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Captain's Log – Sprinting toward the Delaware Bay

Date: Sunday, October 2, 2016

Position: Sprinting toward the Delaware Bay, having departed New Bedford after breakfast this morning.

There is some vestigial wind from north to northeast that we are capturing with sails, but otherwise we are keeping up with cruising speed under power bound for the Delaware Bay some 250 nautical miles away via the direct offshore route.

The sea state is a soft rolling swell from southeast. With sails up the roll is very gentle and easy. That all will change. The wind will die out and the sails will flap and need taking in. That might mean an increased roll, hopefully not a significant increase. Even if there is some increase, it won’t likely be as significant as the rolling was in a 7-8 foot sea from dead aft in the Gulf of Maine with the wind also dead aft from the northeast making it near impossible to dampen the roll with sail.

For this run to the Delaware Bay, the sea swell will continue to moderate over the next 36-48 hours between Cape Cod and the Virginia Capes due to the dying wind. So the motorboat push we are executing for the run to the Delaware Bay ought to be able to continue at 7 knots. This likely will mean arriving at the entrance of the Delaware Bay around sunset tomorrow (Monday). Then it is a run up the bay to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal to enter the Upper Chesapeake Bay, completely sheltered from the open Atlantic swell.

Our stay in New Bedford was quite welcoming. Unlike vessels with less draft and length than Pride, finding a dock that is able to provide adequate depth and length and be welcoming without a great amount of expense for the nonprofit organization that funds and runs Pride can be quite difficult. Back when Pride was at anchor near Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, a lot of “figuring” was going on between me and others ashore as to where Pride could end up after crossing The Gulf of Maine. Ending up somewhere that could accommodate the ship was a desire of mine to refresh perishable food like salad and vegetables as well get some additional fuel. If all that and some rest and recreation could be provided to the crew, all the better.

There are some fine friends of “any & all” of the interesting so called “tall ships” to be found all along the coast starting in Maine with those of the Maine Windjammer Fleet and reaching down into Southern New England. Which “friend” to call upon was a matter of where Pride might end up after crossing the Gulf of Maine. My first thought was Portland, Maine. For anyone with a hard working traditional sailing vessel like Pride, who might be interested in Portland, Maine, call Matty Oats. He is a past Pride crew member, among other traditional vessels. He has settled into Portland and actually reached out to me earlier this year to ask if Portland could host a Pride visit. My second consideration was New Bedford. It has been a very long time since I was on a vessel in New Bedford. But I knew who to call: Captain Robert Glover is a past Pride Partner Captain of some 6-7 years during the 1990s now living near New Bedford and continues professional work in the shore-side of marine related professions. His response quickly turned up a welcome at the New Bedford State Pier managed by Jessica Shahdan of the Massachusetts Conservation and Recreation Department, Division of Planning and Engineering. Considering the transit across the Gulf of Maine would eventually involve a fresh to strong northeast wind, I knew New Bedford was the most productive destination compared to Portland for getting Pride toward her deadline at her homeport. After a lot of discussion with Matty, I had to send my regrets.

In addition to Captain Glover finding a safe mooring situation in New Bedford, he was his usual self as a ship liaison. That might not sound like much, but his usual self is a level of understanding and generosity next to impossible to match. He volunteered the loan of his car for ship errands, provided local knowledge for where to find things, and who to call for fuel (he actually set up the appointment for delivery). Meanwhile, Jessica Shahdan was wonderfully accommodating of Pride. Notwithstanding the fishing vessel traffic of New Bedford during a fresh nor’easter causing the fishing fleet to be in port, she set aside space for Pride for as long as needed. Hence Pride could remain alongside till the nor’easter blew through. (Serendipitously the Viking Longboat Draken was also accommodated at the State Pier Friday night through late Saturday during their pause between Nantucket and Mystic).

And so we stayed as long as we wanted, during which all ship needs for the next leg were taken care of. Also crew needs, in the form of laundry done, and some time off. Not to forget the time we had for a very interesting tour of R&W Rope where Captain Glover now works, plus a picnic lunch.

Volunteered shore support to passing-by traditional sailing vessels that are living/working examples of our nation’s maritime history can often be taken for granted. Yet such volunteered support are much more critical to the well being of the arcane, yet iconic visage, of the different epoch’s of traditional working sail water craft, so ought not be taken for granted. In addition to the volunteered shore support examples mentioned above, earlier this year Barque Picton Castle‘s office located in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, was a full on volunteered host to all of Pride’s logistical needs when she was en route to the Great Lakes from the Chesapeake Bay, including acting somewhat as the ship’s agent to Canadian Border and Protection as well Customs. Without such willing and volunteered local knowledge I can say arranging for all of the logistics on my own and with very long distant support from the office of Pride, Inc. would have been much more time consuming and likely involve significant added cost.

So, my sincere thank you and compliments on behalf of Pride of Baltimore II to all you shore liaison friends of traditional working sail vessels!

Do not hesitate to reach out to Pride of Baltimore, Inc. should questions about Baltimore arise. Not only are we a source of information. But so is Sail Baltimore, a long existing non-profit with a mission to assist visiting vessels.


Captain Jan C. Miles