The largest Ohio paper, The Plain Dealer, for this July 4th featured Pride of Baltimore II on the front page above the fold. The crew worked hard for that shot. This captain managed to put Pride in the right place at the right time so the crew’s hard work showed up on the front page. It takes a team! I am wryly amused that the shot closely resembles one of the old Pride in exactly the same proximity for another Cleveland Harbor entrance arrival (front page above the fold) photo back when I was her captain in August of 1981.
I am newly returned aboard Pride, relieving my Partner Captain Jamie Trost last Sunday in the Canadian Lake Ontario port of Port Dalhousie. Last Monday, Pride passed over the Niagara escarpment via the eight locks of the Welland Canal, seven of which lifted Pride some 55 feet each – more than 300 feet up to Lake Erie level from that of the level of Lake Ontario.
We had the pleasure of a pilot for the first time to manage Pride’s passage of a canal system. Pride has navigated without the aid of a pilot some two dozen times over the last 24 years. Canadian regulations changed two years ago to capture smaller vessels. Our first pilot was a charming and engaging individual of long experience in commercial shipping, as well as smaller yachts.
Once clear of the Welland Canal and out into Lake Erie late Monday afternoon, the crew set most of Pride’s sails to capture a favorable wind from the northeast. Something not all that common being most of the time wind is from the west. Jill, the 1st Mate, asked to set the top-gallant-sail. With the wind behind Pride broad reached fast. First southerly toward the border between New York and Pennsylvania. A late evening jibe Monday headed Pride westerly the rest of the night till around mid-day Tuesday when she started to run out of water near the north shore of Lake Erie on the Canadian shore. Another jibe after reducing sail by taking down the jib-topsail and the top-gallant-sail and Pride’s beam reached toward the south shore and the east side of Cleveland. All the while making between eight and 10 knots meant it was not long before Pride started to run out of water. I decided then to heave-to by slowing the ship down and adjusting sail so Pride sailed herself.
There are numerous ways to heave-to with multi-masted sailing vessels. In this instance I decided not to further reduce sail, but to have some of the sails aback acting as breaks while the other sails kept driving Pride along. In the end, Pride‘s speed was between one and two knots steering by herself to windward by having the helm lashed such it was trying to turn Pride into the wind. The crew did not need to do anything but monitor the ship and the weather. Because of the one to two knots of speed Pride would steadily increase her distance away from Cleveland and further out into mid-lake on one tack or close toward shore on the other tack. It was necessary to tack the heave-to a few times. All pretty simple. Certainly the taking was no more arduous than a real tack. It merely required a different order of sail handling. First pass the backed sails to get speed up for the tack. Then tack and leave aback the chosen sails (fore-staysail and foresail). After each tack there was nothing to do but monitor the ship and the conditions.
But the threat of heavy rain and possible high winds put an end to this around dark so all sail came in and was stowed and the whole of Tuesday night was spent either sailing with bare poles or heaving-to under bare poles. A very quiet and easy night on the eve before the long first day of the Cleveland Tall Ships Festival of 2013.
The first days of large tall ships festivals is a barrage of details and adjustments. First executing a well-articulated plan followed by adjustments for reality. Seeing as Pride had come from Canada she had to pass through US Customs. For reasons of safety and security there was a review of the vessel by the local fire department as well by the US Coast Guard and the local port security team – all before boarding guests for the actual Parade of Sail. Which leads us to the front page photo in the local paper featuring Pride, rather than one of the other parading vessels.
Today, the Forth of July, is the first day of the four day Cleveland Tall Ship Festival of 2013. Hundreds of folks are lined up to board each vessel. Some of the smaller vessels are going out sailing with groups of folks. On shore there is food and entertainment along with trinkets to purchase. All surrounded by volunteers of the Cleveland Rotary Club sponsoring the festival, as well all kinds of security in the form of local police, port security guards and US Coast Guard both ashore and on the water.
Throughout all this are the crews of the vessels hosting the visitors, getting ship maintenance done, shopping, or maximizing time off opportunities. Not a moment of calm all day long from before 8:00 am to later than 10:00 pm.
I hope your July 4th is as rewarding…or more restful!
Captain Jan Miles