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Things Haven't Changed

"Ports are no good. Ships rot and the men go to the devil" - Joseph Conrad

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Ernestina Front Page News

Read the recent article from The New Bedford Standard Times HERE.

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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.

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"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.

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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

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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.


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Ernestina Receives Major Grant

Dear Friends of Ernestina,

I am pleased to let you know that this afternoon, Senator Kerry, in conjunction with Senator Kennedy and Congressman Frank, is announcing that Ernestina is the recipient of a federal matching grant of $500,000 from Save America's Treasures!

This is just the beginning folks. Other efforts are taking place behind the scenes so there will be more forthcoming. The goal is to have her in the yards by late spring. Surveys of the mechanical and electrical systems are being scheduled for next week with the rigging scheduled for after the first of the New Year.

Below is the release issued by the NPS...Ernestina is prominently featured. Kudos to Celeste Bernardo for spearheading this effort. Happy Holidays my friends.

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Paul Brawley - Executive Director

Paul Brawley is the new Executive Director of the Schooner Ernestina. He has a good background in fundraising and publicity. He sailed on the tall ship HMS Rose at age 15 and is someone who certainly knows about boats.
From a short talk with him today, it is easy to see that he is absolutely determined to get Ernestina sailing again. He is already formulating plans to do so. The boat will go places.

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A Surprise Sailing Visit to Cape Verde

Sometimes you get a very unexpected phone call that changes things. I got one towards the end of March from Sam, a friend in NY.

Peter and Jeanette, from the American Schooner Association has been on a really slow (15 year) trip around the world in an old 50' Alden Schooner. They were planning on coming back across the Atlantic when they were delayed by having a transmission rebuilt in Gibralter and then their crew had to leave for personal reasons. They said they needed 2 sailors with bluewater experience to help them sail from the Canary islands to Antigua right away and they mentioned my name as a possibility. The weather window starts to close after April because of hurricane season.

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Ernestina's Birthday

Ernestina's birthday was on February 1st. She was 113. Sometimes a few of us meet for cake, or send cards, or even make something for her. We may have even sung Happy Birthday a few times.

On February 5, 1894, a single line of print in a corner of the Gloucester Daily Times recorded an addition to the Gloucester, Massachusetts fishing fleet: "The new schooner for J.F. Wonson and Co. has been named Effie M. Morrissey." This marked the commonplace birth of a schooner that would become famous not only as a banks fisherman, but also as one of the great expedition vessels of arctic exploration, a venerable transAtlantic immigration packet, a symbol of Cape Verdean-American history and heritage, and as an active educational and cultural resource serving the New England region. However, the white oak and yellow pine hull of the Effie M. Morrissey slid down the ways of the John F. James & Washington Tarr shipyard not as remarkable individual ship, but as a fine example of thousands of similar, Essex-built schooners. It was the heyday of the Gloucester fisherman.

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