In 1996 notable accomplishments included the development of a Working on the Water Curriculum Guide thanks to a grant from the Island Foundation, the first SEA Connections Summer Content Institute with Alan Lee Hankin, Ph.D. aboard as project director  thanks to a grant from the MA Department of Education, Expedition to the Water Planet Curriculum Guide developed thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET), a seven panel interpretive display designed and produced thanks to a grant from MET and a successful proposal presented for $137,000 for ISTEA funding to restore much of the hull and construct topmasts to bring the rig to full designed height.

This year was a very special year in New Bedford with the establishment of the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park. As you can read in the enabling legislation, Ernestina is a named part of the park with the potential for interpretive support at various sites on the waterfront, especially the southwest corner of New Bedford State Pier.

Thanks to the contribution of a significant amount of time by Eric Swanzey, the executive director's brother, the Ernestina.org website was established.

Thanks to the expertise and volunteer effort of Randy Goux, the public program director's son, a short video was produced for presentations for prospective users of the ship and programs.

In October 1996 Congress ratified and President Clinton signed a bill authorizing the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Schooner Ernestina is specifically named in the legislation as part of the Park. The authorization came too late for budgeted funding in 1997 but that hasnít stopped the planning process currently underway in New Bedford. Local organizations have been meeting with the National Park Service to offer input inot the Master Plan for the Park and to envision the changing face of Historic New Bedford. Ernestina will ultimately be able to access up to $50,000 in 4 to 1 matching funding in cooperative agreements with the National Park Service for programs offered as a partner in the Park. Ernestina staff have traveled to observe programs at Lowell and Charlestown Navy Yard and have been testing some ideas that will take advantage of Ernestinaís ability to link Parks over the water as well as connect people to a real maritime experience on a ship heavily laden with a well documented history.

The Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District in Taunton has recommended a capital improvement project proposal submitted for state administered federal funding by Schooner Ernestina staff. The project will complete ongoing hull upgrading, fabricate and install topmasts and upper sails and provide for ADA approved gangways to improve access to the ship from Tonnessen Park. Work is slated for the fall.

For more than a decade and a half, Ernestina has been supported by the homeport Cape Verdean-American community. Past Ernestina Commissioners Joli Gonsalves, Julius H. Britto and Nick Fernandes, of Wareham, and present Commission Vice Chairman Carl Cruz have given literally years of work to the survival and development of the Ernestina and her programs. The Ernestina/Morrissey Historical Association (EMHA), often meeting at the Cape Verdean Gardens, has marshaled remarkable resources of time, treasure and effort on behalf of Ernestina. Prominent Cape Verdean-American leadership in that organization has included Val Almeida, Debbie Clark, Toni DePina and many others, including some of the aforementioned.

This year Ernestina was involved in the welcoming of President Monteiro to New England and helped celebrate the grand reopening of the new Cape Verdean Ultra-marine Band and Club.

Springtime 1996 C.V. Regional Events

Schooner Ernestina staff participated in two major Cape Verdean cultural events this spring, sharing material about the ship’s program and visiting with a great number of friends of Ernestina in Pawtucket and Boston.

Long-time Ernestina volunteer crew member Jose "Big Joe" Andrade, along with Waltraud "Traudi" Coli, manned an Ernestina booth at the gala dedication of the Cape Verdean-American Community Development building, on High St., in Pawtucket, RI, on Sunday, May 26. The following Saturday, June 1, So Sabi: The 1996 New England Cape Verdean Folklife Festival, took place at the Boston Center for the Arts where Schooner Ernestina was also represented by deckhand/anthropologist/linguist Coli and the other Joe Andrade, "Little Joe" from New Bedford, who for several years has been a regular member of Ernestina’s professional crew. They showed the Schooner Ernestina info-video, and shared the good news about Ernestina’s activities along the coast, from Mt. Hope Bay to Gloucester Harbor.

Visiting New Bedford in June, Lawrence Benedict, the newly appointed American ambassador to the Republic of Cape Verde, came aboard Schooner Ernestina, along with Cape Verdean dignitaries. His schooner stop was followed by a reception at the Merchant Mariners Club.

On Cape Verdean Independence Day, July 5, Schooner Ernestina led a parade of tall ships into New Bedford Harbor between 5pm and 6pm. As the host vessel, she flew the flags of the Republic of Cape Verde and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as Old Glory.

The holiday week saw Tall Ships in New Bedford for Summerfest after Independence Day festivities in Boston Harbor and a Boston-to-New Bedford coastal passage. Led by New Bedford’s Schooner Ernestina, the Spirit of Massachusetts, HMS Bounty and Gazela of Philadelphia, sailed together in a series of activities that highlighted New England’s maritime heritage, emphasized the importance of the seaports to the Commonwealth and attracted people to New Bedford and the Summerfest.

On July 4th, the fleet could be viewed from ashore at Castle Island in Boston participating in the annual Turn Around of the USS Constitution, along with USS Salem, a heavy cruiser, and the destroyer Cassin Young in a spectacular event to honor WWII veterans. Next the four Tall Ships sailed in company along the Massachusetts coast leaving Boston at 3pm in the afternoon of July 4th enroute to Plymouth to anchor for an evening of fireworks in Warren Cove at 9pm. The ships transited the Cape Cod Canal between 12noon and 2pm on Friday, July 5th. The coastal passage finished with the ships sailing into New Bedford Harbor at 7pm on July 5th. All four vessels docked for a weekend of tours and activities at State Pier in New Bedford.

Under the leadership of the Summerfest Steering Committee chaired by Bill Kennedy, President and Publisher of the New Bedford Standard-Times, coordination by D.J. Walsh and Gregg Swanzey, co-chairs of the Waterfront Committee and overall festival management by Jim Mathes and Lisa Sughrue at the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, the Tall Ship events were organized by the Schooner Ernestina office and staff, with funding through a grant from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. Sponsorship for the Tall Ship fleet was provided by Bank of Boston, St. Luke’s Hospital, the Standard-Times, Teledyne Rodney Metals and Acushnet Rubber.

Meetings in Boston to coordinate the Constitution Turn Around were called by Commander Michael Beck of the USS CONSTITUTION and Bill Foley, Supervisor of Interpretation for Boston National Historical Park. The Boston Pilots, US Coast Guard Boston Group, Boston Tug and Tow and representatives of the Tall Ship flotilla, organized by Gregg Swanzey, Director of Schooner Ernestina made up the committee to arrange the logistics. Dockage in Boston was arranged through MassPort and in collaboration with the East Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Courageous Sailing Center.

The Transit through the Cape Cod Canal and the transfer of participants by pilot boat for the final leg of the Coastal passage to New Bedford was facilitated with critical assistance from Frank Ciccone, Engineer in Charge at Canal Control, the Army Corps of Engineers, Dave Romer, Director of Marine Operations and George Benoit at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Ed Mathieu of Mathieu Marine in New Bedford and Larry Palmer of Northeast Marine Pilots.

The Schooner Ernestina came to dock at the Army Corps dock to board participants (among them Mayor Tierney of New Bedford) for the Parade of Sail. Others traveled from Massachusetts Maritime Academy by pilot boat to the other ships as they idled at "the Stakes" a staging area to the west of the Canal and further along in the west anchorage.

The Tall Ships sailed through the harbor entrance at 7pm on July 5th, docking at State Pier for the weekend with BOUNTY and GAZELA leading the way and Ernestina making her grand entrance under full sail along with SPIRIT OF MASSACHUSETTS. The visit of the fleet in New Bedford Harbor was facilitated by the efforts of Dave Rita, State Pier Manager, Marty Manley, Director of the Harbor Development Commission and Larry Chongarlides, New Bedford Harbor Master. Accommodation for the festival by businesses including Maritime Terminals, Portuguese American Lines, New Bedford Ship Supply, Pier Oil and the Fishing Fleet of New Bedford as well as the US Coast Guard Fleet based in New Bedford was important for success.

The captains of the ships, Jeff Stone, Schooner Ernestina, Ken Neal, Spirit of Massachusetts, Ann Cleaver, Gazela of Philadelphia and Robin Walbridge, HMS Bounty, worked together to welcome aboard a host of participants and visitors. The visiting crews from Boston (Spirit of Massachusetts), Fall River (HMS Bounty) and Philadelphia (Gazela) enjoyed the hospitality of Schooner Ernestina crew, staff and member/volunteers as well as the Summerfest team while in New Bedford.

Office Staff
Gregg Swanzey,
Tom Goux,
Program Coordinator
Alan Lee Hankin, Ph.D.
Sea Connections Director

Shipboard Staff
Jeff Stone,
Tora Johnson, Program Coordinator
Caitlin Schwarzman,
Program Coordinator
Aaren Freeman, Program Coordinator
Joe Andrade,
Jon Burt,
Chief Mate
Ken Cabral, Steward

Waltraud Coli,
Aaron Macedo,
Amanda Madeira, Chief Mate
Bob Marchand,
Peter Marshall,
Doug Miller,
Sophie Morse,
Doug Randall,
Fred Sterner,
Stephen Swift,
Mary Walsh,
Relief Steward
Joe Waple,
Relief Steward
Laurie Weitzen,

Zdravka Tzankova
Daniel von Schiller

For more stories please follow the link to the newsletter from the outreach page...

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