1937The Gloucester schooner Gertrude L. Thebaud left Gloucester with Commander MacMillan and a 37-person crew for an arctic exploration.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry

Gertrude L. Thebaud during the MacMillan expedition to the Arctic, 1937. Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Photo 11555
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The explorer Donald B. MacMillan, on his 16th trip to the Arctic, leased the schooner Gertrude L. Thebaud. During an anchorage along the south shore of Frobisher Bay, the Thebaud was grounded by a receding 28-foot tide. Commander MacMillan ordered to radio an S.O.S. But it was already too late. The radio antenna on the mast leaned too close to the cliffside of the bay and the message never got out. The ship’s captain worked on plans that would allow the crew to survive until help arrived. Among the alternatives was a plan to spend the coming winter in a nearby Eskimo village. It was hoped that the supplies from the ship and the survival expertise of the Native people would keep the crew alive until the weather warmed and the ice in the bay melted. The vessel was bailed dry after the 28-foot tide filled the helpless ship, now lying on her port side. The crew continued bailing, and with the sails hoisted, the ship’s motor launch was used to pull the Thebaud off the ledge, and the schooner sailed into the bay.

“Close Call in the Arctic (Walter Staples and the 1937 expedition of the Gertrude L. Thebaud)”, Maine, volume 68, number 3, Fall 1987, https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/alumni_magazines/362/
Gloucester Daily Times. “Racing Fishermen Leaves for North This Afternoon.” June 24, 1937, Vol. 72 No. 15561 edition. https://sawyer.advantage-preservation.com/.
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