Office Staff

Gregg Swanzey
Executive Director
While completing a degree at Cornell University, Gregg participated in a marine science program at Shoals Marine Labs off Portsmouth, NH and SEA Semester onboard the Schooner WESTWARD with the Sea Education Association. These formative experiences set Gregg on a career path that has involved him in a series of exceptional mission-driven programs. Gregg participated in the Ocean Research and Education Society’s humpback whale research and education programs, sailing from Boston to Greenland aboard the 144’ barkentine REGINA MARIS. He led three trans-Atlantic shipboard classroom programs including Landmark School programs for dyslexic high school students and a Soviet -American Citizens’ Diplomatic Sail from Leningrad to New York City, onboard the 156’ Dutch flag schooner TE VEGA. In addition, Gregg served on the famous Schooners BOWDOIN with the Outward Bound School in Maine and WHEN & IF for Landmark School. He came to ERNESTINA in 1991, after ten years with Clearwater, Inc., a New York based environmental organization that offers educational programs on the 106’ Sloop CLEARWATER.

In addition to his responsibilities with the Schooner Ernestina Commission, Gregg is past-Chair for the Secretary’s Advisory Group on Environmental Education (SAGEE) advisory to the MA Secretary of Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and serves on the steering committee. He is Chair of the Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance (SEEAL) and past-President of the Board for the Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA). He also is on the Advisory Board for Environmental Education grants for the MA Environmental Trust (MET) and for The Boston Foundation’s Fund for the Environment. He serves as a Massachusetts delegate to the State Education and Environment Roundtable (SEER).

Annie McDowell
Annie McDowell
Annie signed on with ERNESTINA in 1998. Her primary responsibilities include keeping track of the growing number of program grants, ERNESTINA membership, as well as all of the accounts receivable and payable for the commission.

Annie is a UMASS Dartmouth graduate, who has worked with several service-oriented companies during her career.  In addition, Annie has on-the-water experience doing whale watch cruises onboard the Dolphin Fleet, out of Provincetown, MA. She brings both her accounting skills and people skills to bear with her position at ERNESTINA.

Laurie Weitzen
Laurie Weitzen
Human Resource Coordinator and Steward
Laurie has worked onboard the ERNESTINA since 1997 as Chief Steward.  In 2000, she helped to create a new dual-position, which allows her to have both time onboard the ship as well as in the office.  As Human Resource Coordinator, Laurie helps hire, schedule and train the ship’s crew.  In addition, she coordinates the volunteer, intern and apprentice programs, which includes development, scheduling and training.

Laurie came to ERNESTINA with considerable experience both on-deck and in the galley working professionally on board educational sailing ships including the BILL OF RIGHTS, HMS BOUNTY, CORWITH CRAMER, HARVEY GAMAGE, OCEAN STAR, SPIRIT OF MASSACHUSETTS, and WESTWARD.  However, her experience extends well beyond sailing, as she worked as a Bed and Breakfast manager, an administrative manager and volunteer coordinator for a nonprofit organization, an administrative coordinator for a hospital, a residential site supervisor and counselor for a community mental-health center. 

Laurie holds a B.A. degree from Hobart & William Smith Colleges.  While getting her degree, she spent one semester onboard SPIRIT OF MASSACHUSETTS participating in the Sea-mester program, and another at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy concentrating in photography and graphic design.

Polly Zajac
Polly Zajac
Shore-Based Program Coordinator
Polly came to the ERNESTINA after participating in the Portraits-of-a-Port teacher training program offered during the summer months, which consists of both onshore and onboard time.  She left her teaching position at one of the local New Bedford High Schools in 1999 to join the ERNESTINA team full-time.

Having worked with the Ernestina’s Working on the Water program for several years, she continues to develop and expand that program as well as the after-school programs for the junior high school students. Both of these programs are made possible through a grant funded by the City of New Bedford’s Invest-in-Kids Program.

Polly has a B.A. degree in Elementary Education from UMASS Amherst, and a M.E. degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley College. Her thesis topic was Multiple Intelligences and Classroom Application.

Staff Biographies | The Schooner Ernestina Commission | Metrics


Shipboard Staff

Capt. Willi Bank
Willi Bank
Willi joined the ERNESTINA as Captain in 1999, though this was not his first experience onboard.  Initially signing on in 1991, Willi served as the Engineer and Mate on a program, which took the ship from the Gulf of Maine to the Caribbean. He continued to work onboard intermittently until 1999, when he took on one of the two full-time captain positions.  When not onboard running the ship, Willi oversees the “Ernestina Compound” which consists of the shore-side workshop and maintenance facilities.  In addition, he directs and manages the winter maintenance and yard projects.

Willi has a wealth of experience working on the water, on vessels including the ACOUSTIC PIONEER, BOWDOIN, CORWITH CRAMER, LETTIE G. HOWARD, JOHN M. KINGSBURY and the WESTWARD.  In addition, Willi has worked on a number of shipbuilding and restoration projects including the schooner ALABAMA, AJ MEERWALD and the LETTIE G.

In college, Willi studied Ichthyology, Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems. With a BA in Natural Science from University of Pennsylvania, and other marine related course work from Universities of New Hampshire and California, Willi is a valuable educator, as well as shipwright and captain for ERNESTINA.

Capt. Amanda Madeira
Amanda Madeira
Since coming onboard the ERNESTINA in 1994, Amanda has played a critical role in developing the Ernestina’s programs through a period of tremendous growth, both programmatically and operationally. She possesses remarkable skills as an educator, which she gained through years of training and professional experience with programs onboard ADVENTURESS, ANNE KRISTINE, BOWDOIN, CORWITH CRAMER, HARVEY GAMAGE, HIGHLANDER SEA, OCEAN STAR, REGINA MARIS, TOLE MOUR, and WHEN & IF.

In her current roles, Amanda not only is responsible for running the ship when she is onboard, but is the glue that holds together the details that make the ship and its programs run smoothly—from keeping track of all the parts and purchases, to hiring the crew and helping with budget development.

While working towards a degree at Hampshire College, Amanda became especially interested in salt marsh ecology, and did extensive field work in southeastern New England. Amanda is also one of ERNESTINA’s active visual artists, having received an Arts degree from Montserrat College of Art as a sculptor.

Capt. Sophie Morse
Sophia Morse
Sophie joined ERNESTINA as a mate in 1996.  As a native of Massachusetts, she has spent most of her life onboard boats, and has worked professionally on sail-training and educational vessels including the ADVENTURESS, CORWITH CRAMER, RACHEL B. JACKSON and WESTWARD, as well as experience driving the MV CORMORANT and MV OUTWARD BOUND. She took on the role of Chief Mate in 1999, Relief Captain in 2000, and in the fall of 2002 joined the administrative staff in operations, in addition to being one of the full-time captains.

Sophie holds a MS in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, as well as a BA in Marine Affairs and Russian, both from the University of Rhode Island. While there, she focused her research on the impact of wildlife protection regimes on arctic and sub-arctic native populations. While project coordinator for the Smithsonian Institution archeological summer expeditions, Sophie sailed onboard RV PITSIULAK, a 50’ research vessel on the Labrador Coast and Frobisher Bay, NWT. Sophie seeks a second career in massage therapy, and in her spare time from ERNESTINA is working towards a certificate at the Boston Shiatsu School in Cambridge, MA.

Douglas Nemeth
Relief Captain

Doug returned to ERNESTINA in the Fall of 2003 to fill in as Captain.  He has extensive experience on the ocean, holding an Ocean Masters of any gross tons license, a First Class Pilots license, and 1600 ton Master of Ocean Aux Sail.  He is a member of International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, sailing US Flag vessels since 1979, and has worked on over 20 different container ships in a variety of positions.  As well, he has numerous days sailing onboard vessels like GRACE BAILEY, MERCANTILE, STAD AMSTERDAM, CLEARWATER, PICTON CASTLE, SPIRIT OF MASSACHUSETTS, WESTWARD, CORWITH CRAMER, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, HARVEY GAMAGE, SYLVINA BEAL, RACHAEL and EBENEZER, MISTRESS, GAZELA of Philadelphia, and REGINA MARIS.  Doug has captained ERNESTINA previously both in the full time and relief capacity.  Doug also has helped build a number of vessels including the OYSTER SLOOP CHRISTEEN, SPIRIT OF MASSACHUSETTS, and small traditional wooden boats at the Phoenix Boat-shop.

Doug graduated from State University of New York Maritime College with a BS in Meteorology and Oceanography.  He attended the University of Rhode Island’s Marine Affairs Program, receiving his Masters Degree.  And he has participated in numerous training courses at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies and Pacific Maritime Institute.  When not on the water, Doug can be found teaching at SUNY Maritime College, department of Continuing Ed, or riding his bicycle.

Steve Kirk
Steve Kirk
Relief Mate/Onboard Program Coordinator

Steve first joined the ERNESTINA crew as Deckhand in the summer of 2001, a recent graduate of the University of Vermont with a BA in Geography and Business Management.  While in College, he participated in the Sea Education Association course in nautical science, oceanography, and maritime studies, and sailed onboard the CORWITH CRAMER. In 2002, Steve returned to the ERNESTINA to begin the season as an AB, then stepping up to the challenging position of Onboard Program Coordinator part-way through. 

Steve holds a Wilderness First Responder Certification, and has four additional years of teaching experience at the Wild Harbor Yacht Club, for all levels from beginner to racing team.  In addition to his time on ERNESTINA, Steve has sailed onboard the CORWITH CRAMER as Mate, and onboard the Schooner WESTWARD as Deckhand. 

Steve returns to ERNESTINA in 2003 to help fill temporarily vacant positions of Mate and Onboard Program Coordinator.  With his outgoing personality and tremendous sense of humor, Steve continues to make a great addition to the crew!

Patrick Merrill
Relief Onboard Program Coordinator

Patrick returned to Schooner ERNESTINA in the Fall of 2003 to fill in for a number of trips as Onboard Program Coordinator.  He had previously worked most of the 2001 season as an AB.  Patrick also sailed as a Program Coordinator and Educator/Deckhand onboard the Schooner ADVENTURESS, and participated in the Sea Education Association’s course in Nautical Science, Oceanography and Maritime studies, spending 6-weeks sailing the CORWITH CRAMER.

Patrick received his BA in Environmental Studies and a BS in Marine Biology from Northeastern University.  In addition to his experience working as an educator/sailor, he participated in the Northeastern Co-op program, working as an Educational & Administrative Aide at the Lawrence Elementary School.  He has also been as a Peer Tutor and as a researcher for a law firm.  Patrick enjoys spending his free time repairing and riding bicycles and doing theatre/comedy improve.

Rhonda Moniz
Onboard Program Coordinator

Rhonda J. Moniz joined the Schooner Ernestina in the 2003 season as an Onboard Program Coordinator.  Growing up in New Bedford, and having spent much of her career in the ocean as an open water scuba diving instructor and teaching marine awareness at local universities, Rhonda’s work onboard Ernestina seemed like a most natural fit.  

In addition to her work as a dive instructor Rhonda has extensive experience as an underwater videographer and cinematographer. She has shot both topside and underwater with numerous formats, including 16mm, 35mm and digital video, and at locations throughout the world. Most recently, Rhonda has worked as DP and Stunt Coordinator on both documentary and feature films and has provided consulting services for the companion website to the PBS series Evolution. Other projects include work on the companion websites for NOVA and This Old House, The IMAX film Life in the Balance and The Environmental Series for The New Mexico Museum of Natural History, and feature films including: Gentleman from Boston, Operator, MIO VIO, Waste Basket, The Stranglers Wife, Fem Vitae and the upcoming Trusting Julia.

Rhonda has worked with fire and police departments in underwater search and rescue training and is a trained stuntwoman. Her stunt training and background includes, high falls, fire, martial arts, armed combat, unarmed combat, stair-falls, precision driving, sailing and extensive underwater work as well as ice climbing rappelling and mountaineering. Rhonda holds an undergraduate degree in Business Management and is currently pursuing a Graduate degree in Philanthropy and Media. She holds a wildlife rehabilitation license and has received her Master SCUBA Diving Instructor rating.
Kristen Sharpless
Kristen Sharpless
Onboard Program Coordinator

Kristen joined the ERNESTINA crew in September 2002, as a deckhand, and returned through June of the 2003 season as one of the Onboard Program Coordinators.  With serious dedication to teaching and making learning fun and  prior experience as a volunteer on the JOLLY ROVER II, and as an apprentice on MYSTIC WHALER, Kristen eagerly brought her professional teaching experience onboard sailing vessels doing experiential education.

Kristen graduated from Swarthmore College with a BA in Biology.  She obtained her secondary biology-teaching certificate, and has been both a student and substitute teacher in the Philadelphia school system.  She has worked with City-Sail as an educator, teaching team-building skills, sail-theory, water science including river wildlife, weather navigation, plankton, and water quality. Kristen has also been a program coordinator for an urban 4-H gardening program.

As an avid outdoors person and traveler, Kristen has backpacked in woods across the Northeast United States.  She has also traveled and volunteered her time in Europe, Africa, and in South and Central America.

Gretchen Stuppy
Onboard Program Coordinator

Gretchen joined the Schooner Ernestina in July 2003, as an Onboard Program Coordinator. Growing up in Maine, Gretchen spent much of her youth sailing, and loves using boats as a teachable classroom.  She began her professional career as Sailor/Educator at the Agamenticus Yacht Club in York, Maine as an instructor and worked her way up to become the Head Instructor.  She has also worked as a Mate for Sail Caribbean, a Deckhand for Sea Education Association, and as Captain of the CARLYN for Salish Sea Expeditions.

Gretchen earned her Bachelors degree in English and Geography from Middlebury College, where she focused on early exploration literature and the impact early maps and writing had on the perceptions and control of America.  While studying, Gretchen earned her teaching certificate for elementary education with an endorsement for secondary earth science, and has spent time substitute teaching in public schools.  She started an outdoor leadership program for 5th graders through the Middlebury College Mountain Club, and has also lead field-trips for the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH.  Gretchen hopes to return to school one day as a teacher of earth science.

Gretchen’s personal interests’ revolved around being outside and she enjoys working with groups to foster teamwork and leadership skills. In addition to sailing and teaching, Gretchen personally enjoys running, hiking, skiing, kayaking, traveling, or anything else that keeps her out-of-doors and on the move!!


Jay Amster
Jay Amster
As a recent graduate of Northeaster University, with a BS in Business and a BA in Music Literature, Jay joined the ERNESTINA, in September to finish the 2002 season, as an AB.  He returns to this role for the entire season of 2003.

Jay’s other shipboard experience includes participating in the Sea Education Association course in nautical science, oceanography, and maritime studies, where he sailed in CORWITH CRAMER.  He also worked as a Deckhand on the ROBERT C. SEAMAN’s.

Jay hopes to one day pursue a master’s degree in music education, having studied the trumpet for 12 years.  He has also been a guest conductor of the Northeastern University Concert Band, most recently conducting at his commencement ceremony in June 2002.

Ken Cabral
Ken Cabral
Relief Steward
Retired from a career in law enforcement, Ken is now spends his time as a visual artist.  He helps to coordinate the interests and energies of ERNESTINA’s artistic friends, and pursues funding to organize artistic activities with the arts communities within ERNESTINA's ports of call.  Ken is a graduate of Boston School of Fine Arts and Bryant College’s Law Enforcement Program. He participated in the Community Gardening Program at URI and the Management Program at Johnson and Wales University.

Ken brings all his talents together on ERNESTINA: supervising the galley, presenting fine meals, serving as an excellent teacher, especially in programs for youth.  And, he draws on wonderful contacts and resources for ERNESTINA’s festival events through his connections in Rhode Island’s artistic community.

Ben Carlson

Ben aka Bengineer aka Gingerbeer aka Gingerbeard or best known as Sailor Ben joined the ERNESTINA on a Thursday in 2003, just in time for dinner.

Ben’s first taste of being on the water aboard a sailing vessel began at the age of seven, when he mail ordered his first boat from inside the back cover of Boy’s Life Magazine.  He continued his life afloat, after finishing his college education from New Mexico State University, when, instead of renting an apartment, he purchased a 34’ Kneasse Brothers Trawler to live aboard. 

This experience as well as others proved to be enough to land Ben his first job in the Tall Ship industry, as he was hired by the HAWAIIAN CHIEFTAIN to be the engineer and master gunner.  He has worked onboard the LADY WASHINTON as ship’s engineer, as well as one of the shipwrights during the rebuild of the 1959 RIVA TRITONE, as boat originally owned by Rita Hayworth.  Ben volunteered his time at the Minnesota Transportation Museum, as an engineer mate- operating the engine of the turn of the century steam ship ferry.

In addition, Ben has dabbled in many professions including Piano Technician, Projector operator for a film society, Deckhand aboard a salmon fishing boat, Jeweler and metal-smith, Substitute Teacher in the New Mexico Public Schools, and Yard Worker at a marine center.   One of Ben’s most active hobbies is restore vintage automobiles, of which he has had over 30 projects he has completed.

Unfortunately Ben had to depart the ERNESTINA one Tuesday in May to head back out west, as he was hired previously to work the rest of the 2003 season onboard the LYNX.  At least he stayed for lunch.


Adam Clark

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, an eleven-fingered boy was born in California. His parents had the extra finger removed immediately because they feared he would grow up a freak. It didn't work quite as well as they had hoped....

Things started off normally enough for the boy.  He played sports, had
friends, and went to school like all the other kids. Baseball was his
favorite, as Will Clark was his hero, but he also played basketball, soccer, and even football.

When he turned thirteen, things began to change. He started listening to
music and soon stumbled upon a strange and wonderful sound that emanated from a band called the Hateful Dread. The tones from his new found passion resonated, leaving an odd feeling in his left pinky that the boy could not ignore.  Slowly, sports became less of a priority, as new and captivating bands increasingly sparked his attention. They drew him to concerts and music festivals not-so far and wide, and he met magnificent faeries, minstrels and muses in his adventures.
He also learned of a school in Portland, Oregon called Reed College where he sought (and still seeks) lessons from learned scholars in the liberal arts.

At Reed, the boy met a traveler/student who told him of adventures she had on sailing ships with the Sea Education Association. Feeling the tides of the sea pulling him, the boy found himself on a boat sailing across the Pacific.  And that began a magical and mystical journey through islands, past stars, and back in time.

He has spent the last year (2003) on such sailing vessels as the HAWAIIAN CHIEFTAN and the LYNX in California, and Schooner ERNESTINA in New Bedford, MA  all while completing requirements towards a degree in the history of alchemy and serving on the Student Senate of Elders at Reed.  This boy is Adam Clark.

Traudi Coli
Traudi Coli
Traudi’s background is quite extensive.  She was born in Berlin, Germany, grew up in Austria, spent seven years in the Middle East and Africa, and has lived in the United States since 1973. She studied art in France spent time at Rhode Island College focusing on African and Afro/American studies, specializing in Cape Verdean research. In 1987, she acquired an MBA in Health Care Administration at Bryant College and an MA in Anthropology at Rhode Island College.

Since the 1980’s, Traudi has researched many aspects of Cape Verdean culture and history.  She co-authored with Dr. Richard Lobban, a short history of Cape Verdeans in Rhode Island, for the Cape Verdean Subcommittee of the Rhode Island Heritage Commission, as well as several other articles on Cape Verdeans.  And, she worked with Marlene Lopes and Richard Lobban to establish the Cape Verdean Studies Collection at Rhode Island College. Traudi was awarded the Paul Cuffee Memorial Fellowship for the Study of Minorities in American Maritime History by the Frank C. Munson Institute of Maritime Studies at the Mystic Seaport Museum.

Traudi has been intimately involved with the ERNESTINA since the ship’s transfer from the Cape Verde Islands to the United States.  She has compiled an extensive archive of written and photographed materials, detailing the Ernestina’s history.  Encouraged to continue her research on the Cape Verdean packet trade and Ernestina’s role in it, Traudi is currently building a unique relational database to document this great period of Cape Verdean migration. Traudi is fluent in eight languages including Crioulo and Portuguese.

Pierre Cornell

Pierre signed onto ERNESTINA in August of 2003, bringing with him over 20 years of culinary experience.  He has worked at a number of restaurants and café’s including the Ground Round, McDonald’s, Kate’s Deli and Café, Rosebud Café and the Basin Harbor Club.  He has also had extensive tall-ship cooking experience, on vessels like- HARVEY GAMAGE, TOLE MOUR, SPIRIT OF MASSACHUSETTS, OCEAN STAR, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, WESTWARD, CORWITH CRAMER, BRIG NIAGRA, CALIFORNIAN and the EYE OF THE WIND.  It was quite an easy turn-over to give Pierre the galley, and let him run with it.

Pierre has also worked a number of other jobs.  He has a fairly regular position returning to Stowe Mountain Resort, where he is the Manager of the rent/repair shop.  He has also worked at Smuggler’s Notch, Middlebury College Snow Bowl as a ski mechanic and assistant manager of the ski shop.  In addition to his time on the mountains, Pierre has worked as an office manager, front desk clerk for an Inn, and has a number of years as a roofer.  Pierre graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, with a BA in Economic Management.

Chris Deely

Chris joined the ERNESTINA crew in September 2003.  Though he proved to be an excellent crew member, Chris believed he didn’t really “work” for ERNESTINA, but felt he mostly stood around with a big smile on his face, and make distracting small talk while posing for photographs.  He has traveled and lived in New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands, Germany, Norway, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Chris is an avid backpacker, mountaineer and rock climber.  He has spent the past two summers leading trips for Adventure Treks in Washington State and California.

Though it took Chris nearly 6 years to complete his BA degree in Studio Art, he swears that happened because he loved it so much.  He had focused in Geology early on, but later switched to cabinet making, photography and book binding.  Chris participated in the Sea Education Association’s course in Nautical Science, Oceanography and Maritime studies, and sailed onboard the CORWITH CRAMER.  He has also worked on the SPIRIT OF NEW ZEALAND, and was a shipwright’s apprentice on the GAZELA.  He is Scuba certified, holds a Wilderness First Responder and is an Eagle Scout.  Chris loves coconut custard pie, sled dogs and his down comforter.
Erin Deering

Erin joined the ERNESTINA crew as a Deckhand in January 2003, when she came aboard to help out with the winter yard.  After offering to cook for the crew during the season’s start-up, and being taken seriously, she moved below deck to become Steward for April- June 2003.

Erin was born and lived most of her life in Racine WI.  She began her sailing career when “these strange things called tall-ships” sailed into the port in 1998.  Instantly she was enamored and found herself signing aboard the Brig NIAGARA as a volunteer for what was to be three weeks.  It was 8 weeks later that Erin returned home, as NIAGARA went off to shipyard. For the next season, though Erin was prepared to rejoin NIAGARA as a volunteer, she happily accepted the position of Deckhand, when the offer came in.  That fall she married fellow crew member, Jed Deering, and the following spring gave birth to Tristan, who came out a whopping 8lbs 12oz

After working 1 ½ years as an administrative assistant in the NIAGARA’s office, Erin, Jed and Tristan moved east to join the ERNESTINA family. Erin enjoyed her time in the ERNESTINA galley so much, then when that position ended; she lined up another, to be Steward onboard the DENNIS SULLIVAN.

Jed Deering
Jed Deering
Chief Mate
Though Jed would like us to believe he was kidnapped by gypsies at a young age and forced to join the carnival, it is really just part of the myth and legend that makes him Jed.  Joining the crew early in the season to get to know the ship and some of the crew, Jed participated in ERNESTINA’s up-rig.  With a prior commitment to the US BRIG NIAGRA, Jed departed to Erie, PA for the rest of the summer, before returning to start in the position as ERNESTINA’s Chief Mate.  Jed’s previous sailing experience includes 5 years aboard the NIAGRA, working as a deckhand with the HMS ROSE, and as captain on the HERITAGE OF MIAMI II.

Jed studied engineering at SUNY-Fredonia, and received a boat-building certificate from Washington County Technical College.  He has his USCG License of 200-ton Near Coastal Mate and 200 ton Inland Master.

Martina Deering
Relief Steward

Martina helped us out in a real pinch.  She signed onto ERNESTINA for 12 days in the fall of 2003, as Relief Steward giving Pierre his regularly scheduled and well deserved time-off.  Martina came directly from a summer working onboard the Schooner ALABAMA.  She has also been steward on PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, DENNIS SULLIVAN, Schooner BOWDOIN and the BRIG NIAGRA.

Martina was born in the United States, but grew up and was educated while living in Germany.  She completed a formal three-year apprenticeship in baking, and earned her Journeyman Baker’s certificate.  And, she has worked professionally as a baker.  Three cheers to Martina, whose sincere flexibility in scheduling and enjoyment of cooking, spoiled our crew.
Lizzy Grubin

Described as “riveting” and “great”, Lizzy Grubin has been captivating audiences in New Bedford and beyond during the 2003 season.  Following in the footsteps of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, she has gone from an independent phenomenon to a major feature extravaganza.

Born in the mind of New York City’s Upper West Side, and perfected in the halls of Bates College and in the mountains of Colorado, this film (aka Lizzy Grubin) first gained acclaim at the Sea Education Associations student film festival in the spring term 2000.  Based on the overwhelming success, it was released into professional ranks in the fall of 2001, with an exclusive showing onboard Schooner WESTWARD.  Though losing money, it gained exposure as a “must see Deckhand”, and crossed over to a slightly more profitable stint on the SSV CORWITH CRAMER.  Since then, the film has shown in such venues as ROBERT C. SEAMANS, HARVEY GAMAGE, and returned briefly to the WESTWARD for an emotional final encore performance.

Now showing on the big screen of the ERNESTINA, Lizzy Grubin has continued to make audiences want to stand up and cheer at her success as an AB.  Madeira and Morse give it “two thumbs up”, while Bank calls it a “tear-jerker that tugs at the heart strings of humanity.”  Motor, don’t sail, to see this instant classic for yourself, before it’s too late!!


Heidi Herendeen

Eventually everyone returns to the Schooner ERNESTINA!!  Heidi sailed aboard as a mate in 1998 and 1999, and returned from the West Coast in July 2003 to sail as Mate and enjoy plying the New England waters once again onboard the historic ERNESTINA.

In the intervening years, Heidi has been sailing other vessels on the Atlantic, including CORWITH CRAMER and NOAA’s DELEWARE II, and on the Pacific onboard TOLE MOUR, CARLYN, and others.  She has had the time to get her hands dirty in her garden at home in Indianola, Washington and has worked as a dessert chef, while maintaining her connection with her “other “career as a wilderness researcher for the Department of Interior by doing some special projects for Olympic National Park, in Washington.

Heidi can’t decide between the water and terra firma, so she tries to balance time on the “big blue” with time in the “big green”.  It is great that she chooses to spend some of that time here onboard ERNESTINA.

Kate Huber

Kate began her culinary career onboard ERNESTINA, when she joined the ship’s crew in June 2003.  During a three-year break from school, she decided to travel and spend sometime sailing onboard tall-ships.  Previously, she worked onboard HARVEY GAMAGE, CLEARWATER and the ADVENTURESS, acquiring much deck experience, but looked to broaden her skills, giving cooking a try.  Kate also took on the role of Medical Officer, putting to good use her training as a Wilderness EMT.

In addition, Kate has worked as an apprentice to a sail-maker, as an on-board sailing instructor for the Evergreen State College Sailing courses, and as an instructor for the Sail NOW Program at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle.

She is an award winning flutist, and has worked as a coach for a youth symphony, as a private flute teacher, and as a freelance classical flutist.  Kate signed off as cook on ERNESTINA, to pursue her higher education in the Netherlands.
Anne Kittler

Since joining the ERNESTINA’s crew in late July 2003, Anne has acquired approximately 800 new freckles.  Although she grew up in a small Massachusetts town with a ship building history, Annie did not discover sailing until she participated in an Outward Bound Sailing Course at Hurricane Island in Maine. 

Having majored in Biology and Anthropology at Swarthmore College, Annie finds the rich diversity of ERNESTINA’s educational programs especially interesting.  She has extensive experience working with children and teenagers, and plans to pursue a career in pediatric medicine.

In addition to being on the water, Annie enjoys running, playing the flute, folk festivals, and generally playing outside.
Alison LaFerriere

Alison joined the ERNESTINA crew after her brief stint as a sunglass model.  She hails from Grand Isle Vermont, where the sheriff’s name is really “Sonny Law”.  She left small town Vermont to pursue a BS in Biology at Simmons College.  Alison’s love for Marine Biology was pursued through the East/West Marine Biology Program.  Alison shared her love for the ocean with others, through her work at the Catalina Marine Institute, where she taught for three years.  While there, she spent her time jazzing students about Marine Science, spending a “ridiculous” amount of time in the water, and jumping out of fast moving boats.

Alison left Catalina to the Pacific Northwest, to educate for Salish Sea Expeditions, sailing onboard the CARLYN.  When not sailing, Alison can be found dreaming about becoming a sea-slug, getting kids psyched about the ocean, scuba diving, and wearing party shirts.


Amanda Lake
Amanda Lake
Chief Mate

Amanda joined the crew as a Mate in the beginning of the 2001 season, and this year fills the role as one of Ernestina’s chief mates.  She came to the organization, highly recommended by Captain Amanda Madeira, whom she had sailed with in the 1980’s. A. Lake holds a 100-ton Near Coastal Master’s License with auxiliary sail endorsement.  In addition to her work with ERNESTINA, Amanda’s recent shipboard experiences include a trans-Atlantic voyage, which involved a circumnavigation of Iceland, on the 50’ cutter-rig BRENDAN’S ISLE.  She has also skippered a classic Concordia yawl, THISTLEDOWN, in Maine waters, and has sailed to the Arctic Circle twice in the past decade.  Her sailing career began when she joined the crew on the R/V REGINA MARIS, a wooden barkentine studying Humpback whales in the Caribbean and North Atlantic.

Amanda’s previous professional experiences include working as the Internship Program Coordinator for the National Audubon Society’s Government Relations office in Washington, DC, and doing several yacht repossessions and deliveries of vessels reclaimed by a marine outfit in Maryland. 

Amanda holds a MA degree from the Great Books Program at St. John’s College, a BA in Creative Writing from Hamilton College, where she served as President of Emerson Literary Society, and an Associate Degree in Resource Management from Sterling College in northern Vermont.

Kathryn Lindsey

Kathryn is known as the “apprentice who wouldn’t go home”.  Though her mother claims life is very good there, Kathryn, who started the 2003 season as an apprentice on ERNESTINA, didn’t want to go back to her land-base.  She’d rather stay aboard to teach and sail.  After numerous times turning to Kathryn and asking “Are you STILL here?” when the position of Deckhand opened up, it seemed most logical to bring her onto the professional crew.

Now a professional sailor/educator, Kathryn had a penchant for wearing other people’s name tags, naming her “pet” zooplankton, and crafting many –piece geometric origami figures. 

Unfortunately Kathryn will depart ERNESTINA in Sept 2003, to pursue her undergraduate degree at Williams College.  She hopes to focus her studies on mathematics and oceanography.  Kathryn had previously sailed onboard the CORWITH CRAMER, as a student of the Sea Education Association course in Nautical Science, Oceanography and Maritime studies.
Liz Maloney
Liz Maloney
Chief Mate

Departing from her position as winter maintenance apprentice on the sloop CLEARWATER, Liz joined ERNESTINA as Bosun and AB, at the beginning of the 2001 season. The 2002 edition of Liz Maloney had her sashaying across the deck as a Mate, with a cool confidence of a woman in control.  And in 2003, she returns to lead the crew in the position as one of ERNESTINA’s Chief Mates. 

She has no business suit or palm pilot, just a rigging knife and spike hanging over her well-patched Carhartts.  With a 100 ton Masters and 200 ton Near-Coastal Mates license in her back pocket, Liz runs her watch with an iron fist and a gentle touch.  She has worked professionally as a deckhand and onboard WESTWARD, as well as Mate on the CORWITH CRAMER.  Her other professional experience includes work at Cape Cod Sea Camps and Camp Encore/Coda as a sailing instructor and head sailing instructor.

Liz holds a BA degree in Anthropology from Brown University, during which she participated in the Sea Education Association course in Nautical Science, Oceanography and Maritime studies.  As well, she took a damage control course from Northeast Maritime Institute.

Liz is an accomplished violinist, having studied since she was six and playing in various orchestras and chamber groups, including the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Brown University Orchestra. She has traveled in Europe with her family and as part of a string ensemble, as well as spending two summers during high school participating in environmental community service in Fiji, Thailand and Vietnam.
Gwen Matuszek
Gwen Matuszek
In an attempt to bolster the bosun position of their line-up, ERNESTINA brought in Gwen for the 2002 season.  She has been impressing fans and scouts alike, since her days on the CORWITH CRAMER in SEA’s student league.  After that early brush with greatness, Gwen made the decision to compete her education before continuing her promising sailing career.  She graduated from Hamilton College in 2001, with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Studies.

Putting her political ambitions on hold, Gwen displayed her versatility as first team steward on the CORWITH CRAMER, and ROBERT C. SEAMAN’s. During this time, Gwen also honed her skills as deckhand working a stint with SOUNDWATERS, where she led the crew in NOPB’s (Number Of Perfect Ballentines).

In the spring of 2002, Gwen joined the ERNESTINA, fitting into the line-up seamlessly during the up-rig and early part of the season.  Due to prior contract obligations, she returned to the CORWITH CRAMER for her curtain call as ship’s steward during the summer months.  Fortunately for team ERNESTINA, Gwen returned late in the season, for the Schooner’s Championship run.  Gwen will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with.  It has been said that she has “a natural ability with rope”, and one crewmember said, “She’s better than Stubbs”. 

Gwen has traveled in South America, the Pacific and Australia.  She is also an accomplished runner, quilter and spelling bee champion.  She is truly a hall-of-famer in the making.

Alan Morse

A graduate of Cornell University, with a BA in Biology, Alan joined the ERNESTINA as a Deckhand in the beginning of the 2003 season.  He had been interested in sailing since he was a youngster, and was attracted to tall-ships after participating in Sea Education Association’s course in Nautical Science, Oceanography and Maritime Studies.  There he sailed as a student onboard the CORWITH CRAMER. 

Alan has also worked as a deckhand on the CORWITH CRAMER and on the WESTWARD, before returning to college.  And in the Fall of 2002, we worked onboard the SULTANA.

Overboard Swimmer
Randy is a recent graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree and a minor in dance.  He served with distinction though his years on the swim team, as towel boy and chief goggle-defogger.

After graduating from the academy, Randy headed to New York to break into the television acting scene.  His big break came, both literally and figuratively, when he landed the starring role in the commercial best known by its slogan “Don’t be a Dummy.  BUCKLE UP”.  The overnight campaign made Randy an unsuspecting star! 

Unfortunately it all came to a “crashing” end, when one morning while nursing a brutal headache, after a Crash-Test Dummies concert, Randy forgot to buckle up during his shoot, and as a result dislocated both of his hips, his knees, ankles, shoulders and a finger.  Thus ended his lucrative career.

Fortunately, due to his remarkable appeal as a government spokesperson, Randy was hired by the USCG, as their man-over-board practice person.  Randy has come full circle.  He now spends much of his time in the water, swimming for his life, harder than any of his swim team members had to!!

Indu Soini

Though a professional sailor for three years, the spring of 2003 was Indu’s first time onboard the ERNESTINA.  She considers herself a salty west coast sailor, and is the latest member of the AECEP (ADVENTURES-ERNESTINA Crew Exchange Program), having heard so much about ERNESTINA, she just had to come out and see what all the fuss was about! 

Most of Indu’s larger boat experience has come from the many seasons she has spent onboard ADVENTURESS.  There she fulfilled many different roles.  She also worked as Bosun onboard the CLEARWATER, and did a short stint as 3rd Mate on the BOWDOIN.  Her other professional experience includes working at an aquarium for 4 years, where she learned a lot about marine biology, and gained a passion for all things planktonic. 

Indu has been rowing and sailing for nearly ¾ of her life.  She also enjoys drawing, sewing, opera and dying her hair bright blue.


Fred Sterner
Fred Sterner
Chief Mate

Fred joined the ERNESTINA in 1995.  Having been a high-school teacher of Physics, Math and Earth Sciences, as well as vocational-technical alternative energy program, Fred brought with him considerable experience as an educator.  His diverse background also includes being a highly skilled carpenter and engineer; as well he worked professionally as a sales manager and computer marketer.

When Fred is not onboard ERNESTINA, he can be found either onboard the CORWITH CRAMER, HARVEY GAMAGE, ROBERT C. SEAMANS, SPIRIT OF MASSACHUSETTS, WESTWARD, or his own 36ft schooner PAGAN MOON.  He also runs a brisk home-based beer kit making business (F.M. Brewer’s).

Fred is a past Commodore of the American Schooner Association. He holds a BS degree in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, and has his 200 ton Near Coastal Auxiliary Sail Masters License.

Steve Swift
Steve Swift
Steve joined the ERNESTINA in 1995 as a volunteer, and has been onboard as professional crew each season since.  He worked as deckhand, and then took over the engineering responsibilities.  Between stints on the ERNESTINA, Steve served on the Schooner BILL OF RIGHTS from Norfolk, VA to Los Angeles, CA by way of the Panama Canal.

Steve’s professional career has included classroom experience as a math and science teacher at Uxbridge High School, and a long tenure as a Physical Scientist for the U.S. Army’s RD&E Center, Natick, MA. Steve holds an MS degree in Foods and Nutrition and a BS in Textile Chemistry. 

When not onboard ERNESTINA, you can often find Steve cajun/zydeco dancing.

Robert T. Ursusarcturis
Robert T. Ursusarcturis
Ship's Winter Caretaker/Historian

Bob shares more than just his first name with one of Ernestina’s (ex-Effie M. Morrissey) more illustrious masters, Captain Robert A. Bartlett.  Bob Ursusarcturis’ great-great-grandfather, Carmichael Ursusarcturis, was one of the original “Bartlett Boys”.  Unlike most of the other boys who sailed the Arctic with Captain Bartlett during the 1920s and 30s, Carmichael was only able to obtain a one-way passage – due south in 1940.  Always the rambunctious youth, Carmichael’s wildness was deemed untamable in the midst of the civilized folk of New York City, and so the first seafaring Ursusarcturis ‘swallowed the anchor’ and lived out his days ashore -- behind bars, in the Bronx, far from his northern home.

Quite unlike his rowdy progenitor, Bob has proven himself to be an extremely well behaved and highly reliable crewmember, and especially popular with the younger (chronologically and otherwise) of Ernestina’s passengers and crew.  First finding his way to the schooner world by way of a seaside festival in the ship’s homeport of New Bedford, where he was employed to entice fair-goers into playing carnival games of chance, Bob was wooed away from the carnie life to a new career aboard the Ernestina.  Once the historic connection was made, there was no looking back. It was in the summer of 2001 during which Bob was brought aboard as a full-time crewmember.   Always willing to lend a paw with whatever projects need his help, from acting in Evening Program skits to assisting with historic re-enactments, Bob has played many roles on board.  As he is one of the most soft-spoken of the ship’s crew, Bob is often overlooked, but his selfless endeavors to connect the past with the present life of the schooner Ernestina are always appreciated.

Staff Biographies | The Schooner Ernestina Commission | Metrics


Interns and Apprentices

Katie Deprato

Katie hails from New Bedford, Ma, and was this summer recipient of an onboard internship, sponsored by the Island Foundation of Marion MA.  She is a student at the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, where she is focusing her studies on Machine Technology.  Katie has participated in the ERNESTINA’s after-school program for two years, and has sailed onboard as a participant of many different trips.  She is also a volunteer, helping out with numerous maintenance days.  Katie has been a camp counselor, has taught younger children basketball, and is the captain of bother her soccer and basketball teams.

Sam Dreeben

When getting a description, so we could pick Sam up on from the bus, his father stated: “he is the tallest person around, you can’t miss him”.  Sam is a Liberal Arts student at Williams College.  He joined the ERNESTINA crew for four weeks in the summer of 2003 as an apprentice, to learn the role of a deckhand and educator onboard a sailing school vessel.  Originally from San Antonio Texas, Sam had not spent much time on the ocean or on sailboats, but he brings to the position a variety of other experiences.  Sam has worked as a production Assistant and Creative Consultant on “Sookie”, a pilot for a children’s television series, as well as an intern on a ranch in Wyoming.  He has also been a Head Camp Coordinator at the Good Samaritan Basketball Camp, as well as a camp counselor for 4 year olds at the Alamo Heights Swim Camp.

When Sam is not working these jobs or in his own classes, he can be found hanging out as a mentor for an elementary school student, working as a volunteer at a Children’s shelter, volunteering at a local Elementary School, playing basketball, working as a story-teller, dancer and actor, or playing his saxophone.
Sara Marcks

Sara is a student at Syracuse University, currently studying Chemical Engineering.  She joined the ERNESTINA crew for three weeks this summer as an Apprentice, to learn the role of a deckhand, and participate on our educational team.  Sara grew up near the coast in Massachusetts, and has been sailing both for pleasure and competitively since she was four years old. 

Sara is US Sailing Certified, and has worked as a sailing instructor at the Lincoln Sailing Center, a community based program, teaching both children and adults beginning through racing level sailing.
Ben Spivak

Ben is a Colorado native, but has spent the last 5 summer sailing onboard a 30’ Friendship Sloop in waters from Maine to Massachusetts.  There he learned basic navigation, how to manage sails, and basic rope and knot work.  In taking a year off between high school and college, Ben came to ERNESTINA for the Fall or 2003, hoping to expand his sailing knowledge, work as part of a crew, and learn more about science.  He has also worked as an apprentice onboard the AJ MEERWALD.  Ben is a licensed lifeguard with a CPR certification for the Professional Rescuer, and was part of his high schools swim team.

Staff Biographies | The Schooner Ernestina Commission | Metrics


©1997-2004 Schooner Ernestina
89 North Water Street, P.O. Box 2010, New Bedford, MA 02741-2010
phone 508.992.4900
fax 508.984.7719