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View of Vineyard Haven Harbor

Great Lakes End with a Flourish

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