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Shifting Gears, the Nautical Way

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pos: 39 24.2’N x 072 44.6’W

Wx: SW F 4, Seas 3-5′

Pride of Baltimore II Sailing under All Plain Sail, Plus T’gallant and Stuns’l at 8-9 knots

Pride of Baltimore II is zigzagging her way toward the Canadian Maritimes under nearly all her canvas on a gorgeous spring day. We can’t quite make a bee line of our 725 nautical mile course from Cape May, New Jersey to Cape Canso, Nova Scotia because the wind is blowing nearly exactly in that direction. And while they certainly can’t sail straight into the wind, most sailing ships don’t do very well sailing dead downwind either. And Pride II, with her extremely raked masts enticing the gaffs to swing back toward the center of the ship, has an even tougher time sailing “deep” wind angles than most ships.

So maneuvering we go. It’s good practice for the crew, many of whom are in their first days of sailing Pride II offshore. After setting sail at the  mouth of the Delaware Bay this morning at 0024, we made our way nearly due east for 12 hours, and then turned north by wareing ship. Modern sailors will know this as gybing, but technically the sails gybe from one side of the ship to the other while the ship herself wares, or turns her stern through the wind and changes the side of the ship the wind is coming from.  Aboard Pride II it’s a complex process that has the crew constantly and methodically moving from one step to the next.

After a spring that included a over a dozen trips between Maryland Ports,  thirty-one installments of Pride, Inc.’s new education program, and eighteen  day sails, this crew is certainly accustomed to moving constantly and  methodically. With a full day of logistics on Monday and the hustle and bustle of departure yesterday, the frantic pace of spring has switched over to the longer arch of Pride II’s voyaging summer. The distances between the ports are exponentially longer, the steady routine of sailing a demanding ship is setting in. Soon the ritual of setting up for thousands of eager visitors will become second nature. The crew will catch on fast – they’re sharp, that’s why we hired them. But the ship already knows. After all, she’s been at this for a quarter century now.

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and the “zigging and zagging” crew of Pride of Baltimore II