusiastic and talented Schooner Ernestina Commission that is providing solid direction and leadership.

March Commission Meeting


The next Commission meeting will take place on Friday, March 14 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the National Park Visitors Center in New Bedford.

For those of you who may not know, Chair Paul Fonteyn is leaving UMASS to assume the Presidency of Green Mountain College in Vermont. He will not be able to make this meeting (netiher can I due to Navy commitment) but should be there for the April meeting.


Mary Anne McQuillan's picture

Help match the SAT grant

Thanks to EVERYONE who worked to get Ernestina the matching funds from DCR's Office of Private and Public Partnerships, but there is still $250,000 to be matched. Yes, it will take some big contributors but the small ones count too. Let's show everyone what the Ernestina community can do to support the ship we all love.

Tax-deductible contributions can be made to: Schooner ERNESTINA Commission Trust, Box 2010, New Bedford, MA 02741-2010. For more information, please feel free to contact Paul at or by calling 508-992-4900.

Donations to the Schooner ERNESTINA Commission Trust are charitable contributions that can be claimed in an income tax return, in accordance with the requirements of Title 26 of the United States Code, [i.e. Section 170 (c) (1) of the Internal Revenue Code].

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