Captain's Log – En Route Toward Great Lakes… Depart Baltimore



As I write this first log of the Great Lakes Campaign of 2016 the wind is blowing blustery northwesterly 20-25 knots with gusts to 35 knots. PRIDE is making around 9 knots with peaks of 10-11 knots during gusts sailing under reduced canvass of just three sails. The double reefed mainsail the full foresail and the full fore-staysail (the first of the ship’s three jibs). One watch is below and off-duty and the other is aloft putting a reef in the square topsail in preparation of possible future use.


PRIDE spent the night at anchor near Baltimore Light after a hectic start to departure day. News media on board at the start and cannon salutes in the midst of setting sail on a lovely clear and somewhat cooler and less muggy day than has been around for several days. The forecast cold front was slightly slower arriving than anticipated. Knowing there would be fresh and favorable winds for today thus the chance to get a lot of mileage accomplished during one daylight day, I saw an opportunity to sail to anchor for the night and provide all aboard with time to adjust and settle in.


This morning with a dawn wake up, the crew and Guest Crew hauled back the anchor and with a favorable westerly wind of moderate strength steadily set sail before breakfast. Full mainsail, foresail and square topsail and all three jibs. With a forecast of strengthening wind left stowed the main-gaff-topsail. After passing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and passing Annapolis PRIDE was happily making around 9 knots with a mostly westerly wind. Stood the crew into two watches sending one below at 10 AM. Around late morning the promised stronger winds came up as the ship was passing entrances to both the Choptank and Little Choptank Rivers just below Sharp’s Island. The on watch started reducing sail. Struck the jib-topsail. Then the square-fore-topsail. Then the jib. Near lunch time for the off-watch they joined in with double reefing the mainsail.


It is now just after lunch and the ship is passing the mouth of the Patuxant River as the square-topsail is being reefed. Meanwhile the ship is making toward the mouth of the Potomac River and the turn into the Lower Chesapeake Bay at Smith Point Light. Where will we end up tonight? I’ve been thinking of Mobjack Bay. It is my desire to be anchored and stowed by dark…if not sooner. The question will be where to drop the anchor. I would also like a minimum water current location in the lee of some nearby shore. We shall see where we end up and when.

Sailing up Delaware Bay under Jib, Stays’l, Mains’l and Foretops’l

Pride of Baltimore II in Chesapeake & Delaware Canal
Winds NE Force 4

Pride IIis a rare sight today. Close-hauled and flying up the Delaware Bay at 8-10 knots, laying the buoys and lighthouses of the narrow deep-water channel only through good helmsman-ship and careful watch keeping. Jib and Stays’l trimmed in flat, Mains’l hauled tight, yards braced up sharp to carry the tops’l. But wait – where’s the Fores’l?

Our work horse sail, the one usually set first and taken in last, isn’t part of the sail plan today because it’s also our oldest sail, and while the cloth – a polyester called Oceanus made to look like honest to goodness canvas – is holding up marvelously after 10 seasons, the stitching is deteriorating due to ultra violet exposure. Yesterday afternoon we noticed about six feet of seam open up near the tack (the lower forward corner) and took the sail in, then reefed it to gather the damaged portion into the reef. But at midnight another seam had opened above the reef band, so we took the sail in entirely.

So now Pride IIis sailing “Split-Rigged,” with the Heads’ls and the Mains’l. It’s not the best configuration, as the center of effort in the rig isn’t as balanced, and it makes it difficult to bear off in a rising breeze. But for an upwind sail in protected waters, it will do the trick. And now that we’re getting a good sail of it, who’s to complain? Except maybe anyone taking pictures.

Jamei Trost, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II