In a dramatic, all-hands-on-deck effort, the wooden schooner Tangier was hauled off a sandbar in Vineyard Haven harbor Tuesday morning after she went aground in gale-force winds during the weekend blizzard that lashed the Island.

Schooner owner Carlton Sprague (left) and Brad Abbott of Gannon and Benjamin were at the center of effort. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Carlton Sprague, the owner of the 42-foot, 18-ton boat, was involved in the rescue along with crews from Gannon and Benjamin, Packer Marine and others.

Tangier broke free from her mooring at the height of the blizzard on Saturday when wind gusts around the Island reached 65 miles per hour.

Randy Jarden, who was on the deck of one of R.M. Packer’s barges, and Cole Powers, from the south side of the harbor, said they watched Tangier cross the harbor, get caught on the anchor of a moored powerboat, free herself, then continue across to the commercial wharf where she dragged down the side of a barge.

The schooner then tacked her bow across the wind, and scooted down in the spot where she lay for three days, in the lee of the barges, in soft sand, where her hull was preserved despite the pounding surf.

The morning after the storm the schooner was perched on the sandbar, listing heavily, her decks covered with ice in bitterly cold temperatures. She had taken on water and efforts to free her were delayed so she could be pumped out at low tide, harbor master John Crocker said after the storm.

Mr. Sprague was on the scene each day, he told the Gazette by phone later.

Tug Thuban, operated by Paul Bangs, was on hand to assist. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“She flipped from her starboard side to the port side on Sunday and that is when she filled up with water,” he said. “It flooded through the cockpit. But no way anyone could touch it. The deck was a sheet of ice. Ice and wind were the big factors for postponing getting it off the sand.”

The rescue was planned for high tide on Tuesday morning when warmer weather arrived. But there was tight window, Mr. Sprague said.

“I called Ralph Packer about using his tug Thuban but high water was at 11 and Paul Bangs [the tug operator] had to tow an oil barge at the same time,” he said.

Crews from Gannon and Benjamin and R.M. Packer Co. began work just after 10 a.m. on Tuesday, using their considerable skills to relaunch the boat in a timely manner without causing more damage. Ross Gannon and his son Lyle Zell, in one of Gannon and Benjamin’s workboats, helped Captain Bangs and first mate Mariah Campbell get a line from Tangier’s bow to a winch on Thuban’s deck. Aboard Tangier, Mr. Sprague and his son Nate Sprague along with Brad Abbott kept the crew on the tug apprised of their progress.

With the tug firmly attached to the southernmost piling at the commercial wharf, they used the winch on their aft deck to draw on the line, eventually spinning the boat back into the water.

Tangier was hauled briefly for inspection at the Martha's Vineyard Shipyard. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“It was very powerful,” Mr. Sprague said of the rescue operation. “Everybody was fantastic.”

The boat was hauled briefly for an inspection underneath at the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard.

“James Hale was ready. It was the first boat on a brand new travel lift,” Mr. Sprague said.

Mr. Sprague said there was only minimal damage, including a broken rail on the starboard side, a big dent and some water damage in the hull.

Nat Benjamin, co-owner of Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway, reflected on precarious nature of the northeast harbor in a storm.

“Vineyard Haven harbor is treacherous,” Mr. Benjamin said. “Almost every year a boat goes ashore.”

Tangier was built in 1925 to a design by John Alden. According to the schooner’s history, a man named Charlie Bartlett used it as his base of operations when he made the first detailed charts of New Brunswick, Canada, all the way to the Arctic Circle. Mr. Bartlett eventually sailed the boat to Bergen, Norway.

Mr. Sprague caught up with the schooner in Maryland and brought it to the Vineyard last March.

Onlookers gathered at harbor's edge. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“We are in good shape down below,” Mr. Sprague said. “She’s tight.”

The boat was relaunched on Tuesday and towed to the Black Dog dock.

“Morgan [Douglas] said do whatever you need to do, we are here for you,” Mr. Sprague said.

He said he is looking forward to fixing up the schooner this spring.

“It’s all fine underwater. All the damage that is there is what you can see.”

Mr. Sprague also thanked everyone involved, praising the efforts. In addition to the community effort, the experience had one other bright side.

“It broke up the winter doldrums,” he said.