The restoration of the historic schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is a quiet success story. The schooner, launched in 1894, is being rebuilt in the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard. Arriving at the yard in April 2014, she is expected to be redelivered in 2019. The schooner, the official flagship of the State of Massachusetts, is being rebuilt under a $6.3 million contract from the state. Once restored, the old schooner will sail again, for the first time since 2005, as a seaborne ambassador for the state, and as a floating classroom for students from kindergarten to those attending the maritime academy.
The schooner has a remarkable history. She was built at the John James & Washington Tarr shipyard in Essex, MA, and launched in February, 1894. Named Effie M. Morrissey, after the first skipper’s daughter, she had a very successful fishing career on the Grand Banks, paying for her construction costs on her first voyage.
In 1905, she was sold to the Arctic explorer Captain Robert Bartlett who fitted her with an engine and reinforced her hull for working in the ice, He sailed the schooner, which he referred to as “my little Morrisey” on twenty Arctic expeditions over the next two decades.
On Bartlett’s death in 1946, the schooner was sold into the packet trade between Cape Verde and the US. She was renamed the Ernestina, also after the captain’s daughter. In 1977, the schooner was given to the people of the United States by the government of Cape Verde. The Enrnestina-Morrissey was designated by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark in 1990.
Here is a timelapse video of the schooner being hauled out for restoration in 2015.