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Crew Yearbooks

By Shannon Larson Globe Staff,Updated September 25, 2023

Boston Globe article link here.

Marc Evan Jackson, actor and part-owner of the Grace Bailey, sailed the Maine windjammer. picture by Sean Sheppard

The past few months have been unusual for most people in Hollywood — Marc Evan Jackson included. Instead of spending his time on studio sets, he has joined fellow actors and writers on the picket lines in calling for new contracts.

But across the country, in the waters of Maine, Jackson has found reprieve — sailing on overnight cruises aboard the Grace Bailey, a windjammer he became a part-owner of last year.

Now Jackson, known for his witty, deadpan — and in his words, “very memeable” — characters on television shows such as “The Good Place,” as a powerful demon boss, “Parks and Recreation,” as a no-nonsense attorney, and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,″ as a police captain’s husband, has embraced a new role.

“I’m the chief relaxation officer aboard,” said Jackson, 53. Or, as he describes it, the person who fuels lively conversations and entertainment with passengers and crew aboard the traditional coasting schooner, a two-masted and wooden-hulled ship framed with white oak.

Those aboard the Grace Bailey waved at the crew on another ship as it passed by. Picture by Sean Sheppard

As a boy growing up near Lake Erie, Jackson dreamed of becoming a sailor, navigating the choppy seas with the wind at his back. It was a curious dream of unknown inspiration — he came from humble means in Buffalo, N.Y., and his family never owned a boat. But it was a calling just the same.

While perusing the public library with his mother, a 12-year-old Jackson came across “WoodenBoat” magazine and asked for a subscription for Christmas. He studied the pictures of historic schooners and became entranced with advertisements for trips on windjammers in Maine, where the cruises originatedin the 1930s.

He even began to write the captains, pleading to be hired.

“I used to write away to these poor captains and say, ‘Wow, have I got a deal for you?’ I’m 12 years old. I’m 13. I’m 14 years old. I live very far away. I have no experience. And I’m only available July and August,” he recalled with a laugh.

Remarkably, the captains always responded, promising the chance of a job when he was older and sending brochures with nautical charts that he pored over, aspiring to sail into Sabbathday Harbor, Pulpit Harbor, and Swans Island.

It was a dream he would not outgrow.

The day after he graduated college in Michigan in 1992, he became a deckhand on a schooner, the Malabar, and followed his captain to Maine the next year, becoming first mate aboard the Mercantile, a former sister ship to the Grace Bailey. Sailing seemed to come naturally, and he relished every second.

“My great-grandfather was a schooner captain in Prince Edward Island,” Jackson said. “That doesn’t seem coincidental. Seems like literally in my blood ... maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to it this whole time.”

A view of the Maine coast from the Grace Bailey. Picture by Tracy Sheppard

He still subscribes to “WoodenBoat” magazine and while scanning its pages last winter discovered that his former captain was retiring and selling the Mercantile. Jackson returned to Maine that summer to take a couple of trips and relive the old magic.

While there, he watched in awe as Sam Sikkema, 36, deftly hauled the Victory Chimes, a large three-masted schooner, out of the Eggemoggin Reach, a channel that runs between Deer Isle and the coastal mainland.

Within days, Jackson learned Sikkema was selling the famed ship and was looking for partners to buy the Grace Bailey, a schooner built in Patchogue, N.Y., in 1882.

Jackson started putting out feelers on social media pages for the Victory Chimes, “aggressively liking and commenting” on posts. Sikkema quickly noticed, Jackson said.

The Victory Chimes often needed repairs and had become too costly to maintain, Sikkema said. But he was eager to stay in the windjammer trade.

“It was clear that this person was an actor, but also had an interest in sailing. When I was sort of looking for investors, I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know. Let’s pitch this guy and see if he’s interested.’ Turns out he was,” said Sikkema, who has sailed professionally for about two decades and now captains the Grace Bailey.

In December, Jackson joined Sikkema in purchasing the Grace Bailey with two other partners — including Suzannah Smith, who handles bookings.

The ship operates out of Rockland, and trips — which range from three to six nights and cost up to about $2,000 per person (Maine residents are given a 40 percent discount) — offer an all-inclusive experience, Sikkema said. The 83-foot vessel has enough cabins to hold a couple of dozen passengers, and there is no set itinerary as it sails the waters of Midcoast Maine, stopping at island nature preserves, deserted islands, and quaint coastal villages, Sikkema said.

“The area around Pemaquid up to about Mount Desert Island is a rich environment for sailing around and there’s so many things to see that you could never see unless you were out on the water,” he said. “It’s a really, really cool way to interact with nature and interact with the world around you and slow the world down a bit and settle in.”

The windjammer industry in Maine began in the late 1930s when Captain Frank Swift began a business buying old cargo schooners, revamping them with accommodations and bunks, and charging passengers for cruises along the coast, said Jim Sharp, 90, who captained windjammers for decades. He directs the Sail, Power, and Steam Museum in Rockland, which he founded with his wife.

“It’s phenomenal that the windjammer fleet is still around,” and there are about a dozen in operation now, Sharp said. “As long as we have a nucleus of wooden sailing vessels here, it attracts the kind of men and women who want to do this kind of thing, and it will perpetuate itself. It will go on for a long time yet to come.”

Included on every trip, a beach lobsterbake. Picture by Tracy Sheppard

Jackson, whose acting career is noted on the Grace Bailey’s website, has joined several trips this year and will take part in the remainder of the season, which stretches into October. Sikkema said the trips with Jackson are a special draw, praising him as a gracious host with fun stories and plenty of history to share.

While Jackson imagined himself on the open water as a child, he was later steered in a different direction, discovering his love for acting and comedy.

After the season sailing in Maine, he returned to Michigan, where he had attended Calvin University, and picked up a few jobs. Although he did a few plays and was in the band and orchestra in high school and college, he said his career in Hollywood “is completely accidental — I never planned it.”

But after he joined an improv troupe with people he knew from college, he fell in love with the craft and got into sketch comedy from there. After several years, he moved to Los Angeles and has since become a well-known figure on television.

But he never lost sight of his passion for sailing, especially on windjammers.

The Grace Bailey sails the coast of Maine. Tracy Sheppard

He has brought several friends aboard the Grace Bailey and hopes to find a “secret week” next season to gather all of his Hollywood pals at the same time. “Parks and Recreation” co-star Nick Offerman, a woodmaker and good friend, is among those eager to join him on a trip.

Passengers often ask him questions about specific scenes from shows such as “The Good Place” and what it was like working with certain actors like Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. Jackson said he is always happy to chat and share behind-the-scenes details, such as improvised lines. Time seems to slow down on the Grace Bailey, leaving plenty of room for connections to be made.

“It’s never the same for an entire trip — always something new to look at,” he said. “I’d like to be involved with the schooner Grace Bailey for as long as she’ll have me.”

Shannon Larson can be reached at Follow her @shannonlarson98.

Actor Marc Evan Jackson, known for roles on 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' and 'The Good Place,' spent most of his childhood desperately wanting to sail on Maine windjammers. Last year, he became part owner of one.

Marc Evan Jackson, center, on board the Grace Bailey in August with co-owners Suzannah Smith, left and Sam Sikkema. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

ROCKLAND — What the teenage Marc Evan Jackson lacked in sailing experience, he made up for in confidence.

Growing up in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York, he became enamored with Maine sailing ships at a young age, for no specific reason he can recall. He subscribed to Maine-based Wooden Boat magazine at an age when other boys might be reading Sports Illustrated or Superman comics. In the magazine were ads for sailing vacations on the very Maine windjammers he so desperately wanted to step aboard.

“I used to write away to all these captains: ‘Hey, great news, I’m 13 years old, I have no experience, and I’m only available July and August. Please hire me to come work as a deckhand,’” said Jackson, 53.

Jackson finally got to work on a real Maine windjammer, as first mate on the schooner Mercantile out of Camden, in 1993.

He then found a new passion – acting – for which he’s gained renown as a recurring character in hit sitcoms such as “Parks and Recreation” and “The Good Place.”

But in the decades that have passed since his sailing days, Jackson never let his love for Maine windjammers die or his subscription to Wooden Boat run out. Late last year, his Maine sailing adventure changed tack when he became part owner of the Grace Bailey, a schooner built in 1882 and based in Rockland.


Marc Evan Jackson in a scene from “The Good Place,” which ran from 2016 to 2020 on NBC. Colleen Hayes/NBC

Jackson has sailed on several overnight cruises this summer, entertaining the paying guests with his piano playing and stories about his acting adventures. He says he’s happy to talk about what it was like working with Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Nick Offerman, or his other co-stars.

He’s become a familiar face on several popular NBC sitcoms over the past decade, playing the husband of a police captain on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a demon supervisor on “The Good Place” and the slick lawyer for a candy company in “Parks and Recreation.”

The ship’s captain, Sam Sikkema, is one of Jackson’s three partners. Sikkema, 35, says he and the other partners understand that Jackson’s name can give their business a boost since there might be people who book a trip partly or mainly to meet him. The Grace Bailey’s website mentions Jackson’s acting career and lists the voyages he’s scheduled to be aboard. Those include a four-night trip beginning Sept. 17 and a sold-out three-night cruise beginning Sept. 22.

Jackson says a major reason he wanted to be involved with the Grace Bailey is to help preserve the state’s fleet of windjammers – a term for a sailing vessel that takes vacationers on overnight cruises – and make Maine residents more aware of their existence and history

“A friend of mine from New York was on one of the trips (on the Grace Bailey), and it was sunset on deck and we were anchored near Winter Harbor. Somebody was playing fiddle and somebody was playing banjo,” Jackson recalled. “My friend said, ‘This could be 200 years ago.’ It’s really a portal through time. You can have as much adventure as you want, helping to raise a sail or just raise a glass of wine.”

From left, the schooner Grace Bailey’s co-owners, from left, Sam Sikkema, Suzannah Smith, and Marc Evan Jackson. Jackson describes his role on the schooner as “hanger-outer-in-chief.” Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Jackson and his partners are offering a 40% discount to Maine residents, this season and next. Standard cabin prices for upcoming dates range from $1,110-$1,720 per person, meals included, depending on date and duration. The trips last between three and six nights. The 80-foot long, two-masted schooner usually carries a couple dozen passengers and has 15 cabins. The trips have no itinerary, Jackson says, so the various stops at Maine islands or in hidden coves are completely unscheduled.

Jackson says he never thought about becoming an owner of a Maine windjammer until last year when he heard the Grace Bailey – then based in Camden and owned by Ray and Ann Williamson since 1985 – might be for sale. Sikkema and his partners were looking to buy the schooner because the boat they had been running, Victory Chimes, needed $2 million worth of repairs, and they could not afford the work. (Victory Chimes was eventually sold to a floating restaurant company in New York.)

Jackson started visiting the Victory Chimes’ social media pages to follow the owners’ progress. Sikkema noticed Jackson’s Hollywood resume and the blue checkmark on his Facebook profile, reserved for celebrities. Sikkema said he knew by Jackson’s questions and comments that Jackson knew a lot about sailing a Maine windjammer. Sikkema was in the process of looking for investors and eventual partners to buy the Grace Bailey and decided to ask Jackson.

Jackson quickly said yes and joined Sikkema, ship manager Suzannah Smith, and J.R. Braugh, co-owner of the Rockland-based schooner Ladona, in buying the Grace Bailey in December and moving it to Rockland.

Marc Evan Jackson, right, when he worked on the Camden-based Mercantile in 1993. Photo courtesy of Marc Evan Jackson

The number of windjammers in the Midcoast is around a dozen right now and might have been as high as about 14 in recent years. But it’s been holding pretty steady for the past 25 years or so, said Jim Sharp, who captained several Maine windjammers until his retirement in 1988 and now serves as director of the Sail, Power and Steam Museum in Rockland, which he and his wife founded.

Sharp says Maine’s windjammer business began in the 1930s, in large part because of Captain Frank Swift. Swift began his vacation cruise business with old sailing ships that had once been used for hauling all manner of goods but were then being replaced by trucks. The Grace Bailey, for instance, was built on Long Island, New York, and had carried lumber, granite, oysters, potatoes, and fish, among other things. Swift had the vision to see that old sailing ships might extend their working lives a while longer by hauling vacationers.

“It’s been a vibrant industry for a while now, and it’s a way of life that seems to perpetuate itself,” said Sharp, 90. “We’re lucky there always seems to be some young fellas who come along and want to do this. But who knows if that will always be.”

The schooner Grace Bailey, docked in Rockland. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


When Jackson wrote to Maine windjammer captains in his teens, they always wrote back “sweetly” and explained they had crews with more experience than him and that they needed to hire people who could work from April to October. They also sent him their brochures with a chart of the coast of Maine. Jackson was captivated by the name Eggemoggin Reach, a deep-water passage between Deer Isle and Brooklin, written diagonally across the top of the maps.

“I sort of vowed to myself, ‘Someday I will sail the Eggemoggin Reach,’ ” Jackson said.

His fascination with Maine as a child was bolstered by Robert McCloskey’s classic picture book “Time of Wonder,” which is set on a Maine island in Penobscot Bay. It includes an illustration of a ship that Jackson believes is based on the Grace Bailey. He still has his childhood copy of the book and keeps it on the schooner.

After high school Jackson went to Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he majored in philosophy and minored in political science and environmental studies. He also played piano, percussion, and French horn, and was in the college’s band and orchestra.

Marc Evan Jackson turns to the page in his childhood book “Time of Wonder,” by Robert McCloskey, in the crew cabin on the Grace Bailey. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

But as soon as he graduated, “much to my parents’ chagrin,” he got a job as a deck hand on the Malabar, a sailing ship on Lake Michigan. He finally had the time to spend a whole season working on a sailing ship. He said working on the ship seemed very natural to him. The next year, his captain on the Malabar went to Maine to work on the schooner Mercantile in Camden – a former sister ship to the Grace Bailey – and offered Jackson the job of first mate.

“I had been dreaming about sailing in Maine all my life, so this was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Jackson said.

But it would not be his life’s work. After spending a season in Maine, he went back to Michigan, where some alumni of his college were starting an improv group and had asked him to accompany them on piano. He had never thought about acting before, but after seeing one improv rehearsal, he was hooked and told the company members: “I want to learn how to do what you are doing, and I want to do that for the rest of my life.” He started with improv and live theater and has acted steadily on TV and in films for the past 20 years.

But as soon as he graduated, “much to my parents’ chagrin,” he got a job as a deck hand on the Malabar, a sailing ship on Lake Michigan. He finally had the time to spend a whole season working on a sailing ship. He said working on the ship seemed very natural to him. The next year, his captain on the Malabar went to Maine to work on the schooner Mercantile in Camden – a former sister ship to the Grace Bailey – and offered Jackson the job of first mate.

“I had been dreaming about sailing in Maine all my life, so this was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Jackson said.

But it would not be his life’s work. After spending a season in Maine, he went back to Michigan, where some alumni of his college were starting an improv group and had asked him to accompany them on piano. He had never thought about acting before, but after seeing one improv rehearsal, he was hooked and told the company members: “I want to learn how to do what you are doing, and I want to do that for the rest of my life.” He started with improv and live theater and has acted steadily on TV and in films for the past 20 years.

Katey Christianson, right, the chef aboard the Grace Bailey, and co-owner Suzannah Smith, center, prepare the galley before passengers arrive. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Jackson says he’ll probably end up being on a total of seven or eight trips on the Grace Bailey this season while traveling back and forth to Los Angeles. He’s brought friends on some of the trips with him this year and says his “Parks and Recreation” co-star Nick Offerman, who builds wooden canoes, is eager to come on a voyage as well.

On the Grace Bailey, he says his title is “hanger-outer-in-chief.” He entertains guests and enjoys the cruise. There are also moments when Sikkema calls out a command, and Jackson finds himself ready to obey. His one season as first mate on a Maine windjammer has stayed with him on a subconscious level.

“I’ll be talking with people on board, and Sam will say ‘ready about,’ and I immediately leave and snap into action, because it becomes so automatic as a crew member,” said Jackson, standing on the Grace Bailey’s deck in August. “My brain is still wired like I’m 20 years old and I go, ‘That’s me.’ The mechanics of what it takes to sail a schooner like this has changed not at all in 30 years.”

New Boat, New Faces



Meghan: Mate

I grew up sailing and racing little dinghies in inland Massachusetts but stumbled upon traditional sailing at some point in my high school years.

After my first trip on schooners, most of my time was spent day dreaming about getting back out on the water in these awesome boats.

After high school, I took some time to sail the eastern seaboard and Caribbean and generally have a great time. Eventually I found myself at The University of Rhode Island where I graduated with a degree in Ocean Engineering.

Last season, I sailed as a deckhand in Victory Chimes and I’m excited to join Grace Bailey as Mate.

When I’m not working on boats, you may find me reading, starting projects I’ll never finish, or playing with the dogs. That or you know, sailing.

Anthony St. Pierre: Deckhand

Act II (For Act I, start here.)

The scene opens upon a man (more than) slight of frame and (not quite) youthful in appearance - somewhere between the ages of 18 and 40 (as attested). He turns to the audience to address them in a stentorian baritone, redolent with sagacity and assuredness.

"Becca da boom. Da boom hurt mah head."

And there you have me, distilled in facetious preamble.

This is my second season with Captain Sam, rejoining the cast of characters as a deckhand and trading my cast iron skillet workout routine for hauling and hoisting. Prior to this era of life, I spent roughly a decade in my home state of Vermont working with the developmentally disabled, with an odd stint in the middle as an independently sub-contracted phone book delivery man and daycare staffer, keeping myself sane by tearing up the local karaoke circuit, writing poetry, and solo hiking the Green Mountains.

How did I end up here? The short answer is 3'11". The slightly less short answer is that my best friend got me into it and that being even a small part of participating in and preserving the legacy the Grace Bailey represents is a privilege. Human ingenuity and the elements! You know, people should really write poems about this stuff.

Aboard you can find me (and certainly hear me) cracking puns, binging on whipped cream with Meghan, saving the city and/or Christmas with Mia, playing fiddle, looking mutually cross-eyed at Lena, trying to sneak into the galley to wash dishes for Katey, and talking about how great the almond croissants in Stonington are. Hope to see you and learn about you! I'm a people person, don't you know. Also, I am the caretaker of two Amazon purchased skeletons, Leonard and Beatrice, who may make an appearance on your trip. They're wonderful listeners and a marvelous cheap date. Not big eaters.

For further reading, refer to the rough draft of my biography here or to my irregularly updated blog here.

Isabelle Cadene: Deckhand

Hey there!

My name is Isabelle and I am from Boston, Massachusetts, growing up a short walk from the USS Constitution and Boston Harbor.

I have been sailing since I was 8 years old thanks to a non-profit community sailing center in the city. Though it may seem like I am a true blue Bostonian, the first boats I sailed (and continue to enjoy to this day) were Rhodes 19s built by Stuart Marine Corp right here in Rockland!

Since then, I try to be out on the water during all seasons be it racing, cruising, or just exploring.

Sailing quickly instilled in me a love for the ocean, including everything above and below the surface.

After high school, I attended Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island and graduated with degrees in marine biology and aquaculture. I love fish and would be thrilled to have a lengthy conversation if you share that passion!

Following college, I worked in a number of places including aquariums, a hospital, and a boat shop. Then in 2022, I was able to sail with Sea Education Association aboard the brigantine Corwith Cramer and study the biology of the Sargasso Sea.

This voyage opened my world to traditional sailing, leading me to positions on a handful of East Coast schooners and finally to the Grace Bailey.

I am very excited to be a part of this ship and to sail amongst the beauty of Penobscot Bay!

When I'm not on a boat, I enjoy illustrating wildlife, scuba diving, skiing, learning new things, and planning my next adventure.

Becca Kurtz: Deckhand

I’ve always held an open mind about what I’d do with my Geography degree.

The criteria I concocted for my ideal postgrad job were simply that it put me outdoors and give me the chance to learn a skill from nothing.

Windjamming made itself known to me two weeks before I graduated from Temple University this May, and thank goodness it did. The Grace Bailey took a chance on me, and within days of learning this corner of the world existed I was booking a flight to Rockland. I moved aboard two weeks after graduating, armed only with the good word of a favorite professor and a willingness to learn.

I am happy and a little relieved to report that I love sailing. Every single day I do something new, and I do it against the surreal backdrop of the Penobscot. There is no classroom more beautiful than Maine’s Midcoast, and no teachers better equipped to bring me up than Captain Sikkema, Meghan, and a (very) healthy dose of error.

My brain earns a dozen new creases by the hour.

This summer you’ll find me leaning on the ice box, messing around in the head rig, or succumbing to Anthony’s humor in a fit of giggles.

On land I’m a frequenter of museums, a thrower of frisbees, and a taker of walks! I am thrilled (and bewildered) to be here and cannot wait to take you sailing.

Mia Plaskiewicz: Deckhand

Hello, I’m the friendly neighborhood apprentice deckhand!

My name is Mia Plaskiewicz (plAH-saw-viCH), and for the past 18 years I’ve been the one and only. I’m a fresh graduate from highschool and set to begin college in the fall in Castine, Maine.

Sailing was never a plan for me. Between fighting crime, saving my hometown of Keene, and writing fantasy stories, I never thought about life on the ocean. Sailing was something that was completly off my radar until I decided to go out on a limb and spend two weeks sailing with SEA’s highschool program the summer of my junior year. After returning back to the dock, I immediately knew that I truly found my calling. I had to get back out sailing.

It was my call to adventure.

Thanks to a trusty mentor (shout out to Sherm! He's in the 2019 Crew Yearbook) I’ve had the privilege to be taught by the amazing crew on the Grace Bailey. I thoroughly enjoy reminding Anthony to water the lobsters, eating leftover fruit in the galley, and lip syncing during deck wash. While the future is daunting, I’ve found myself waking up everyday incredibly thankful for this experience— even if it’s 6:50 AM. All in all, my story is only beginning.

Cameo Crew:

There are folks that come to help for a weekend or a few weeks, but not long enough to submit a bio. If you see a picture of someone not listed above, that's them!



Chef Katey

Chef Katey, here!

Excited to bring you on a culinary journey around the world as we sail the coast of Maine.

Seattleite born and raised, and characteristically addicted to coffee, Pearl Jam, and rain. I drive the seasonal commute with whichever family member I can convince at the time.

And I must say, South Dakota is a very underrated state.

I went to Boston University and received a BFA in Theatre Production (scenic design and playwriting). If you’re interested, come to the galley and I’ll provide a lengthy tangent on how I feel the two are connected.

Despite loving theatre, when I graduated I ran to the sea. Since then I’ve sailed in New Zealand, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, the entire eastern seaboard, and of course Maine, which is perhaps the most beautiful of them all.

This is my third season with Captain Sam in Maine, the previous two on Victory Chimes, and I keep coming back because it feels so much like home.

When I’m not sailing, I mainly hang out with my 16lb cat named Twitch, read, and go running.

In the future, I hope to open a bed & breakfast by the sea filled with family style meals, music, and plenty of pastries as well as continue to publish my writing.

Looking forward to meeting everyone!

Lena Albert: Galley Hand

Hi there grace bailey fans, I am Lena Albert and I will be washing your dishes this season on the Grace Bailey.

I am newly graduated from college, with a degree in Marine Biology and Adventure Based Environmental Education.

Before the GB I haven’t had much sailing experience. I’ve sailed in the Bahamas during an Outward Bound program back in 2017, and did a student trip on the Corwith Cramer in 2020 with SEA.

During my time at SEA I met Katey, yes Chef Katey, and that is why I am here today! As a new college graduate looking for a job this sounded like a fun opportunity, and a chance to gain some sailing experience.

I am originally from Philadelphia, but have spent the last four-ish years in Maine for school. I have frequented the Rockland area before so it was comforting coming back. I love Maine and can’t wait to explore all the little islands it has to offer.

This season you can find me in the galley assisting Chef Katey, laughing at Tony’s jokes (even when they’re not funny), looking for ocean creatures, talking about my girlfriend, and petting Fiji.