PRIDE DRIFTING BY FISHER’S ISLAND, CONNECTICUT IN ROUTE FOR THE BIG APPLE

Date: Sunday September 29, 2013

Location: approaching The Race, the entrance to Long Island Sound with light easterly winds

The conditions are quite benign. A slight swell exists coming from the Atlantic past Montauk Point at the east end of Long Island. Block Island lies offshore as well. Behind us is Point Judith. Shore ward are the beaches of Rhode Island and Fisher’s Island, Connecticut. The wind is behind PRIDE and quite light. But PRIDE slides along steadily. Soon to slide even better as 1st Mate Will McLean organizes the crew setting the gants’le and the stuns’le (square top-gallant-sail and studding-sail). The sky is bright with scattered cloud with lots of sunshine. The temperature is a comfortable – light shirt temperature. New York Harbor is 140 nautical miles ahead. The forecast indicates continued favorable light winds. Soon the ebbing water coming out of Long Island Sound will end and the flood will begin. PRIDE looks to be in great position to be swept through The Race and into Long Island Sound during this afternoon like so much flotsam. One of the prettiest flotsam sights one might imagine! A fine day ’tis!!

PRIDE is coming from four days sailing in Boston Harbor. The weather was constant and beautiful. Everyday was the same. Northeast breeze of around 10 knots. Cool temperatures. Dry. Perfect for PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II day-sails with students and adults associated with security and first-responders of Boston. PRIDE was sent to Boston to pay respects to all those (and their families) that did such a magnificent job dealing with the Boston Marathon Bombing and apprehension of those responsible. Pride of Baltimore, Inc. partnered with the education and non-profit arm of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to coordinate the salute to all the services that fulfilled important and critical roles during that emergency. Every morning’s student sail was educational about Baltimore Schooners and their role as Privateers during the 1812 War. Also shared was the creation of our nation’s National Anthem as result of the extensive activities of Baltimore Privateers in that war causing the British to come to Baltimore to burn the shipyards creating those schooners. The British failure to burn the shipyards through the effective defense of Baltimore by Fort McHenry and the shore militias gave American citizen Francis Scott Key the powerful image of the Nation’s flag flying as the British left and penned the poetry that is now our National Anthem The Star Spangled Banner. Captain Jamie Trost took time from his stint ashore between commanding PRIDE to lead the crew for those education sails. He was careful to recognize how New England back in that day had a different attitude about that war. Still, notwithstanding different attitudes about that war, there is little question that war was a turning point in citizen attitudes about our nation. We moved from merely being a group of people that had thrown off the English rulers that all had endeavored to leave behind by coming to North America to a group of people that saw ourselves as one nation of peoples calling ourselves Americans. A nation of peoples with significant gumption and capability as a member nation of the world. Every afternoon there were two sails with adults. While we shared a compressed version of the PRIDE story, those adult sails were mostly about enjoying a beautiful bit of American living history in the beautiful Boston Harbor.

Now, with gants’le and stuns’le set over full sail PRIDE is slipping through The Race soon to pick up a favorable flooding current. Another big city lies ahead. The new crew members replacing the crew that started aboard back in April are struggling to learn PRIDE running rigging and methods. This is a challenge considering there is no other schooner in America with the rigging complexity as is PRIDE’s and it takes several weeks to become fully proficient. The current benign and favorable weather provides great opportunity for training the new crew up and reminding the few ‘old hands’ what they have forgotten.

Jan C. Miles and the ever changing but willing crew of PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II MAKES FINAL RUN TOWARD BOSTON

Date: Monday, September 23, 2013

Location: passing by Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine

As a result of getting ahead of schedule on this transit from Erie, PA to Boston, it was possible to pull into Rockland, Maine last Thursday and spend Friday dealing with logistics (laundry, groceries, fuel) in preparation for a tightly scheduled visit in Boston. As a result of today’s cold front and attendant fresh northwest breeze, proceeded by fresh southerly breezes Saturday and Sunday, it was prudent to delay heading to Boston until today’s favorable and fresh NW winds.

What do you do with Pride of Baltimore II in Maine waters with the extra time and the essential work is completed?

You sail in company with some of the resident windjammers of Maine. You anchor for the night with them in secure coves sheltered from the fresh southerlies. You take advantage of an invitation to go alongside the town dock at Castine, Maine. Here, friends, instructors and students of Maine Maritime Academy, as well Pride of Baltimore II alumnae crew, can visit the ship. Academy alumnae members, some of whom are now officers aboard the Pride of Baltimore II, can visit their alma matter.

At first light this morning, Pride of Baltimore II‘s crew mustered to ready her for departure by shaking-loose some sail. We maneuvered Pride of Baltimore II clear of the dock and into Penobscot Bay and the fresh northwest breeze. Then she set sail and made way for Boston.

Boston is less than 140 nautical miles away now and at a rate of 6 – 9 knots, we ought to get to Boston near midday Tuesday in plenty of time for her first obligation Tuesday evening at 6 PM; a cocktail party for 180 guests spread across the deck and the adjacent dock. With foresail, staysail, jib and reefed square-topsail set in the fresh northwest breeze, we should arrive in plenty of time.

Penobscot Bay is the central sailing ground for Maine’s long enduring Windjammer Fleet. The windjammers serve a public interest for what might be described as “traditional country lodge” living on the water. Every day the traditional wooden windjammers sail. Every night they anchor or tie up in different locations amid the seemingly infinite choices of coves and harbors spread throughout the inshore waters of Maine east of Portland. The most central activity is from Rockland eastward to Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island. With the fortune of weather delay and the promise of pretty fast sailing toward Boston come Monday, Pride of Baltimore II‘s crew were able to enjoy a little bit of the wind jamming tradition of Maine.

The windjammer fleet is around two dozen or more vessels with crew that come from all over the country. Regularly Pride of Baltimore II has had crew that got started in Maine windjammers. Also Pride of Baltimore II crew members have gone to the windjammers. As a result there are lots of friendships that exist between current Pride of Baltimore II crew and crews of the windjammers, as well lots of Pride of Baltimore II crew alumnae that reside in Maine just because it is a traditional wooden sailing vessel center. We experienced a lot of friendly visitors to Pride of Baltimore II and also many curious visitors that have heard of her but not visited her. Evening times ashore or at anchor were spent meeting past shipmates or visiting between vessels.

From my perspective it is a high privilege to mingle with the extensively experienced sailing masters of the area. I expect between the windjammer masters and the sailing master instructors of Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, the assembly of highly experienced inshore and offshore sailing masters in this area is the densest in the country – if not the globe. I also expect some one-third of all the sailing masters in this area are highly experienced ocean and international voyaging sailing masters.

Captain Kip Files is owner of Victory Chimes – a wooden three-masted schooner that is over 100 years old and a relic of the Chesapeake Bay. Kip has extensive offshore experience as well years skippering of the large square rigger Elissa of Galveston, Texas.

Captain Chris Flansburg, an alumnae officer to Pride of Baltimore II, is one of the masters with Ocean Classrooms Foundation. He sails that foundation’s schooners along the East Coast of North America between Nova Scotia and the Caribbean, and he instructs high school students.

Captain Andy Chase is a big commercial ship master. He has longtime been a nationally and internationally recognized instructor/author at Maine Maritime Academy; he has extensive international sailing experience. One of his voyages in a schooner was to Greenland.

Captain Dan Parrott is an alumnae crew of both the Pride of Baltimore, as well one of the past Skippers of the 2nd Pride of Baltimore. He too is a nationally and internationally recognized instructor/author at Maine Maritime Academy.

Captain Steve Tarrent is a part-time instructor at Maine Maritime Academy when he is not Chief Mate of the large four mast high-end passenger square-rigger, Sea Cloud. She is located in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. Previously he was a Captain for Sea Education Association – a university level ocean and maritime sciences semester program with two schooners, one in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific.

A very august group wouldn’t you say? What a privilege to be welcomed by such as these!

Jan C. Miles and the Boston bound crew of Pride of Baltimore II

PRIDE MOTORS FOR ROCKLAND, MAINE…

Date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Location: Rounding Cape Sable, western end of Nova Scotia

The northerly remained is blowing much longer than all reports or expectations surmised. As a result PRIDE was able to sail almost the full length of the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, thus conserving enough fuel for me to feel free to use with the new light and contrary head winds of today. We can round Cape Sable and head out across the Gulf of Maine for Rockland, Maine, located on the western shores of Penobscot Bay, home to the Maine Windjammer Fleet.

As things stand now we should arrive Rockland tomorrow (Thursday) evening. The distance to Boston is 150 miles, or basically 1-2 days of 
travel depending on the weather. Long range forecasting hints of west winds starting Sunday. Maybe even another cold front with its characteristic northwest winds soon thereafter? Both directions are usable for getting to Boston. However, the northwest wind is much more usable.

So, the plan is in place. Friday: Get some fresh produce and some maintenance done. Saturday: get underway again with some of the Windjammer Fleet. 
Sunday: we head out for Boston. The time spent in Rockland will offer PRIDE’s crew a chance to see and maybe meet crews of the Windjammer Fleet. Sailing with them on the weekend will be a great scene as well. Then it will be “so long”
as PRIDE heads on her way again.

I almost forgot – we had helicopters flying around us as we sailed past
Halifax. PRIDE was sailing under full sail, including her top-gallant-sail (the small second square sail above the big one.) The sun was setting and the full moon was rising under a clear and cloudless sky. PRIDE was no doubt a pretty picture; indeed it was a pretty picture for us aboard. Observing the helicopters, I was left wondering if there was filming going on and if yes, where would those images end up. One helicopter that hung around for several passes was painted grey hence seemed to be military. If they got images, where would they end up? Would they be personal use only? It would be pretty interesting
to see what they captured.

Jan C. Miles and the crew of the northerly wind reaching PRIDE OF BALTIMORE 
II

WESTWARD BOUND ALONG NOVA SCOTIA WITH A NICELY TIMED AND RARE NORTHERLY BREEZE

Location: Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia

Date: Tuesday Morning September 17, 2013

PRIDE is making 9-10 knots with a fresh 20-knot northerly breeze pressing a moderate amount of set sail. Northerly winds are rare, in my experience, along the Atlantic shores of Nova Scotia. Northwest or northeast winds are more common than northerlies. With a north wind PRIDE is not sheeted in tight nor beating into a head sea. Rather she is sailing comfortably and fast with a beam to quartering sea with started (eased) sheets of merely the sails forward of the mainmast. I.E. PRIDE is a square-topsail sloop just now – a
pretty fast one.

The timing of this breeze is considerably fortunate. PRIDE is down to 350 gallons of fuel and 400+ nautical miles remaining to Boston. The best normal motoring fuel economy for PRIDE is 0.8 gallons per mile. It would seem we are in good shape for making Boston even if the wind were light-to-moderate strength against us. Wind along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Shores is often from the westward quadrant (SW to W to NW). So, to have a northerly is hugely fortunate at this time. It is helping to conserve fuel and also to bank extra time on this voyage to Boston from Erie.

PRIDE was hugely helped in this goal of conserving fuel and gaining extra
time by finding a fresh and favorable breeze for nearly the whole length of her crossing of The Gulf of St. Lawrence. That sail was the first long duration sail we have had this trip from Erie to Boston. The sail started up at the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula Sunday evening and went southward the length of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to just south of the eastern tip of 
Prince Edward Island by Monday afternoon; that’s about 18 hours of pretty fast sailing for some 165 miles. The close reaching breeze from SW-W of 
15-20 knots had PRIDE sailing at steady 8 knots and heeling at 15 degrees and bouncing over a short sea. Newly aboard cook Kit Cusick got seasick and newly aboard Deckhand Rebecca Prasher stood in for him. She did a great job!

Going westward along Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore fast under this northerly breeze adds hopeful possibilities to the logistics of this part of the voyage to Boston. If enough time is saved up with fast sailing and no fuel consumed, it might be practical to consider a diversion into the American Windjammer waters of Maine. Those schooners are beautiful and some are over 100 years old while still making a living for their owner. Over the years crew from those vessels have come to sail aboard PRIDE, as well past PRIDE 
crew have gone to sail aboard the Maine Windjammers. If time allows and it does not take a bunch of extra fuel to achieve, a diversion to Maine could be fun, don’t you think?

The key to this diversion to Maine waters is the combination of future wind and PRIDE’s fuel reserves. We could force the diversion by consuming fuel but that could be a cost consequence to the company; we would be purchasing extra fuel just to arrive in Boston as scheduled next Tuesday as a result of diverting to Maine using fuel. We could sail the whole way to Maine – that would be ideal. But if the wind goes light we could loose the extra time
through sailing slow and not motoring toward the diversion by only using the remaining fuel to get toward Boston rather than toward Maine. We are not due to arrive in Boston until a week from today, and from where PRIDE is now there are 420 nautical miles remaining without a diversion. Looking at the long range forecast it seems quite possible we would be able to sail the rest of 
the way to Boston without using the engines and still arrive in a timely fashion. With more than 300 gallons remaining for this trip to Boston, it also seems we are in good position to arrive on time even should there be some contrary winds hence likely use of the engines. So the questions are these: Can we divert to Maine without consuming additional fuel that is properly slated to get us to Boston? Can we divert without using the remaining fuel and arrive Maine in enough time to actually enjoy the diversion, saving the fuel for the last dash to Boston from Maine? Light winds during the diversion could result in all of the saved up time being
used to sail to Maine only to have to depart right away to keep our date 
with Boston.

Is your brain twisted into a knot yet? This brain teaser is just one of an unlimited number of brain teasers for long-distance-voyaging, traditional-sailing vessel captains – especially in our 21st Century world of keeping 
promises made to arrive at a certain time at a certain place using a traditional sailing vessel as much as possible, just as it was originally conceived to be used back several centuries ago.

 

Jan C. Miles and PRIDE’s voyaging crew.

WEATHERBOUND

DATE : Saturday September 14, 2013

LOCATION : MATANE, QUEBEC, CANADA

PRIDE is anchored awaiting a change in wind direction. We arrived last night at 8 PM in a virtual calm. Not a breath of wind. But the Canadian marine weather forecasters were forecasting northeast winds up to 30 knots starting around midnight. Northeast is the exact direction we need to go for another 200 nautical miles before we turn south around the Gaspe Peninsula. Trying to go against 20-30 knots is not practical at all…so I took advantage of a lee to anchor in at Matane. That harbor has a massive breakwater built out from shore some distance to provide an all weather harbor for a passenger ferry service from the southern shore to the northern shore of the St. Lawrence lower river area.

Going to an anchorage for shelter behind that harbor breakwater from forecast strong winds when there is no actual wind blowing left me with a funny feeling of missing something, considering there was supposed to be some wind from the west going north before the stronger northeast winds. What if the forecasters were wrong? We would lose time and maybe run into another contrary wind situation that might have been avoided had we kept going. No worries however. The first vestiges of the forecast wind arrived with an east-northeast puff of 20 knots around 10 PM. All night long the northeast to east-northeast wind increased slowly to puffs of 30 knots around 6-7 AM. Since 8 AM there has been some moderation to 25 knots.

Overall, a good decision was made by believing the weather forecasters. There were no other locations to take shelter at past Matane. Had we bulled our way past, we would likely have turned around and comeback. So, no fuel was wasted and crew energy was preserved. Not to mention no unnecessary wear and tear to the ship. It looks like we could remain here till tomorrow (Sunday). All depends on what the wind does. There is no shelter from north-northwest-west winds at this anchorage. We would not want to stay anyway with such winds because those winds can be used to proceed on our way toward the northeast.

PRIDE departed her last formal summer of 2013 tall ship festival port of Erie, PA last Monday. Captain Jamie Trost was happy to be relieved of command into the care of his very proud family from Erie, PA. He and the crew did a magnificent job of showing PRIDE at her best during the commemoration of the American’s successful Battle of Lake Erie 200 years ago and then entering the port of Erie in grand style along with the rest of the Tall Ships Fleet for the last port event of the Tall Ships America Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge port series of 2013. The Trost family was aboard for the Lake Erie Battle commemoration and the sail into Erie so saw firsthand their son’s considerable skill at not only sailing but being a leader to the crew and a knowledgeable spokesperson for Maryland’s World Renowned PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II.

To depart the Great Lakes PRIDE reversed her route into them made last June. First required was the transit from Erie to the Welland Canal across the eastern half of Lake Erie. Some of that transit was under sail, a good training opportunity for half of the crew brand new to the ship as of Erie. Yeah…we lost almost half of this year’s crew all at once in Erie. While we captains try to arrange for the annual August/September period of crew changes to occur in a staggered fashion, this year that did not work out…hence…as we departed Erie we had nearly half new crew aboard. Setting all kinds of sail with a favorable wind was a quick first introduction for all hands to get into the swing of things and still have PRIDE advance without delay on her way toward the Atlantic and destination port of Boston.

The Welland Canal is a lock system PRIDE and I have been through more than a dozen times over more than the last two decades. In fact since 1981 with the first PRIDE and a third schooner of a size between the two PRIDE’s I have been through the Welland Canal 18 times. But now we must carry a pilot due to Canadian Regulation changes that occurred only 2 years ago. The new regulations “capture” smaller vessels than before in an effort to require pilots aboard large uncertified motor yachts. But the new regulations have also captured traditional sailing vessels like PRIDE that are not yachts, but are certified vessels, run by not-for-profit companies, with licensed crews, and a history of numerous safe passages through the Welland without pilots. There is no provision in the regulations to consider types of vessels and services they are providing or their certification or crew credentials. PRIDE has more than a combined 50 feet of overhanging rigging bow & stern that a motoryacht does not have. This makes her exceed the newly established maximum length. If one were to put a motor yacht of PRIDE’s hull length through the Welland, no pilot would be required. But PRIDE requires a pilot. There is no question the extra pilot fees are a significant burden to a not-for-profit.

After a quick late evening transit of the Welland Canal PRIDE cleared into the western end of Lake Ontario and headed eastward for the top of the St. Lawrence River at the far eastern end of Lake Ontario. More sailing was made in Lake Ontario so more crew training was accomplished. Some uncommon training was accomplished as well due to the threat of rain/wind squalls. Sail handling to reduce sail in the dark of night with squalls bearing down added to the list of things PRIDE’s crew must be adept at handling.

The St. Lawrence River is a motoring experience. Fortunately we had the common west-southwest wind coming up from astern so we were able to use the square topsail to help drive PRIDE down the river as it flows toward the northeast. This wind assist, along with the downstream river flow, helps to stretch PRIDE’s fuel range. To assist with this stretching we were also using only one engine. PRIDE can maneuver rather well with only one engine and doing so can increase her fuel range. It is my hope that we can get around Canada without having to stop. Being able to get around without stopping will avoid the time taken to get Customs clearance into and out of whatever Canadian port we go into as well back into the United States. That time saved can be used for other things like sailing.

We had to take another pilot between the American Snell Lock and Montreal Harbor because of the same Canadian regulation changes that were applied to the Welland Canal. PRIDE has made the transit of the “lower” Seaway Locks as many times as she has the Welland Canal. So there is no real need to have a pilot aboard. But there is a total cost of some $18,000 for the services of a pilot aboard PRIDE.

Once clear of the Seaway Lock System and into the free flowing portion of the St. Lawrence River stretching from Montreal to the Atlantic past Quebec City PRIDE made her way without pilot. This is an interesting story as well. From my first trip into the Lakes with the first PRIDE back in 1981 till 1999 there were no pilot requirements between a place called Escoumins, Quebec and Montreal, a distance of some 260 nautical miles. From 1981 to 1999 I took three different vessels of nearly equal size as PRIDE into and out of the Great Lakes eight different years without a pilot. In 1999 the rules changed and we had to have a pilot between Escoumins and Montreal. This year there was a decision made to recognize that sailing vessels like PRIDE did not need to have a pilot between Escoumins and Montreal because the extended rigging beyond the hull was not deemed representative of the actual length of the ship.

There is an overall irony that two different neighboring pilot zones going through changes of policy at the same time result’s in a net transfer of financial burden paid by PRIDE from one association to the other as a result of reversed philosophies. Notwithstanding the above irony all our pilots but one or two over the years were great individuals and consummate professionals. They did not know much about a sailing ship but they learned that the crew of PRIDE were serious and professional. I can recall some great conversations with pilots about their country and about their business. And while it is true that a pilot aboard can assume the navigation of PRIDE, they cannot assume the actual ship handling. A pilot assuming the navigation…or properly speaking…the piloting of the vessel…leaves the master free to relax a small bit. It is also nice knowing that missing a navigation mark or colliding with another vessel is unlikely and that all vessel traffic service communications by radio will be handled with efficiency. One of the minor downsides of a pilot aboard is the reduced experiences being accumulated by the watch leaders.

Well, here we are at anchor at Matane awaiting a favorable weather change on day six of a fifteen day transit to Boston. We have traveled 719 nautical miles so far and we have used 420 gallons of fuel out of a total of 870 gallons. We have 906 nautical miles to go. If we are able to depart tomorrow, we will have 9 days to make the distance. Normally for such a distance we would have 8 days. Unlike these last 719 miles the next 906 miles requires negotiating the prevailing westerlies that flow from Boston toward the east along the southern side Nova Scotia. If that contrary flow is in full force when we get to Cape Canso at the east end of Nova Scotia we will be forced to wait again for a different more usable wind pattern for the run westward along Nova Scotia and on to Boston. At least there are more open water areas ahead than the tight rivers and canals we have been through thus far. Such openness could provide more than one way to use a given breeze to the good of getting along our way.

Meanwhile as we lay at anchor the crew are getting various maintenance chores and safety check items done. So, no vessel care time goes to waste, tied to the dock, underway or at anchor.

Signed,

Jan C. Miles

And the weather bound crew of PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II

“PRIDE” RUNS DEEP ON ERIE

12 September 2013

Pride of Baltimore II is past Montreal and well on her way back to sea with Captain Miles in command and five new crew members. Four days after Pride II departed her last Great Lakes Festival here in Erie, PA, I’m still in town catching up on social, familial, and media obligations. After every rotation aboard, it typically takes an off-going Captain a few days to catch their breath and get their shore bearings. After my last week on Pride II this hitch, it may be weeks before I fully decompress.

Starting with the success and camaraderie of our last Ontario Port in Windsor, Pride II made an overnight departure to participate in the extremely well attended and exciting re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie on Monday, cast off the next evening to go screaming down the Lake for a Wednesday arrival in Erie, then fell into the majestic lineup for the Tall Ships Erie Parade of Sail on Thursday, and finally secured alongside the Erie Maritime Museum to enthrall 9,000 visitors over the weekend. By any measure, this is a weighty itinerary. For a native of Erie who grew up mesmerized by the legacy of Perry’s Victory this passage was more charged with meaning than any of the others I’ve made in my three decades of sailing this southern-most, shallowest Great Lake.

BATTLE!

Much has been written about the battle re-enactment, but I think I’m the first to report that when Pride II hoisted the 42 x 30 foot Fort McHenry Ensign, every spectator within sight raised a heart warming cheer. And while Pride II played a strong supporting role as the US Brig Caledonian in the re-enactment, I was lucky enough to have my wife and my parents on deck. Having joined the ship with other family friends as guest crew in Windsor, my folks also made the sub 19-hour passage from Put-In-Bay to Erie, and when the Presque Isle peninsula that defines Erie Harbor hove into sight Wednesday morning, my father was at the helm.

Arriving a day early to Erie, we anchored in Presque Isle Bay, ferried my parents and their friends ashore for some rest, and settled in for one last breezy evening as a crew before the festival’s hectic schedule and departures for Chief Mate Jill Hughes, Apprentice Watch Officer Meredith McKinnon, Engineer Seth Page, and Deckhand Andrew Elmaleh. But Wednesday night is also race night in Erie, and soon the churning bay was alive with two-dozen yachts, all charging along in 25 knots of breeze. A thousand times a summer I’m asked, “How did you get started doing this?” so I called the crew up to deck, and told them the answer was right there in the hard sailing bunch beyond the rail. My uncle’s boat, the very boat I’d learned to race on, passed close aboard, and I got the crew chanting her name as she passed, “KE-YA, KE-YA, KE-YA!”

Thursday’s Parade of Sail capped the week. Weighing anchor in the morning, we secured along side Erie’s Dobbins Landing and loaded our charter passengers – every one of them family or friends close enough to be blood. With a perfect northerly and warm sunshine, we sailed the west toward the head of the bay, tacked back east and continued out the channel to the Parade’s muster point. On our return trip, the channel piers teemed with excited onlookers. It’s magic enough to sail into an excited port aboard a Tall Ship, more so to have the fortune of being Captain of one. But to command such an excellent ship as Pride II into my home waters, with my whole family aboard, compares only on a stratospheric scale – my family, our homeport, my favorite ship, unreal!

1812 Fleet in Erie

Alongside, the festival began in earnest with 2041 students from Erie swarming the ship Friday morning, and enthusiasm flowed through the weekend. Early afternoon on Saturday, one particularly keen young man in the line to board started asking informed questions about the ship – what made her a schooner, were the masts raked for a special reason? I talked to him for a while, happy to entertain his intense focus on sailing. As I started to leave, he asked if I would autograph the Tall Ships Erie program he proudly carried. Of course I did, and before I did I asked first for his name, then his age. Camden, he said, and 13. It stopped me cold.

When the “new” Brig Niagara was launched in Erie 25 years ago this week, I was 13. My father volunteered to coordinate the media for the launching and I got to be there as the ship touched Presque Isle Bay for the first time. Six months later, Pride II visited Erie for the first time, and my mother took me down to the same dock for a visit. (I didn’t get a chance to meet him that day, but Captain Miles was in command, and the same age I am now.) Undoubtedly, these two magnificent ships freshened the breezes of my already near obsession for sailing, set me outbound on my career as a sailor, and ultimately shaped the entire course of my life.

 

“Sure, Camden. I’ll sign your program,” I said. “And let me tell you a story – you’ll be a Captain someday.”

 

 

 

 

All Best,

Captain Jamie Trost