Ernestina was not my first big boat, but certainly is my favorite.



Those are not tiny people on the boat, she is about 155′ overall, weighs around 260 Tons, and has over 7000 sq ft of sail up in that photo.

Ernestina has the most amazing history  - probably second in American sailboats as far as historical significance - to the Constitution.  Ernestina (then Effie M. Morrisey) launched in 1984 as a Gloucester fishing schooner  - going out to the Grand Banks south of Newfoundland to dory fish for cod.  The boat would anchor and the men would go out in pairs to handline from dories for cod and halibut. Each day they would bring them back - salt the cod - then go back again until the boat was full. Then they would race home to Gloucester to sell the fish.  See the movie “Captains Courageous” to see what that was like.  She also fished from Nova Scotia.

In 1925, Captain Bob Bartlett bought the boat and used it for Arctic Exploration right up to WW2.  He explored the  far north, Greenland, Baffin Island, North of Alaska, etc.  He brought back many  samples for zoos  as well as many biological specimans.   He was one of Canada’s greatest explorers.

It was a supply boat to Greenland during WW2 and helped chart that area.  Capt. Bob knew the area well.

There is an interesting website about Bob Bartlett and Ernestina (Effie M. Morrissey) and a 2009 celebration in Newfoundland.

When Capt Bob died, the Morrissey was acquired by a Cape Verdean,  Capt. Mendes, and renamed Ernestina.  She sailed as a packet boat, taking goods to Cape Verde, and then bringing immigrants back to New England.  She was the last Trans-Atlantic immigrant sail boat.   She became an inter-island boat and fell into a poor state of repair.

When Cape Verde became independant, she was fixed up and given to the US,   She came over and around 1994, she started a pretty extensive program of education,   taking out kids and adults for everything from 4 hour to weeklong sails,  That is when I started working on her as a mate and educator. She has taken thousands of kids sailing.

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