Erik Ronnberg’s latest masterpiece, the Gloucester fishing schooner Elsie. Photo Courtesy Cape Ann Museum. William E. “Wilber’’ James’s family owned ships. Erik Ronnberg’s father worked on ships, first as a mate and later as a rigger. The 2 men met at Sunday school in Rockport when they were 5 and 6, and they have been friends ever since. James became a venture capitalist, Ronnberg a master ship modeler. Now they have come together to preserve a piece of local maritime history.

“Part of the great joy about the Elsie is it was probably the best, fastest, most successful Gloucester schooner ever,’’ James said.

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