Captain McKay has faith in new venture

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
By Cary Shuman

Captain George McKay wanted to build a ship that could accommodate physically challenged children and their families and provide them with free sailing trips in the waters.

McKay has accomplished his goal with the construction of Raw Faith, a 118-foot ship that is now docked at the town pier in Winthrop.

The three-masted ship looks like a 16th-century English galleon – or something that would fit nicely in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

In fact, McKay will have a Jack Sparrow (the role in the movie played by Johnny Depp) look-a-like on the ship Saturday for Winthrop residents to meet and greet.

McKay said the inspiration for building the ship came from his 31-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who is in a wheelchair and has Marfan’s Syndrome. “My goal was to build a ship that was wheelchair accessible,” said McKay. “In the design of the ship, I took into consideration the different features we would need for wheelchair accessibility. The idea was to make the ship look old and hang on to that magical mystique from that bygone sailing era so when we take our special guests out, they feel like they’re escaping on an adventure.”

McKay, who built the ship in Maine, said a lot of people feel disappointed when they find out that the hull is only seven years old. “But I take that as a compliment because everyone thinks the ship looks hundreds of years old,” he said.

McKay invites Winthrop families to visit the ship and enjoy a tour. “The kids get a kick out of coming on board and the parents read the plaques to learn a little bit about the history of the ship,” said McKay. “

The tours of the ship are free. Donations are accepted.

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