Thursday 26 August, 2010
Pride of Baltimore II
Alongside the Southwest Wall, Navy Pier
Pride of Baltimore II and her crew have made a fine entrance to Chicago’s Navy Pier. During Tuesday’s Parade of Sail into Chicago Harbor she was prominently sailing under a 30’ x 42’ 15-stripe, 15-star American Flag. This “most splendid and magnificent ensign” was given her by Baltimore’s own Fort McHenry, and once actually flew over the fort. In similar show, during the land-based Parade of Sailors down Navy Pier on Wednesday morning, Port Watch marched under a large Maryland Flag (lent to us by our ship’s liaison Serrie) lashed to one of the spars from Chausser’s sailing rig.
These events were appropriate spectacle to serve as preludes for the awards ceremony at the end of the land parade. American Sail Training Organization Executive Director Bert Rodgers presented us with second place for Race Four in the Tallships challenge Series, A Fleet Award for our service as communications vessel during races One, Two and Four, as well as calculating the race results based on the Time Correction Factors of each vessel.
And finally (drum roll, please?) Pride II was awarded First Place Overall in the Tallship’s Challenge Series! Thanks to a great deal of grunting and sweating on the part of the crew, a few sleepless nights and one powerful Baltimore Schooner, we came out on top with one first, two seconds and a DNF (Did not Finish – in the Lake Superior Race due to scheduling conflicts). The Scrano-built, cold-molded Friends Good Will, another War of 1812 replica, sailed splendidly in Race Four and beat us on corrected time. Congratulations to Friends Good Will for their first ever race resulting in a first.
It takes more than one person to race any of the complex traditional vessels involved in the series – aboard Pride II, the ratio of sail area per crew member is roughly 800 square feet per person – it takes more than one vessel to make a race. And multiple crews all working to maximize the performance of their individual vessels in all variety of wind conditions is inspiring, a true capture of the Latin roots for our word “competition” – striving together. The race may be each vessel against the others, but the quest for better understanding of how to sail our own boats, of how to read the weather and react to the changes it brings or set up for the ones it promises, that is universal through the fleet.
All the tinkering and head-scratching of a racing environment engenders better efficiency, which translates to better, faster sailing, and resultantly, less motoring. So in one sense, the racing teaches us as mariners how we can reduce our carbon footprint by sailing faster and therefore, more. And since the Series itself was “The Race to Save the Great Lakes,” there is hope that our racing will draw attention to these massive and important Freshwater Seas. If everyone can tinker with their efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint, perhaps the next Great Lakes Tallships Challenge Series in 2013 will take place on cleaner, but familiar waters.
For our part, Pride II will keep up the tinkering, the training and the honing of skills that allowed us to claim First Place. And in the meantime, we extend congratulations to Europa (Second Place), Roald Amundsen (Third Place) and all the vessels that sailed any or all of the 580 nautical miles of races.
Jamie Trost and the Proudly Victorious crew of Pride of Baltimore II