6 October, 2011
Pos: 41 07.1’N x 072 39.5’W
Wx: WNW F2, Seas calm, Sunny
PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II made landfall in Portland, Maine, five days ago. I can hear what you’re thinking – if you were so early getting the boat to the US, why is the blog so late? Well the interim days have been a bit of a whirlwind. In making Portland, we drove PRIDE II hard from the time of the last blog. Starting with a strong breeze just abaft the beam, we slowly took in sail as the wind veered, all the while laying a rhumb line for Portland. The Stuns’l had to come in when a fairlead for it parted, the T’gallant and Gaff top were too much by sunset, and near midnight, with the wind ahead of the beam, we reefed the Mains’l and took in the Jibtops’l. Even still, PRIDE II was charging along at 10 knots through the inky black and squall speckled night. Approaching Portland harbor, we took in the Foretops’l and saw the last of the rain.
Originally intending to anchor off of Portland Yacht Services (PYS), we sailed all the way to a spot I’d picked days before near the mooring field. But Phin Sprague, owner of PYS is a lover of tall ships and was kind enough to offer us a dock for clearing customs. There is no sailing through all the classic yachts and fishing vessels off PYS, so we took in sail where we would have anchored, and picked our way through the scattered boats under engines for the first time since securing in Lunenburg. Arriving at dawn, we were cleared through customs by 0815, but the crew was another three hours in stowing. We had, after all, used every sail we had.
With the rest of the day and night off in Portland, the crew had time to themselves, and I had a chance to ponder what the weather might do after the strong Southerlies faded. Originally, the lackluster forecast was tempting me to stay another day at anchor. Having lived for a time on Peaks Island, just off of Portland, I have a strong affinity for Casco Bay. But Saturday’s dawn weather report was calling for a significant Northeaster, lasting for days and heaping up a rotten good sea. It was time to close the distance to Boston. Unable to arrive before 1200 on Monday, we’d have to find an anchorage. The commercial anchorage in Boston Harbor is a forlorn place, with deep water, reversing current and little nearby ashore. Just 26 nautical miles north, however, is Gloucester, where our traveling companions LYNX and HIGHLANDER SEA were already alongside.
So we cast off and motored out of Portland, making a flyby of Peaks Island, and setting some steadying sail against the rolling swell. We arrived at sunset in Gloucester Harbor, anchoring within sight of both the other vessels we’d been traveling with since Montreal. Strange to reflect, but in two weeks, the three ships had never been further apart than 123 nautical miles – and the distance only got to that point because PRIDE II had lingered an extra day in Lunenburg.
After a Sunday evening of final farewells (for now) PRIDE II weighed anchor for Boston Monday morning at 0700. LYNX would be Newport, Rhode Island bound later the same day, while HIGHLANDER remains in Gloucester for downrig, and a potential new owner.
In Boston, PRIDE II arrived in PRIDE II style, then quickly opened to the public for the first time in two weeks. There to greet us were Alex Peacock’s parents Don and Nancy and Kevin Moran’s mother Sarah, offering logistic support but also collecting their sons. After seven months, our cook and deckhand cousin pair have signed off, along with deckhands Susie Ordway and Barbara Krasinski. Lots of new faces filled the ship, and we now have a few guest crew who have been aboard Pride II longer than the new crew! So much for these new crew to learn, so much for those remaining aboard to teach.
Boston’s events gave us a great start for getting our new hands acclimated to both the history and mission of Pride, Inc. and the esprit de corps of PRIDE II herself. Our Baltimore promoting partner Visit Baltimore hosted a reception aboard Tuesday evening, complete with excitement and fervor about all the impressive historical sites our homeport has to offer. Wednesday morning, after a quick diversion to Mystic Fuel to take on fuel for probably the last time this sailing season, we sailed off the dock and did some close quarters maneuvers in the harbor with a film crew from Puma Cast, a production company making a series of internet episodes following the crew of Mar Mostro, the Puma entry in the extreme sailing Volvo Ocean Race. While the focus of Puma Cast’s episodes will be the crew of Mar Mostro pushing the envelope of performance for the 60 foot high performance racing machine, they also wanted perspective on how sailing had evolved from the days of the Pilgrims to the 21st Century.
And who better to exemplify the dawn of speed under sail than PRIDE II? She evokes a class of schooners who first gave a currency to speed, who took the world, and the British Navy, by surprise with their swiftness, and forever put Baltimore on world stage as both a maritime center and a town full of hard-nosed citizens who repelled invasion and refused to yield. The style of the Baltimore Schooner influenced ship building for decades to follow, inspiring the great clipper ships of the late 19th Century and the Schooner Yacht America, one of the first vessels designed to race for the sake of racing.
And as PRIDE II strutted her stuff to illustrate just why her ancestors were so revered and feared, in her backdrop lay the most storied ship of her era. USS Constitution’s yards rose high above Boston Harbor, and the maritime heroines of 1812 shared a stage together once more.
Captain Jamie Trost and the once more rearranged crew of Pride of Baltimore II