|Ernestina started the year with
the arrival of the ship back in US waters and departure of the captain
and crew from the JTEC trip. Before departure in early February,
dockage and caretaking were arranged and the ship lay alongside at
Dodge Island in Miami, Florida with engineer/cook Mark C. Robinson
aboard as caretaker assisted by David Horvath and Amy Strange. A
ship's survey was accomplished, some fundraising effort was mounted
for a donation of fuel and maintenance work continued. By April 7,
1992 Mark had departed and the first of the delivery crew were
arriving as David Thomasset from New Bedford came aboard.
An article in the Standard-Times on April 10, 1992 described the next phase:
On April 22, 1992 at 10am Ernestina pulled into her berth at State Pier to a welcoming party of about a hundred friends of the ship and crew after an eventful passage from Miami. Strong wind and high seas snapped a gaff and the ship had to make a temporary landfall at Charleston, SC.
Tom Grace, one of the crewmembers said, "Well, theyve got to capture all this interest and find a way to make it work." Jonathan DePina who was aboard as mate said, "She really needs a lot of attention right now." A panel was formed by the Commission to meet April 30, 1992 at 6:30 at the Verdean Gardens at the corner of Walnut Street and Acushnet Avenue to seek ideas for programs and use of the schooner.
The New Bedford-based Ernestina-Morrissey Historical Association (EMHA), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization was contracted to take over the operation of the Schooner Ernestina for the 1992 sailing season.
Pam Weurth came to EMHA to serve as executive director from Schooner, Inc. in New Haven, CT and began the process of working with the board of directors, hiring Dutch Shultis as captain, installing programs and community building. Later, Clem Daley, an artist and longtime advocate for culture and historic preservation in New Bedford and Fairhaven, came on as director for a short time.
Programs were completed throughout the summer months but without a foundation of administrative and operational funding, program fees received during the 1992 sailing season were not enough to keep the office doors open after the fall. This time the schooner was moved to Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut for the winter of 1992/1993 and secured.
Crew aboard for the season were Capt. Dutch Shultis, Tim McGinnis, Charles Jones, Rick Hamilton, Pat Flynn, Denise Garzón, Heidi Martin, Joel Costa, and Rick Pierce.