Preparing Planks for the Transom
Ernestina-Morrisssey’s new transom is being fitted to the frames.
The transom has an extreme curve and some of the planks must be steamed and bent to a form to set the needed curve of the planks. Some members of the crew are in the workshed working on the plank for the next day.
Fair Winds and Congratulations, Melissa DeValles
Melissa DeValles has resigned from the Board Of Directors of SEMA and has been sworn in as a member of the Schooner Ernestina Commission.
Melissa brings great experience to the Commission. In addition to her time on the SEMA board, she has served as deckhand and engineer on Ernestina and is a Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) grad. She is well prepared to help as Ernestina-Morrissey transitions to her exciting future.
Join the Ernestina-Morrissey Whiskey Plank Club!!!
The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association cordially invites one and all to become a part of the schooner’s history when your name is added to the whiskey plank, which will be laid in late July! A whiskey plank is the last plank to be put in place to finish construction of a vessel’s framing and planking. For us, this is a significant milestone in Ernestina-Morrissey’s hull restoration. For a minimum donation of $100, a Whiskey Plank Club Member will have their name (or a name of their choice) inscribed on the Ernestina-Morrissey’s whiskey plank and will also receive a commemorative photo! Make your donation of $100 (or more!) online through the SEMA PayPal account* or you can mail us a check to SEMA, P.O. Box 2995, New Bedford, MA, 02741. Let us know what name you want inscribed. Funds must be received by July 25.
SORRY! Some people are having trouble with the PayPal account. If you are having trouble, let us know if you are using a PayPal account or if you are trying to pay with a credit card. We are working with PayPal to resolve the problem. You can send a message with your name for the Whiskey Plank Club and let us know you are sending a check.
Traditionally the laying of the whiskey plank is marked by a celebration at the shipyard. To highlight the vessel’s unique history; Cape Ann rum, Canadian whiskey and Cape Verdean grogue will all be used to celebrate her whiskey plank! SEMA will publish photos of the ceremony, as well as a complete thank you list of all Ernestina-Morrissey Whiskey Plank Club Members! Don’t miss this unique opportunity to have a lasting impact on the completion of schooner’s hull, and literally be inscribed in her history! Please make your contribution today and join the Ernestina-Morrissey Whiskey Plank Club! *Be sure to let us know, in the “Add special instructions to the seller” box, what name you want inscribed!
Thank You to our Sponsors!
Celebrating all the stories of Ernestina-Morrissey‘s Amazing History!
The Bisca Tournament Club in New Bedford
Sails Over Ice and Seas
Rick Lopes has been collecting images and interviews of Ernestina-Morrissey‘s history for over thirty years. His plan to produce a documentary called “Sails Over Ice and Seas: The Life and Times of Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey” is falling into place with “the generous support from several institutions and individuals, particularly Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest” is described in the latest issue of Sea History magazine. (page 14). A teaser can be viewed HERE.
Rick has been joined by his sons, Alessandro and Christian, as the recording is completed and editing begins.
“The documentary is still a work in progress and Rick encourages anyone who has photographs, archival film, or a personal connection to the schooner to contact either NMHS or Voyage Digital Media. ” (Voyage Digital Media , National Maritime History Society)
Deck Beams Going In!
The crew at the Bristol Marine Shipyard in Boothby Harbor has made great progress since our last post in April! The planking continues, up from the keel and down from the sheer. The last plank of the (shutter) strake, called the whiskey plank, will finish the planking and be cause for celebration!
The cap on the transom is coming together well.
The deck beams run athwartships, from port side to starboard.
The beams and framing must allow for the hatches, deck “furniture” and cabin trunks.
The crew is not ready to start laying the deck, but in the work shop the crew continue to prepare the covering boards, the outermost deck plank on each side, which fit over the stanchions and assure, when well caulked, that water washing off the deck cannot leak into the hull.
You can easily access all our posts about this project HERE.
If you would like to help just click the yellow DONATE button at the right.
Planking Has Started
The hull of a ship like Ernestina-Morrissey is curved from stem to stern and from keel to bulwarks. As a result every plank has to be shaped to fit with its mates to form those curves. The process starts with 3 inch oak timbers.
These photos were taken on March 26, 2018.
The planks are then brought to the railway and readied to be steamed.
40 foot sheer plank going in (to railway)
The thickness of planks next to the keel is 5 inches midships and is tapered to the stem and stern as you can see in the next sequence of photos. Also notice the fastenings and check our post on fastenings.
Preparations for Aft Deck
Ernestina-Morrissey’s fore deck was renewed in 2008-’09. The aft deck is a step up from the fore deck as the curve of the schooner’s sheer continues to the transom. A beam forms the step at the break in the deck.
Thank You, Licy!
Licy DoCanto‘s time as a member and chairperson of the Schooner Ernestina Commission has been marked with immense positive changes for Ernestina-Morrissey. We are sorry to receive news that he is leaving the Commission. In a letter emailed to the Commission, announcing his stepping down as Commission chairperson and Commission member, Licy wrote: ”It has been an honor and privilege as well as an incredible experience both personally and professionally to serve these last five years on the Commission on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. I am very proud of the work of the Commission and the important partnership it enjoys today with the governor and the administration, the legislature, as well as with the private sector and community at large, in support of the Schooner. I am especially proud of the steps we have taken over the last year to strengthen awareness of and engagement with her at the highest levels of government in Massachusetts, in Boston and in Cabo Verde.
I am particularly proud also of the steps we have taken to help increase awareness of her in the media and press, and by default, within communities across the Commonwealth. In addition, I especially pleased by the creation of the Commission fellowship opportunity and the work of the Commission fellows, as well as with the important site visits to Mass Maritime Academy and Boothbay Harbor Maine, achieving full Commission membership for the first time in over ten years, and the important efforts to bring us closer to a draft MOU/MOA among DCR, SEC, and MMA.
This unique state asset and official state ship represents the very best of what Massachusetts stands for…diversity, inclusiveness and increased opportunity for all. And I wish you all well and Godspeed in your continued efforts in support of her successful future.
In 1894 Effie M. Morrissey was fastened with trunnels and iron. Iron and wood served again when Ernestina was prepared for her return to Massachusetts in 1982.
The current rehabilitation of Ernestina-Morrissey is using the traditional locust trunnels and corrosion resistant silicon-bronze fastenings. In previous posts we have described the use of trunnels as the frame came together.
Now that the sheer-strake and bullwarks are in place and the tops of the double-sawn frames have been cut to level, some cuts have exposed the trunnels used to fasten the futtocks together.
The hull frame is nearly done and drilling holes and bolting the sheer-shelf to the frame is one of the last steps.
It is important that the hole be straight to accept the silicon-bronze rod and to be centered to the end through the frame and sheer-strake so that the bolt holding the structure together will be secure. This short video shows how long the bit is and how the jig is adjusted.
As Julius said this summer, “We are getting a superior ship” thanks to the shipwrights at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor.
Old Tech-New Tech
I was struck, on a recent trip to the shipyard, by the juxtaposition of “the old way” and the modern tools both in use by the shipwrights working on Ernestina-Morrissey. One example is the techniques used for holding the planks tight while they are fit and fastened to the frames. Although there are no news reels from 1894, The Shipbuilders of Essex, a film probably produced in the 1930′s, can give you a flavor of the “old way”