The Canadian tall ship Liana's Ransom, with nine aboard, was caught in seas building to nearly 10 feet and 20- to 30-knot winds 58 miles off the coast of Gloucester, Mass.
Both of the ship’s engines failed and its sails were wrapped around the mast. The weather was worsening and several on board were seasick.
"It was sitting beam-to; the waves were hitting it on its side, which was causing the boat to rock back and forth pretty violently," Petty Officer 1st Class Rick Bowen told Canada’s CBC News.
As the weather worsened, two Coast Guard lifeboats tried to tow the vessel back, but rough sea conditions caused a tow line to break.
The lifeboat crews instructed the crew of the Halifax-based boat to don immersion suits and prepare to abandon ship. Eight people were transferred to the lifeboats.
The ninth crewmember, who took a dramatic leap of faith, reportedly suffered a concussion when he landed. A helicopter flew him to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was later discharged.
Joseph Tilley, who owns the ship, along with his son and captain, Ryan, told CBC News that his son had sailed out of Nova Scotia Friday evening, bound for the Caribbean.
"My thanks to the professionalism and prompt response of the U.S. Coast Guard, who had been monitoring the situation for some time," Tilley said, adding that his son made the right call in the best interests of his crew “and as a father I am very proud of the way he and his crew handled the situation."
A locator beacon was left on Liana's Ransom for tracking and possibly towing the vessel to port.
"It was fortunate for the crew of the vessel that the owner reached out to us," said Jay Woodhead, the command duty officer at Sector Boston's Command Center.
He said that with winds gusting to 30 knots, it was unsafe for the crew to stay aboard.