Restoring Ernestina

“Welcome Home Ernestina” Schedule of Events
Partially Restored Ernestina Sailing Home

After undergoing extensive renovations in Boothbay, Maine, schooner Ernestina, the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, returns to her home port of New Bedford Saturday, May 9. Links to a video depicting the restoration process, and a schedule of fund raising events, with a New Bedford Standard Times news article follow:
“Welcome Home Ernestina” schedule of events (PDF FILE)
Restoring the Erestina Video

Partially restored Ernestina Sailing Home
By Don Cuddy

NEW BEDFORD — It has been 11 months since Ernestina sailed on home waters, but the historic schooner is returning to the city next Saturday, having undergone extensive restoration on the forward part of its 115-year-old hull at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine.
Weather permitting, Ernestina will leave the shipyard on Tuesday morning under its own power with a crew of shipyard workers, calling at Gloucester and Boston before transiting the Cape Cod canal on Friday afternoon between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
After spending Friday night at anchor, Ernestina will enter the harbor at 11 a.m. on Saturday, escorted by the Cuttyhunk ferry.
Members of the public are invited to ride on the ferry for a donation of $30, according to Chuck Smiler of the Friends of Ernestina, which is organizing a dockside welcome home party.
“We are staging fundraising events in Gloucester and Boston also,” he said, “in an effort to rekindle statewide appreciation for Ernestina. Ernestina is the real deal, and it still has value. It has educational and cultural value as well as serving as a tourist attraction.”
After tying up, Ernestina will be open to visitors free of charge from noon until 3 p.m. A concert on the state pier featuring Candida Rose, The Beans and the New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey chorus will follow at 3 p.m. with a donation of $20 requested for admission.
The yard work on Ernestina included the replacement of the planking and decking in the bow section in addition to replacing a number of frames on both sides of the hull. Funding for the restoration was provided by a $500,000 Save America’s Treasures federal grant matched by a further $500,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, as well as private donations.
However, the contract with the Boothbay Harbor shipyard was restricted to the work on the forward part of the vessel including repainting that section of the hull. The after section remains in its original condition and plans are being formulated to use volunteer labor during the summer to complete the paint job.
Even with this latest phase of the restoration work now complete, the schooner will not be active this summer since it cannot receive Coast Guard certification until the remaining work on the hull is complete. At this time there are no more funds available for repairs, according to state officials.
May 04, 2009
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