Raw Faith Crew Rescued Following Distress Signal Near Nantucket; Ship Well Known to Sailors Along Maine Coast

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 651)

The US Coast Guard has announced that it rescued two crew members aboard the 118 ft.  ship Raw Faith and brought them to safety on Cape Cod yesterday afternoon.  The rescue took place following distress signals coming from Raw Faith on December 6th when she was about 100 miles from Nantucket – heading for Bermuda.  Rough weather conditions made it impossible for the Coast Guard to rescue her until yesterday afternoon.  It was determined that there was structural damage to the ship which made it unsafe for the two member crew to remain aboard.  It it not yet known the fate of the Raw Faith.

When Raw Faith left Portland Harbor in August for Massachusetts, there were supposed to have been two crew members in addition to McKay who built the ship.  One crew member was a young woman from the Greater Munjoy Hill area and the other a man McKay had enlisted because of his carpentry and mechanical skills.  RawFaith, a replica of a Spanish galleon (tall ship), had no working  engine on board when she left Portland Yacht Services for Massachusetts.  The carpenter/crew member was spending long days trying to repair the outboard engine aboard Raw Faith’s dingy before it could leave Portland Harbor this past August.  Presumably, the woman left the ship following the departure as well.

On July 3rd, MHN.com spent part of a very hot summer day on RawFaith with the two crew members described above as well as McKay.   Captain McKay had just that day received approval for the Coast Guard to permit the paying public to board the ship for tours of it.  McKay had a lot on his mind that day.  However, uppermost in his mind was his search for donations that would  enable his sometimes elusive “dream” to continue.  ” I need help,” he said over and over.  “I can’t understand why people won’t help out with this worthwhile project,” he added.  McKay  needed a working engine aboard RawFaith, an elevator on board the ship and more to be able to give wheel-chair bound children and their families a free  sail on the waters somewhere off the New England coast.  Ultimately, he   hoped to sail to South America to have bottom work done on it.  But that goal, he acknowledged, was further out than he liked.

The inspiration for this home-built boat was his only daugher, Elizabeth.   She was born with Marfan syndrome, a disease that affects the body’s connective tissues.  McKay and his wife were repeatedly told by doctors that her life-span was very limited.  She underwent numerous surgeries and survived them all. 

RawFaith was built at the family’s rented home in Addison.    It was begun in Addison in 1999 and launched in 2003.  It was a family project – that is until the project was finished.  That’s when his wife and two of his sons abandoned the project and him.   He acknowledges he became depressed…

For more background information, please see Post # 515 herein, dated July 7th.