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BOOTHBAY HARBOR – There are a num- ber of people that have ties to the Gloucester schooner era. A number of these vessels still surviving, some in better condition than oth- ers. One that was falling into disrepair very quickly was ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY, but fortunately the Commonwealth of Mas- sachusetts has got behind the preservation of this schooner. They raised a substantial sum of money; put the project out to bid and that bid was won by Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor. This is not the fi rst time ERNESTI- NA-MORRISSEY has been at the yard. Back eight years ago she was in to have the forward section redone. Project Manager Ross Branch added, “In 2007 and 2008 Boothbay Harbor Shipyard redid the fram- ing forward of the break in the deck and up from the waterline. They replanked that section and put a new deck on. So we are now doing everything else.” Once she was hauled up they removed

the interior and mechanical systems. Ross said, “We had plans from 1931 for the boat, which everyone believes were the sweetest. Then we had a laser scan of the boat as it sits there now. We are locked into the forward section that we did in 2007 and 2008 and what we wanted to try and do is to blend that to the drawing of 1931. We then built a lofting table in this shop that was 65 x 20 feet and lofted the lines out at half scale so we could marry those two together. Then we did the body sections and an expansion of the stern in full scale so we could make the patterns. We have made frame patterns for every frame and all the stern structure, construction pieces like keel, keelson, stern post, deadwood, horn timber, tail feather

and the transom. That was about a fi ve or six week process to loft and then making the patterns.” With many of the pieces made, they

are beginning to piece them together. Ross continued, “Other pieces have been made and are waiting to be fi t into the keel. Once the location is fi nally set then we will be able to cut mortices into the keel to fi t things like the rudder and the stern posts. After the keel is fi t the stern piece of the keel will come in- side for fi tting those pieces and the four lead pieces, which are 15,000 pounds apiece, for a total of 60,000 pounds. When this is done the keel will start making its way one piece at a time underneath the boat.” Once the keel and its pieces are in place

under the boat, they will start putting the stern structure together. The stern and rudder posts will be put in place and then they will get the transom stood up. “Then we will start working on the frames, starting from the last frame, which is number, 48,” said Ross. “We will start working forward to the break in the deck at frame 25. The fi rst square frame is 36 and that will be a full double sawn frame section with a cross ball and that will get dropped in as a single piece. The cants have one half on one side and one half on the other and they meet things like the tail feather, stern post or various other posts.” Going back to the lofting process, Ross

further explained, “When lofting you’ve got two things. You’ve got the fi xed picture that we had and then blending it to the ‘31. In ad- dition to that, things have been altered from its original design. When the boat arrived here on this trip it carried around 112,000 pounds of internal ballast. About half of that, 60,000 pounds, is being replaced by

The new keel pieces being fi t at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.

the external lead ballast. The entire planking was 3 inches thick and now the garboards are 5 inches and the broad strakes are 4 inches and the rest of the planking is 3. So that had to be blended in as well. So the garboards and the broads both taper to 3 inches at the forward and after end of the boat.” For fastenings they are using a lot

more, and a lot heavier, bronze, which was not used originally. The main keel bolts are an inch and a quarter and they are buying rod and threading it. The locator bolts are an inch. Floors will be bolted together with three-quarter inch bronze right at the keel then they will be treenailed together with black locus treenails. By mid-February the keel was fi tted un-

der the boat and by the end of February they hoped to have the stern structure in place. EFFIE M. MORRISSEY was built for

the John F. Wonson Co., of Gloucester, MA, by James & Tarr Shipyard in Essex, MA and was launched 1 February 1894. She was named for her fi rst master’s (Captain William E. Morrissey) 16 year old daugh- ter. EFFIE M. MORRISSEY designed was

based on the MABEL D. HINES launched the previous year. On her maiden voyage she went salt banking and arrived back in Gloucester 28 July with 250,000 salt cod. In 1905 she was sold to Capt. Ansel Snow of Digby, NS, Canada, but remained registered in the United States. In 1914 she was sold to Harold Bartlett of Newfoundland and went under British registboory. She was sold to his brother Capt. Bob Bartlett, a well-known sealer and Arctic sailor. She was readied for Arctic sailing and made her fi rst trip there in 1926. During World War II she made secret voyages into the Arctic for the U. S. Navy. In 1946 Capt. Bob Bartlett passed away in New York and EFFIE M. MORRISSEY was to New York owners. The following year she caught fi re and was scuttled, but she refused to die. In 1948 she was sold to people in New Bedford. Her engine was removed, her name changed to ERNESTINA and she went under the Portuguese fl ag. She then became a Cape Verde Packet. She is now owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and home-ported at New Bedford, MA.


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