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News From Paul Brawley

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JULY 2008

Dear Friend of Ernestina,

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that since last July, much progress has been made regarding Ernestina, a National Historic Landmark, official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.

Into the yard
The ship entered the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine last month to begin the rehabilitation of the front of the vessel. The work will include the stem, foredeck, and planking above the waterline alongside the foredeck. We will also make temporary repairs to the main deck to halt the leaking. The work is expected to be completed this fall and will follow the standards set forth in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standard’s for Historic Vessel Preservation Projects and the U.S. Coast Guard. Harold Burnham, an 11th generation Essex Master Shipwright, will serve as my liaison with the shipyard.

Funding for this initial work includes a National Park Service (NPS) $500,000 Save America’s Treasures matching grant, a $250,000 grant from the Office of Public and Private Partnerships administered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and $130,000 from Ernestina’s operating budget.

Agreement with the National Park Service Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER)
We have also signed an agreement with HABS/HAER to develop drawings, histories, and photographs of the vessel. Work on this project began in May will be completed by mid-September 2008; however we will not have a final product for some 15 months later because of the extensive editing and review process. This reference document will provide invaluable information that will guide future preservation decisions and ensure that Ernestina’s historical integrity is maintained. The work is being funded by grants from the federal government and the Office of Public and Private Partnerships within DCR.

We still have a great deal of work to do
This news is very positive, but much work still needs to be done to rehabilitate the main deck, transom, and stern post. In addition, upgrades need to be made to the ship’s mechanical and electrical systems, rigging and sails. The total cost of Ernestina’s rehabilitation, outfitting, and manning, including the present work, is estimated to be under $3.5 million.

We want to sail by the Spring 2009
The ship has not sailed since 2004. Ideally, with your help, we will accomplish the necessary work quickly in order to obtain U.S. Coast Guard certification to sail by the Spring of 2009. This will enable us to reestablish our many fine educational and cultural programs for people of all ages and participate in the following events:
? Sail Massachusetts (July 2009) -- celebration with over 100 tall ships from around the world
? Celebrating Bartlett in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (July - August 2009) – honoring Captain Robert Bartlett, a native Canadian and owner of the Effie M. Morrissey (Ernestina’s former name) in the 1920’s and 30’s who sailed the ship as an Arctic exploration vessel.
? 25th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival (September 2009) – one of the premiere schooner events in the country.
? Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford (September 2009) – one of the prominent maritime festivals on the East Coast.
? 35th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Cape Verde (July 2010) – celebrating the rich history of the 10 - island nation. Captain Henrique Mendes owned Ernestina from 1947 through the early 1980’s and operated her first as a packet ship to the U.S. then as an inter-island transport vessel. The Republic of Cape Verde gave her to the U.S. in 1982 as a gift between the two nations.

Why Ernestina’s restoration is important

Schooner Ernestina Metrics
Designer: George M. McClain Sparred Length Overall: 156 feet
Builder: James & Tarr Yard, Essex, MA Main Mast: 76 feet; 20 in diameter
Launched: February 1, 1894 Fore Mast: 74 feet; 21 in diameter
Tonnage: 98 gross tons Main Boom: 68 feet
Hull Length Overall: 114 feet Sail Area: 8,323 square feet
Length on Deck: 106 feet Engine: 6-cylander, 350 hp Cummins
Length at Waterline: 93 feet marine diesel
Breadth: 24 feet, 5 inches Homeport: New Bedford, MA

· The 114-year-old Ernestina ex-Effie M. Morrissey is a National Historic Landmark, is the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and is part of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.
· She has served as a successful Grand Banks fishing schooner; as an Arctic exploration vessel that came to within 578 miles of the North Pole—a record that still stands for a sailing vessel; as a U.S. Naval vessel in World War II; as a Cape Verde packet ship—the last sailing vessel in regular service to bring immigrants to this country; and most recently served as a sail training education vessel for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
· In 1982, the Republic of Cape Verde, with the financial support of the Friends of Ernestina/Morrissey, restored Ernestina and presented her as a gift to the people of the United States and ultimately to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, returning her to the land of her construction.
· Ernestina is the oldest surviving Grand Banks fishing schooner, one of two surviving 19th century Essex-built Gloucester fishing schooners, and one of two remaining examples of the Fredonia-style schooners, and the only one of that type that can still be operational. She is also one of only two sailing Arctic exploration vessels left afloat in the United States.
· Next to USS Constitution, Ernestina is perhaps the most significant surviving sailing vessel in our nation’s maritime history.

Now is the Time to make a Generous Contribution!
Please join us as we chart a new course and create another new chapter in the history of this venerable vessel. Make out your tax-deductible contribution to the Schooner Ernestina Commission Trust and mail it to Box 2010, New Bedford, MA 02741-2010. Your gift will be matched by the Save America’s Treasures federal grant.

For more information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at paul.brawley@state.ma.us or by calling 508-992-4900. Let’s work together to keep Ernestina sailing!

Fair Winds and Following Seas,

Paul J. Brawley
Executive Director