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Date: Sunday September 29, 2013

Location: approaching The Race, the entrance to Long Island Sound with light easterly winds

The conditions are quite benign. A slight swell exists coming from the Atlantic past Montauk Point at the east end of Long Island. Block Island lies offshore as well. Behind us is Point Judith. Shore ward are the beaches of Rhode Island and Fisher’s Island, Connecticut. The wind is behind PRIDE and quite light. But PRIDE slides along steadily. Soon to slide even better as 1st Mate Will McLean organizes the crew setting the gants’le and the stuns’le (square top-gallant-sail and studding-sail). The sky is bright with scattered cloud with lots of sunshine. The temperature is a comfortable – light shirt temperature. New York Harbor is 140 nautical miles ahead. The forecast indicates continued favorable light winds. Soon the ebbing water coming out of Long Island Sound will end and the flood will begin. PRIDE looks to be in great position to be swept through The Race and into Long Island Sound during this afternoon like so much flotsam. One of the prettiest flotsam sights one might imagine! A fine day ’tis!!

PRIDE is coming from four days sailing in Boston Harbor. The weather was constant and beautiful. Everyday was the same. Northeast breeze of around 10 knots. Cool temperatures. Dry. Perfect for PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II day-sails with students and adults associated with security and first-responders of Boston. PRIDE was sent to Boston to pay respects to all those (and their families) that did such a magnificent job dealing with the Boston Marathon Bombing and apprehension of those responsible. Pride of Baltimore, Inc. partnered with the education and non-profit arm of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to coordinate the salute to all the services that fulfilled important and critical roles during that emergency. Every morning’s student sail was educational about Baltimore Schooners and their role as Privateers during the 1812 War. Also shared was the creation of our nation’s National Anthem as result of the extensive activities of Baltimore Privateers in that war causing the British to come to Baltimore to burn the shipyards creating those schooners. The British failure to burn the shipyards through the effective defense of Baltimore by Fort McHenry and the shore militias gave American citizen Francis Scott Key the powerful image of the Nation’s flag flying as the British left and penned the poetry that is now our National Anthem The Star Spangled Banner. Captain Jamie Trost took time from his stint ashore between commanding PRIDE to lead the crew for those education sails. He was careful to recognize how New England back in that day had a different attitude about that war. Still, notwithstanding different attitudes about that war, there is little question that war was a turning point in citizen attitudes about our nation. We moved from merely being a group of people that had thrown off the English rulers that all had endeavored to leave behind by coming to North America to a group of people that saw ourselves as one nation of peoples calling ourselves Americans. A nation of peoples with significant gumption and capability as a member nation of the world. Every afternoon there were two sails with adults. While we shared a compressed version of the PRIDE story, those adult sails were mostly about enjoying a beautiful bit of American living history in the beautiful Boston Harbor.

Now, with gants’le and stuns’le set over full sail PRIDE is slipping through The Race soon to pick up a favorable flooding current. Another big city lies ahead. The new crew members replacing the crew that started aboard back in April are struggling to learn PRIDE running rigging and methods. This is a challenge considering there is no other schooner in America with the rigging complexity as is PRIDE’s and it takes several weeks to become fully proficient. The current benign and favorable weather provides great opportunity for training the new crew up and reminding the few ‘old hands’ what they have forgotten.

Jan C. Miles and the ever changing but willing crew of PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II