9 July 2012
Pos: 41°33.1’N x 070°47.8’ W
Wx: South Force 4, 2/8 Cirrus, 3/8 Stratus
Pride of Baltimore II sailing at 6.6 knots toward the Cape Cod Canal under all Plain Sail and T’Gallant.
Pride of Baltimore II has left the hustle and bustle of a busy and successful festival in Newport, Rhode Island astern and is now at sea once more. After arriving in grand style on Thursday 5 July, we opened for tours Friday and hosted nearly 9,000 visitors to the ship in a short three days. Busy, but not too busy for the crew to experience the depth and breadth of sailing, history, and sailing history of Newport. As hometown of War of 1812 hero Oliver Hazard Perry, victor of the Battle of Lake Erie, Newport has strong 1812 connections, and those are especially poignant to me, as Perry made his mark in my home waters of Lake Erie, and I grew up in the shadow of his legend in Erie, PA. Today, Tall Ships America, co-host of the festival with Ocean State Tall Ships fittingly has their offices in Perry’s home.
Modern Newport has its mind clearly focused on modern yachting, but its history is apparent on every block, and from every era. The imposing New York Yacht Club stands proud at the harbor entrance and serves as a constant reminder of the grand era of America’s Cup Racing, and layers upon layers of historic and recent racing memorabilia can be found in the shops along America’s Cup Way and Thames Street.
Our fleet of traditional sail made it’s own show today, Parading along the East Shore of Narragansett Bay from Castle Hill to the Newport Naval Station and back to sea. Fourteen ships in all, and when many back at our end of the Parade ducked back into Newport to disembark passengers or simply call it a day, Pride II was left alone to bring up the rear. No longer bound to the Parade speed, we quit motor sailing and ghosted out the Bay with aid from an ebb tide. Then a Southerly shift had us scrambling to trim sail and Pride II was alive again, beating to windward across a calm sea as Baltimore Schooners were made to do. And as if drawn by the Chesapeake like conditions, our little sister, Lady Maryland, also two weeks out from Baltimore, appeared to the southwest.
It would be un-neighborly, we thought, not to sail a board back to the West and say hello. The breeze would hold, Pride II was fast enough to make up a bit of time, especially time spent to hail old shipmates and friends. So we tacked away from our rhumbline and for a quarter of an hour had a “gam,” a chance meeting of ships on the open water. Lady Maryland reached down from windward and we put Pride II’s fore tops’l and t’gallant aback, effectively throwing the brakes on, to let her pass under our stern and to Leeward. We exchanged salutes, then braced up and slid along with her. Eager students gazed out over her rail at us while our guest crew took a curious look at this “other” Baltimore Schooner.
Among the crews of both ships, thick with old bonds, not much was said. Not much needed to be. We’d weathered squalls and sailed through gales together, froze our way through winter maintenance and up-rig with each other. Now, on a sun-speckled afternoon with the breeze running its fingers across the water, all we needed was to share a nod and a knowing smile that told each other all those rainy nights and long cold days were worth this chance to stumble upon each other and show off our ships. In our world of near constant voyaging, that’s enough. We tacked around to get on our way and Lady Maryland sailed on to her anchorage.
Fair winds, friends, we’ll see you back home.
Captain Jamie Trost and the Crew of Pride of Baltimore II