Stay-in-Home

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!

Signed,

Captain Jan C. Miles

2020 Pride of Baltimore II Uprig and COVID-19

Photo: Fuel run, March 22, 2020, courtesy of Patrick Smith

Date: March 23, 2020

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

The new mantra aboard is “hygiene, hygiene, hygiene.”

What makes this uprig able to continue in the new-normal of social distancing is next to zero public exposure. Pride is not associated with its own publicly accessible mooring situation. Many other “tall ships” (the more historical commercial sail rig/hull types versus classically-rigged minimally-wetted surface hull type yachts) are moored to home port piers set up for regular visitation from the public/students. Not so for Pride. She moors for winter storage and maintenance at a non-public “secure” commercial marine facility. Also, uprig started mid-February, meaning Pride’s crew for 2020 came from across the nation to make home aboard some length of time before the social distancing strategy for blocking/reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 virus. And developing extra strategies of shipboard and personal hygiene has been seriously adopted by all aboard. Paying special attention to washing in the shore-based head facilities before coming aboard. Not yet experiencing infection … so far, so good.

Meanwhile, the many decade (now increasing past four) legacy of Maryland and Baltimore’s iconic vessel Pride of Baltimore is all about remembering and sharing our state and city’s nation-building contributions to history and sharing a desire to connect with the rest of the world. Becoming our nation’s most internationally renowned “tall ship” in the process of what is a most unique promotion for a state and city.

So, what do we do with our Pride, nearly all rigged up, considering no illness and very low risk of illness along with nearly no risk of spreading? Go sailing! It is the only fundamental way for the 2020 crew to learn the ship. And won’t it be grand to see our Pride sailing? Of course it will!

Since all of the cancellations, we have been thinking we could try to sail this coming Maryland Day, March 25, this coming Wednesday … weather being friendly. If not? As soon as the weather becomes friendly.

Stay tuned.

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

Great Lakes End with a Flourish

View of Vineyard Haven Harbor

Photo: Vineyard views, courtesy of Captain Jan Miles

Date:Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

The Tall Ship Challenge Great Lakes 2019 campaign of Pride of Baltimore II ended with a flourish.

Following dawdling for Tropical Storm Dorian, Pride managed three quick transit legs to make her scheduled homecoming date of Saturday, September 21, 2019.

It started with a motorized rush to Lunenburg after the passing of TS Dorian for refueling ahead of what could be seen as another rush to New Bedford during long-range forecast for friendly winds ahead of another round of contrary winds.

With Lunenburg refueling, plus some ship’s laundry and grocery shopping done, there was a three crew barbecue hosted by Picton Castle’s crew. A celebration of the three ships (Picton Castle, Bluenose II, and Pride of Baltimore II) that left together from Lunenburg back on June 15, returning on the same day after three months. All three vessels successfully fulfilled all of their tall ship festival obligations. Generating plenty of stories in the press all over the Great Lakes and also back at home via social media and online press.

After the one night in Lunenburg, it was off again for Pride’s crew Thursday to race to Cape Cod with a short period of favorable winds before the contrary southwesterly winds forecast to arrive over the Gulf of Maine Saturday. This “race” was successful. In fact, some very fast 9-10 knot beam reach sailing with all “plain” sail (four lower sails with square-topsail plus main-gaff-topsail and jib-topsail) was had for about 15 hours. Multiply the speed by the hours and a very significant portion of the mouth of the Gulf of Maine was crossed before the wind died off. After a short time of motoring, the wind came back as forecast from the southeast and the last 50 odd miles was finished off quickly Saturday morning. Leaving merely the distance from the “fist” of Cape Cod to the east entrance of the Cape Cod Canal. This quick ending to the Gulf of Maine crossing meant being protected from the forecast southwesterly winds that arrived soon after crossing the Gulf. This quick crossing also provided plenty of time to make the arranged rendezvous at New Bedford Harbor with US Customs & Border Protection authorities morning of Sunday, September 15.

After clearance was achieved, while moored to Fair Haven Marine fuel dock (thank you, Captain Robert Glover, for arranging the touch & go with Fair Haven Marine), there was reason to stall heading on toward Baltimore due to the southwest winds. Contrary winds for heading to the Delaware Bay forecast to linger through Monday. What to do with the stall time? Pay a visit to American traditional sail icon Captain Robert Douglass of course! Captain Douglas is owner and master of the highly renowned revenue cutter square topsail schooner Shenandoah of the harbor of Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Shenandoah and Captain Douglas have been sailing since 1965. Always a smartly handled square-topsail passenger schooner with no engine. Both vessel and its creator owner/master are icons to the post World War II period of growth of American traditional sailing vessels introducing many to the wonders of such sailing. With some time to wait for another period of favorable wind forecast for midweek, it was easy for me to make the decision to call Captain Douglas to see if he would be in for a courtesy call. And so it was that Pride spent two nights at the dock in Vineyard Haven. Courtesy of the generosity of the owner of Tisbury Wharf Company laid on by Captain Douglas. An opportunity to give some time off to Pride’s crew in an exotic part of Massachusetts, as well as mingle with other American schooner crew from both Shenandoah and Alabama. And of course as see plenty of classic yachts from the early 1900s. But also an opportunity to get some maintenance done ahead of homecoming at the end of the week.

The transit to the Delaware Bay turned out to be another fast one. Not completely sailed. Some motoring on Tuesday. When the wind came up from the northeast and east it was all sailing. Eventually with plenty of wind requiring reducing sail being that the strength was peaking at 35 knots Wednesday afternoon. Once reaching speeds of better than 10 and keeping such speeds safely & comfortably through reducing sail, Pride made the entrance of the Delaware Bay evening time Wednesday with a 10 foot following sea. Northeast winds meant continuing to sail all the way up that bay very fast on its smooth protected water till near the C&D Canal around midnight. Took all sail and motored on to Pride’s maintenance dock near the area of Baltimore called Canton. Arriving early Thursday.

We took the afternoon off after the ship was cleaned and stowed and we also had a late start to Friday. Took a charter by Maryland Port Administration for two hours. Then Saturday, made the grand entry official homecoming with Baltimore’s very enthusiastic Mayor Young aboard, who very much appreciated the many cannon salutes Pride’s crew made as she grand standed her way all the way up into the Inner Harbor then back to Fells Point for a welcome ceremony audience. Speeches by Pride, Inc. representatives and Mayor Young and City Council President, Brandon Scott. Deck tours for the public followed plus another two-hour day sail, this one for the general public.

The press welcome was amazing. All of the TV channels multiple times that day. Plus some showing on Sunday.

Hello, Maryland! Your Pride is back!!!

Captain Jan C. Miles

Dawdling for Tropical Storm Dorian

Dark skies over the St. Lawrence River

Photo: Cloudy skies over the upper St. Lawrence River, courtesy of Jeff Crosby

Date: Friday, September 6, 2019

Location: Lower St. Lawrence River.

Activity: Moving between night anchorages as we await passage of Tropical Storm Dorian

TS Dorian is expected to cross over Nova Scotia Saturday and Sunday. Dorian has a wide diameter of storm winds. Such is expected to cover most of the width of Gulf of St. Lawrence. We will not be venturing into the Gulf until Dorian passes by. So we dawdle at protective anchorages from local current weather as it changes while we await Dorians’s passing well east of the lower St. Lawrence River.

After a non-stop downriver run of the upper & middle St. Lawrence River (Thousand Islands to Montreal then Montreal to Cap aux Oies, Quebec) we anchored yesterday morning at Ile du Bic. An island on the southern shore of the Lower St. Lawrence near the Quebec town of Rimouski. Time of transit allowance consumed? 3 calendar days out of the allowance of 19.

Reason for anchoring? Tropical Storm Dorian.

As the storm passes over Nova Scotia it will present storm winds all across the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Assuming there is not a surprise move still to be played by Dorian. A storm that has already logged surprises. Therefore we dawdle here rather than risk surprises.

Ile du Bic presented a nice anchorage from decently fresh southwest-west winds. Too bad we could not take advantage of them winds for sailing out of the river … eh?

Those winds have passed now. There is calm today. With a promise of northeast winds tomorrow. No protection from such for our anchorage at Ile du Bic. So we are shifting today to Matane, Quebec.

At Matane is a fortress of a manmade harbor that causes me to think of the fortress walls of Mordor described in the Ring Trilogy. Pride has anchored there before. Shielded from strong northeast winds some years ago during a past transit homeward bound from a summer in the Great Lakes. So here we visit again. New northeast winds are due Saturday, tomorrow. Today we shift and re-position at Matane ahead of the arrival of the forecast northeast winds.

When do we get moving again towards home waters? Early Sunday it seems. As Dorian passes by and heads on away from this area, the strongest winds go away with it and more moderate winds are forecast to fill in behind. The new winds are expected to be favorable for recommencing this voyage home. If all goes as weather oracles suggest, we start out again early Sunday morning bound for home waters. Total dawdle time consumed? Three nights out of a total of eighteen. Or, 16% of total night travel allowance used protecting ourselves from very strong marine weather conditions.

How much distance covered so far? 448 nautical miles. Total overall from Brockville to Baltimore? 1,847 nautical miles. Nearly 25% covered thus far. Using four calendar days. Out of an overall of 19 calendar days or near 21%. So we have 1,399 nautical miles remaining to transit home. But we cannot start till Sunday. This means 12 calendar days to cover 1,399 nautical miles. The standard for estimating required calendar days for transit is 110 nautical miles per day. Remaining mileage divided by remaining time allowance indicates 108 nautical miles per day. Still within feasibility for on-time arrival home. Assuming no significant delays.

Cross your fingers, everyone!

Captain Jan C. Miles

Boyne City R&R

Sunset on Lake Charlevoix

Photo: Sunset in Boyne City, courtesy of Daniel Duncan

Date: Thursday, August 22, 2019

Position: Northeast Lake Michigan motoring northward against a north wind

Pride departed Lake Charlevoix and Round Lake at the town of Charlevoix at 10:30 in the morning, heading toward the Straits of Mackinac (pronounced “Mackinaw”) ahead of continuing toward the bottom of Lake Huron — the first portion of a 700+-nautical-mile transit toward Brockville, Ontario, at the east end of the Thousand Island area of the St Lawrence River.

Boyne City for six full days spanning a weekend was both productive and restful. At least less pressure on the crew than is the average tall ship festival 3-day weekend preceded and ended by additional arrival and departure day formalities. Boyne City was productive for both engaging with the public and experiencing fully booked day sails, plus getting a bunch of ship maintenance done. Restful in the sense that all members of the crew received two days off within the six day visit, rather than the average of one day a week that is the norm for a busy Pride sailing season … With or without back-to-back tall ship festival weekends.

Why call into Boyne City? Now that there is a dock there that can accommodate vessels even larger than Pride, it is the closest the ship can get to Walloon Lake, where a longtime Baltimore family by the name of Kidd have spent summers for the last half century or more. They have generously hosted a day of R&R for crews of Pride since the summer of 1981.

Back when Pride of Baltimore, Inc. was formed in 1980 to assume management of the first Pride of Baltimore as a favor to the city of Baltimore, Jack Kidd was the head of sales for the Maryland-based manufacturing company Tate Access Floors. The company makes special flooring for businesses needing to have plenty of computer cable space. Jack believed in the magnetism of Pride of Baltimore to attract and preserve business relationships. Wherever Pride went, anywhere on the East Coast, and all over the Great Lakes, he would charter the ship for dockside receptions for Tate Access marketing outlets and their clients. During my first year with the Pride Legacy back in 1981, as a thank you to the crew for their work during that Great Lakes campaign, he convinced this captain to add a stop and sail the ship into the port of Charlevoix so he could host the crew to some R&R in a lovely part of Michigan. Over the decades, mostly with the second Pride, he and his wife Ann would have the crew over to their home on the shore of Walloon Lake whenever the ship was able to spare a couple of days during a Great Lakes campaign. Over the three decades of the second Pride, she has had a campaign in the Great Lakes an overall average of every three years. Each time, the Kidd family has hosted Pride’s crews for a Lake Walloon R&R occasion. Over time this tradition has been taken up by the sons Kidd.

This most recent visit to the Kidd family homestead on Walloon Lake included their assistance to Pride, Inc. staff with organizing local publicity for the ship’s visit. Notifying locals of the opportunity to learn about the 1812 War in the Atlantic directly from a reproduction of the most notorious American privateer models that exclusively came from Baltimore shipyards, today referred to by historians as Baltimore Clippers. But also to learn about Baltimore and Maryland’s most worldwide renowned sailing vessel. More recognized and known by today’s world than any currently sailing American sailing vessel. And, oh, by the way, please also come for a short day sail or sunset sail in Lake Charlevoix. No better way to learn about Maryland’s and Baltimore’s Pride. Wouldn’t you say?

Suffice it to say, all day sails were full. There were at least two local TV news videos about Pride’s visit to Northern Michigan (code for the northern lower peninsula of Michigan … just in case you were confused). And deck tours were well attended. Small town regions are like that. Especially when they are well connected to the internet. Considering just about all citizens, local or not, young and old, are carrying smartphones, I think it ought not be a surprise that a strong turnout was witnessed. So, many thanks to the Kidds for connecting Pride, Inc.’s media staff.

UPDATE

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Position: At anchor in Cleveland

Got here late Saturday afternoon. Actively avoiding a contrary wind pattern blowing right now over Lake Erie. Dry weather in a protected anchorage adds to the chance to get maintenance done. ‘Tis tough to have weeks of back-to-back weekend port stops with the required transits between and also get more than essential maintenance done. Our time in Boyne City provided a catch-up day of more than just essential maintenance. Some painting. Some varnishing. Some rigging care. Some mechanical power and systems upkeep. With today’s waiting for favorable wind rather than bounce around out on Lake Erie with it, another very beneficial maintenance day is underway. More paint. More systems care and checking. More rig care and maintenance.

When do we get underway again? Looks like an early departure Monday. And it looks like the wind forecasters continue to be correct, starting some few days ago, about this period of contrary wind. Ending by or before mid-Monday. For the early part of Monday, I think we can actually go ahead and get underway and use wind that would otherwise be contrary if we were starting out from other than Cleveland. Here in Cleveland, we are at one of the most southerly ports to be found on Lake Erie. A southeast wind can be used to get toward the east as the south shore of Lake Erie in this part of the lake runs near northeast. Maybe we can time this next leg toward the eastern end of Lake Erie so that it is all favorable wind. Meaning as we advance toward the east end, we experience a conveniently timed wind direction change toward the south, as forecast. And arrive at the Welland Canal Tuesday morning.

That’d be nice. Especially with Tuesday morning arrival, there is no major hold up in the Welland Canal. Upbound back in early July, we had a 24-hour wait before Pride could be permitted to transit the eight locks of the Welland. That was not an issue of congestion. Meaning not so many commercial vessels that Pride as a lower priority class had to wait for. Nope. The problem was no extra Welland Canal staff on hand to perform as line handlers in the locks. Over the last two to three decades, there has been near continuous trial of an automatic system to keep ships in locks from moving forward and aft-ward while the lock is filling or draining. Without an automatic system, staff at the locks and on the ships were needed to send and retrieve mooring lines that were used to keep a ship in position. The automatic system is now dependably working for ships that are of enough size to receive the vacuum clamps that are sent out to the ship’s sides when in a lock. Ships not large enough cannot use the automatic system. Seems there are so few smaller vessels that the staff of the canal locks have been reduced. Coordinating with vessels that cannot take advantage of the automatic systems booking/reserving the needed line handlers seems difficult. With plenty of warning, maybe this downbound experience will not suffer undue delay for lack of line handlers.

Here’s to hoping.

Captain Jan C. Miles