Photo: Pride at Clinton Street, March 31, 2020, courtesy of Jeff Crosby

Date: April 1, 2020

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Pride of Baltimore II will discontinue ship movements for crew training and practicing their roles for safe and orderly sailing of Maryland’s most renowned, as well as most complicated, traditional sailing vessel.

This decision is in full support of Governor Hogan’s stay-at-home order announced Monday for increasing the effort to forestall the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

During this period, and since mid-February, the crew make their home aboard and the ship is moored behind a chainlink fence in a “secure” (from public contact) compound, in a non-residential, commercial area, the crew and ship have been and remain as protected as everyone abiding by stay-at-home order. So, they will continue to ready Pride for hoped-for operations recommencing whenever the Governor lifts the stay-at-home directive.

Like every vessel that serves the public, maintenance is a responsibility of its professional crew to ensure public safety, as well as maritime safety and vessel preservation. Traditionally-constructed wood vessels require repainting so that the wood does not deteriorate, unlike metal that can often go without repainting for some extended time leaving only surface corrosion to overcome, if not left for an overly long time. Wood is not nearly so forgiving. Wood surfaces aging through not being coated with something means loss of dimension. As well as possible incursion of rot-causing moisture through narrow openings of grain and seams. Even if not repainted to cover exposed wood and seams for as little as three months, when it comes time to prepping for repainting or varnishing, some wood is lost. Possibly a bit of opening of grain has let moisture into the piece or into seams between pieces that, when covered over by repainting, could become an epicenter of future deeply buried rot.

So all of the operating part of every year, for every year of the life of Pride II, all kinds of maintenance is on the work list to be done. Between public events and voyages — even during voyages when conditions permit — wood preservation, as well as traditional rig preservation, is scheduled. A past chief mate from the early 1990s quipped “stealing maintenance time” like a mantra as he would work with me to prioritize maintenance of rig and wood (as well other things) between public events and during fair weather times of voyages.

With the Governor’s stay-at-home public safety announcement, Pride will discontinue any ship movements for crew training between maintenance work and focus exclusively on maintenance. A curious opportunity compared to a normal year to not only get caught up but, maybe, to get ahead, considering the only interruption to exterior maintenance will be weather.

Down-below projects are to be done as well. Plenty of winter cosmetics down below were done over the winter. More can be done in the non-living areas. Meanwhile, ship systems care is another area that can always withstand more time than merely ensuring all systems work.

Rig-wise, the most powerful engine of motive power aboard, even though the rig went sailing last week, there are a myriad of details to complete for future extended sailing. Instead of fitting such details between public events and local protected waters ship movements, this virus crisis public safety strategy announced by the Governor is an opportunity to attend, somewhat continuously, to fiddly rig details and work toward being fully ready-for-sea future sailings.

Keep protecting yourselves!


Captain Jan C. Miles

Dry Dock Update!

Pride II at dusk

Photo: Shipyard views, courtesy of Jeffrey G. Katz

Date: February 11, 2020

Location: General Ship Repair Corp., Baltimore, Maryland

From Wednesday, January 29, to Friday, February 7, the winter maintenance crew logged at least 110 hours preparing Pride of Baltimore II‘s hull for the first full coat of bottom paint, just laid on by General Ship yesterday. Nearly 12-hour days back to back for 10 days. Followed by two days back to back of time off. Sorta like regular folk, being those two days off were Saturday and Sunday.

There were no unusual maintenance requirements. Every hauling of Pride out of the water is an opportunity to check and improve caulking. Experienced wood vessel carpenter Chief Mate Jeff Crosby and Pride crew alum, now very experienced wood vessel shipwright, Ryan Graham (who drove down from Maine) caulked from January 29 through February 5. Followed by crew with putty and patch-priming paint. Our 2020 haul out crew includes Second Mate Shevawn Innes, Deckhand David Stolz, Deckhand Wilmer Martinez, and Deckhand James Rogers. Crew alum Chad Lossing and new to Pride Amanda Colianni also joined us in yard

Yesterday, while General Ship attended to bottom paint, the winter maintenance crew dismantled, inspected, and reinstalled seacocks, as well as preparing the forepeak, anchor chain and rope storage area for paint. Plus some main saloon and galley varnish cosmetics.

While all of the above was going on, Pride guest crew alum Stan Fowler drove the propellers to the manufacturer in East Boothbay, Maine, where they were given a special 31-year overhaul. Paul E. Luke Company makes Pride’s automatic feathering propellers. They have seen them every couple of years since being made in 1988. This time around, it was deemed prudent to do more than check them. Later this week, General Ship will reinstall the propellers.

Pride’s dry dockings involve more than maintaining her stout seaworthiness. They are also required to maintain her passenger-carrying certificate. Two organizations are responsible for checking that we are maintaining Pride properly:  the United States Coast Guard (USCG) visited and inspected to certify for condition and strength and the American Bureau of Ships (ABS) did the same thing. ABS will make a number of additional visits to see the final painting, which includes checking to see that load line markings are painted.

It is our hope that weather this week will not hinder getting Pride relaunched this coming Friday, February 14.

Captain Jan C. Miles