New life is stirring aboard the immigrant packet schooner Ernestina,
born in 1894 as the Gloucester fishing schooner Effie M. Morrissey.
The Cape Verde Republic has rededicated itself to the repair and return of the vessel, hiring thirty carpenters and laborers for the rebuilding work.
This work force will be gathered from around the Cape Verde islands and brought to
Mindelo to replace frames and planking when the sh ip is hauled out this summer.
The young Dutch shipwright Frans Meijer, shown below aboard one of the schooners he has restored in Portugal,
has been retained as supervisor for the rebuilding of the ship to complete the voyage she began to the
United States in 1976-a voyage that had to be called off when she was dismasted en route in high winds and heavy seas.
An Ernestina Commission has now been established by the State of Rhode Island as well as Massachusetts.
New Bedford, Massachusetts, center of the Brava packet trade, has committed an initial $25,000 for a waterfront renewal project centered on the Ernes tina.
Wareham, home of Enrique Mendes, owner of the Ernestina for 25 years of service in the packet trade, plans an Ernestina Festival July 2nd, in which the Hudson River sloop Clearwater wi ll take part.
Last summer’s sail training program, based in Onset and begun in anticipation of the Ernestina ‘s return,
will be expanded this summer bringing in young people from all over the East Coast,
with dormitory space being provided by the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
The Ernestina/ Morrissey Committee has exceeded its goal of raising $30,000 through community benefits and private contributions.
A $5,000 gift by Lucille Langlois of Washington, D.C. has set the pace for the larger gifts that will be needed.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has augmented its existing $10,000 grant
with a second grant of $10,000 matching on a two for three basis the $30,000 received in private contributions.
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