The Mary E, believed to be the oldest Maine-built wooden fishing schooner still afloat, is scheduled to arrive Sunday at her new home at Maine Maritime Museum. Credit: Courtesy of the Maine Maritime Museum

An historic sailboat is back upright and docked at the Maine Maritime Museum once again, after it rolled onto its side and took on water Friday night.

Bath Police said that 15 passengers and 3 crewmembers were on board the “Mary E” and were successfully rescued from the water.

Peter Nordlander and his wife were two of those passengers. They’re professors at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

They said that they come to Maine every summer from Texas looking for adventure. This year it was setting sail on the historic schooner “Mary E.”

The Mary E schooner, which was built in Bath in 1907, is believed to be the oldest Maine-built wooden fishing schooner and  returned to Bath in 2017 to give public tours.

“We like adventure,” said Pete Norlander.” And this was just a very memorable one.”

He says the first half of the boat ride down the Kennebec River Friday was amazing. But as they turned back up river, the wind picked up.

“The wind was against us then,” said Norldlander. “So the captain turned on the engine. So we were sailing, but we were also using the engine.”

He says as they came around a bend, the wind picked up, causing the ship to go much faster.

When the captain turned the sails to change the ship’s course, it capsized.

“I saw exactly what was happening,” said Nordlander. “And the boat just started to tilt more and more and more. And when I saw that, I jumped on top of the boat. I avoided the water. But, of course, the other passengers, they just fell into the water.”

Only Nordlander and one crewman kept from falling in.

He said that his wife and all the other passengers went into the water.

“I threw out life jackets to all of them,” said Nordlander. “And I think there was another gentleman who was also doing that. And it was never really a dangerous situation.”

Nordlander said the capsized schooner laid flat in the water, giving its 15 passengers and 3 crewmen something to hold as they waited for help to arrive.

He said he was very impressed by the captain and crew.

“The captain did everything by the book,” said Nordlander. “Everything was done right. It’s just one of those freak accidents.”

The Coast Guard and Marine Inspectors are investigating the capsizing.