25 years ago today Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned into service by the State of Maryland and I sailed her out of Baltimore as her first full-time captain. Today I remain one of her two full-time captains with Jamie Trost and am currently sailing into Cambridge, Maryland to share with 7th and 8th grade students of Dorchester County the story of Baltimore Schooner Privateers; the Defense of Baltimore from British invasion for the express purpose of destroying the Fell’s Point shipyards building the Privateers, but failed and withdrew leaving an emotionally relieved American citizen Frances Scott Key who witnessed the British depart as well the National flag rise the morning after the bombardment over the defending Fort McHenry and be moved to write the poetry that are the words to our national anthem the Star Spangled Banner.
I look back in astonishment to not only my 25 years being a part of the inspiring voyages of the 2nd Pride representing the story of Baltimore and Maryland Citizens’ of our past & present but also to my many times as master of the First Pride and her voyages representing the renaissance of Baltimore’s Downtown and Inner Harbor.
It is and has been my honor to have been a part of the dedicated team of professional traditional sailing vessel masters to sail both Pride’s of Baltimore under the management of Pride of Baltimore, Inc. far and wide (Armin Elsaesser, Pete Boudreau, Sid Miller, Bob Glover, Dan Parrott, John Beebe-Center, David Bradley, Jamie Toast). All but one of these captains were masters of the second Pride (Pete, Armin and I were captains of the first Pride) and helped extend the voyage range of the first Pride (North America & Caribbean plus Western Europe) out to the Eastern European nations of Ukraine and Russia as well those of Eastern Asia, China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan and almost everywhere in between. As well telling the inspiring coming of age stories that describe the American War of 1812, the writing of our National Anthem in Baltimore and of the modern renaissance of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Meanwhile the ship, Pride of Baltimore II, is today as strong, possibly stronger, than she was when brand new 25 years ago. Her original masts and spars were changed from grown tree to laminated wood and altogether represent a significant increase in strength as well much greater resistance to rot. The diligent maintenance Pride II receives has preserved the excellent construction by the builders. If the last 25 years can be a prologue for the future, Pride of Baltimore II ought to easily last much longer than another 25 years. Quite likely double that. The second Pride’s voyages have shown to the world a vessel of strength and of speed as well of breath taking American beauty admired around the world. In fact Marylander’s sailing Pride II is the most worldwide renowned of any American sailing vessel sailing today. The citizens of Baltimore, Maryland and also the nation are the recipients of global admiration as a result of the consistent performance and beautiful appearance of a vessel history totally unique to the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore.
May the respect and admiration of the nation and the globe provide the citizens of Maryland and Baltimore with the desire to continue to support future voyages of their PRIDE in perpetuity.
Captain Jan C. Miles