History, Respect and Friendship in Amherstburg

We are looking over our shoulder at Maryland and the impact of Hurricane Irene. Meanwhile we are sailing from the Canadian Port of Amherstburg at the mouth of the Detroit River bound for Erie, PA in a very soft SW wind with all sail up including the studding sail under abundant sunshine.

While eastern Maryland was hunkered down over the weekend as Irene passed by PRIDE’s crew were hosting some 5,000 visitors who took the time to come to Amherstburg and stand in line to see our American 1812 War Chesapeake Bay Privateer Schooner. There is a lot of 1812 War history in and around Amherstburg. It was home to the British Naval fleet that fought the American Naval fleet in Western Lake Erie. That navel battle was won by the Americans. Even so, the Canadian visitors aboard were clear that they had repulsed American solders that had invaded across Lake Erie and the Detroit River. Conversation between American enthusiasts for the 1812 War and Canadian enthusiasts for the 1812 War can become pretty animated as points of success on each side are made. Notwithstanding any passion of nationalism, that war gave both sides pause to consider their identity and allegiances. The citizens of the United States gained a much stronger sense of identity and a realization of ability and accomplishment that put the nation on its near meteoric growth onto the world scene. The citizens north of the American border realized they were more than just an extension of the British Empire…but were in fact Canadian. Now, today, the two countries have between them the longest unfortified border in the world and enjoy a respect and courtesy as neighbors we all could wish existed the world around. In any event, by far the majority of visitors aboard PRIDE were glad to have a chance to see a “tall ship” and speak with the crew about life today aboard such a vessel. Everyone was polite, interested, patient and joyful at the wonderful cool sunny weather.

Our Canadian hosts were particularly attentive to PRIDE and her crew. I met with Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst who was on the dock as PRIDE arrived. There were a number of media recording PRIDE’s arrival. The marina…Duffy’s Marina…even had the dock reinforced a little to be sure PRIDE would be secure. There was a very attentive team of hosts that made sure the public remained safe and organized as they went out to board PRIDE over a long narrow pier. PRIDE’s crew were hosted to dinner and breakfast at Duffy’s Restaurant. The crew were offered two motel rooms at Duffy’s Motel. A loaner car was provided. These thoughtful considerations were much appreciated by the crew. It was a lot of work answering questions from the 5,000 visitors.

Now it is onward towards the east. PRIDE is in the early stages of heading home from the Great Lakes. As we do so during this quiet first day of sailing from Amherstburg we all speak about the impact Irene had in Maryland and on so much of the East Coast. 

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

Feels Like a Laid Back Weekend

We are now sailing on the longest leg since late July when PRIDE made her transit from Marquette to Boyne City. We departed Monday from Port Washington and are not scheduled to arrive Amherstburg till Saturday. It will be the longest time frame of non-public, in-port busy-ness in the last four weeks. Yesterday, Monday, felt like a typical shore-based lifestyle Saturday with the crew doing maintenance like everyone else does chores. Today, Tuesday, feels like Sunday with no chores…just enjoying the sailing and the sleeping between being on watch. Weather is favorable, making the sailing easy as we again slide by Sleeping Bear Dune near Traverse Bay, Michigan…at least for now. Overall it seems we are enjoying a “weekend” like experience…only that it is actually being experienced on a Monday and a Tuesday.

Meanwhile we partner captains of PRIDE, Jamie Trost and myself, are up to our eyebrows in crew selection. By the time PRIDE departs Boston in early October all of this year’s crew are likely to have changed save for maybe two…the Chief Mate and a Deckhand. The rotation started earlier in August. We have Hannah Mahan aboard now…she replaces Paul Wiley and came aboard August 11. The next change will be next week as Joe O’Hara gets off. Then over the Labor Day Weekend four more positions will change as 2nd Mate Carolyn Seavey, Bosun Rebecca Pskowski, Engineer Andrew Kaiser and Deckhand Arwyn Rogers all depart the ship. In Boston we will loose the cook and two more deckhands. All these vacancies need to be filled and the process to do so started back in July…and won’t end till we identify all the replacements…only about half are identified at this time. Coordinating the interview process so that both captains can assess each candidate is quite time consuming and must take place as one of us sails PRIDE and the other of us take’s personal time during time off of the ship.

Jan C. Miles,  Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

1812 History ~ much to share and learn

PRIDE is in Port Washington, Wisconsin. This tall ship festival with three vessels…PRIDE, NIAGARA & FRIENDS GOODWILL…marks the beginning of PRIDE’s homeward bound trek from the Great Lakes. PRIDE left Baltimore May 30 and visited 12 ports to reach Port Washington August 18. From Port Washington PRIDE will visit 11 ports to reach Baltimore on November 1st. As much work as all of this represents to the crew that sail PRIDE, maintain her and explain her, the crew would have it no other way. The most intense learning is aboard a busy vessel. A busy vessel that is visiting a new port every time it moves presents a whole lot more learning. This is what any up and coming sailor seeks…as much learning as possible in as short a time as possible. It helps with promotion and the obtaining of professional licensing which also helps with promotion. Meanwhile PRIDE’s fame continues to be supported and expanded by her travels sharing her stunning image to her viewers in all the ports she visits…always leaving a good impression of Baltimore and Maryland.

PRIDE’s goal during this 2011 Campaign in the Great Lakes is to make everyone aware of the coming Bicentennial of the 1812 War and how much of that history took place in Baltimore & Maryland, and all of it is available for visitation, so make plans to visit Baltimore & Maryland to see that history. Interestingly she is not completely alone in her efforts. Brig NIAGARA and square-topsail sloop FRIENDS GOODWILL are two other vessels of the 1812 War…but specifically of the Great Lakes. PRIDE is from the Atlantic. Here in Port Washington, as it was in last weeks maritime festival at Navy Pier in Chicago, all of the vessels of the festival represent aspects of the 1812 War. In Chicago there was the additional vessel Privateer LYNX…she, like PRIDE, is from out of the Great Lakes. I find it interesting there is this concentration of vessels representing the 1812 War. But when one considers how many fronts there were in that war it starts to make some sense. Brig NIAGARA, built in Erie, Pennsylvania, represents the successful naval campaign between the US and British (Canada) that took place in Lake Erie under the leadership of Oliver Hazard Perry. FRIENDS GOODWILL represents an 1810 built vessel from Detroit that sailed for both the Americans and the British, having been caught by the British, eventually playing a roll in the Battle of Lake Erie. Privateer LYNX is a miniature of a Baltimore Privateer that was caught by the British in the lower Chesapeake Bay before she could perform any privateering voyaging, instead being used by the British to blockade American vessels from departing the Chesapeake Bay.

By the above sampling, one can begin to see that there is a lot about the 1812 War to be learned. The most significant activities of the war took place in Maryland. Where the burning of Washington, DC by the British Army took place, where the successful defense of Baltimore from British invasion took place and is the story of our National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, and is home of the most famous Baltimore Schooner Privateer CHASSEUR (nicknamed “pride of baltimore”). I hope, during the next three years of the Bicentennial, all of you will come see and learn.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II

There's a new Pride in town

Maryland Air National Guard Christens New C-27J Spartan “Pride of Baltimore II”

Baltimore, MD (August 15, 2011). There is a new “Pride of Baltimore II” in town, this one taking to the air to serve Maryland and the United States. The Maryland Air National Guard’s (MANG) 175th Wing celebrated the arrival of the first C-27J Spartan on August 13, 2011 at the Warfield Air National Guard Base in Baltimore, Maryland. The new aircraft, which replaces the C-130 J Hercules, was christened “Pride of Baltimore II” and will help the MANG fulfill its mission. Painted in black and gold on the side of the aircraft is the “Pride of Baltimore II” burgee. Pride of Baltimore, Inc. Board members Charles “Pete” Partridge, Jr. and Gregory Barnhill joined members of the 175th Wing and other distinguished visitors and community supporters for the arrival celebration.

For details about the aircraft and the arrival event, read the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Wing Press Release: 135th Airlift Group Embarks on New Era.

Photos of the event are available on the 175th Wing’s website.

Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, Adjutant General, christens the new C-27J Spartan during an arrival ceremony August 13, 2011, at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, MD while Col. Thomas E. Hans, commander 135th Airlift Group and Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, Director, Air National Guard, watch. The 135th Airlift Group transitions from the C-130J Hercules to the C-27J Spartan, which was designed to meet Air Force requirements for a rugged, medium-sized air-land transport. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/RELEASED)

Summer time in Pure Michigan

Summer time spent in the upper part of “lower Michigan” on the shores of Lake Michigan is to experience one of the “purer” examples of the American water based holidays to be found in America. The area is remote from big city influence. So there is a very real “normal” America feel whenever we mingle with the public aboard or ashore. The streets and sidewalks of the small towns are wide. The residential areas are mostly individual homes. The “out of town” areas are truly rural. For one who comes from a life of cities and suburbia of the Mid-Atlantic when I am not sailing for a living I wonder what winter life is like here. The response from any true local tends to downplay my images of lots of snow and ice and the feeling that to go out in such is not a good idea, hence everyone must be stuck indoors. No matter my imaginings of winter here, during the summer everyone is outside all the daylight day…which is a lot longer than a summer day back in Maryland. Even when PRIDE is closed after a full day’s work the long daylight offers the public many more hours to view PRIDE. Our lives aboard are lived in public…except when we go down below.

I am back aboard PRIDE again after relieving my partner Captain Jamie Trost. I joined in Boyne City, Michigan. Since then PRIDE has sailed to Mackinac Island then on to Luddington. Soon we head off from this summer ideal to the “windy city” Chicago. Thus far weather has been sublime. Wind moderate and temperatures in the upper 80’s for the high.

PRIDE is very busy! Multiple day-sails per day with almost all of them full with 35 guests. Deck tour visitors have been numerous as well. Just as I describe above, everyone in this part of Michigan is outside doing something. Something novel like PRIDE visiting is a change worthy of experiencing. This certainly helps PRIDE contribute to her support as she raises the funds paid for day-sails and walking her decks!

But such business also means there is little else that can be done. Crew are hard pressed to get catch-up maintenance done because PRIDE is underway each port day. Sailing between ports of call provide little opportunity for cosmetic maintenance. Hence cosmetics become deferred. Fortunately the fresh water of the Lakes do not provide the same wear and tear as salt water does. I have hopes the four days in Chicago with no day-sails…only dockside deck tours…will provide for some chance to get some “get ahead” maintenance accomplished.

We had one mile stone experience. PRIDE and her crew were able to join with the Kidd family of Walloon Lake (just north of Boyne City) again at the family cottage and recall how this tradition started with Jack Kidd back in 1981…thirty years ago!

I was master of the first PRIDE OF BALTIMORE back in 1981 and it was another very busy season of port stops, general public deck tours and many corporate on-board receptions well into the evening. By mid August the crew were exhausted. Jack Kidd was a regular corporate co-host with the company he represented…Tate Architectural near Baltimore, Maryland…with business connections in most of the larger cities of the country. Jack prided himself with keeping an eye out for the welfare of those he worked with. PRIDE’s crew represented an important element to his successful corporate parties aboard through the crew keeping the guests safe as well providing them the opportunity to learn about life aboard and what a 1812 War Baltimore Schooner Privateer was and how they were the cause for the nations national anthem the Star Spangled Banner to be written in Baltimore. His invitation to come to the family cottage would require time not already set aside and another port stop and more work for the crew. I was hard pressed to accept his invitation…mostly because I could not be certain we would have the time…something that would not exist if the wind was against us between Milwaukee and Charlevois. But there was a strong chance the wind would be favorable, so the odds were there would be extra time. My stress involved how to say “no” if contrary weather did not come to my rescue. In the end, Jack was able to convince me that there would be no obligation to the crew save come to the cottage and relax. And relax they did…for at least six hours of Walloon Lake fun sailing, swimming, speed boat riding, ball games in the yard and of course, plenty of food and refreshments. Just the crew and Jacks family…no obligations to explain PRIDE or Baltimore or Maryland or what it’s like to be a crew member. That 1981 crew often reflected how beneficial the stop at Jack Kidd’s Walloon Lake Cottage was. For the following 30 years, every time the PRIDE crew sail in Lake Michigan, there is a visit to the Kidd Cottage on Walloon Lake. PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is at this moment making her 11th trip into the Great Lakes. Each time the Kidd family has hosted the crew. Jack has been gone a while…but his sons continue the tradition. Well Jack, your tradition remains very much alive and the many crews always really appreciate the break from the busy life of presenting PRIDE to her public.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II