We are passing by Tilghman Island on the Eastern Shore. Fresh NW breeze has PRIDE making 9+ knots in the gusts under comfortable sail of foresail, staysail and square foretopsail. When it is not gusting we are near 8 knots. NW winds represent beam to broad reaching so the steering is an easy “follow the compass course” process rather than when close hauled trying to get to windward and altering course for every nuanced wind shift, or gibing down wind because of running out of sea room.
We got off to a “bang” of guns saluting our friends of Baltimore like the headquarters of Under Armour and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine crowded with kids learning about the creation of our country’s National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Saluting Fort McHenry is fitting considering the writing of Star Spangled Banner came about because the British Navy came to Baltimore to specifically burn down the shipyards of Fell’s Point, which were building the fast and maneuverable Baltimore Schooner Privateers that PRIDE is closely representative of. Without such entrepreneurial thinking by the Chesapeake Bay boat builders slowly evolving such fast vessels that occurred over the more than 100 years leading up to the War of 1812…it might have been the British would never have come to Baltimore and not forced a singular and seminal defense of Baltimore by the Americans…leaving an eye witness, Francis Scott Key to be moved upon seeing the American “Banner still wave” to write the song depicting the emotion felt of a successful defense against a mighty force.
Every year, the first voyage out of the Chesapeake Bay aboard PRIDE is its own seminal event in the lives of the “new” crew about the ship. It is also a most wearying preparation process. For those aboard, they get what they want…to go sailing on a voyage to somewhere distant out of The Bay. For those we leave behind, they get a little relief from the constant demand created of having PRIDE in home waters with all of the organizing details that include the usual administration of the company but also include errands for the ship. There is still work that needs doing by all…but not quite as time demanding. For those aboard, the 24 hour day will be divided and sleeping during the day will occur…as much as staying up at night will occur. For those back at home, the work hours become a little more regular…not much call to work past 5 pm…and weekends often remain free.
Whatever the adventure or the work or the free time we all look forward to, I would like to extend my thanks to all that prepared the ship for this voyage. We are now stowed for sea. We are finishing up the training for the day. Soon we will break into watches. The ship and her crew are ready for their first voyage. I did little to help with any of this because I was fulfilling my “executive” role at the office. I feel a little like maybe what it feels like for the yacht owner that has a professional crew to do all the preparing and all that is left to me is come aboard and sail. A novel experience I am happy to compliment others for good work! But one that leaves me wondering if I am devolving into a not so little or young “Lord Fauntleroy”.
My Sincere Compliments to All!
Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II