By Carol McCracken (Post # 652)
Early yesterday morning the 118 ft. ship, RawFaith, went to her watery grave about 100 miles off the coast of Nantucket in 6,000 ft. of water. She’d been taking on water after developing a leak which required the dramatic rescue of her two crew members by the Coast Guard. George McKay, builder of the boat was captain. The other crew member appears to have been someonw who joined him in Portland – with the sane last name as George – “McKay.” He was located through Craig’s List and had no prior sailing experience, but was a carpenter with some mechanical skills.
RawFaith was headed for Bermuda for the winter and that had been his plan for years. From there he might have been planning a sail to South America where he wanted to have the ship bottom copper plated. Prior to that she’d spent the fall at different ports on the Massachusetts. She left Portland Harbor in August where she’d been anchored off and on in the Harbor and alternately docked at Portland Yacht Services. McKay was frequently in touch with the Portland Harbor Commission regarding his tenure in Portland Harbor.
“I am sad for George. He put his heart and soul into his vessel and struggled as hard as any person I know. The sea eventually teaches hard lessons to those who dare to venture out. It seems to prey on hubris, mistakes, poor plans and weaknesses and having discovered the opportunity it gives escalating competency quizzes. Quizzes that you don’t want to fail because ultimately your life is forfeit. As a sailor and captain I work very hard to be self sufficient, but I have been in pinches where I knew rescue was not an option and had to pass every test. I SO appreciate the US Coast Guard’s super human ability to come quickly to the aid of Mariners in distress. It wasn’t long ago that Raw Faith and her crew could have flunked and just vanished. Because of the Coast Guard’s response, George could loose his vessel and be saved. A harsh penalty avoided. I regret this saga ended in the loss of his vessel, but ends are also beginnings,” said Phin Sprague, Jr., of Portland Yacht Services who also befriended McKay when he needed it, in an email to MHN.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In her many conversations with McKay, MHN.com found him to be intimidating and often threatning (lawsuits) toward those who criticized RawFaith’s mission and especially her unconventional appearance. RawFaith had many critics among the Maine sailing community that he seemed to never forgive.
Please see the previous post for more background on this situation. MHN.com has posted a number of articles about RawFaith since she arrived in Portland Harbor. Another such article is Post # 378, dated 1/27/10.