BOSTON (CBS) — Two men were rescued by helicopter from a disabled boat 100 miles southeast of Nantucket Tuesday. The Coast Guard made the rescue from RawFaith at about 2:20 p.m. and is bringing the men to Air Station Cape Cod.

According to its website, RawFaith is a 118-foot, three-masted tall ship. She was launched in 2003 by Captain George McKay. McKay designed and built the ship, which is wheelchair accessible, and offers free trips to people who use wheelchairs who want to learn how to sail.

The Coast Guard tells WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager the crew was unprepared for their voyage.

The Coast Guard says the ship had left Salem on Saturday and was headed to Bermuda. The Coast Guard was first notified that something was wrong on Monday via an emergency position-locating beacon signal from RawFaith. The Coast Guard sent out several aircraft and cutters to the scene.

The Coast Guard said the men were unprepared for their voyage, having only one survival suit between the two of them and encountering 15-foot seas and winds up to 30 knots. The Coast Guard attempted to use a helicopter to deliver additional safety gear to the ship on Monday, but wasn’t able to because of the weather. They were able to make the delivery Tuesday.

Video from the Coast Guard of the rescue.

On Tuesday afternoon, before being lifted to the helicopter, the crew made the decision to evacuate the ship and got in the water in survival suits.

According to RawFaith’s website the current crew on board is Capt. McKay and a deck hand named Andre.

McKay’s inspiration for RawFaith is his oldest child, Elizabeth, who has Marfan Syndrome and has used a wheelchair for much of her life.

coastguard2 2 Men Rescued From Ship 100 Miles Off Nantucket

U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer Randall Rice helps one of the men rescued from RawFaith remove his submersion suit at Air Station Cape Cod. (credit: U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Luke Clayton)

A cutter will stay with the vessel as it drifts overnight. Wednesday officials will decide if it is possible to tow it back to port.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.

Comments (3)
  1. Jamie Sherwood says:

    The Raw Faith met it’s predictable end. McKay had no boat building or sailing experience. He read some books and then designated himself as a captain. McKay ignored the advice given to him by skilled Maine boatbuilders and the ship was poorly constructed. The ship has been pulled into port more than once by the Coast Guard for being unseaworthy. Kudos to the Coast Guard for a job well done but how many more times did McKay plan on wasting tax payer dollars for rescuing him and his crew? I guess that he planned on getting to Bermuda one port at a time, escorted by the U.S. Coast Guard.

  2. David Aronie says:

    No matter what McKay says, the truth is that he has no one to blame but himself. Ask any naval architect, boatbuilder, or blue water sailor, and they’ll tell you that Raw Faith was a mess — the hull was structurally unsound, and important systems like the steering and rigging were certain to fail in rough weather.

    The great tragedy here is that for all the time, money, and energy spent on Raw Faith, George McKay did not manage to take even ONE handicapped kid and his family for a ride during the seven years that the boat was afloat. That’s right — NOT ONE. Keep that in mind when he starts begging for handouts to fund his next foolhardy venture.

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