Bermuda Voyage Recap

PRIDE II in St. George's Courtesy of Kate Simmons

Photo: Pride of Baltimore II  in St. George’s Harbor, courtesy of Kate Simmons.

Date: Friday, June 11, 2021
Location: Alongside Pennos Warf, St. George’s, Bermuda

Pride of Baltimore II departed Baltimore on June 4 bound for Bermuda & arrived safely on June 10. This Captain’s Log is a collection of updates sent from the ship during the voyage.

Log 1
Date: Saturday, June 5, 2021
Time: 2230
Position: 32°36.8 N x 75°05.4 W
35 nautical miles east of Currituck Beach Light, Virginia.

Since 7 PM Friday Pride had been motoring with all sail struck and stowed. All hands split into three watches. Each watch took 4-hour turns managing Pride down the remaining length of the Chesapeake Bay from near the leaning-over lighthouse of Sharps Island at the mouth of the Choptank River. Pride had company. The fleet of sail racing yachts headed from Annapolis to Newport was making its way down the bay at the same time. The wind was at times light and fickle. At times light and contrary. At times favorable and fresh. But after a full Friday afternoon of the crew aboard Pride tacking nearly a dozen times and a forecast of changeable wind largely from ahead breezes sail was struck and everyone could take the night to recover from the acutely physical effort of those tacks. The pulling on sheets and braces of three headsails, two square yards and the loose footed foresail every twenty minutes to a half hour throughout the afternoon was unrealistic to continue on through the coming night. Particularly as Pride was not actually in a race. Those much more modern than Pride racing vessels made very few tacks and most had only one headsail to pass from side to side. Two additional realities helped me give the crew relief for the night from all the sail handling. A forecast of dead calm at the bottom of the bay most of Saturday and a 600 plus nautical miles ocean passage to make after getting out of the Chesapeake Bay. Now Pride is on her way under sail making 8+ knots with 10-11 knots of beam reach wind under full sail (main, main gaff topsail, fore topsail & topgallant, and three headsails. She has company. Somewhere nearby is Ice Bear, a modern sloop (Swan 59) providing adult adventure cruising under the organizing of 59°-North. Both vessels were set to participate in last year’s Annapolis to Bermuda Race. A multi-decade venerable race canceled at the last moment due to COVID. This year, an off-year of the every two year A2B race, Pride and Ice Bear are sailing in company towards Bermuda, as a memorial to last year’s missed competition. Some friendly competition is on. Also some celestial navigation competition. Now it begins.

Log 2
Date: Sunday, June 6, 2021
Position: 35°47 N x 73°24 W

Started motoring-sailing around 8 AM this morning. At the end of good sailing since 7 PM yesterday. Finally had to strike square-sails and outer two jibs at midday. Being there is not a ripple of wind on the water. Motoring along puts the square-sails aback and slows the motoring. Maybe a new wind overnight. Maybe not till sometime tomorrow

Log 3
Date: Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Time: 0800 EDT
Position: 33°47.6 N x 69°12.8 W
Conditions: SW 10 knots, scattered rain clouds, 3-foot swell from SE

At 1600 hours yesterday Pride’s crew had experienced the first time sailing uninterruptedly for 24 hours. Happily sailing continued overnight last night and on this morning. Weather forecasting indicates we could sail through most of today before we experience the forecast of truly light winds.

The wind for this leg from near the Virginia beaches south of Cape Henry has been somewhat fickle. Saturday night was a good, relatively smooth and speedy sail of around 8 knots. All sail including the square top-gallant. Sunday around 0900 the wind fell to near nothing when Pride reached the main part of the Gulf Stream. Smooth seas and no wind at all. Had to strike square-sails and headsails as they were blocking the breeze made by motoring. Late afternoon Sunday, having crossed the stream, we went sailing again with the return of the southerly-southwest breeze of around 5-10 knots. We have been able to sail continuously since at boat speeds of 4-6 knots. If we can continue all day today, we will eventually accumulate 48 hours of continuous sailing.

Life on board is at a constant 5-10 degrees of heel. Pride heaves and jerks with the impact of 3 foot swells from the southeast. No one aboard is able to stand and walk without jerking around compensating with quickly shifting feet. For those of us less nimble, we have arms out to grab or brace as we move around. Since the rise of water temperature to near 80 degrees Fahrenheit with the Gulf Stream and on toward Bermuda, plus a significant rise in humidity, life down below is a swelter. Notwithstanding, ship’s cook, Ian Bova, has been keeping all aboard well fed. And there be plenty of snacks to reach for if one goes to the designated snack locker. But there is no such thing as a cool drink. No ice to be had. So the coolest a drink can be is around 80 degrees. But anyone can have as much hot drink as one wants.

Log 4
Date: Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Time: 0800 EDT
Position: 32°59.6 N x 66° 37.3 W
Conditions: Wind Light & Variable. Glassy smooth sea. Slight swell.

Started motoring around 2200 hours EDT yesterday. Forecasts of the last several days have indicated sometime late Tuesday winds would go light & variable near Bermuda. And so the wind did go light & variable last night. But at least we managed to accumulate 54 hours of continuous sailing. This morning we are 120 nautical miles from entering St George’s Harbor, Bermuda. At a moderate engine speed of 1,200 RPM we are making around 5.5 knots. So, an early morning arrival tomorrow seems a realistic plan.

Arrival Bermuda will be more than motoring in and dropping the anchor. Some distance away from Bermuda we are required to communicate via VHF marine radio with Bermuda Radio. That call will determine Pride’s crew COVID-free status. Assuming we satisfy the authorities we will be given permission to continue proceeding to St George’s Harbor. Once there Bermuda Customs Clearance procedures will be performed. This will include a COVID test of all aboard followed by remaining aboard until those tests prove everyone is free of the virus.

During this isolation period we will clean Pride and organize for the big changeover that will occur Friday. Guest crew voyagers will debark and new guest crew voyagers for the return sail will embark. Between these movements, the bunks for guest crew will be changed over. Once the change over is complete, customs clearance formalities from Bermuda will be made ahead of the planned Saturday departure. Weather permitting.

Log 5
Date: Thursday, June 10, 2021
Time: 0700 EDT/0800 local time

Pride II has arrived in St. George’s Harbor & alongside the dock awaiting customs and covid testing.

Maryland Day Weekend Annapolis Visit & Season Debut

PRIDE II in Annapolis

Photo: Pride II in Annapolis, courtesy of John Lee

Date: Sunday, March 21, 2021

Location: Annapolis, Maryland

Activity: Maryland Day Commemoration Weekend

The weekend is nearly cloudless and windless due to a strong and stable high-pressure air mass overhead, escorted in by a wet and windy gale last Thursday and Friday.

Pride of Baltimore II transited down to Annapolis yesterday. A day with light wind from the north. Fortunate for the first setting of sail for this year by the newly formed crew that have been up-rigging since early February. The first setting of sail is always an experience of numerous discoveries that must get adjusted to attain a “proper fit” for the rest of the season. Thus, a light wind day is perfect for the first sail setting.

Maryland commemorates its forming every year on March 25. In recent years, Four Rivers Heritage Area has been organizing a weekend-long Maryland Day commemoration event. This year, the weekend chosen precedes Maryland Day. With the worldwide pandemic, many participants have created virtual programming for the event. Pride of Baltimore II is able to be a more tangible participant through being seen directly while moored in Annapolis. However, she is not open to deck visitors. With a shoreside War of 1812 history display set up alongside, there is a lot of information to read while also admiring the ship close up.

From Annapolis City Dock about one hundred feet away, one is able to get a very nice profile view of the port side of the ship. From about a half-mile away, at the top of Main Street near Church Circle, one is able to admire Pride’s clearly tall and square topsail schooner rig complete with tightly furled, very white sails. And also view the Chesapeake Bay beyond, all the way to Kent Island’s western shore on the far eastern side of the bay.

Yesterday’s transit from Baltimore and arrival was captured on film by a number of folks, starting with dawn’s early light near Fort McHenry. With all sail finally set, Pride sailed right into Annapolis Harbor just before noon, firing cannon salutes as the crew took in sail. Many folks were on shore to observe as well as hear Pride’s arrival. All afternoon after secure to the dock, as the crew tidied up the ship and set up the shoreside history display, folks walked up and asked questions or gave good cheer to Pride’s presence.

Pride, Inc.’s relatively new social media tradition of Coffee with the Captain every Saturday at 9 AM local time was maintained even while Pride was moving down the bay toward Annapolis. After providing a “what has been happening aboard for the week” update to the tuned-in audience, we introduced National Park Ranger Kate Marks Hardy as the featured guest. Ranger Kate described the new partnership between the National Park Service Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Pride of Baltimore, Inc., providing the ship as the roving ambassador to that trail. As the sailing ambassador for the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, Pride will be visiting Chesapeake Bay ports and partnering with local heritage areas for weekend events. The ports Pride is able to visit in addition to Baltimore and Annapolis are in no particular order, St. Mary’s City, Solomons, Cambridge, St. Michael’s, Chestertown, Georgetown (on the Sassafras River), and Havre de Grace. Visits to these ports will be spread out over the length of this year’s sailing season.

The voyages to and away from these ports will also present opportunities for guest crew to join Pride’s crew and assist with sailing Pride. In addition, we expect there to be guest crew opportunities to sail and work with the crew to Bermuda and to New England.

There is a curious beneficial twist with the pandemic and port visits without public deck tours. The crew are able to do ship maintenance and the public are able to observe the care that is given to Pride. Without a pandemic, the public would be aboard and the crew would not be doing maintenance. With public aboard, the crew would be sharing stories of what their lives are like sailing Pride, as well facts about the type of vessel Pride is, and, of course, the wonderful story of the defense of Baltimore and the penning of the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” All the regular maintenance Pride requires would therefore be scheduled for times outside of having the public tour her deck. Working aloft caring for Pride’s traditional sailing rigging could be a risk to the public walking underneath the aloft work — for instance, dripping tar. Nor could cosmetic maintenance be ongoing — for instance, wet paint or varnish. Or even sanding with all the dust that is caused when prepping for re-coating. Thus maintenance is relegated to time that includes time needed to get Pride to her next scheduled port, squeezed between voyaging and public events. Being able to do maintenance during public viewing from ashore, with crew answering public questions that the shoreside history display does not answer, provides a chance to keep up with routine and cosmetic maintenance that sometimes falls behind when time between ports and events is not enough to both do maintenance as well voyage the ship.

Stay diligent everyone!

Captain Jan C. Miles

Honoring a Cornerstone of Pride of Baltimore

Photo: Fred Hecklinger carving the nameboard of Pride of Baltimore II.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Fred Hecklinger, 84, passed this week. He was a critical third of the three leaders that formed the International Historic Watercraft Society to design and build the 1812 War Baltimore Clipper Privateer reproduction Pride of Baltimore for the City of Baltimore back in 1976. Melbourne Smith was the society founder and master builder; Tom Gilmer was the naval architect and historian; Fred was the foreman of construction.

One of the younger members of the building team, Peter Boudreau, 20 years old at the time, shared with me this week that Fred filled the role of foreman of the construction, but was often referred to as “Chief Psychologist”.

I think it fair to say Fred continued this psychologist role for Pride of Baltimore all through her sailing life, and even for the second vessel.

On a number of occasions, Fred would be a relief captain for some of the winter-time voyage legs around Florida and northeast Caribbean during the early years of the first Pride. Covering times when the full-time replacement was not available to pick up directly from the departing full-time captain. Relief work as captain can be tricky for all hands. By all accounts, crew morale was kept high and high-functioning through the “way of Fred” as captain.

Fred joined the second vessel’s construction team, led by Pete Boudreau, having become a master builder himself with Lady Maryland recently completed, to carve Pride of Baltimore II’s name into her stern, as he had for the first. Again, always sharing sagely, and sometimes with his wry humor, his extensive encyclopedia of “age of sail” knowledge and experience mixed with his classic yachting and modern ocean racing background.

Residing in Annapolis, Fred would pay a visit aboard Pride of Baltimore II every time she made a port call there. His acute observation skills, developed through his professional sailing life since age 15, generated wonderfully engaging conversations merging his observations and queries about the nature of the second vessel with our own discoveries and solutions. Peppered throughout with compliments for our diligence of care for her while inserting his own solutions derived from his vast experience. Every one of the crew participating always experienced personal pride from Fred’s recognition of their efforts to preserve and contribute to the high standard the ship is admired for.

When not sailing professionally, Fred was a marine surveyor, particularly in demand by those responsible for wood-built vessels.

Fred is known far and wide around the Chesapeake Bay outside of the Pride of Baltimore legacy that was started by the City back during the mid-1970s. In addition to being foreman for the building of the first Pride, Fred filled a key role in the founding of the Eastport Yacht Club. In 1965, Fred helped establish Chesapeake Appreciation Days. He also was involved with a number of museums: the Maryland Center for History and Culture (formerly the Maryland Historical Society), Annapolis Maritime Museum, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Fred is also a published author of marine subject magazine articles.

I will miss Fred’s wry humor.

Signed,

Jan C. Miles
Senior Captain

Long-term “Pandemic 2020” Layup

Photo: A tradition in recent years, the crew gathered for a quick end-of-season photo. From left to right: Chief Mate Jeff Crosby, Phil Keenan, Joe Byington, Shevawn Innes, David Stolz, Chad Lossing, James Rogers, Blake Lowry, Captain Jan Miles.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Today is the last day of layup work by Pride’s 2020 liveaboard seasonal sailing crew. At the end of this day, when layup preparation is complete, the liveaboard crew will be heading toward futures not clear, except that they know where they will be sleeping ashore.

The process of protecting the ship for this long-term layup is without much mystery. Every winter layup includes covering the ship to protect her from direct sunlight and precipitation. The ship was already in winter layup when the decision for continuing into a long-term layup was forced for the rest of that year of 2018. A never-before layup spanning more than a full calendar year. A lot was learned after that layup about what happens to the ship for any layup that includes summer months.

Passive ventilating, under the well-ventilated design of the sun and rain blocking ship’s cover that we use every winter between active sailing seasons, is not adequate during summer layup months for preventing mold buildup down below nor plank seams opening up more than they do during short winter layups. During the summer, unlike during winter months, the average wind speed is much reduced and the humidity is much increased. While the ship’s cover protects from direct sunlight and precipitation, the low-velocity summer winds are not enough to stir air down below, as do winter winds flowing through the cover over deck openings. The lesson we learned is that it requires artificial wind under the cover and inside the ship to reduce the chance of growing mold down below. So, this time around for this summer layup, there are numerous fans moving air on deck, down below, and even in the bilges.

To reduce plank seam opening through this extended summer layup ahead of the normal winter layup, there will be regular wetting of deck and topside plank seams. Two to three times a week, we think. This will be a significantly time-consuming activity. Likely each wet down will take a couple of hours.

Knowing well in advance the decision to lay up the ship for this pandemic year, extra time was taken to cover Pride’s big lower masts with extra coats of protecting oil, plus a “holding coat” of glossy/reflective varnish. The crew also soaked additional tar on the exposed parts of the wire standing rigging that is covered with tarred marlin. The ten-foot-tall (long) tops of the lower masts, the doublings, as we call them because of the overlap between lower end of topmasts and upper end of lower masts (hence the term doubling), are painted black and apt to get pretty hot from the sun. This leads to the growth of small checks in the painted surface through the increased heat. The black painted areas at the top of the big lower masts have been given “shade” from the sun by a covering system that provides an air space between the shade cover and the black painted mast doublings. The shade is installed in a fashion estimated to be robust for the significant wind speeds that can occur at the height of the doublings.

We also hang a sun-blocking skirt between ship’s cover and the waterline on the starboard side every layup. This became important during the shorter length wintertime layups because of the orientation of the ship. She is moored pointed east. All winter long, her starboard side was receiving daily doses of direct sunlight and we observed seams opening in some parts of her topside planking over the relatively short winter. The skirting reduced the amount of opening to nearly no opening at all. Except for occasions of a full summer layup. A fair amount of compensating caulking and replacement seam compound above the waterline was required before sailing after the first full year of layup. This time round, we hope periodic wetting will be effective at reducing, if not preventing, seams from opening, such as we observed during the last summertime layup.

Last time (in 2018), the long-term layup was due to an unforeseen extreme budget shortfall that not only laid the ship up, but laid off all the senior marine staff and nearly all of the full-time company staff. This time, the layup cause is the global pandemic. With state legislature support for a span of five years that started late 2018 and an active staff since early 2019 raising funds and earning grants, as well as developing direct ship use income, there are funds for keeping the company running through the rest of this year. However, not enough to keep the ship sailing. Thus the staff will be able to continue to make plans for next year’s campaigning of the ship. Meanwhile, the company will also keep key senior marine staff employed for assisting with planning while also caring for and maintaining the ship. Hence this layup will include ship maintenance as well as increased attention to preservation while we all await sailing again next year.

Maintenance that will occur between the bit of sailing done this year and the plan for a full season next year will include a number of unessential desires. Like replacing the galley counter around the galley sink due to the accumulation of water contamination of the end grain of galley counter wood. There will also be some detailed cosmetic care in the galley. This layup will also provide some time that is hard to set aside during winter layups between fully active sailing seasons for making replacement blocks rather than purchasing new. “Shipkeeper” Chief Mate Jeff Crosby’s highly skilled carpentry will be put to use creating jigs for standardizing the making of block-shell pieces that can be assembled into shells of blocks. It will be a relatively simple matter of shifting sheaves and sheave-pins to the newly assembled shells. Leaving future sailing crew to re-strop new blocks when it is time to replace the old shells. (Easy for me to say … eh?)

Meanwhile, I hope all the departing crew and you readers of these logs remain diligent.

Signed,

Jan C. Miles
Senior Captain

To Sail Another Day

PRIDE II on a shakedown sail

Photo: Pride II sailing with a full hat of wind near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Sandy Point Light, May 12, 2020, courtesy of Susan Hale.

May 20, 2020

To protect lives, we are tying up Pride of Baltimore II for the rest of 2020.

Before I get into the tying-up bit … an interesting reality was realized by all crew on the way to this tie-up.

For the first time ever, crew physical soreness and exhaustion was felt greatly and simultaneously by all during the four-day shakedown cruise last week. Torso soreness for everyone, as well as arm and hand, along with hand blisters all around. I cannot recall such inclusiveness of exhaustion and soreness throughout the whole crew for any past beginning of a sailing season. However, this year is unique for all the world, as well for Pride and her crew. Rig-up was completed by mid-March, in plenty of time for long-planned shipboard public events surrounding Maryland Day. But canceled near the eve of those plans to protect lives from the risk of infection. We were able to get a couple of crew-only shakedown sails done before recreational boating was stopped, soon after Maryland Day, for more than five weeks. Pride crew shifted into maintenance. Got a lot done. The type of projects that are planned for winter lay-ups, but priorities seem to regularly shift such projects to the bottom of the to-do list by higher priority projects. One very good example during this spring was a complete cleaning and preparing and painting of the two 3304 Caterpillar engines Pride has. But guess what? As hard working as the crew were at maintenance projects for the more than five week-long tied-up period, there are muscles not used that normally get used during an up-rig. So, with the four days of shakedown cruising coming right after more than five weeks of not doing any up-rig, being as up-rig was fully completed, nor any sailing, like freshly ripped out of the bars kidnapped crew taken by a press gang of long ago, we crew went for an intense four days of back to back day sailing. So, while willing we were, we were without a clue to how lots of muscles normally tuned up through up-rig hence ready for back to back day sailing had become untuned. For me, the mere persistence to balance myself regarding vessel motion created quite a bit of torso muscle groaning under my breath at the end of each day. A bit less day by day. But still, end of last week and a full day off Saturday was so very well received by all hands. As good as the sailing was, and with good reason to feel very accomplished for handling Pride really well under sail day after day last week with none of the usual turn-on-the-engines for whatever kind of reason, it is very sad to have to downrig now, but the crew are nicely tuned up for the downrigging and laying over the top of the ship her protective covering till next spring.

Now back to tying-up Pride for the rest of this year.

Part of the funding that assists with campaigning Maryland’s world renowned star-spangled sailing icon comes from interested general public and businesses contributing in return for the opportunity to sail aboard. Being that the best protection of lives from possible infection is significant interpersoanl distancing that will not be easy to provide while sailing aboard, such direct sailing experience income will be all but impossible to generate this year. Not only this, all of the anticipated income-producing events previously scheduled for March and April were canceled. And so it comes to pass that Pride will be tied up for the rest of this year. Carefully protected for the period ahead till sailing again in 2021. To be completely frank, it is quietly very disappointing for all of us to be tying up Pride for the rest of this year. While understandable, it is also not completely unfamiliar. Except that this tying up comes so very soon after opening her up again from last winter as if a butterfly from her protective cocoon. But like everyone across the nation and around the world, COVID-19 is a threat to us all doing anything that means mingling closely. To protect those that might want to sail aboard Pride during this medical emergency, being that protective distancing measures cannot be accommodated aboard Pride, means no direct user income, that in a regular season can mean upwards of 10%-15% of the annual budget to the non-profit company Pride of Baltimore, Inc. Such loss of potential income means the whole year’s costs will not actually be met. Tying up means reduced expenses. Tying up sooner than later also means having the fiscal ability for being ready and able to start up again in 2021.

Disappointing for sure. No differently for the whole nation and the whole planet. But certainly a clear way to protect lives in the meanwhile.

I extend sincere compliments to the seasonal crew for their diligence in all things they attend to on behalf of the ship. Downrigging her in a proper fashion and covering her for the long period of protection is no small nor simple job. Once accomplished, they go their own way. In normal circumstances, often to another sailing vessel.

Signed,
Jan C. Miles, Senior Captain

Sailing Home

PRIDE II returning to Baltimore under sail

Photo: Pride II returning to Baltimore under sail, May 14, 2020, courtesy of Eddie Lucas.

Date: Thursday, May 14, 2020

Thirty-four years ago this day, Pride of Baltimore was lost. Pride of Baltimore II continues in the memory of the first … Bold statements of historical and contemporary accomplishments and friendly outreach to our nation and to the world by Marylanders.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Today the crew sailed Pride of Baltimore II into her home port of Baltimore on the last day of a four-day shakedown cruise.  A cruise a bit different than past years’ shakedown sails for crew training. This time around, I added the goal of not using engines at all, except for backing away from the Clinton Street compound and returning. My goal was achieved. The engines were turned off right at the entrance of the North Branch of the Patapsco River that opens between Fort McHenry and Lazaretto Point. The engines did not go on again till Pride was right outside of her Clinton Street compound piers. These last four days have all been sailing days. To anchor and away from anchor.  An experience and a challenge that somewhat harkens back to the days of the Age of Sail.

This morning started with care and attention to shipboard details as we waited for the light southerly breeze to build. Late morning, the mainsail and main-gaff-topsail were set and the main boom tagged to starboard. The jib readied to be set aback to port. Yards with loosened square-topsail backed to port. Foresail brails “singled up” for a quick setting. Fore-staysail to starboard ready to set. With care to Pride’s yawing as the anchor was hauled back, at the point the anchor was going to lift off the bottom, the jib was set aback to port. Pride swung to starboard and with mainsail sheet eased as Pride headed away from the anchorage on a broad reach toward the Patapsco River. Leaving the jib aback so speed was kept low, but shifting the yards to starboard, the anchor was hoisted to the port rail and stowed. The jib was passed. The square-topsail was set. The staysail was set. The foresail was set. The jib-topsail was set. Pride then proceeded along nicely in the 10 knots of wind that had come up.

Pride reached across the bay to the eastern section of the Brewerton Channel (extension). Then steered into the Patapsco and under the Key Bridge. In the main branch of the Patapsco, the wind died out a lot.  As Pride drifted toward Fort McHenry, the foresail was brailed in. Then the jib-topsail lowered and harbor-furled. Soon Pride was turned toward the opening into the North Branch between Fort McHenry and Lazarretto Point. This put the light breeze directly behind the ship. The main-gaff-topsail was struck. Then the mainsail was lowered and stowed. As Pride sailed along under square-topsail, the jib and staysail were lowered and stowed. Last, just as Pride was approaching her Clinton Street compound mooring area, the square-topsail was struck. The engines started and quick work of tying up was executed around 1530.  After an hour of tidying up, all hands were stood down. Everyone feeling pretty good about the cruise.

Signed,

Jan C. Miles, Senior Captain