Famous at the turn of the century as a Grand Banks fis hing schooner,
then an acclaimed Artie exploration vessel before and during World War II,
and a celebrated transatlantic sail ing packet in the postwar yea rs,
the schooner Ernestina ex-Effie M. Morrissey is refitting today as a museum ship that has been mandated to continue operating under sail-as she did conti nuously from her launching in 1894 to her last commercial voyage to the US in 1965.
Following the vessel’s last American voyage in 1965 some National Maritime Historical Soc iety members began to think of her as a possible historic shi p for South Street Seaport Museum, and worked to arouse interest in her case.
An initial attempt to return the ship to America fa iled due to a dis masting in 1976.
Ernestina was then acquired by the government of the Republic of Cape Verde who,
with the help of the Friends of the Ernestina and the National Maritime Histo rical Soc iety,
undertook the restoration of the aged schooner The Ernestina arri ved in the United States in August 1982, greeted with fanfare.
A five-person, State-appointed Massachusetts Schooner Ernestina Commission took title to the ship and stipulated that she be kept actively sailing as an educational vessel.
After this promising welcome, however, the momentum somehow flagged .
The schooner was towed to Gloucester, and there she languished for nearly a year without funds, leadership, or specific plans.
But the summer of 1983 saw renewed activity on board the 89 year-old schooner. The Ernestina Commission.appointed a Captain fo r the ship,
Daniel Mo reland , who holds an unlimited Masterof Sail license and has twelve years of deep-sea sailing experience which include four years as an officer on board the Danish training ship Danmark.
Moreland gathered together some money and a crew, made some minor repairs to the ship,
and took Ernestina sailing in the fall of 1983-gain ing exposure for the ship and emphasizing the fac t that she is an historical vessel that sails.
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