Date: Mid-February, 2018
Position: Pride II’s Winter Maintenance Berth, Baltimore
The winter maintenance crew are now gone to the four winds.
Pride of Baltimore II lays empty of her gear under her winter cover – protected from sun and rain, sheltered from storms. Under the cover, she is open for full-length ventilation. Her spars (yards, topmasts, gaffs, and boom) and the wooden pulling boat, Chasseur, are nearby under their own cover.
Laying up a ship for an extended time without crew working aboard is a pretty common occurrence and has happened as long as there have been ships. Layups occur for two general reasons: between working seasons (if there is no reason to operate all year round) or for economic reasons.
Most of the time, Pride’s layup is for reasons of the seasons. It was discovered some time ago that it was actually less expensive to not sail during the winter given the small amount of rewarding work for Pride. Keep her at home and do catch-up wear and tear maintenance. Get the ship ready for the next year of activity. The costs of diligent and prudent maintenance was actually less costly than sailing through the winter but not significantly less expensive. Winter maintenance crew were paid but there were no food costs, no fuel costs, and less wear and tear on the ship. And so it has been for more than two decades (save for a couple of year round occurrences: the 1997/98 Asia tour and the dismasting repair in 2005/06).
Catch-up winter maintenance and portions of the 30-year refit were attended to during January and the first half of February of this year. A lot of very good work was done by a great team. They had hopes of sailing together and I had hopes of sailing with them. But fiscal responsibility interceded.
So for now, Pride of Baltimore II lays securely at her winter berth. While still actively being responsible for her, she is costing as little as possible. A few volunteers and I keep an eye on her. There is also some pro-bono work being done by local technical experts, supporting Pride as they have for many years.
As the heat of summer fills in, I hope to set up some wood shrinkage remediation with help from local volunteers and pro-bono technical experts. The winter cover does block the sun and the rain, but summer heat is summer heat and dries out big timber, something that does not happen when the vessel is crewed and sailed. Sailing makes the ship wet. Crew keep the ship clean and wet her down several times a week when not sailing.
If you are interested in being a part of Pride’s wood shrinkage remediation effort, contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Captain Jan C. Miles