The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) pulled two people off the disabled sailing vessel Raw Faith on Tuesday, December 7. The 118-foot boat, which spent a considerable amount of time in Rockland in the past few years, was en route from Salem, Massachusetts, to Bermuda when it ran into trouble about 100 miles southeast of Nantucket.

The Coast Guard launched aircraft from Cape Cod, Mass., and Elizabeth City, N.C., to establish communications with the vessel after receiving an emergency position-locating beacon signal from the Raw Faith on Monday.

When contacted, the Raw Faith crew said they carried two life rafts, one survival suit and a handheld radio on board. A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Cape Cod attempted to deliver additional safety gear, but 25- to 30-knot winds and 10- to 15-foot seas prevented the drop. With water temperatures in the low 50 degrees F, and lacking safety equipment on board for a winter transit to Bermuda, the crew was dangerously exposed, according to a Coast Guardsman, Jeff Hall.

Two Coast Guard cutters arrived on the scene Tuesday. The crew of the USCG cutter Reliance assessed Raw Faith and determined that the hull was buckling. The crew of the Raw Faith abandoned the disabled vessel and a USCG rescue swimmer entered the water to assist with hoisting them aboard at 2:20 p.m. Tuesday. The Raw Faith sank in 6,000 feet of water Wednesday morning, leaving no possibility of salvage or navigational hazards.

George McKay, captain of Raw Faith, was invited by the National Park Service to bring the boat to Salem, Massachusetts, to portray a ghost ship for Halloween. His permit ran out October 31 and he ran into trouble shortly after, when he was arrested for disturbing the peace and trespassing, according to Salem Harbor Master Sgt. Peter Gifford.

Gifford said charges were dropped against McKay when he agreed to leave the port of Salem. He left December 4.

The U.S. Coast Guard has come to the rescue of Raw Faith before. In 2004 Raw Faith was hauled back to Rockland with a broken mast and rudder.