TSAC Race #3 Differing Strategies Emerge Among the Fleet

The sea conditions continue to remain benign for the whole fleet. Especially those to the south with today’s sunny and moderate sea.

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II managed to find the center of the dissipating low hence sailed right into the center of the wind-less hole left by the passing low. She remained in that hole for almost the whole night. As such, after yesterday’s most mileage performance in the fleet, PRIDE produced the least mileage today at 82 miles sailed between 1400 hour positions. The longest distance sailed goes to XSAAR at 146 miles. But I do not think that is the story.

There is another strategy emerging between the members of the racing fleet. In the main the fleet is trying to go west along the rhumbline to the finish. To the north is some independent thinking coming from EUROPA. To the south is JOLIE BRISE. Those members of the rest of the fleet seem to be divided into two groups…those going west and those trying to get to the southwest. In the southwest are most of the modern sailing vessels represented by Class D with a couple of Class B members…specifically SPIRIT OF BERMUDA and PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II. Early on TECLA was seeming to drift south some as she sailed west, but between yesterday and today she chose to go north of west…she did well with the available wind and recovered her position of being 1st in Class as well 1st in Fleet. Now that a large contingent of the fleet has passed the midway mark in the race to Charleston the question remains as to what the members of the fleet will do with the coming weather.

Aboard PRIDE it looks like tomorrow will bring the start of at least two days of fresh southwest winds. Those in the fleet that are more to the south might spend less time tacking towards the finish than those that are more to the north when they meet the southwest winds. So stay tuned, especially considering the complications that will be brought on by the Gulf Stream Current flowing strongly northeastward right across the racing track.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

TSAC Race 3 – Taking Advantage of Good Sailing While it Lasts

The weather gave PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II a very big boost over the last 24 hours. After all kinds of plotting of positions and comparing yesterday’s fleet positions with today’s, PRIDE turned in the longest distance advanced in 24 hours of 194 nautical miles. The next longest was PETER VON DANZIG at 182 nautical miles. Longest distance advanced in 24 hours does not establish a fleet standing…but it sure can help. PRIDE is currently…and probably only for a short time…1st in Class and 1st in Fleet having advanced from yesterday’s 2nd in Class and 3rd in Fleet.

The sail was especially good last night. A broad reach with all sail including the studding sail (pronounced stuns’l by sailors). Since around mid-morning today the weather has changed to lighter winds that have veered further ahead. The studding sail has been struck, but PRIDE is still making decent speed.

Looking down the “road”, these last two days are likely to go down with the fleet as the best days of all for this race. The future, starting tomorrow, promises a significant slog to windward toward the finish. This will give the more weatherly vessels the chance to get ahead and/or have their handicap get ahead of the vessels that are actually out in front. That is the simple element of the promised future.  The not so simple element is the Gulf Stream…a significant ocean “river” of current rushing out of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea up through the gap between the Bahamas and Florida. That current can be 4 knots in strength pushing north and east along the continental shelf of the American East Coast. In the vicinity of Charleston it can be 100 nautical miles wide. A vessel sailing hard on the port tack against a southwest breeze could inter the current with a “safe” sailable course to Charleston and find themselves many miles north of their original lay line by the time they sail out of the Gulf Stream. Assuming the southwest wind is still prevalent, the sail to Charleston will require actually tacking against the southwest wind to get to the finish line. Have any of you readers figured out I am not looking forward to the next couple to three days?

Meanwhile, PRIDE’s crew feel pretty pleased with the sail and the fleet standings. So they should. But I am pretty sure the future conditions sailing close hauled out of Bermuda will be the way of life over the next couple to three days of trying to close the last 400 nautical miles to Charleston…ugh!

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

TSAC Race #3, Day 2 – A Day of Changes

How the weather has changed! It is a trade wind like day with favorable winds for all in the fleet.

Also, how the rankings have changed since yesterdays results. When I thought PRIDE would have fallen back in fleet since yesterday she has managed to gain. She also gained in class. That was a surprise to me as well. Very gratifying to the crew of PRIDE which have so many things they must do to keep this 190 displacement long-ton reproduction of an American 1812 War Baltimore Privateer vessel moving.

There seems to be two strategies that have played out in the fleet since the start. Those that can point and foot well to windward have seemed to concentrate on loosing latitude. Those that cannot point as close and still foot along have found themselves well to the north of the direct racing track to the finish. For some of the Class A vessels the reality of not being able to point as high as the fore&aft rigged vessels in the fleet put them into the new and favorable winds sooner than any vessel that tried to hold to the race rumbline. That new wind was from the NW at first but quickly veered to North andput the vessels that gained a lot of latitude during their sail close to the wind after the start of the race in a powerful sailing position sooner than any of the rest of the fleet positioned more to the south.

CAPITAN MIRANDA (jumped from 2nd in class and 6th in fleet to 1st in class and 1st in fleet) and EAGLE (jumped from 3rd in class and 7th in fleet to 2nd in class and 4thin fleet) seem to have benefited most by their inability to match the fore&aft rigged vessels for sailing to windward. While Class A MIRCEA did not gain in class they gained four places in fleet with their long sail out to the north while much of the fleet remained “in the middle” so to speak.

Of the “middle of the road” members of the fleet it seems Class B TECLA has done well to preserve 1st in class and only lose one place in fleet by dropping to 2nd when CAPTAIN MIRANDA gained 1st in fleet. The results of the Class A movement in fleet since yesterday gave me pause to realize that for some of the fore & after rigged vessels it might have done them well (maybe PRIDE…had I thought to do so) to bear off the wind a little more and sail the same courses as the Class A members…thereby gaining speed…and maybe a more comfortable ride. Doing so might have put them into the new wind sooner than they actually received it by being more to the north. Ah well. The wonder of hindsight, eh?

Life aboard PRIDE has become nearly bliss for the crew with the change in the weather from banging away to windward to rolling along with the wind. Not to be outdone by the fickle weather, PRIDE’s cook Robert, provided all hands with a German Chocolate cake for desert after a dinner of barbequed pulled-pork and/or baked ham with fixin’s like baked cut potatoes, roasted corn kernels and a salad.

So, life is good aboard. And like all crew of all vessels, no one is thinking about the next weather to come and how it may change their fortunes on board or in the race. Leave that to the officers. The hard work of sailing to windward has been justly rewarded with favorable winds, positive results on the “leader board” and a swell meal. Plus many of the new members of the crew are eating now that they feel better.

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

Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge Race 3 ~ Bermuda to Charleston: Day 1

KRUZENSHTURN has had to drop out of the race. That is a big surprise! She is an all metal boat…from stem to stern, from keel to truck. The wind was not especially strong last night either. But there was some lightning about. According to overheard radio conversations she is headed directly to port to organize lowering a topmast to her deck. Hmmm. I am quite curious to what has gone wrong.

PRIDE has had some wear and tear. Some lashings have broken, all minor and easy to fix.  The good fortune of discovery before the inevitable follow on problems is careful inspection before and after dark. The problems were turned up and the fix of them is going on as I write. Meanwhile the wind has dropped out nearly completely. Weather reports suggested it would, so no surprise. While the crew get more sail spread, I notice that several of the “under the weather” trainees are up and about giving a hand. A lumpy first night can be quite debilitating to the uninitiated.

Wind was SW’rly fresh at around 20 knots from start of the race to just about the fleet check-in time today. The sea is about 6-8 feet and now a bit disorganized, but it is beginning to show signs of reducing considering there is no wind to create the swell. Now the wind is NNW at about 6-8 knots…not much to sail with on a leftover lumpy ocean. Interestingly, sailing on a port tack to the NE is faster with the 6-8 knot wind than sailing on a STBD tack to the West. My guess is there is an ocean current holding us back from sailing to America…too bad we are not sailing to Europe.

You can follow the race on http://www.tallshipsraces.com/mapping/

Cheers,

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

PRIDE II and Tall Ships Bermuda Celebrating 400 Years of Bermuda

Between the two St. George’s parties last Wednesday, the one hosted by the Mayor of St. George’s and the St. George Dingy Club barbecue, the Dingy Club event was the livelier. Not the least because of the Gumby’s!!! There is a native traditional dance group here in Bermuda, the Gumby’s, they dress up in some very spooky garb of a multitude of colors and dance some very vigorous moves to the percussion beat of skin-covered and tin drums.

Thursday PRIDE joined the collection of training vessels staged in St. George’s in a shift to Hamilton. The 18 nautical miles transit was a four hour “motor-sail” for PRIDE, tacking up along the north shore of Bermuda. Once PRIDE turned the corner to sail eastward again for Hamilton Harbor the wind was more favorable so the jib-topsail and the main-gaff-topsail were set, in addition to the already set mainsail, foresail, staysail, jib and square-fore-topsail. Within 3 miles PRIDE entered the inner harbor of Hamilton with two cannon blasts to mark the taking in of sail…sort of a ballerina flourish…before going to her assigned berth. The day ended with the setting of the largest Star-Spangled Flag in PRIDE’s inventory…long enough on the hoist to be about half the height of PRIDE’s masts…large enough to cause quite a bit of vocalized admiration by passer’s by and anyone who had seen the flag from afar and knew we were from PRIDE.

Today, Friday, is the first day of the Tall Ships Festival…but last night was a scene right out of New Years at Times Square in terms of celebrating crowds. Hamilton’s water front street was closed down to traffic and completely jammed with thronging crowds of kids, adults, trainees and crew. For the rest of the weekend Hamilton’s harbor will be filled by passing vessels coming to see the ships from the waterside while crowds ashore walk by and actually visit aboard the tall ships. PRIDE will be open to public visitation as well as make a number of charter sails with Bermudian based companies. Meanwhile, any trainees or crew that have time off from their vessels are taking advantage of Bermudian hospitality or just connecting with other vessel crews and trainees. If past experience goes as prologue of the future there won’t be much rest between now and going to sea for the start of the race to Charleston.

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

In-Port Life "Aboard" During an International Sail Training Vessel Event

St. George’s, Bermuda

 

PRIDE is in good company as sail training vessels from Europe and North America are also gathered in Bermuda. Some finished a race across the Atlantic from Europe and some, like PRIDE, are gathered to join the fleet for the next race from Bermuda to Charleston, NC. This regatta is a result of an opportunity for the international sail training community to help Bermuda celebrate 400 years.

 

The staging for the official Bermuda Tall Ships event, which starts Friday, June 12, is to provide dockage outside the central port of Hamilton for the early arrivals. Hence the collecting fleet is scattered from one end of this island nation to the other. While the visiting vessels await the move to downtown Hamilton, the crew of all ships are busy taking care of their vessels and using their time off to the best advantage. Evening times are spent honoring official and unofficial invitations to ship-board parties or those hosted at local yacht clubs. What distinguishes most international training vessel gatherings is the very strong focus on sailors of 15 years through 25 years. Several of the evening events are therefore geared to those ages and the fact there are several nationalities represented.

 

Taking care of the vessels involves re-victualing, watering, and fueling, as well a wide variety of repairs. Some of the desires and requirements can be very troubling to obtain in this very small nation surrounded by at least 800 nautical miles of water. In the end, what cannot be gotten on the island must be sent in from another country or lived without.

 

Tonight is the first night of official “host” sponsored events. The Mayor of St. George’s is hosting the Captains and officers of those vessels moored in St. George’s. All of us must depart tomorrow and move to Hamilton. Meanwhile there is a “trainee & crew” barbeque being held in the St. George’s Dingy Club at the same time. I wonder which event will be the most lively?

Signed,
Jan C. Miles, Captain Pride of Baltimore II