He starred in ‘The Good Place’ and ‘Parks and Recreation.’ Now you possibly can sail with him on his windjammer in Maine.

The Boston Globe

Marc Evan Jackson, actor and part-owner of the Grace Bailey, sailed the Maine windjammer. SEAN SHEPPARD

The previous few months have been uncommon for most individuals in Hollywood — Marc Evan Jackson included. As an alternative of spending his time on studio units, he has joined fellow actors and writers on the picket strains in calling for brand new contracts.

However throughout the nation, within the waters of Maine, Jackson has discovered reprieve — crusing on in a single day cruises aboard the Grace Bailey, a windjammer he turned a part-owner of final yr.

Now Jackson, identified for his witty, deadpan — and in his phrases, “very memeable” — characters on tv reveals corresponding to “The Good Place,” as a robust demon boss, “Parks and Recreation,” as a no-nonsense legal professional, and “Brooklyn 99,″ as a police captain’s husband, has embraced a brand new function.

“I’m the chief leisure officer aboard,” stated Jackson, 53. Or, as he describes it, the one that fuels vigorous conversations and leisure with passengers and crew aboard the standard coasting schooner, a two-masted and wooden-hulled ship framed with white oak.

These aboard the Grace Bailey waved on the crew on one other ship because it handed by. SEAN SHEPPARD

As a boy rising up close to Lake Erie, Jackson dreamed of changing into a sailor, navigating the uneven seas with the wind at his again. It was a curious dream of unknown inspiration — he got here from humble means in Buffalo, N.Y., and his household by no means owned a ship. Nevertheless it was a calling simply the identical.

Whereas perusing the general public library together with his mom, a 12-year-old Jackson got here throughout “WoodenBoat” journal and requested for a subscription for Christmas. He studied the photographs of historic schooners and have become entranced with ads for journeys on windjammers in Maine, the place the cruises originated within the Nineteen Thirties.

He even started to put in writing the captains, pleading to be employed.

“I used to put in writing away to those poor captains and say, ‘Wow, have I received a deal for you?’ I’m 12 years outdated. I’m 13. I’m 14 years outdated. I reside very distant. I’ve no expertise. And I’m solely obtainable July and August,” he recalled with amusing.

Remarkably, the captains at all times responded, promising the possibility 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 wouldn’t outgrow.

The day after he graduated school in Michigan in 1992, he turned a deckhand on a schooner, the Malabar, and adopted his captain to Maine the subsequent yr, changing into first mate aboard the Mercantile, a former sister ship to the Grace Bailey. Crusing appeared to return naturally, and he relished each second.

“My great-grandfather was a schooner captain in Prince Edward Island,” Jackson stated. “That doesn’t appear coincidental. Looks as if actually in my blood … possibly that’s why I’m so drawn to it this complete time.”

A view of the Maine coast from the Grace Bailey. TRACY SHEPPARD

He nonetheless subscribes to “WoodenBoat” journal and whereas scanning its pages final winter found that his former captain was retiring and promoting the Mercantile. Jackson returned to Maine that summer season to take a few journeys and relive the outdated magic.

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

Inside days, Jackson realized Sikkema was promoting the famed ship and was wanting for companions to purchase the Grace Bailey, a schooner inbuilt Patchogue, N.Y., in 1882.

Jackson began placing out feelers on social media pages for the Victory Chimes, “aggressively liking and commenting” on posts. Sikkema rapidly observed, Jackson stated.

The Victory Chimes usually wanted repairs and had develop into too expensive to take care of, Sikkema stated. However he was keen to remain within the windjammer commerce.

“It was clear that this individual was an actor, but in addition had an curiosity in crusing. Once I was type of in search of buyers, I used to be like, ‘Effectively, I don’t know. Let’s pitch this man and see if he’s .’ Seems he was,” stated Sikkema, who has sailed professionally for about twenty years and now captains the Grace Bailey.

In December, Jackson joined Sikkema in buying the Grace Bailey with two different companions — together with Suzannah Smith, who handles bookings.

The ship operates out of Rockland, and journeys — which vary from three to 6 nights and value as much as about $2,000 per individual (Maine residents are given a 40 p.c low cost) — supply an all-inclusive expertise, Sikkema stated. The 83-foot vessel has sufficient cabins to carry a few dozen passengers, and there’s no set itinerary because it sails the waters of Midcoast Maine, stopping at island nature preserves, abandoned islands, and quaint coastal villages, Sikkema stated.

“The world round Pemaquid as much as about Mount Desert Island is a wealthy setting for crusing round and there’s so many issues to see that you may by no means see until you have been out on the water,” he stated. “It’s a very, actually cool solution to work together with nature and work together with the world round you and gradual the world down a bit and settle in.”

The windjammer trade in Maine started within the late Nineteen Thirties when Captain Frank Swift started a enterprise shopping for outdated cargo schooners, revamping them with lodging and bunks, and charging passengers for cruises alongside the coast, stated Jim Sharp, 90, who captained windjammers for many years. He directs the Sail, Energy, and Steam Museum in Rockland, which he based together with his spouse.

“It’s phenomenal that the windjammer fleet remains to be round,” and there are a couple of dozen in operation now, Sharp stated. “So long as we have now a nucleus of picket crusing vessels right here, it attracts the sort of women and men who wish to do this sort of factor, and it’ll perpetuate itself. It’s going to go on for a very long time but to return.”

The Maine Windjammer Affiliation’s annual gathering of the fleet. TRACY SHEPPARD

Jackson, whose appearing profession is famous on the Grace Bailey’s web site, has joined a number of journeys this yr and can participate within the the rest of the season, which stretches into October. Sikkema stated the journeys with Jackson are a particular draw, praising him as a gracious host with enjoyable tales and loads of historical past to share.

Whereas Jackson imagined himself on the open water as a baby, he was later steered in a special route, discovering his love for appearing and comedy.

After the season crusing in Maine, he returned to Michigan, the place he had attended Calvin College, and picked up a number of jobs. Though he did a number of performs and was within the band and orchestra in highschool and school, he stated his profession in Hollywood “is totally unintended — I by no means deliberate it.”

However after he joined an improv troupe with folks he knew from school, he fell in love with the craft and received into sketch comedy from there. After a number of years, he moved to Los Angeles and has since develop into a well known determine on tv.

However he by no means overlooked his ardour for crusing, particularly on windjammers.

The Grace Bailey sailed the coast of Maine. TRACY SHEPPARD

He has introduced a number of associates aboard the Grace Bailey and hopes to discover a “secret week” subsequent season to assemble all of his Hollywood buddies on the identical time. “Parks and Recreation” co-star Nick Offerman, a woodmaker and good buddy, is amongst these keen to hitch him on a visit.

Passengers usually ask him questions on particular scenes from reveals corresponding to “The Good Place” and what it was like working with sure actors like Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. Jackson stated he’s at all times comfortable to speak and share behind-the-scenes particulars, corresponding to improvised strains. Time appears to decelerate on the Grace Bailey, leaving loads of room for connections to be made.

“It’s by no means the identical for a whole journey — at all times one thing new to take a look at,” he stated. “I’d wish to be concerned with the schooner Grace Bailey for so long as she’ll have me.”


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