The Schooner Ernestina From Len Burgess

One of the 6 remaining old schooners built in Essex, MA is now 118 years old.


Len Burgess writes-

On February 1, 1894 118 years ago the Effie M. Morrissey, the ship that became Ernestina, slid down the ways at the James and Tarr Yard in Essex, Massachusetts.

The Ernestina has been designated by the Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark. She has sailed on through the century to become one of six remaining Essex-built schooners and is now in New Bedford, MA.

She reached within 600 miles of the North Pole and is the last ship to bring immigrants to this country under sail from the Cape Verde Islands. Ernestina was given to the people of the United States by the people of the Cape Verde Islands in 1982. Her history is a remarkable legacy that spans continents, races and generations.

A very large scale model of the “Morrissey” is in the Waterline Center at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum.

Here are some videos and photos I took of her back in May of 2009-

Click to play video

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Click to play video

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  • A great collection of pictures of the Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey, Len. Thanks for sharing them with us.


  • This is just a wonderful post! Thanks!


  • Spectacular, huh? I especially like to see rigging and deck details (third to last pic).


  • Great photos Len and nice account of the Ernestina. Interesting that she was built here but then given to us by the people of the Cape Verde Islands.


  • I didn’t shoot any of the photos here. I sent the story in to Joey with a picture of the Ernestina from their site and Joey added all the photos. So the nice comments should go to our leader,
    Joey. Thanks again Joey!


  • It was a joy to tell the story (about a million times) of having the Ernestina (flagship of New Bedford) on the cover of the 2011 Discover Gloucester Visitor Guide. As Len noted, she was built as the Effie M. Morrissey. In the Visitor Guide cover photo she was sailing directly in front of the Man at the Wheel statue. Leonard Craske used a Gloucester fisherman as a model for the statue- Clayton B. Morrissey. The statue is looking at the ship both named after his sister, and that he actually skippered! Many thanks to Louise Palazola and Denise “Schmoopie O’Foley” for the fabulous picture. I don’t know how we’ll top the 2011 cover for the 2012 Discover Gloucester Visitor Guide- but we’re working on doing just that!


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