PRIDE Pride II is motoring up the Detroit River this morning on her way to Lake Huron. There is significant current to stem. This current comes from Lake Huron being slightly more than 6.5 feet above Lake Erie. This height difference is spread over some 80 miles. As a result, the current speed is between one and two knots – not so much that vessels cannot make way under their own power against the current. So there is no need for a lock to go into and stop to wait to fill (or empty if down-bound) to the next water level, as there was for the St Lawrence River between Montreal, The Thousand Islands, and The Welland Canal. But the current does mean making a slower motoring speed as we go up the river.
Yesterday was the second Great Lakes Tall Ship Challenge race. The race was from Cleveland some 35 miles toward the islands at the west end of Lake Erie. While Pride led the fleet across the finish line, she was closely followed by Lynx, which Pride owes handicap time. Being we were not so far ahead of Lynx, she will no doubt receive a first, while Pride receives a second place. No other vessel in the fleet was able to cross the line before the race time limit, although Niagra looked to us in the deeply dark night to have crossed the finish line less than fifteen minutes after the time limit. Why did it take so long for so few vessels in the fleet to actually cross the finish line before the time limit? The wind was rather fickle and changeable due to several rain squalls. Altogether this made it hard to conjure a cohesive wind strategy. Lynx did a great job of putting together a very productive sailing plan and was able to keep close to us and save her handicap time for a first place finish behind Pride, even though we crossed the finish first. I know the crews of these three vessels worked hard and very well to sail their vessels in such changeable and even threateningly squally weather!
This fickle weather has been around since the fast sail Pride had from The Welland Canal to Cleveland last week. It has been raining a lot and the wind has been light and vague since last Wednesday. Notwithstanding the vaguely threatening rain, the Tall Ship Festival went well. Pride had no less than 11,000 persons cross her decks in four days!!!
Next festival is Bay City, Michigan. Three days starting Friday.
Captain Jan Miles