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PRIDE II and Tall Ships Bermuda Celebrating 400 Years of Bermuda

Between the two St. George’s parties last Wednesday, the one hosted by the Mayor of St. George’s and the St. George Dingy Club barbecue, the Dingy Club event was the livelier. Not the least because of the Gumby’s!!! There is a native traditional dance group here in Bermuda, the Gumby’s, they dress up in some very spooky garb of a multitude of colors and dance some very vigorous moves to the percussion beat of skin-covered and tin drums.

Thursday PRIDE joined the collection of training vessels staged in St. George’s in a shift to Hamilton. The 18 nautical miles transit was a four hour “motor-sail” for PRIDE, tacking up along the north shore of Bermuda. Once PRIDE turned the corner to sail eastward again for Hamilton Harbor the wind was more favorable so the jib-topsail and the main-gaff-topsail were set, in addition to the already set mainsail, foresail, staysail, jib and square-fore-topsail. Within 3 miles PRIDE entered the inner harbor of Hamilton with two cannon blasts to mark the taking in of sail…sort of a ballerina flourish…before going to her assigned berth. The day ended with the setting of the largest Star-Spangled Flag in PRIDE’s inventory…long enough on the hoist to be about half the height of PRIDE’s masts…large enough to cause quite a bit of vocalized admiration by passer’s by and anyone who had seen the flag from afar and knew we were from PRIDE.

Today, Friday, is the first day of the Tall Ships Festival…but last night was a scene right out of New Years at Times Square in terms of celebrating crowds. Hamilton’s water front street was closed down to traffic and completely jammed with thronging crowds of kids, adults, trainees and crew. For the rest of the weekend Hamilton’s harbor will be filled by passing vessels coming to see the ships from the waterside while crowds ashore walk by and actually visit aboard the tall ships. PRIDE will be open to public visitation as well as make a number of charter sails with Bermudian based companies. Meanwhile, any trainees or crew that have time off from their vessels are taking advantage of Bermudian hospitality or just connecting with other vessel crews and trainees. If past experience goes as prologue of the future there won’t be much rest between now and going to sea for the start of the race to Charleston.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II