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A Tale of Two Captains

March 9, 2012
PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II alongside her Winter Berth at Clinton Street
Winter cover removed; Sparlandia Dismantled

This time of year, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is in her transformation phase; the period of time where she is awakened from her winter cocoon by the Spring crew who anxiously and eagerly look to put her back together so they can get on with their favorite task – sailing. 

As we enter this period during which PRIDE II converts from “stored” for the winter to her fully functional sailing beauty what are her two Captains thinking about and doing?

Starting on the day the sailing crew come aboard, some whom sailed her before and many that have not, must be oriented/reoriented as to how to: 1) live aboard PRIDE II; 2) how to keep her safe while they live aboard; 3) start the work of reloading the equipment/tools/supplies she needs, all of which were taken off for the winter; and 4) picking up from the Winter Maintenance Crew the remaining projects that did not get completed. At the same time both Captains remain involved with the rest of the staff in running the organization. This dual responsibility comes from my assuming the role of Acting Executive Director and Captain Jamie Trost taking on some of the office centric requirements, such as conversations with Ports that want PRIDE II to visit and the adjustment to contracts required to establish the details of those conversations.

Traditionally both Captains of PRIDE have always worked together during the times PRIDE is at home and not sailing. This dual management, or co-management, is very demanding on both Captains and fills all the day, seven days a week, for at least the seven weeks involved in a typical spring conversion from winter storage to a fully sailable state. The reason for this strategy is “knowledge”. To a Master alone aboard sailing during the season, there is nothing worse than discovering a problem with the ship that stems directly from a decision made by the other Captain during the spring crew training, rig-up and dry-docking phase. Naturally there are always going to be differences between Captains. Working together(!) means those differences converge/merge into mutually agreed upon resolutions, as well as mutually cognizant “knowledge” for the background to any problem that develops out of work or decisions made during intense re-commissioning/maintenance periods.

Now, with both Captains filling non-maritime specific administrative responsibilities coupled with the spring fit-out period of 7 weeks (7 days/week, with days starting at 8 am and ending sometime between 5 pm and 8 pm, the latter when also fitting in the needed history lessons for the crew), the minds of the Captains are full of things that do not have anything to do with crew training, vessel maintenance, scheduling recertification inspections, verifying spares are being obtained and the actual re-rigging of the ship. Yeah, we Captains have a lot to think about…and we share closely together what those thoughts are.

With close collaboration between the Captains as well frequent networking with the Staff we believe we have a system that brings out the best of the ship, her crew, as well what comes from the conscientious work by the Staff. But it requires periods of time when both Captains are unable to relieve each other and give each other time off as is done in the course of the sailing season.  During the season only one Captain is in charge of the ship so the other Captain has the opportunity for some time off and to live a more typical work week like that of the Staff.

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