2 March 2012
Alongside her Winter Berth at Clinton Street
Inhabited by Crew for first time since November 2011
A year ago, news services around the globe were a-twitter with the new catch phrase “Arab Spring.” And while it came without public unrest, without violence and involved just over one-hundred people, Pride of Baltimore II’s recent transformation from a sleeping hulk to a living, inhabited ship again is almost as dramatic a change. Ignore for the moment that this transformation from hibernation to new life is an annual event that, for twenty-four seasons now, has been as predictable and natural as the change from winter to spring it portends – this year is different. Pride II, accustomed to attention, no stranger to notoriety, is ready for the focus the War of 1812 Bicentennial will bring. Her time has come.
Pride II – through the impeccable craftsmanship of her construction and a relentless maintenance regimen – remains physically as strong as the day she was launched. The operational and cosmetic details attended to this winter were largely the same as any other winter. But the spirit of Pride II is rejuvenated. As was the case when public sentiment and support insisted on the very existence of a second Pride in 1988, the spirit of Pride II and what she means is once more larger than the ship herself.
When last I wrote in December . . . I know, three months ago, but hey, we’ve been busy and if you’ll give a minute, I’ll tell you how . . . (ahem) when I last wrote in December, Pride II was on the verge of her first ever volunteer program. Uncharted waters for us, and full of all the same anxious unknowns as an open water voyage – how do we inspire people to the same love for Pride II we have, how do we keep them engaged, will anyone even show up? Now, at the far end of our first “volunteer winter” we can proudly say over 70 people, including enthusiastic group attendances from both the Baltimore Annapolis Sailing Club and Local Boy Scout Troop 35, came to give a little “elbow grease” and attention to Pride II.
And now, with a corps of seasoned officers and a focs’l full of first time deckhands, Pride II is rolling into uprig with all the momentum of our new volunteers’ contributions. For over two and half decades, no vessel has more fervently told the story of Baltimore’s Privateers, the story of individual Americans investing of themselves in both a ship and a cause. At Pride, Inc. we are both deeply humbled and greatly exhilarated to have so many people – our members, our fans, and our volunteers – invested in our mission. The realization and incorporation of that support, coming succinctly with the dawning of the War of 1812 Bicentennial, is precisely what makes this spring – the “Pride Spring” – something extra-ordinary. We’ve been reminded just who’s backing us, and we intend to make all of them, in a word, proud.
Jamie Trost, a Captain with Pride of Baltimore, Inc.