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PRIDE II in Annapolis
PRIDE II in Annapolis. Photo courtesy of John Lee

Maryland Day Weekend Annapolis Visit & Season Debut

Photo: Pride II in Annapolis, courtesy of John Lee

Date: Sunday, March 21, 2021

Location: Annapolis, Maryland

Activity: Maryland Day Commemoration Weekend

The weekend is nearly cloudless and windless due to a strong and stable high-pressure air mass overhead, escorted in by a wet and windy gale last Thursday and Friday.

Pride of Baltimore II transited down to Annapolis yesterday. A day with light wind from the north. Fortunate for the first setting of sail for this year by the newly formed crew that have been up-rigging since early February. The first setting of sail is always an experience of numerous discoveries that must get adjusted to attain a “proper fit” for the rest of the season. Thus, a light wind day is perfect for the first sail setting.

Maryland commemorates its forming every year on March 25. In recent years, Four Rivers Heritage Area has been organizing a weekend-long Maryland Day commemoration event. This year, the weekend chosen precedes Maryland Day. With the worldwide pandemic, many participants have created virtual programming for the event. Pride of Baltimore II is able to be a more tangible participant through being seen directly while moored in Annapolis. However, she is not open to deck visitors. With a shoreside War of 1812 history display set up alongside, there is a lot of information to read while also admiring the ship close up.

From Annapolis City Dock about one hundred feet away, one is able to get a very nice profile view of the port side of the ship. From about a half-mile away, at the top of Main Street near Church Circle, one is able to admire Pride’s clearly tall and square topsail schooner rig complete with tightly furled, very white sails. And also view the Chesapeake Bay beyond, all the way to Kent Island’s western shore on the far eastern side of the bay.

Yesterday’s transit from Baltimore and arrival was captured on film by a number of folks, starting with dawn’s early light near Fort McHenry. With all sail finally set, Pride sailed right into Annapolis Harbor just before noon, firing cannon salutes as the crew took in sail. Many folks were on shore to observe as well as hear Pride’s arrival. All afternoon after secure to the dock, as the crew tidied up the ship and set up the shoreside history display, folks walked up and asked questions or gave good cheer to Pride’s presence.

Pride, Inc.’s relatively new social media tradition of Coffee with the Captain every Saturday at 9 AM local time was maintained even while Pride was moving down the bay toward Annapolis. After providing a “what has been happening aboard for the week” update to the tuned-in audience, we introduced National Park Ranger Kate Marks Hardy as the featured guest. Ranger Kate described the new partnership between the National Park Service Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Pride of Baltimore, Inc., providing the ship as the roving ambassador to that trail. As the sailing ambassador for the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, Pride will be visiting Chesapeake Bay ports and partnering with local heritage areas for weekend events. The ports Pride is able to visit in addition to Baltimore and Annapolis are in no particular order, St. Mary’s City, Solomons, Cambridge, St. Michael’s, Chestertown, Georgetown (on the Sassafras River), and Havre de Grace. Visits to these ports will be spread out over the length of this year’s sailing season.

The voyages to and away from these ports will also present opportunities for guest crew to join Pride’s crew and assist with sailing Pride. In addition, we expect there to be guest crew opportunities to sail and work with the crew to Bermuda and to New England.

There is a curious beneficial twist with the pandemic and port visits without public deck tours. The crew are able to do ship maintenance and the public are able to observe the care that is given to Pride. Without a pandemic, the public would be aboard and the crew would not be doing maintenance. With public aboard, the crew would be sharing stories of what their lives are like sailing Pride, as well facts about the type of vessel Pride is, and, of course, the wonderful story of the defense of Baltimore and the penning of the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” All the regular maintenance Pride requires would therefore be scheduled for times outside of having the public tour her deck. Working aloft caring for Pride’s traditional sailing rigging could be a risk to the public walking underneath the aloft work — for instance, dripping tar. Nor could cosmetic maintenance be ongoing — for instance, wet paint or varnish. Or even sanding with all the dust that is caused when prepping for re-coating. Thus maintenance is relegated to time that includes time needed to get Pride to her next scheduled port, squeezed between voyaging and public events. Being able to do maintenance during public viewing from ashore, with crew answering public questions that the shoreside history display does not answer, provides a chance to keep up with routine and cosmetic maintenance that sometimes falls behind when time between ports and events is not enough to both do maintenance as well voyage the ship.

Stay diligent everyone!

Captain Jan C. Miles