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Captain's Log – Eastward on Lake Superior

Date: Tuesday, August 23, 2016; 1630 hours EDT
Position: Approaching Marquette, Michigan, under power; expect to be moored around 7 PM

I have been back aboard since Saturday having assumed command of Pride of Baltimore II from Captain Jordan Smith who is now home and ready to provide support to ship and staff, while also taking some personal time, before returning to relieve me later this season in Baltimore.

There were 15 separate day sails in Duluth spread over four days (Thursday through Sunday). Jordan handled seven of them and I handled eight of them. Monday was the start of the 5th and last Tall Ships America Great Lakes Challenge Race of 2016 (Monday/Tuesday). We do not know the results of this race except that we managed Pride over the finish line first, near 0700 this morning after about 19 hours of racing (there is a handicap). Other competitors did magnificent jobs sailing their vessels really well. All participants will be awaiting results from Tall Ships America.

It was quite a rollicking sail eastward on Lake Superior. Wind from south and southwest at 10-15-20+ knots made for some very fast sailing. Pride was speeding along at 8-9-10 and even 11 knots at full sail, including the top-gallant sail; for a while, even the studding sail. All through the very dark Monday evening with no moon, Pride surged along at 10-15 degrees of heel. There was quite a bit of “ahh” when the half moon came out in the middle of the night; before that we could not see the sails very easily. After moonrise it was quite feasible to see the sails and therefore, keep an eye on sail trim. Not much to worry about though – wind direction was consistent enough to not require fiddling with sail trim, but the wind was changeable enough to keep us wondering and looking.

After crossing the finish line just after 0700 Central time this morning (start was noon Central time on Monday), crew struck and stowed the “kites” and square-foretopsail. With four lowers (main, fore, staysail & jib) Pride sailed beyond the finish line at Copper Harbor, Michigan, located on the outer north side of the Keweenaw Peninsula, around the east end and southward toward Marquette.

We are going to be arriving early to the festival in Marquette, scheduled to start this next Friday and meant to last through the weekend. Being early is a great opportunity for some maintenance on the ship. She looks really good! But can always use more. The varnish rail cap is in wonderful shape!! So our attentions will be towards other areas of paint and cosmetic coverings along with coming-due cyclical maintenance like oil changes. And always, being a sailing vessel, there are rig maintenance responsibilities. There will also be crew changes. Some of the hands that started in Baltimore back in early March are heading off to adventures beyond Pride. Replacement crew are coming aboard, so there will be some ship familiarization training going on as well. There have been planned events every weekend since late June this summer; thus far it has been eight weekends back to back. So, too, will be the next four weekends, until mid-September. Then we will rush home to Baltimore with all speed for Maryland Fleet Week and the commissioning of the first 21st-century “stealth” destroyer USS Zumwalt.

The Star-Spangled Sailing Ambassador of Baltimore & Maryland has not been idle!

Captain Jan C. Miles