From Charleston on to Norfolk

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is currently sailing northeasterly from Charleston with a favorable southwest breeze in temperatures of 85 F and 80% humidity. It is good to be out of Charleston but lonely not being with the fleet. The weather in Charleston is hotter and more muggy with heat warnings posted for combined heat and humidity values to 105 F expected Monday.

Saturday evening was the beginning of this weather by the arrival in Charleston of several heavy thunder shower and wind squalls, along with the posted warning of a possible tornado. All TSAC 2009 evening activities were cancelled. But that did not bother PRIDE. She was at anchor along with SPIRIT OF SOUTH CAROLINA because there was not enough dock space for all of the visiting vessels…and since both vessels were interested in making some money by running paying passenger day-sails, both vessels were relegated to anchorage. Tornado watch while at anchor? Events cancelled due to tornado warnings? What should we do out here at anchor? Well…basically hope for the best. Fortunately no tornado actually occurred.

PRIDE did indeed receive 1st in Class B and 1st in Fleet based on handicap. So she is sailing away from Charleston today with two sculptured glass forms on board depicting her honors. Meanwhile the fleet is getting ready to depart Charleston tomorrow and race on to Boston as PRIDE makes her way to Norfolk to help celebrate their July 4th weekend. After the Norfolk celebrations, PRIDE will hurry along to Boston to rejoin the fleet.

I am sorry that PRIDE cannot race to Boston with her friends. They are a greatly competitive group of friends and we shall miss them as well their at sea company when all are sailing together. PRIDE’s crew look forward to sharing the ports of Boston and Halifax with the visiting fleet before the European vessels head off to Northern Ireland. However, we do have one of JOLIE BRISE’s Atlantic Crossing crew aboard PRIDE for the rest of the summer! So we shall be having a bit of international flavor aboard PRIDE even as the fleet heads east across the Atlantic and on home.

Cheers,
Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

PRIDE II Wins First in Class and First in Fleet – TSAC Race #3

TSAC Race #3 Awards -First in Class and First in Fleet

It’s official….the results for Sail Training International’s (STI) International Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge (TSAC) Race #3 are in and PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, the reproduction circa War of 1812 American Baltimore Privateer Schooner, has been declared 1st in Fleet and 1stin Class B based on handicap rankings. PRIDE II’s Captain and crew were presented with two sculpted glass awards for their accomplishments.

The International TSAC 2009 fleet is represented by nations from Europe, South America, North America and Bermuda. The racing crews, both men and women, represent an even broader spread of nations and also represent ages from 15 years to 75 years. American sailing vessel representation in international fleet regattas is not a common occurrence, so having the American PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II lead the standings for both class and fleet is rarity.

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II has represented both Maryland and the United States during voyages to far-off destinations such as Ukraine and Russia to the east and China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to the west, as well as nearly every large maritime port in between located above the equator. During those voyages PRIDE II represents the unique Baltimore story of defense from the British Royal Navy’s attempt to burn the shipyards that were building the fast privateers used by the Americans during the War of 1812.  It was a successful defense that inspired American Francis Scott Key to pen the poetry that is now America’s National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

Since 2000 PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II has participated in a number of international tall ship races sponsored by STI. In the Millennium Race #4 from Halifax to Europe PRIDE II was one of two American entrees, the other being the Schooner BRILLIANT of Mystic Seaport. PRIDEII was the second vessel in a 40 vessel international fleet to cross the finish line after sailing over 2,500 nautical miles and earned 1st in Class and 5thin Fleet after the handicap. In 2005, PRIDE II was one of two American vessels, the other being the U.S. Coast Guard Barque EAGLE, in a 67 vessel international fleet race between Waterford, Ireland and Cherbourg, France and earned 1st in Class and 5thplace overall behind four Class A vessels.  Also in 2005 PRIDE II was the only American vessel in an international fleet of 8 vessels sailing between Southern England and Northern Spain when, while leading the fleet, suffered a total dismasting of her entire rig while sailing in the Bay of Biscay 100 miles west of France. Six months later, with new masts installed, PRIDE II departed France for home and on to a full season of activities in the American Great Lakes.

The unique style of PRIDE II’s American watercraft history and her presentation of the creation of The Star-Spangled Banner cause her to be a singular stand out to all who see her. Being the only frequent American vessel in the STI races and regularly placing well in those regattas brings wonder and appreciation to all for her existence and original story. Marylanders and Americans have every reason to be very proud of their Icon of American Maritime History, the War of 1812 Privateer Schooner PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II.

TSAC Race #3: Sitting in Limbo But Not Sitting Still

 

PRIDE is tied to the dock in Charleston and waiting for the rest of the TSAC 2009 fleet to arrive…a form of sitting in limbo.

Handicaps are amazing things when it comes to the effort of making very different vessel types all “equal” under sail. It has been over 36 hours since PRIDE crossed the finish line. Behind her are two of her Class B “mates” TECLA and JOLIE BRISE with large handicaps. So large in fact that if TECLA is able to cross the finish line less than 52 hours after PRIDE did, or sometime around noon local time tomorrow (if I have done my sums correctly), TECLA will likely hold onto her 1st in Class and 1stin Fleet…hence my reference to “sitting in limbo”. JOLIE BRISE passed her chance to gobble up PRIDE’s lead sometime around 1700 local time today.

KRUZENSHTERN at dock in Charleston with broken upper foremast.

Limbo time is really not accurate. PRIDE’s crew have been getting after maintenance. On the day of arrival we were docked at 1000 local time and it took till 1600 to clean the ship. Today started at 8 am on maintenance and went to 5:30 pm. Tomorrow will be the same thing. Down river from us is KRUZENSHTERN with a crane next to her holding the broken upper half of the foremast and its associated yards in place with sail still billowing while the crew very carefully and methodically disconnect her rigging, both running and standing, before lowering all to the dock where it will be further disassembled and loaded on deck to be brought home…or so the rumor on the street has it. Makes sense to me. Keep everything you can…do not cut anything you do not have to…no telling how important it all will be as the repairs begin.

Meanwhile I have been listening out for radio chatter among the still sailing TSAC#3 fleet. There has been some hint of ending the race at sea so there will be time to motor to port and be ready for the festival. CAPITAN MIRANDA crossed the finish line today just before 6 pm local and is lying at anchor just outside of Charleston before coming in tomorrow. Now all of the classes have finishers…so it seems unlikely there will be an at-sea-finish. The weather “out there” has been very light and fickle causing much mischief. TECLA mentioned they have been swimming when not sailing to stave off going a little nuts but are sailing pretty well at the moment (2200 UTC). JOLIE BRISE mentioned they are sailing now but the forecast is for less wind in the morning. EUROPA is sailing as well…might make the finish late afternoon tomorrow which might make her the only other Class A to finish…I told you they were being pretty foxy staying so far to the north.

Don’t think I spend all of my time looking over my shoulder at the rest of the fleet. While PRIDE’s crew have been hard at work on caring for PRIDE, I have been steadily at email after email dealing with schedule details for the foreseeable future of this summer’s itinerary. On three separate occasions I have had official business meetings with local authorities and organizers. For the emails I must sit below in a very warm vessel sitting in very warm water with very little flowing breeze going through down below. It is much more comfortable on deck…so the meetings that have interrupted my email progress are somewhat welcome so I can be up for bit of fresh air. But the best part has been being the messenger boy connecting those still out sailing with those here in Charleston that might be able to provide special services such as carpentry and sail repair.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

TSAC Race #3 ~ Alongside in Charleston Awaiting the Rest of the Fleet

KRUZENSHTERN and PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II entered Charleston at the same time today. The broken foremast of KRUZENSHTERN was plain and painful to see. It appears she was on a braced up sharp port tack with sails set to her royals when the breakage occurred. From the topmast trestles up, which is nearly the upper half of the whole mast structure, has folded over to the starboard side. The word on the street is that no one was injured. But the same source says that there is evident pain and sadness aboard. I sure hope there is available support to make KRUZENSHTURN whole again. She is an early 20th Century sailing machine that today has accumulated a nearly unbreakable track of international sailings throughout her life as both a cargo vessel and as a training vessel. The 21st Century sail training world and tall ships community will be wholly changed for the poorer if it is determined that repairing her is not worth the money and time. Speaking from personal experience, it is indescribable how one feels in such a situation. I can only imagine the difficulties with such a large and unique vessel that is also a significant sailing ambassador for her country. Let me be a voice to join others out-loud in the support of making KRUZENSHTERN whole again and sailing for her country out to the rest of the world!

Keeping the daily Race Control radio schedule has proved nearly impossible while dockside in Charleston. It was only by a radio relay via CAPITAN MIRANDA to Race Control that I was able to pass on PRIDE’s status and time of finish. To learn of PRIDE’s new standings for today I went to the TSAC 2009 web site and discovered PRIDE had increased her lead over JOLIE BRISE to take 2nd in Class and 2ndin Fleet. There is vindication in these results for where we sailed and how much work it was on the part of the crew to accomplish the finish. Now we wait to find out if JOLIE BRISE is able to reclose the gap and/or TECLA falls back enough for PRIDE to jump ahead. Meanwhile I got an email from TECLA asking for a local contact of a sail maker because “our mainsail has split”. I was able to get local tall ship liaison to tell me of a sail maker and get his email address. Then with the assistance of URANIA still being at sea and equipped with a powerful radio, pass onto TECLA the sail maker’s email address. In TECLA’s email message to PRIDE asking for help locating a sail maker they carefully wished us “good sailing (not too good) and good winds (not too good)”. Right back at you my good sailing friend!

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

TSAC Race #3 – Closing in on Charleston

The first vessel of the fleet has crossed the finish line. PETER VON DANZIG crossed just moments after the 1400 UTC schedule of radio call-ins to Race Control aboard MIRCEA, the Romanian Training Vessel.

The rest of the leaders of the fleet, mostly Class D vessels with PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II tagging closely behind, are near and far spread behind the first finisher. FAZISI is not far from the finish. Behind her some distance and sailing along the coast is RONA II. Fanned out in a circle behind her nearly equidistant from the finish are PRIDE, well to the north near the coast, with XSAAR and URANIA nearly forming an arc to the south from PRIDE.

Today’s 1st and 2nd in Class and 1st and 2nd in Fleet are TECLA and JOLIE BRISE of Class B. Their ranking today goes to demonstrate how well sailed those vessels are as well just how slim the lead has been for PRIDE. Tomorrow is another day and the weather is proving a bit fickle in terms of producing what the forecasters suggested might happen. While this is frustrating to PRIDE because she is not gliding along with a fair breeze to the finish…rather she is tacking her way around the coastal shoals looking to get out of the current and stay in the off-shore breeze…maybe the other competitors are having as much frustration. Well, we will all find out tomorrow when the daily position report results are transmitted.

The most interesting thing to observe is EAGLE. She has gone and produced the longest distance between position reports for the second day in a row. This time she came back from being in the far south to being pretty far north. She may not be pointing very high, but she is surely sailing pretty fast! Meanwhile CAPITAN MIRANDA remains the most westerly Class A. She has done very well I think. I doubt any fickle weather will please her at this time. Way to the north of the fleet “the fox” EUROPA has managed to sail 40 miles in the direction of the finish. I hope the northerly winds suggested for her area come to pass for her. Certainly the NW winds forecast for today have not materialized.

In spite of the fickleness of the wind, the weather is clear. Hot and muggy with the wind from land. There have been heat advisories ashore posting 100 F temperatures when accounting for the humidity. Weather forecasts suggest the weather will become “more seasonable” with the crossing of the cold front. I cannot wait!

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

TSAC #3 – The Weather AND the Competition are Heating Up

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II managed to regain 1st in Class and 1st in Fleet overnight. To give a small idea of what it took, the distance between 1400 UTC plotted positions of yesterday and today was 98 nautical miles. But the distance actually sailed was 150 nautical miles. Looking at the plotted positions of the fleet, it is hard to see if many of them had to work as hard or not. Certainly EAGLE has the longest run between 1400 positions of any Class A vessel. But it was all to the south and east of her position yesterday! Going dramatically so far south from her somewhat northerly position should do well for positioning her to approach the finish line with the southwest winds now in place and should also help with crossing the Gulf Steam more directly. Meanwhile EUROPA is way to the north with nothing seeming to advantage her position for getting to the finish line. Not only will the next day or so bring southwest winds to her, but the Gulf Stream will slow her down with any effort to steer for Charleston. But maybe she is like the fox…a cold front is due to come over her Sunday and maybe it will provide her with a favorable beam breeze for getting down to Charleston. The Class A that is closest to Charleston is CAPITAN MIRANDA. She looks in pretty good position weather and Gulf Stream wise.

The vessels leading the fleet seem to be mostly Class D vessels with lonely ol’ Class B PRIDE doing her best to keep up. SPIRIT OF BERMUDA was right there in the mix with us…but she dropped out unexpectedly this morning and started motoring to the west…we could see this on our Automatic Indication System (AIS). During today’s radio schedule position report she declared her situation. She was headed into port to meet a dry-docking schedule set for early next week. Between her and SPIRIT OF SOUTH CAROLINA dropping out there are now five Class B vessels contending, down from an original seven vessels. TECLA posses the biggest threat to PRIDE by not only being sailed very well, but posses a very big handicap that could very easily gobble up any of the lead PRIDE may have. Meanwhile JOLIE BRISE, always sailed well, is also closing in from behind with her significant handicap. ETOILE also looks in very good position for dealing with the southwest wind and Gulf Stream. So PRIDE cannot rest at all.

While the competition in Class B seems pretty hot from PRIDE’s perspective, the weather is getting significantly hot and muggy. While the sea has been nearly smooth and the sky clear during day and night, the wind is so full of moisture that standing on deck makes one soggy. With the sun up now it is adding to the embedded heat in the southwest air that is coming from the Gulf of Mexico. While being on deck causes evaporation through the affect of wind blowing, down below is nearly a sauna…with only the occasional puff of air coming through open sky lights and deck hatches. Charleston will probably not be cooler. Oh boy!

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II