LUNENBURG LAYOVER AND ON TOWARDS THE NORTH POLE

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Pos: 45 45.6’N x 061 35.0’W
Wx: SE F 4, Seas 1′
Pride of Baltimore II Sailing under Fore Tops’l, T’gallant, Stuns’l,
Stays’l, Jib and Jib Tops’l at 6 knots

Pride of Baltimore II is sailing comfortably along in the chilly waters of St. Georges Bay, Nova Scotia, just between the mainland and picturesque Cape Breton Island. It’s been a busy couple of days for the crew since we ended
our weekend layover in Lunenburg Harbor on Monday afternoon. Sailing out from the Fisheries Museum, we were able to wave hello to our “sister” privateer Lynx just in to clear customs.

I’d read about the lump conditions Lynx had crossed the Gulf of Maine in, and was hoping things would be settled down for us. But no such luck. Once Pride II cleared Cross Island at the east end of Lunenburg Bay, the breeze
faded and the leftover southerly and southwesterly swell had us churning chaotically. Before we were able to get sail in and start motoring to gain control, we experienced what will long be remembered as the Flying Chowder Incident, and a few long hours of associated galley clean up.

Without much breeze to redirect it, the lumpy sea followed us for about 18 hours, until a fresh northwest wind filled in and soon had Pride II up to nine knots. Being northwest, however, it meant quite a bit of tacking up
Chedabucto Bay after rounding Cape Canso, Nova Scotia’s easternmost point. Inside the bay, the sea was flat, the breeze fairly steady and the scenery stunning as we beat our way northwards to anchor in Inhabitants Bay for the night.

Now, after a quick motor to the control lock that separates the waters of Chedabucto and St. Georges Bays, Pride II is bound onward through the Northumberland Straights toward Miramichi. Around this time yesterday, we passed 45 degrees North Latitude, half way between the Equator and the North Pole. Last night’s frosty temperatures sure reminded us of that.

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and Northbound crew of Pride of Baltimore II

ANY PORT, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S THE BEST PORT

25 May 2013

Pride of Baltimore II

Pos: Alongside the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Wx: SSW F 4, Rain, Fog – Classic Lunenburg

Everyone knows the sailors adage “any port in a storm,” meaning that when it’s bad out there, any detestable little hiding hole is preferable to the rocking, rolling, gut-wrenching, bone rattling threats of the open ocean. Those familiar with Nova Scotia also know that Lunenburg is no place of last resort, but instead an idyllic – perhaps fabled, maybe even mythic – haven of traditional maritime culture. So it doesn’t take a storm lure a ship toward the wooden wharves and bright painted buildings of Lunenburg Harbor. In fact it might even take something as powerful as a storm to keep a ship, and her crew, away.

Pride of Baltimore II was having a passage splendid enough to make us consider sailing straight past Lunenburg and on to Cape Canso as we made our way to Miramichi. Clearing the Delaware Bay entrance at midnight on Tuesday, we set four lowers, the foretops’l and jibtops’l and started making over eight knots. At daybreak, the gaff tops’l, t’gallant and stuns’l had her over ten for most of the next 60 hours. With south to southwest winds of 15-25 knots, we had only one maneuver between Cape May and Cape Sable, and were looking at making Cape Canso in 80 hours.

The forecast, while not a storm, was making that plan a stretch – Southerly winds 25-35 knots carrying a 5-6 meter (16-19 foot) sea with them. Choosing between experiencing a beam sea roughly four times Pride II’s freeboard, and the jagged teeth of Nova Scotia’s rocky shore under our lee, or a weekend snug in one of the world’s great ports took about half a boat length to decide.

All told, Pride II was 69 hours exactly from Cape May to taking in sail off the Fisheries Museum. Total distance on the rhumb line 615nm, 685nm including the pair of maneuvers it took to use the south to southwest wind. Depending on which number you use, that’s an average speed of 8.9 or 9.5 knots. Either way, it was one fast passage. In fact, Second Mate Will McLean’s book of sailing ship records includes a similar run made in 1899 by the Schooner William L. Elkins from New York to Halifax – a distance of 599 nm – in the same 69 hours, and calls it “one of the fastest on record.”

 

The book doesn’t include a specific example of Cape May to Lunenburg, but this run – its near constant weather and incredible pace – is definitely one for our record books.

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and the Speed Demon Crew of Pride of Baltimore II

 

Shifting Gears, the Nautical Way

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pos: 39 24.2’N x 072 44.6’W

Wx: SW F 4, Seas 3-5′

Pride of Baltimore II Sailing under All Plain Sail, Plus T’gallant and Stuns’l at 8-9 knots

Pride of Baltimore II is zigzagging her way toward the Canadian Maritimes under nearly all her canvas on a gorgeous spring day. We can’t quite make a bee line of our 725 nautical mile course from Cape May, New Jersey to Cape Canso, Nova Scotia because the wind is blowing nearly exactly in that direction. And while they certainly can’t sail straight into the wind, most sailing ships don’t do very well sailing dead downwind either. And Pride II, with her extremely raked masts enticing the gaffs to swing back toward the center of the ship, has an even tougher time sailing “deep” wind angles than most ships.

So maneuvering we go. It’s good practice for the crew, many of whom are in their first days of sailing Pride II offshore. After setting sail at the  mouth of the Delaware Bay this morning at 0024, we made our way nearly due east for 12 hours, and then turned north by wareing ship. Modern sailors will know this as gybing, but technically the sails gybe from one side of the ship to the other while the ship herself wares, or turns her stern through the wind and changes the side of the ship the wind is coming from.  Aboard Pride II it’s a complex process that has the crew constantly and methodically moving from one step to the next.

After a spring that included a over a dozen trips between Maryland Ports,  thirty-one installments of Pride, Inc.’s new education program, and eighteen  day sails, this crew is certainly accustomed to moving constantly and  methodically. With a full day of logistics on Monday and the hustle and bustle of departure yesterday, the frantic pace of spring has switched over to the longer arch of Pride II’s voyaging summer. The distances between the ports are exponentially longer, the steady routine of sailing a demanding ship is setting in. Soon the ritual of setting up for thousands of eager visitors will become second nature. The crew will catch on fast – they’re sharp, that’s why we hired them. But the ship already knows. After all, she’s been at this for a quarter century now.

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and the “zigging and zagging” crew of Pride of Baltimore II