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Tuesday, 25 June, 2013

Pos: At anchor in 27 feet of water off Jordan Harbor, Ontario
Wx: SW F 2-3, Overcast with light rain
Pride of Baltimore II cooling her heels, her crew cooling their hands.

Ahead of schedule for her appearance in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Pride of Baltimore II is once more swinging on her Port Bower, and once more sharing a Canadian anchorage with her sister Privateer Lynx. With Queen Elizabeth’s Way, one of Ontario’s major thoroughfares, running along the shore, this anchorage isn’t quite as quiet as La Malbaie, but we’re getting accustomed to the steady thrum of highway noise.

In case you’re starting to think all this anchoring makes Pride II’s port hook the most exercised thing on the ship, allow me to detail the recent schedule the ship and crew have had. After a jam packed festival in Toronto where our 6,657 visitors were boarding and marveling at the ship right up until an hour before departure, we got underway and immediately assembled to take up our station in a five-mile parade of sail through Toronto Harbor. Once finished, we were off to the races, literally, along with the Norwegian Ship Sorlandet, the Barkentine Peacemaker, and the Schooners Lynx and Unicorn.

At 1930 Sunday evening, the first race of the 2013 Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge started just east of Toronto. Pride II is always eager for the challenge of maximizing performance against the world’s finest traditional vessels, but on Sunday we might have been even more primed – five of us had seen a disappointing Orioles loss live at Rodgers Center on Saturday, and just as we started the parade we heard that the O’s had lost 9-0 to the Blue Jays. It was up to us to keep Baltimore proud this weekend.

All our pre-start strategies were literally rained on by squall that swept out from the heat of Toronto. With a perfect bead on the start line and the timing worked out to cross it right at the gun, we had to shorten sail for the squall, and lagged behind our timing in the lull that followed. The seven minute delay still had us across eight minutes before anyone else in the fleet. We cracked on our kites – the stuns’ls and t’gallant – and bore off toward the first mark off Pickering, Ontario.

Typically, Tall Ships races follow the rhumb line, the shortest distance between two ports. This time, however, the fleet was splitting up for their next port appearances, the overall distance to either port was less than 30 nautical miles, and our appearances were five days away. So, to jazz things up, Tall Ships America sent us around the buoys. The first leg was 14 miles dead down wind, and the next 38 miles nearly dead to weather, and the final mile a close reach.

With her nose first over the start line, Pride II established a lead she never lost. After 13 hours 20 minutes and 3 seconds, we finished ahead of the rest of the fleet. And we need to if there’s any hope of winning. Under the rating system used for Tall Ships Races, Pride II has the least favorable time correction factor in the fleet, and “owes” time to all the other ships.

After finishing a race that included ten sail changes, two wares and eight tacks in less than 14 hours, we stripped Pride II down to easy sail and took communications from the rest of the fleet. Lynx crossed around 1625, and we sailed to the anchorage with her. With the race over it was time for the next phase – the 2013 Great Lakes Five Lake Swim Call Challenge! Having missed Lake Ontario in 2011, we wasted no time washing the sweat and grime of the race off of us. One lake down, four to go!

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and the Fresh Water Cleansed Crew of Pride of Baltimore II