Date: Friday, July 08, 2016
Position: Fairport Harbor, OH
Pride of Baltimore II is among several traditional sailing vessels docked in the small, proud Ohio port of Fairport Harbor. We all arrived yesterday and executed a formal parade of sail yesterday evening. With virtually no wind at all, it was possible for most of the vessels to show off their significant and varied sail profiles. Several vessels were able to take local citizens aboard for the parade of sail. The Mayor of Fairport Harbor was aboard Pride, a chance that suddenly became available at the very last minute due to the team of organizers having all the details “in hand.” Everyone who was aboard Pride for the parade of sail commented on the pleasant conditions of Lake Erie and the unique opportunity to see the crew’s intense process of setting sail and saluting the town folk on shore by cannon.
I have “signed off” the ship and Captain Jordan Smith is now fully in command. I take a happy step back to the position of supporting captain and Captain Smith takes the happy step forward to total and individual command of the vessel he has admired for over two decades. As I prepared to step back, I took a moment to compliment this crew’s accomplishments and clarify the areas that still need development.
I cannot think of a time when a partner captain was not around to become familiar with the ship through the winter or at least from part of the previous sailing season. Not only was there no winter maintenance crew, due to the winter maintenance accomplished the previous winter, and the short, local, minimum wear-and-tear sailing season we had in Baltimore last year, but there was no partner captain from the last sailing season to provide additional wintertime leadership and continuity to the care and planning of the ship. The crew who came aboard this March were challenged by two captains, one of which was completely new to the ship, her culture, and her mission, on top of a bunch of deferred maintenance that ordinarily would have been at least partly attended to during the winter.
Everyone has come very far this season. The deferred maintenance has been caught up; the ship looks good! The overall coordination of seamanship and mission execution is now pretty much up to par. The “normal” baseline of standards and aspirations of ship care and mission performance have now been reached. But there are always areas to improve. The crew can always learn more and further develop their seamanship knowledge and skills – making such efforts to improve is good for their interests to sail on other vessels as well make their lives aboard Pride easier. Now that I have taken this step back, Captain Smith can fully bring his special insights from his personal background to the benefit of the ship and her mission.
My compliments to all!
Captain Jan C. Miles