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Race Two ~ underway with all sails set

20 July 2010
Pride of Baltimore II at 44 50.1’N 083 02.3’W
SE entrance to Thunder Bay Michigan
Sailing under all sail at 4.1 knots on course of 040T

Pride of Baltimore IIis back at the races. The second race of the ASTA Great Lakes Challenge Series started last night at 1900, this time in Lake Huron from just off Tawas, Michigan toward Drummond Island and the entrance to the St. Mary’s river. It would be near impossible to race in the river, and so the finish line is far from the fleet’s next scheduled port of Duluth, Minnesota. But it is still 121 nm and we’re not quite half way through it.

At the awards ceremony in Bay City, Michigan, we learned Pride II was second on corrected time for the first race. This is a disappointment aboard due to all the hard work put into that light-air race. The winning vessel, St. Lawrence II, out of Kingston, Ontario, was well sailed and put in just as much hard work, however. She is smaller, and so Pride II needed to be further ahead of her to beat her due to a handicapping system that allows dissimilar vessels to compete on a level plane. Under this system, larger vessels typically “owe” time to smaller ones, meaning they need to be a specific interval ahead for each mile that the race represents. In a race that featured a stretch of near calm for some three hours, this would have been difficult to do – when all of the boats are nearly motionless, it allows the smaller ones to “catch-up.” Particularly when they are as well sailed as St. Lawrence II. Congratulations to St. Lawrence II, and to Appledore V, who took third place.

This time the fleet started with fewer boats, as not everyone in Bay City was bound for Duluth, and not all the boats bound for Duluth were in Bay City. The Class A square riggers began early to make use of the Southerly breeze and were off and running three hours before the B, C & D boats. Lynx and Pride II were again able to make a strong showing for Baltimore Schooners at the starting line. Pride IIwas over the line 30 seconds after the gun and just finishing setting the main and main gaff tops’l. These sails had been left off for ease of maneuvering toward a downwind start line.

Sadly, Lynx’s schedule does not take them North to Duluth, but instead South to Toledo, Ohio. So they had to retire shortly into the race. Denis Sullivan also withdrew early on, and Playfair and Roseway did not start the race at all.

So currently the non-square rig class is only Pride II and Pathfinder. At our 0800 positions, Pride II was approximately 12nm ahead of Pathfinder, but Pathfinder is the same type of vessel as St. Lawrence II, so we will need to keep opening the gap if we are to finish ahead of her on corrected time.

The relatively light air conditions are again a challenge, but steadier than in Race 1. All this after a very busy port call in Bay City, where we saw nearly 8000 people board the vessel. Bay City goes all out to throw a good festival for both the public and the crews, and the amenities offered to sailors included free haircuts, free laundry and discounts at nearly every place you could think of in town.

Situated in the Saginaw River Valley, Bay City also has a nearly magic quality of warding off weather. The Parade of Sail on Thursday and the public tours Saturday and Sunday looked certain to be completely spoiled by approaching thunderstorms. Yet each time the line seemed to bifurcate around Bay City, with the thicker weather passing North over Saginaw Bay or South towards Lake St. Clair. Whatever the cause, the weather was only a problem one time through the festival, while we were securing as the last boat in
from the Parade of Sail.

All best,
Jamie Trost and the Superior Bound Crew aboard Pride of Baltimore II