Jibe Ho!

Monday, April 30, 2012.

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is in southern climes!!!

Cobalt blue water, sunny sky, comfortable shirtsleeve and shorts weather…and gentle favorable breezes.


PRIDE is now between Cape Lookout and Frying Pan Shoals sailing in gentle breezes from NE-E. The forecast was clear that there would be SE breezes for this area. They would be welcome breezes. But NE-E is favorable and so we are happy to have them.

With the gentle conditions we are taking advantage of the first opportunity this year to work on cosmetic maintenance. This first effort is focused on spot maintenance where any paint and varnish has broken and begun to peel.

As PRIDE made her way around Cape Hatteras yesterday and last night the crew have been getting a chance to learn what jibing aboard PRIDE is by doing.The first one was at Diamond Shoals. Then one just east of Cape Lookout.Another off the tip of Cape Lookout Shoal. Another two just west of Cape Lookout Shoal. The officers are getting pretty good at organizing the these sail handling evolutions. Aboard PRIDE the jibe evolution is pretty complex.

First the eased out foresail clew must be brought inside the mainmast shrouds and the sail sheeted flat in. Second the sent forward fore topmast running backstay that permitted the eased out foresail to take a good broad reaching shape must be brought back and made tight. Third the square foretopsail bracing must be shifted to the new jibe angle. Forth the headsails need flattening by taking all slack out of their sheets. Fifth the mainsail needs sheeting in while the mainsail boom preventer tackle is eased out. Sixth, once mainsail is tight amidships the mainsail topping lifts need switching wherein the eased one is taken up and the tight one is eased off to permit the sail to shape itself to the wind from the new jibe angle. Also the main-topmast running backstays are switched wherein the eased forward one is brought back and the tight one is taken forward to permit the main boom to be eased way out. Meanwhile the boom preventer tackle is disconnected from the pendent one the old lee side and taken to be hooked up to the new lee side. Seventh the sheeted in mainsail is jibbed over and then eased out while the crew take up on the boom preventer tackle. Eighth the crew pass the headsails over to the other side of the head stays to be trimmed for the new jibe while also bringing forward the eased back main-lowermast running fore stay and taken up tight while easing back the other tight main-lowermast running forestay to allow the foresail to be passed to the other side of mainmast and trimmed for the new jibe. Also, the tight fore topmast running backstay is eased off and taken forward so the foresail can be eased fully for the broad reaching winds of the new jibe. Then the foresail is eased over and re-rigged outside of the mainmast shrouds on the new lee side. Ninth the main-gaff-topsail tack is switched to the other side of the main-gaff peak halyard parts above the mainsail gaff. Tenth all loose running gear is coiled up and hung or laid out on deck in a proper seaman-like manner.

Complicated enough for you? How about in a dark night with a heaving sea?All this and yet we have not set the studding sail. Another sail that could be up and when up adds a significant number of additional steps to a normal everyday jibe aboard an 1812 period Baltimore Schooner Privateer.

Cheers,

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

Sailing near the tip of Cape Hatteras

PRIDE is sailing near the tip of Cape Hatteras, the well respected East Coast cape of numerous shipwrecks.

The weather is favorable and moderate. Sailing here from the Chesapeake Bay was interrupted by weather changes beginning late yesterday and lasting through the night.

Before the weather changes PRIDE sailed out of the Chesapeake Bay under all working sail (full main, foresail, staysail, jib & square foretopsail) with a beam breeze from the NE-E of around 15 knots. Making between 7-9 knots the day was pleasant and comfortable. As PRIDE was sailing out of The Bay off in the distance the reproduction J Class Yacht HANUMAN was coming up from the south heading into the The Bay. We know this because our 2nd Mate John Pickering was the engineer for HANUMAN last year and he knew she was likely to be entering The Bay as PRIDE was departing because of information exchanged with HANUMAN’s crew via FaceBook during PRIDE’s sail down The Bay. In the days before such technology we would have been left looking with binoculars at an interesting sailing rig and wondering what/who it was. Maybe we would get on the short range VHF radio and introduce ourselves or they call us with similar curiosity. But no radio conversation was had…we both knew who the other was and there was nothing additional to converse about…all information had already been exchanged…remotely. Interesting.

The sailing fun was due to change as PRIDE gained her southing toward Cape Hatteras and also a weather disturbance moving eastward off shore just about right at Cape Hatteras. By evening time the approach of rain seen on echo returns of the RADAR signaled the imminent arrival of wind change from E’rly to SE and bringing with it increasing wind strength. Crew got the mainsail in, then the jib, then the foretopsail. Wind got up to around 20 knots for a short time. As the rain went away after supper time the wind dropped to less than 5 knots and returned to blowing from the north. Not enough wind to make much happen so we did not reset any sail. In fact we struck the foresail to protect it from flogging in the sloppy sea swell while PRIDE drifted and bobbed her way south. Around midnight the wind from the north increased a bit and the square foretopsail was reset. Deckhand Rohan Rao got his first experience being aloft in a rolling and heaving PRIDE and took quite a while to get the gaskets holding the topsail tight undone. Eventually, with help from recently joined deckhand Kris Jones the topsail was made ready to set and with Rohan and Kris down from aloft the topsail was set. PRIDE sailed faster than she had been drifting at around 2-3 knots dead downwind with just the square foretopsail and staysail till 4 AM when, due to the wind veering more to the NE hence more to the side of PRIDE rather then right from behind the foresail was set as well the jib. Now, at 1030 AM PRIDE is approaching Diamond Shoals, the shallow water that sticks out from Cape Hatteras, with somewhat stronger winds from the NE-E and is making from 4-6 knots depending on the vagaries of wind strength.

The weather forecasts indicate 10-15 knots of wind veering slowly from NE to SE over the next 48 hours. Assuming all this plays out, PRIDE should be able to sail all the way around Cape Hatteras today and get some distance toward the SW along the coast as well.

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

Leaving the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay…en route towards Savannah

At around 1030 AM today (Saturday) PRIDE is sailing out of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay with a light NE’rly breeze and small sea swell. Sky party cloudy. Temperatures still cool, but not as cold as yesterday.

Looking forward weather forecasting indicates a disturbance passing Cape Hatteras tonight. Winds from all directions as it passes by…somewhat quickly. Between Virginia Beach and Hatteras is forecast a bit of a boundary between the passing disturbance passing Hatteras and the end of the high pressure that came in yesterday. Forecasting indicates Sunday the disturbance continuing eastward to sea with another cold front passing over…that ought to bring NW-N-NE (favorable) winds of moderate strength for going around Hatteras. So we are not especially in a hurry to reach Hatteras. It would not do to get caught up in the passing disturbance.

Looking behind us we had an easy and steady slide down the Chesapeake Bay that started with fresh NW’rly winds softening late in the day and veering to N & NE. This morning we set the mainsail at breakfast time and passed through the north gap in the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge and pointed out toward the off shore areas of the Virginia shore south of Cape Henry.

The moderate and steady conditions last night have permitted us to keep steady progress towards Savannah in comfortable sea conditions giving time for crew acclimation to overnight procedures as well gain some rest. Sailing can be exhausting. This comes about most often with rapidly changing weather and lively sea conditions. Steady, moderate wind conditions with relatively smooth seas means the watch cycles go through 4 hour changes without having to disturb the “stand-by” watch to get needed manpower for sail handling. Not calling the stand-by watch means they can accumulate as much as 16 hours of off watch time in a 24 hour day. Several days in a row of such conditions can result in a tiredness of being rested…if you can imagine such a circumstance. Shore life provides lots of distraction for those with a lot of personal time. Shipboard life offers only life in your bunk or maybe back on deck or maybe the main saloon settee. Books and hobbies and more sleep…but no chance to run out to “town” or other away from home distractions. Aboard, you live and work in the same physical space. Coming after a long duration in port with full seven day a week work days of 8-10…maybe even 12 hour work days with shore life not far away…even if one got a day off maybe once every week or two…having no distractions while living aboard offers the first chance for this crew to catch up on rest in a very long time.

Even when sailing is lively and tiring, the regular routine with few external distractions can be a form of mental rest. Work is not usually long hours in a row. Watches are 4 hours long. Then 4 hours of rest. Then 4 hours of maybe rest…but maybe come up and help for short durations. The cycle repeats every 12 hours. The routine can be restful for its regularity and lack of distractions. Come Savannah there won’t be any rest. Lots of public visiting aboard, maybe in the evenings as well. But when time off does come around…maybe a day off as well…what would you do after a long day of work in Savannah…sleep? By the time PRIDE departs Savannah the crew will probably be glad for the isolation of being at sea as a means to catch up on their rest…until the next port.

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

Bound for Savannah

We are passing by Tilghman Island on the Eastern Shore. Fresh NW breeze has PRIDE making 9+ knots in the gusts under comfortable sail of foresail, staysail and square foretopsail. When it is not gusting we are near 8 knots. NW winds represent beam to broad reaching so the steering is an easy “follow the compass course” process rather than when close hauled trying to get to windward and altering course for every nuanced wind shift, or gibing down wind because of running out of sea room.

Saluting Fort McHenry

We got off to a “bang” of guns saluting our friends of Baltimore like the headquarters of Under Armour and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine crowded with kids learning about the creation of our country’s National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Saluting Fort McHenry is fitting considering the writing of Star Spangled Banner came about because the British Navy came to Baltimore to specifically burn down the shipyards of Fell’s Point, which were building the fast and maneuverable Baltimore Schooner Privateers that PRIDE is closely representative of. Without such entrepreneurial thinking by the Chesapeake Bay boat builders slowly evolving such fast vessels that occurred over the more than 100 years leading up to the War of 1812…it might have been the British would never have come to Baltimore and not forced a singular and seminal defense of Baltimore by the Americans…leaving an eye witness, Francis Scott Key to be moved upon seeing the American “Banner still wave” to write the song depicting the emotion felt of a successful defense against a mighty force.

Every year, the first voyage out of the Chesapeake Bay aboard PRIDE is its own seminal event in the lives of the “new” crew about the ship. It is also a most wearying preparation process. For those aboard, they get what they want…to go sailing on a voyage to somewhere distant out of The Bay.  For those we leave behind, they get a little relief from the constant demand created of having PRIDE in home waters with all of the organizing details that include the usual administration of the company but also include errands for the ship. There is still work that needs doing by all…but not quite as time demanding. For those aboard, the 24 hour day will be divided and sleeping during the day will occur…as much as staying up at night will occur. For those back at home, the work hours become a little more regular…not much call to work past 5 pm…and weekends often remain free.

Into the distance

Whatever the adventure or the work or the free time we all look forward to, I would like to extend my thanks to all that prepared the ship for this voyage. We are now stowed for sea. We are finishing up the training for the day. Soon we will break into watches. The ship and her crew are ready for their first voyage. I did little to help with any of this because I was fulfilling my “executive” role at the office. I feel a little like maybe what it feels like for the yacht owner that has a professional crew to do all the preparing and all that is left to me is come aboard and sail. A novel experience I am happy to compliment others for good work! But one that leaves me wondering if I am devolving into a not so little or young “Lord Fauntleroy”.

My Sincere Compliments to All!

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

2012 Season in Kicks Off in Annapolis April 11-17

Dockside Education Programs and Public Deck Tours Aboard Pride of Baltimore II
National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame

Pride of Baltimore II, the world renowned Baltimore-built top sail schooner iconic of the War of 1812, will kick off the 2012 sailing season on Wednesday, April 11 at 5:00 p.m. when she sails into Annapolis, MD with cannons ablaze.  The ship will be alongside the National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) dock through Tuesday, April 17.  In partnership with the NSHOF, Pride of Baltimore II will welcome more than 500 Anne Arundel County students aboard the vessel to participate in Pride’s 1812 Dockside Education Program and NSHOF’s “Learning Math & Science through Sailing Initiative.”  The general public is invited aboard to explore the top deck and talk with the crew during FREE Deck Tours on Saturday, April 14 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 15 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Pride of Baltimore II will depart Annapolis for Baltimore at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18.

The National Sailing Center & Hall of Fame (NSHOF) and Pride of Baltimore, Inc. are pleased to announce a strategic partnership for providing students unique educational experiences focusing on both War of 1812 History, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

To inaugurate this partnership, the world renowned War of 1812 privateer, Pride of Baltimore II, will be docked at the National Sailing Center & Hall of Fame in Annapolis from April 11th to 18th.  500 Anne Arundel County school students will visit the reproduction 1812-era Baltimore-built Topsail Schooner, the type of vessel that helped a fledgling America prosecute the War of 1812 and assert its right to freely ply the world’s oceans with maritime commerce. In addition, Anne Arundel County high school students participating in the NSHOF’s “Learning Math & Science through Sailing Initiative” will board the ship as part of their scheduled educational programming. Pride of Baltimore II will also be open to the public for free dockside deck tours.

Drawing on nearly two decades experience educating Maryland students about their state’s maritime history, Pride of Baltimore, Inc. is unveiling new programming to highlight the pivotal role played by both Baltimore Privateers and Marylanders in the War of 1812.

With the new partnership, the NSHOF looks to enhance its existing STEM programs with Anne Arundel County Public Schools and to create a history component to its Education Program using the 1812 Bicentenary Celebrations and Pride of Baltimore II as a key platform for that effort.

The National Sailing Center & Hall of Fame (NSHOF) is a non-profit educational facility and virtual institution dedicated to preserving the history of sailing and its impact on our culture, honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to American sailing, teaching math, science and American history through sailing, inspiring and encouraging sailing development, and providing a landmark for sailing enthusiasts.

The 157-ft Pride of Baltimore II is the world’s most renowned American War of 1812 Privateer sailing in the 21st Century.  The ship is owned and operated by Pride of Baltimore, Inc., the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the voyages of Pride of Baltimore II on behalf of all Marylanders.  Pride of Baltimore II preserves and advances the living maritime history of the Chesapeake Bay and, wherever she sails, is an ambassador for the innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and patriotism that forged and continues to define Maryland’s maritime identity.

Schedule of Educational Programs and Public Deck Tours, April 11-18:

April 11     Arrival                                 5:00 p.m.
April 12     Elementary Schools       2:00 pm – 3;00 pm
Middle/High Schools    4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
April 13     North County STEM       8:15 am – 1:00 pm
Elementary schools       1:15 pm – 2:15 pm
April 14     Open to the Public           4:30 pm – 7:00 pm
April 15     Open to the Public          12:00 – 5:00 pm
April 16     Elementary Schools       9:30 am – 2:45 pm
Middle/High Schools    4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
April 17     Elementary Schools       8:30 am – 2:15 pm
April 18     Departure                           10:00 a.m.

Getting Ready to Get Underway

Alongside, Portsmouth, VA
Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tomorrow (Monday) we will be getting underway bound for Annapolis and a partnership of education and fund raising events with the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Today the crew continue to work on bending on sail and making sure running rigging (sheets, halyards, etc.) are properly rigged. Meanwhile, we Captains are attending to the myriad of organizational details such as making sure the 2012 dry-dock file is up to date and refining the actual voyage plan based on weather updates and crew progress on sailing gear set-up, with an eye to the actual arrival.  Arrival is set for Wednesday, April 11 at 5 PM, and is to be a show-off sail-into-port with cannons blaring occasion.

A very distracting aspect of this process of achieving ship readiness has been in the engineering department. One of the major maintenance events over the winter involved lifting the engines off their mounts, one at a time, and making repairs to the secondary oil containment system. Re-mounting the engines involves a lot of wiring to sensors supplying data to instruments for engine speed (RPM), temperature, pressure etc. With double instrumentation, one set in the engine room and a second set in a box on deck…and some 24 years of age…it became evident we had to replace the deck mounted instruments. Not such an easy thing to do because of wiring harness age realities. Only today, actually this morning, has the engineer Abigail Iverson been able to have success with the new instruments. For the last three days running she has spent the whole of each day tracing problems with the wiring for new tachometer, temperature and pressure gauges.

Imagine for a moment, hiring an outside professional technician to do what Abi has been doing. At whatever hourly rate of pay, the cost would be significant. Admittedly Abi is not an expert in the area of engine instrumentation. But she educated herself diligently via the internet and phone calls. This project actually began almost as soon as Abi came aboard at the end of February. First it was locating instruments to replace the old instruments, which needed to match senders on the engines so that the instruments could actually “understand” the information coming from the senders on the engines. Then came replacing some senders due to problems followed by actual connecting to new instruments. Then came figuring out why nothing…or almost nothing worked. Which meant identifying voltage coming from senders and following them up to the on-deck instrument box. Then figuring out why the instruments still did not read the data. Verify the compatibility of the senders with the instruments. Change out some senders yet again. This went on and on and on since late February, most intently over the last three days.

The final frontier of challenge related to “the ground”. Engine instruments depend on a “clean” ground. Two engines means a ground system for one engine does not mess up the other engine’s instruments. More than two decades of previous maintenance plus a conversion from 12 volts to 24 volts probably had a mischief making roll in the overall process of upgrading as well. Today it seems, Abi, through her attention to detail, diligent self study and tireless trouble shooting, has achieved the goal of functioning engine instruments on deck. WaHoo! Good on you Abi!

But I digress. I must return us two Captains responsibility of reassessing ship readiness to get underway tomorrow…probably just before daylight. There are only another 8 hours of daylight left today.

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