Monday’s fatal mast accident was not the sailboat’s first accident

Monday’s fatal mast accident was not the sailboat’s first accident

Maine Marine Patrol officers met the crew of the Grace Bailey while it was docked at Lermond Cove shortly after noon Monday. The ship’s mast broke and fell, killing one passenger and injuring three others. Photography by Stephen Bates

The Grace Bailey, the Maine schooner that earlier this week broke apart, killing one person and injuring three others, has had previous accidents, including two last year under a captain and a former owner, according to Guardian reports. Coasts.

The two-masted schooner, built in 1882 and restored in 1990, was about a mile east of Rockland Harbor at about 10 a.m. Monday when the top of the aft mast split and fell, injuring several people. Dr. Emily Mecklenburg, 40, of Rockland, was pronounced dead when she was taken to shore by a Coast Guard boat after the accident.

Mecklenburg was one of 33 people aboard the Grace Bailey, which was returning from a four-night foliage-filled cruise.

The destruction was the first known fatal accident for the Grace Bailey, but the schooner had had a few reported sea accidents. The previous incidents occurred when it was under the management of a different owner and captain.

The Rockland-based jammer collided with another sailboat, American Eagle, while trying to dock in Rockland Harbor on July 8, 2022, according to Coast Guard reports.

The Grace Bailey’s jib penetrated the mainsail of the other boat, tearing off 12 planks and damaging a mesh of lines used to support the mainsail and main jib, causing extensive damage, the report said. Grace Bailey’s boom broke and fell into the water, breaking a number of lines and rigging.

A boom is used to extend the bow at the bow or bow of a ship. The bow acts as securing points for the lines to support the fore.

The accident caused damage estimated at $100,000.

Just four days earlier, on July 4, the Grace Bailey ran aground off Scott Island near Stonington. The crew waited until high tide and refloated about 11 hours later, anchoring in Stonington Harbor early the next morning. The report stated that there were minor and superficial damages to the beam that did not require repair. The boat had run aground three years earlier in August 2019 at Cross Island Ledge in Penobscot Bay with 20 passengers on board. The boat sustained approximately $12,000 in damage.

After the events of last summer, the ship was repaired and re-certified by the Coast Guard in July 2022 and according to Coast Guard documents, her most recent certificate of inspection expires in June 2027.

A sailboat’s mast coming off or hitting its half, when there’s not bad weather or a collision, is an extremely rare event, according to Jim Sharp, who runs the Sail, Power and Steam Museum in Rockland.

Sharpe told the Portland Press Herald that he was not aware of another accident during his sailing years when a mast collapsed on its own while the ship was sailing.

He said the failure was likely caused by rot caused by fresh water from rain getting into the wood at certain points along the mast, including where the metal wires supporting the masts were attached. Regular maintenance is required to repair and seal any areas in the wood where fresh water can get, he said. Sharp estimated that Grace Bailey’s masts were about 75 feet high.

The Coast Guard began investigating the incident on Monday. Officials on Wednesday had no new information to report and said there was no timeline for the investigation.

Nicole Jacques, spokeswoman for the Maine Windjammer Association, declined to answer questions about the destruction or how it happened.

“It would be extremely irresponsible to provide any conjecture or misleading information about why or how this happened when the U.S. Coast Guard has not completed its investigation,” she said in an email.

The Grace Bailey was built in Patchogue, New York, in 1882 by Oliver Perry Smith and restored in 1990. She was named after owner Edwin Bailey’s daughter, according to the ship’s website. In 1906, the ship was rebuilt and renamed after Mr. Bailey’s granddaughter, Martha, who was nicknamed Mattie. From 1906 until 1990, the schooner sailed using the name Matty, but in the spring of 1990, after restoration, the original name was used again.

This story was updated at 8 a.m. Thursday to clarify ownership of the vessel.


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