It is nearly mid-January aboard PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II in the New Year of 2011. What’s happening in your world?
PRIDE is laying quietly under winter cover at her winter berth off of Clinton Street in Baltimore. For the first time since wintering at this location, which started back in 2004/05, PRIDE II’s spars are on the dock nearby, housed under a temporary Quonset shaped shed of PVC pipe and heat-shrink plastic. Staging the spars ashore adjacent to the ship was done to enable better maintenance of the spars, while allowing access to areas of the deck that are otherwise inaccessible when the spars stowed on board.
The 2011 winter maintenance crew started the first Monday of the year under the leadership of Captain Jamie Trost. This winter’s crew include: Carolyn Seavey, Michael Magno, Andrew Kaiser, Alexander Peacock, Arwyn Rogers, and Katie Walker.
The first project on tap was a bit of a distraction from the normal maintenance projects (spar maintenance, block maintenance, rig maintenance, down below cosmetic maintenance and galley diesel stove maintenance) that were expected to begin with the crews return on January 3rd. During the last week of December a strong wind storm came through Baltimore and caused a failing of the winter cover on the ship, as well as the collapse of the spar Quonset hut. Thus, the first task at hand was for the winter maintenance crew to repair the winter covering rather than focus immediately on normal winter maintenance.
Repairs to the winter cover were accomplished with key assistance from a couple of FRIENDS of the ship. Past crew, Mate and Relief Captain, Mark Roesner, helped me repair the winter cover plastic on the ship back in December. Mark did the climbing and I did the step-and-fetch for him. My neighbor and semi-retired house remodeling contractor, Richard Heckert, helped the winter maintenance crew last week with the assembly of a redesign for the Quonset hut spar shed. This involved picking up a load of lumber with his truck and using his air driven nail gun to create a frame on the ground representing the width and length of the light weight plastic Quonset hut to be anchored to. During the December wind event, with no crew available to assist, I watched the plastic quonset hut wiggle and undulate like a cross between a snake and a caterpillar. The PVC frame disassembled itself “dynamically” due to the undulations. Now that the PVC frame is anchored by the wooden frame and it is anchored down by weight and new donated plastic from Big Daddy Shrink Wrap of Middle River, Maryland (arranged by our good friends at the Vane Brothers Company) is properly and snuggly shrunk over the PVC frame, we have high hopes the spar shed will withstand winter winds. Although we do have reservations about snow load capability, we also have hopes that the Quonset hut shape will tend to shed snow before the load becomes a problem. We shall see. Wish us luck.
We hope all of you are enduring winter with security or are somewhere the winter winds are not.
Captain Jan C. Miles