1 dead, 3 injured after schooner’s mainmast breaks during cruise off Maine coast

Local News

The Grace Bailey was returning from a four-day cruise when its mainmast broke about a mile east of Rockland Harbor.

The Grace Bailey’s mainmast broke off the coast of Rockland, Maine, on Monday. Kurt Schleicher via AP

A historic schooner’s mast broke while sailing off the coast of Maine Monday, killing a woman and injuring three others, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Grace Bailey was sailing about a mile east of Rockland Harbor carrying 33 people when its mast broke and fell onto the deck, the Coast Guard said in a press release. The incident caused four people, who have not been identified, to suffer head and back injuries.

A Grace Bailey crewmember called the Coast Guard for help about 10 a.m., and the agency sent a lifeboat to assist, the Coast Guard said. When they arrived, Coast Guard members took a woman to shore, where awaiting EMS personnel pronounced her dead.

The lifeboat returned to the Grace Bailey with two EMS personnel to get the three other injured people, the Coast Guard said. They were then taken to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.

The other three victims are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the Grace Bailey’s owners and captain said in a press release. The schooner’s mainmast experienced “an unexpected and catastrophic failure,” they said, but they don’t know what caused it. 

The Coast Guard said it is investigating what caused the mast to break.

The Grace Bailey sailing off the coast of Maine. – Tracy Sheppard

The Grace Bailey was returning from a four-day cruise when the incident happened, the schooner’s captain and owners said.

“My crew and I are devastated by this morning’s accident, especially since the safety of our guests is always our biggest priority. Most importantly, we are beyond heartbroken that we lost a dear friend. Our entire crew extends our love and support to the family members and to everyone affected by this tragedy,” Captain Sam Sikkema said in the release.

One Grace Bailey passenger, who asked to not be identified, told The Courier-Gazette the wind was not strong and the schooner had not made any sharp tacks when the mast broke. It “demasted out of nowhere,” the passenger told the newspaper. “Horrible. Really shocking.” 

The Grace Bailey, which was known for a time as the “Mattie,” was built in 1882 and was originally designed to carry lumber, according to its website. The schooner was later restored, and the Maine Windjammer Association now offers cruises and private charters on it. 

The Grace Bailey is partially owned by actor Marc Evan Jackson, who is known for his roles on the TV shows “The Good Place” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”