June 24, Wednesday 7:30 PM Chester Brigham Phoenix of the Seas - The Life Story of the Ernestina/Morrissey Free for Members $8 Non-Members
Phoenix of the Seas, by Chester Brigham
The saga of the Gloucester schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, State Ship of Massachusetts
The Ernestina-Morrissey’s story is one of wide-ranging maritime adventures, lived by a remarkable cast of captains, crews and voyagers. Launched in Essex in 1894, she sailed to the Grand Banks from Gloucester for cod in the 1890s … voyaged to the Arctic every year for almost two decades on scientific expeditions … served under both the U.S. Army and Navy in the Arctic during World War II … crossed the Atlantic a dozen times as a packet ship, linking Cape Verdean-Americans in New England with family members on their home islands … then back in America under sail out of New Bedford she was a floating schoolroom where boatloads of school children learned about the wonders of their ocean environment.
Behind it all has been the ship’s indomitable spirit, sensed by all who have sailed her: Gloucester fishing captains Bill and Clayton Morrissey, Arctic navigator Bob Bartlett, Henrique Mendes on Cape Verde, round-the-world captain Dan Moreland. And by those whose lives she has touched: dory-trawling fishermen on the Grand Banks, hardy field scientists, Inuit hunters, GIs at remote weather stations, Atlantic islanders, volunteers who have sacrificed much for love of the ship.
Phoenix of the Seas tells of how the Ernestina-Morrissey has repeatedly been written off as doomed. The happy ending is that, thanks to a combination of state and private funding, she is now undergoing complete restoration. This phoenix ship will rise from the ashes and spread her white wings over the ocean once again!
Gloucester author Chester Brigham has written three other books of maritime history: On Opposite Tacks (2011), Gloucester’s Bargain with the Sea (2007) and The Stream I Go A-Fishing In (2003).
Phoenix of the Seas. Whale’s Jaw Publishing. Hardcover. 296 pages. 42 illustrations. ISBN 978-0-9740778-4-0. $28. On-sale date June 13.