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Ernestina Business Plan

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FY 2010 Business Plan for the Schooner Ernestina

I. Executive Summary

The Schooner Ernestina is a gift. The Republic of Cape Verde presented her to the people of the United States in 1982 when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts became her steward. But the ship is a gift in a larger sense. The rich history and significance of Ernestina makes her a unique vessel and an important asset to the Commonwealth. Built in Essex, Massachusetts in 1894, the ship reveals our history, enhances our tourism, and educates our children and all citizens of the Bay State by connecting us to our inheritance-the sea.

The Schooner Ernestina Commission is responsible for maintaining and enhancing this legacy. Its principal goal is to restore the ship to full operation. The Commission is pleased to report that substantial progress is being made in rehabilitating the ship after years of neglect. More than one million dollars of repairs are being made this fiscal year under the watchful eyes of a master shipwright with detailed records being kept for historical preservation. The repairs are being carried out within budget and on time.

As a result the Coast Guard has issued Ernestina a Certificate of Inspection as an Attraction Vessel that allows the ship to sail again, but limits her to a crew and six passengers. To regain certification as a Sailing School Vessel, which would allow a full complement of passengers, the Commission must raise significant additional funds to complete the structural rehabilitation of the ship. Estimates range close to $3 million. Furthermore, the Commission must raise funds to pay annual crew and sailing costs estimated at $350,000.

These are ambitious goals, especially given the present economic climate. Yet the past year raises hope for future fund raising. To match a $500,000 grant from the National Park Services’ Save Americas Treasures program, the Commission won $500,000 from the Department of Conservation and Recreations Office of Public and Private Partnerships. It also jump-started private donations, receiving more than $45,000 during the first half the current fiscal year alone.

The Commission has set itself on a three year voyage to raise the funds needed to rehabilitate, maintain, and sail Ernestina under full certification. It will be an exciting trip. We invite all those who share with us responsibility for the ship to come aboard and sail with us.

II. 1894-2008

In 2008 the Schooner Ernestina, originally named Effie M. Morrissey, celebrated her 115th birthday. After serving as a Grand Bank fishing vessel, Arctic Explorer, and wartime ship in the US Navy, the Ernestina continued her storied career following World War II carrying people and goods from Cape Verde to the United States for nearly two decades. The newly founded Republic of Cape Verde owned the ship and in 1978 made a gift of her to the people of the United States. In 1982, after an extensive restoration by the newly-independent Republic of Cape Verde and paid for through donations from both American and Cape Verdean citizens, Ernestina was presented to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and became the state’s official vessel.

That same year the legislature created the Schooner Ernestina Commission, and in 1988 the legislature placed Ernestina within the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) (formerly the Department of Environmental Management).The Commission is composed of 9 members appointed by the Governor (see attachment for present membership). Ernestina is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Ernestina is one of the major tourist attractions in New Bedford, her homeport.

After a twenty year sailing period from 1984 to 2004 in which Ernestina welcomed thousands of students for onboard sails for a broad array of instruction, the ship went into a period of decline due to a lack of funding and deferred maintenance, culminating in the loss of its Coast Guard license to sail in 2004. During this time the Commission ceased activity. In an effort to preserve the ship at a time of limited funds, DCR requested proposals from the public to lease Ernestina from the Commonwealth. No proposals were received.

A turn around for Ernestina began in 2006 when a private donor made a challenge grant that was matched by DCR to pay for initial repairs to the ship. This was followed in 2007 by the awarding of a $500,000 challenge grant to Ernestina from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures program. This grant was fully matched by DCR and the ship was sent in 2008 to undergo major repairs in the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine. This work remains ongoing as of this date.

The Commission was reconstituted in 2007 with new members appointed by the Governor, and began work with a new executive director to oversee the rehabilitation of the ship as well as educational programming and outreach. Dockside programs continued in New Bedford including participating in festivals and special events in other coastal communities reaching over 8,600 people of all ages.

III. 2008-2009

Since the last report filed on March 1, 2008, we have continued to build on the substantial improvements made in 2007. Below are highlights of accomplishments in personnel, funding, operations, and historic preservation:

A. Budget/Actual (see Table 1.)
· Ernestina’s total budget this FY was over $1 million due to the infusion of federal and DCR grants to cover capital repairs to the vessel presently being undertaken at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine. These grants will be totally expended by the end of FY09. As a result of a decline in the national and local economy and a loss in revenue to the Commonwealth, all state entities had to reduce their operating budgets last October. Ernestina was not spared having her operating budget reduced 50% to $92,500. Despite the reduction, our budget remains balanced.

B. Resources

1. Commonwealth
· The DCR provided 100% of annual operational funds, staff salaries, routine maintenance funding as well as seasonal program staff and materials.
· The DCR provided dock space and utilities without charge
· The DCR, Southeast Region provided the services of a carpenter to the ship.
· The DCR, Office of Public and Private Partnerships provided $250,000 in matching funds for the rehabilitation of the vessel. (The Ernestina received the same amount the previous FY to fund the cross fiscal year rehabilitation project.)
· The DCR, Office of Public and Private Partnerships provided $40,000 in matching funds for the physical and historical documentation of the vessel by the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER).

2. Federal
· We received a $500,000 National Park Service Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant for the rehabilitation of the vessel.
· We received a $20,000 National Park Service grant to fund the physical and historical documentation of the vessel by the (HABS/HAER).

3. Private Donations
· We received a grant of $11,500 from the Henry Crapo Foundation to clean and repair the sails.
· A fundraising effort utilizing the membership database was conducted in July 2008 bringing in a total of $40,037 to the Schooner Ernestina Trust for her rehabilitation. This was the first solicitation carried out in four years.
· A follow-up solicitation of those who did not donate from the initial drive was carried out in December and generated $5,290 to the Schooner Ernestina Trust.
· The Schooner Ernestina/Morrissey Association is creating of 501(c) 3 to provide a fund raising mechanism that may provide improved access to foundation grants.

4. Partners
· The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park continues to be an integral resource for Ernestina through grants, educational programming and providing two months of free office space for the HABS/HAER intern to conduct research and write.
· The large Cape Verdean community in New England and the Republic of Cape Verde, which established a Consulate office in New Bedford, are staunch supporters of the vessel because of her significance to Cape Verde itself and the Cape Verdean community.
· A wide range of other institutions and community-based organizations partner with the Ernestina. For example, Access Art carried out an after school program related to the Ernestina, and organizations such as Oceanarium, Working Waterfront, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford Historical Association, New Bedford School Department, Cape Verdean Consular Office are co-sponsoring the special 2009 February-April Series “Welcome Back, Ernestina!”.

5. Volunteers
· Volunteers continue to be an invaluable asset to Ernestina. For more than 30 years, hundreds of resourceful, talented, and dedicated volunteers have played and continue to play an active and vital role in supporting the vessel through raising friends and funds, staffing special events and educational programs in New Bedford and throughout New England, and providing physical labor for her upkeep and maintenance.

C. Operations

1. Ship Repair
· We awarded a $1.1 million contract for the rehabilitation of the ship to the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine to repair the bow and replace the entire foredeck and exterior planking alongside the foredeck. The ship departed New Bedford for the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine on June 10, 2008. The work, which will be completed by May 9, 2009, is being carried out following the standards set forth in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standard’s for Historic Vessel Preservation Projects and by the U.S. Coast Guard.
· We awarded a contract to hire Harold Burnham, an 11th generation master shipwright from Essex, MA to oversee the work at the shipyard on our behalf.
· Maintenance work proceeded on several fronts. USCG inspection of the ship’s fire suppression was carried out successfully. We completely overhauled the ship’s 350 hp Cummins diesel engine. We conducted volunteer days to scrape, sand, and oil the ship’s spars and rigging. The sails were cleaned and repaired.

2. Programming
· Conducted dockside and off-site educational programming, reaching more than 8,600 participants.
· Ernestina’s staff and volunteers were involved in a number of programs and events throughout the year, including a wide range of activities in collaboration with other organizations and individuals. Ernestina staff and volunteers participated in the following significant events in 2008:
Cape Verdean Recognition Day parade in New Bedford, July 5
Maritime Festival in Salisbury, July 19
Cape Verdean Expo in Roxbury, July 26
Cape Verdean Day Brockton, July 27
Salem Maritime Festival, August 2
Cape Verdean Festival in Onset, August 9
Portsmouth, NH Maritime Festival, August 17
Salem Antique and Classic Boat Show, August 23-24
Gloucester Schooner Festival, August 30-31
Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford, September 27-28
· The ship will return to New Bedford from Maine on May 9th. Prior to her arrival in New Bedford, the Commission is planning to have her make port visits to Gloucester and Boston and is developing a series of three celebratory events (“Welcome Back, Ernestina!”) to commemorate the rehabilitation, her heritage, and her iconic status as the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

3. Historic Preservation
· The initial phase of a joint effort with the National Park Service’s (NPS) Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER) to create a historic structures report to document the historical and architectural significance of the schooner, including historical narrative, line drawings, and photographic documentation was completed in September 2008. The final product should be available sometime in 2010 due to the extensive editing and review process.
· Harold Burnham and the Executive Director are developing a rehabilitation standards manual specific to Ernestina to provide guidance for any future work to be performed on the vessel. A draft was shared with Marc Cruder, the chief inspector for the U.S. Coast Guard who found it to be of a such high quality for him to suggest it be included in the forthcoming revised edition of the Coast Guard’s instruction booklet Guidance on Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance of Wooden Hulls (NAVIC 7-95). Additionally, Jonathan Patton of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, our partner in the rehabilitation wants a final copy to help aid them in other ship preservation efforts.

4. Staff
· In addition to running the day to day operations of Ernestina, the Executive Director had as his major task managing the largest rehabilitation of the ship in its history at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine. He also conducted the first private fund raising campaign in many years and continued to advocate for the ship heightening its visibility with state officials, education leaders, and potential funders.
· The ship’s financial records continue to be in excellent condition as evidenced by a successful internal audit completed in January.
· Even though the vessel is in Maine, the ship’s carpenter has been employed rehabilitating the ship’s wooden spars, and her 72 rigging blocks.
· Two seasonal employees staffed local and regional events and programs reaching more than 8,600 people of all ages.

5. Schooner Ernestina Commission
· The Commission carried out a smooth transition in leadership as board chair Paul Fonteyn left the board to assume the Presidency of Green Mountain College in Vermont and board member, Bob Hildreth, President of International Bank Services, was unanimously elected as the new board chair.
· The Commission established subcommittees to include a Commissioner as a chairperson and community volunteers serving on these committees. Committees established were Maintenance & Operations, Marketing & Special Events, and Finance & Development. Subcommittees have been meeting regularly.

IV. 2009-2010
A. Strategy
The next phase of repairs necessary to obtain full Coast Guard certification must be done at one time for structural reasons. Detailed plans for this repair have been drawn and will cost $2.7-$3 million. While these funds have yet to be identified, the Commission has set itself a three year goal to acquire them. It will seek grants similar to the Save Americas Treasures and if successful apply for matching funds opportunities to supplement the grants. DCR has included Ernestina in its requests for funds from the Governor’s stimulus package. If Ernestina is allocated stimulus funds, the Commission would accelerate its plans accordingly.

Once funds are secure, the Commission will award a repair contract with the aim of having the repairs completed during one off-sailing season. Until the repairs are complete, the Ernestina will not sail.

The Commission will continue expanded dockside and offsite programming in New Bedford, and staff displays and exhibitions at related festivals and events to promote Ernestina’s history and connection to the community. This strategy has fund raising limits but will maximize the ship’s use and exposure within its current capacity.

In addition to capital outlays, the Commission will need $350,000 a year to staff a crew, a cost which will rise with inflation. To cover annual sailing costs, the SEMA, Ernestina’s 501c3, will help to build an endowment from private sector donations and also seek grants where available. Once sailing again, Ernestina will earn fees to cover a majority of sailing costs. In its most recent operational years these fees reached $250,000.

B. Budget Projection (see Table 1.)

1. Resources
· Commonwealth
In Ernestina’s current capacity the Commonwealth and DCR will continue to provide funding for the three key full time operational staff and seasonal positions. Operations funding and maintenance will continue to be provided including mooring, storage, interpretive space and the necessary utilities at the New Bedford State Pier. Since 2006 the DCR Office of Public Private Partnership has provided $698,600 in matching funds for the Commission’s fund raising efforts. The Commission plans to continue to participate in any future matching programs.

· Grants
With the goal of raising up to $3 million for ship repair over a 3-5 year period, the Commission will seek to promote the historical significance of Ernestina to apply for national preservation funds. Success depends on research and networking as well as communication and publicity. The Commission believes that the unique history of Ernestina and the meticulous record of repair kept for the ship will provide an advantage in what will be a competitive process.

· Private Donations
The Commission will continue to solicit the more than 2,800 friends of Ernestina and expand the base through many ongoing local and regional public outreach efforts. To this end the Commission has begun the paperwork necessary to form a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 foundation under the name of the Schooner Ernestina/Morrissey Association (SEMA). The Association will be a vital partner to Ernestina and will seek association members for a minimal cost as one additional stream of revenue. SEMA will negotiate a memorandum of understanding with DCR to allow Ernestina to fully benefit its fund raising potential.

· Volunteers
For many years Ernestina has benefited from volunteer associations organized to support the activities of the ship. The Commission will encourage and expand these efforts as well as seek to better integrate them into its overall fund raising efforts.

· Partners
We look forward to increased participation financially and programmatically by the Commonwealth’s Office of Travel and Tourism and Department of Education who have seats on the Commission.

Ernestina will continue to actively foster her present partnerships and explore opportunities to expand the number of partnerships.

C. Operations
1. Ship Repair
A professional marine survey completed in November of 2006 stated:
“ERNESTINA has come to a critical time. She is an important American treasure and needs to be preserved. Without attention to her condition that has developed over time, she will rapidly continue to deteriorate. Conditions come to a point where they get worse quicker as time goes on.”

· The back half of the vessel is in dire need of attention. Overall, the majority of the repairs required by the U.S. Coast Guard for her to attain Sailing School Vessel certification is in this portion of the vessel and is estimated to cost between $2.75 and $3 million. Because of the nature and complexity of the work, it needs to be completed all at once and as soon as possible to be cost effective and to prevent further deterioration.

· As pointed out in a summit of maritime experts conducted in May, 2006, maintenance is critical and ongoing whether the ship is underway or in port. If underway, her normal crew complement of 12 can adequately maintain the vessel. If no crew is available, the ship’s carpenter, with an adequate budget is required for outside expertise to carry out repairs beyond his knowledge and abilities, such as engineering, electrical, and rigging.

· The Commission’s Maintenance sub committee is developing other mid- and long- range maintenance plans.

2. Programming
· Through on-board and dockside programming, Ernestina will deliver a variety of educational programs focusing on the environment, the Commonwealth’s historic fishing industry, Arctic exploration, and Ernestina’s careers as a Cape Verde packet, and as a Sailing School Vessel for the Commonwealth. The Commission and DCR will continue to focus on marketing Ernestina to broader forums through its participation in events and other promotional opportunities.

· Ongoing programming will consist of daily on-board, hands-on interpretive programs, including but not limited to knot tying with bracelet make-and-take crafts, history and stories of Ernestina, history of maritime navigation, ship tours, “Fish Guts: The History of Fishing on a Dory,” and informal talks on Ernestina's history with specific focus on Cape Verdean history. Off-site educational opportunities will take place at local schools, summer camps, parks, and major events such as maritime and Cape Verdean festivals in New Bedford and up and down the Massachusetts coastline.

· Ernestina’s ability to maintain her current staffing plan will enable her, the Commission, and DCR to complete the above-mentioned programs in keeping with her mission. This complements the City of New Bedford and New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park educational and tourism mission.

D. 2009 Operational Plan, Actual and Projected Timeline

· Work on Ernestina at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine is completed at the end of the month.

· Ernestina makes stops in Gloucester and Boston on the way home to New Bedford from Maine.

· Seasonal employees hired – educational programs resume through Labor Day

· Fire suppression system inspected

· Cape Verdean Recognition Day parade in New Bedford

· Sail Boston

· Maritime Festival in Salisbury

· Cape Verdean Day in Brockton

· Salem Maritime Festival

· Cape Verdean Festival in Onset

· Portsmouth, NH Maritime Festival

· Salem Antique and Classic Boat Show

· Gloucester Schooner Festival

· Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford

· Dock-side educational programming by appointment

· Winter cover erected on Ernestina

On behalf of the entire Schooner Ernestina Commission, thank you for the opportunity to provide this business plan for the Commonwealth’s Schooner Ernestina.
Respectfully submitted,

Robert Hildreth
Chair, Schooner Ernestina Commission