Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge Race 3 ~ Bermuda to Charleston: Day 1

KRUZENSHTURN has had to drop out of the race. That is a big surprise! She is an all metal boat…from stem to stern, from keel to truck. The wind was not especially strong last night either. But there was some lightning about. According to overheard radio conversations she is headed directly to port to organize lowering a topmast to her deck. Hmmm. I am quite curious to what has gone wrong.

PRIDE has had some wear and tear. Some lashings have broken, all minor and easy to fix.  The good fortune of discovery before the inevitable follow on problems is careful inspection before and after dark. The problems were turned up and the fix of them is going on as I write. Meanwhile the wind has dropped out nearly completely. Weather reports suggested it would, so no surprise. While the crew get more sail spread, I notice that several of the “under the weather” trainees are up and about giving a hand. A lumpy first night can be quite debilitating to the uninitiated.

Wind was SW’rly fresh at around 20 knots from start of the race to just about the fleet check-in time today. The sea is about 6-8 feet and now a bit disorganized, but it is beginning to show signs of reducing considering there is no wind to create the swell. Now the wind is NNW at about 6-8 knots…not much to sail with on a leftover lumpy ocean. Interestingly, sailing on a port tack to the NE is faster with the 6-8 knot wind than sailing on a STBD tack to the West. My guess is there is an ocean current holding us back from sailing to America…too bad we are not sailing to Europe.

You can follow the race on http://www.tallshipsraces.com/mapping/


Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

PRIDE II and Tall Ships Bermuda Celebrating 400 Years of Bermuda

Between the two St. George’s parties last Wednesday, the one hosted by the Mayor of St. George’s and the St. George Dingy Club barbecue, the Dingy Club event was the livelier. Not the least because of the Gumby’s!!! There is a native traditional dance group here in Bermuda, the Gumby’s, they dress up in some very spooky garb of a multitude of colors and dance some very vigorous moves to the percussion beat of skin-covered and tin drums.

Thursday PRIDE joined the collection of training vessels staged in St. George’s in a shift to Hamilton. The 18 nautical miles transit was a four hour “motor-sail” for PRIDE, tacking up along the north shore of Bermuda. Once PRIDE turned the corner to sail eastward again for Hamilton Harbor the wind was more favorable so the jib-topsail and the main-gaff-topsail were set, in addition to the already set mainsail, foresail, staysail, jib and square-fore-topsail. Within 3 miles PRIDE entered the inner harbor of Hamilton with two cannon blasts to mark the taking in of sail…sort of a ballerina flourish…before going to her assigned berth. The day ended with the setting of the largest Star-Spangled Flag in PRIDE’s inventory…long enough on the hoist to be about half the height of PRIDE’s masts…large enough to cause quite a bit of vocalized admiration by passer’s by and anyone who had seen the flag from afar and knew we were from PRIDE.

Today, Friday, is the first day of the Tall Ships Festival…but last night was a scene right out of New Years at Times Square in terms of celebrating crowds. Hamilton’s water front street was closed down to traffic and completely jammed with thronging crowds of kids, adults, trainees and crew. For the rest of the weekend Hamilton’s harbor will be filled by passing vessels coming to see the ships from the waterside while crowds ashore walk by and actually visit aboard the tall ships. PRIDE will be open to public visitation as well as make a number of charter sails with Bermudian based companies. Meanwhile, any trainees or crew that have time off from their vessels are taking advantage of Bermudian hospitality or just connecting with other vessel crews and trainees. If past experience goes as prologue of the future there won’t be much rest between now and going to sea for the start of the race to Charleston.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II

In-Port Life "Aboard" During an International Sail Training Vessel Event

St. George’s, Bermuda


PRIDE is in good company as sail training vessels from Europe and North America are also gathered in Bermuda. Some finished a race across the Atlantic from Europe and some, like PRIDE, are gathered to join the fleet for the next race from Bermuda to Charleston, NC. This regatta is a result of an opportunity for the international sail training community to help Bermuda celebrate 400 years.


The staging for the official Bermuda Tall Ships event, which starts Friday, June 12, is to provide dockage outside the central port of Hamilton for the early arrivals. Hence the collecting fleet is scattered from one end of this island nation to the other. While the visiting vessels await the move to downtown Hamilton, the crew of all ships are busy taking care of their vessels and using their time off to the best advantage. Evening times are spent honoring official and unofficial invitations to ship-board parties or those hosted at local yacht clubs. What distinguishes most international training vessel gatherings is the very strong focus on sailors of 15 years through 25 years. Several of the evening events are therefore geared to those ages and the fact there are several nationalities represented.


Taking care of the vessels involves re-victualing, watering, and fueling, as well a wide variety of repairs. Some of the desires and requirements can be very troubling to obtain in this very small nation surrounded by at least 800 nautical miles of water. In the end, what cannot be gotten on the island must be sent in from another country or lived without.


Tonight is the first night of official “host” sponsored events. The Mayor of St. George’s is hosting the Captains and officers of those vessels moored in St. George’s. All of us must depart tomorrow and move to Hamilton. Meanwhile there is a “trainee & crew” barbeque being held in the St. George’s Dingy Club at the same time. I wonder which event will be the most lively?

Jan C. Miles, Captain Pride of Baltimore II

A Grand Entry Under Full Sail

At 0900 hours Bermuda local time (ADT) PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II took aboard a Bermuda Harbor Pilot while sailing and with the pilot taking the helm and me directing the crew, PRIDE sailed all the way into St. George’s Harbor. With a fresh breeze of about 15-18 knots from the SSW PRIDE made a powerful figure sailing through the narrow St. George’s Cut and then into St. George’s Bay. Visitors walking the pier past PRIDE have spoken loudly and proudly of having seen the entry and taken photos of her arrival. So often the weather does not permit a sailing vessel to enter a port the way it was done many years ago, in a day when there were no mechanical engines to depend on when the wind was not just perfect for harbor entry. Doing so with PRIDE is fun and safe and educational to those aboard as well those looking on…showing that such behavior is more than just beautiful.

Last night’s sail to Bermuda was quite fast at a nearly steady 10 knots. The breeze had freshened steadily all day yesterday and eventually last evening I called for a reef to be put in the mainsail and the jib-topsail to be struck. Even with the reduction of sail PRIDE continued make about 10 knots. Maybe there is a lesson there about not continuing to carry sail as the wind increases. Before reefing I had been closely monitoring the strains upon the traditional rigging holding the topmast and the jib-boom as well sensing the amount of heel. There was no water on deck…but a lot of heel not only represents discomfort and struggle to walk the deck and down below but also represents the amount of strain the lighter rigging of the smaller spars comes under. Speed is usually a good thing and we certainly were getting good speed. But I finally judged that we had no particularly good reason to allow any additional strain to come onto PRIDE and her crew if the wind were to increase further so I ordered the reduction in sail. PRIDE stood up more to the wind and everyone aboard was more comfortable…plus the strain was less on certain rigging…and PRIDE did not slow down!

Jan C. Miles, Captain Pride of Baltimore II

GUEST ENTRY: A Few Words from a PRIDE II Addict

Right now, on another beautiful, sunny afternoon, PRIDE II sails powerfully, smoothly along, less than 200 miles from Bermuda. We have entered our fifth full day under way since departing Jacksonville. Our weather, under the influence of big high pressure cells, has been remarkably unchanging except, thankfully, for a veering breeze which now allows the ship to sail at her swift best after dealing with two days of motoring into light head winds nearer the Florida coast.

Having become over the past dozen years something of a PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II addict, I am making my twelfth trip in this superb vessel as a “guest crew”, enjoying the company of the always friendly, helpful and tolerant real crew and their Captain. Retirement affords this kind of opportunity even to creaking 75-year olds like me! I have seen PRIDE II in all kinds of conditions from flat calms to heavy, cold North Atlantic gales, and from work days in port to passage making to racing. I don’t recall, however, another such extended period of “bluebird” weather as we are experiencing on this trip. Bermuda will be a fitting port of call before the next one, a major tall ships “race” to Charleston, where once again, it will be time for me to leave her.

Signed, George Rockwood

A lesson in AIS

PRIDE is sailing!!! We have no engine noises! Most all of the sail is set.

0900 hours
Position: 31D 11/6 North X 72D 20.3 West
Course and Speed: 100 Magnetic and 7.6 to 8 knots
Wind:  15 knots SSW
Barometer: 1018.0 rising from 1017.0 at 0400 EDT
Sky: a few scattered cumulus clouds
Sea: 3-4 ft swell
Air Temp: 79 F

Yesterday there was a lot of rain cloud scattered about…not as much this morning and nearly none since midnight. We have had 6 ships pass by since midday yesterday. We have only actually seen two of them. We know that the other four were in our area of the ocean due to the Automatic Identification System (AIS) that is mandatory on all commercial vessels, including PRIDE. Each vessel transmits via VHF Marine Radio Frequencies their position, course & speed. That information is crunched by the calculators in the AIS machine to provide bearings between the ships receiving the AIS signals as well as distances. Aboard PRIDE we have the AIS information sent to the electronic charts on the main computer and we can see an icon of a ship based on their AIS information. Quite often we can “see” ships in our area as far out as 25 miles…sometimes more…but we cannot actually see them as they are “hull down” over the horizon after about 10 miles. This morning we actually saw the BRITISH MERCHANT pass astern of PRIDE at a distance of 3 nautical miles. According to her AIS information regarding ship particulars she is headed to Cove Point. I do not know any Cove Point but the one near the Potuxant River in Maryland. I guess she is bringing cooking gas to the United States and will unload her cargo at the gas piers at Cove Point, Maryland.

Our distance from Bermuda is 385 nautical miles and our distance to get into harbor is 417 nautical miles. At the speed we are sailing now we will be ahead of schedule. Maybe we will go past Bermuda a little and see if we can find some of the European Sail Training vessels racing in a regatta to Bermuda from the Canary Islands.

~Captain Miles