Post Dry-Dock ~ Rig-up Continues…

Saturday April 2, 2011

We have been afloat since last Monday. It has been steady rain and cold since then. Today is the first dry & sunny day in a week. But it is still cold plus it is windy. USCG came back aboard yesterday for a very short boat ride to satisfy a new local to Norfolk area requirement to “view” (verify) that a recently dry-docked wooden vessel is no longer leaking before they award the dry-docking credit. This new requirement seems to be about checking that such leaking can no longer be “blamed” on “she is still swelling up” after drying out during dry-dock. Pride II passed with flying colors…meaning there was no leaking. Now we are fully focused on rig-up so that we can go sailing to check the ship and the rig and the sail and train the crew. It looks like we won’t be sailing till Monday.

Once we go sailing, we will take most of the week to return to Baltimore. The plan is to anchor during the evenings and sail during the days. There is a lot for the crew to learn…Setting and stowing sail…tacking and gybing sail…Fire drill….Man overboard drill…Abandon ship drill….Small boat deployment drill….Anchor handling….Just to name a small portion of all that needs knowing.

Amidst our post dry-docking week with the cold and rain we discovered the aft cabin shower stall basin was emitting ants. The shower stall basin had to be removed…which involved quite a bit of disassembly of wood trim and also the base to the aft head toilet. The 1st Mate Ryan Graham is a qualified carpenter so has taken lead on the project. But being 1st Mate means that he has been distracted by questions coming from crew. Yesterday was a fork-in-the-road day…do we continue to save the existing, custom made shower basin…or do we hunt down a ready-made replacement? In the end we are sticking with the original basin. Today things should start going back together. Even so, there is another delay. The 1st Mate is spending the first two hours today on administration. Printing extra deck log pages. Arranging the watch schedule for the coming week of sailing. Printing those out. Arranging the schedule of crew domestic chores for the next week. These activities are a demonstration of how things go day-to-day during spring rig-up. Plan on actually working…but become distracted by training, teaching, instructing and administration.

During rig-up, each day is a full 9-12 hours long. Typically we try to have breakfast at 7:30 AM and go to work at 8 AM. Lunch is a half-an-hour starting near noon. Supper is usually at 6 PM. But since being re-launched and moving back aboard to live we have had a hard time having dinner by 7 PM. The evening daylight goes till 7 PM and quitting before then has been hard. Not because anyone is happier to work than to quit working, but because it is so apparent to everyone that there is so much to do. Even then, for officers there are things that still need to be done after supper to keep up with details like log keeping, communications with the office and the needs of public relations like this blog, Facebook etc. The crew had its first day off in a month last Sunday, March 27, the day before we launched (their first day on the job was February 28). That last Saturday of work prior to re-launching did not end till 8:30 PM (after starting at 7 AM) because of the need to get the bottom painting done before the coming rain.

Now that sails are actually being tied on and the deck is becoming more clear of debris associated with rig-up there is a growing recognition that the putting-together aspect of rig-up is going into the final phases. Everyone looks forward to getting underway and going sailing with a completed vessel with all of its bits in their proper places. Reaching such a status will bring Pride II back to her proper and normal functional beauty. Once we reach that, the sense of accomplishment will be short lived because of all the mission preparations that need to be completed in preparation of the first public event…Privateers Day Weekend in Baltimore April 15/16.

Jan C Miles, A Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II


Pride of Baltimore II is hauled out of the water in Portsmouth, VA at the Ocean Marine Yacht Center…an old USCG maintenance yard right next door to the US Navy Ship Yard. She stands proud with her keel some 10-12 feet above water and some 3 feet above ground. She extends from her keel some 120 feet into the air. Her weather deck is some 20 feet above ground. The crew get from ground to deck via an electric powered scissor-lift. With 13 persons in the crew, that scissor-lift gets quite a workout servicing the needs of crew working under the hull with tools and supplies that are stored in Pride of Baltimore II’s lazaret, not to mention the needs of using the local lavatories and coming and going to work from the motel.  

The daily routine starts with walking about a mile from the motel to the marine yard, arriving at 7 AM. While the cook Kevin Moran starts to make breakfast the crew get to work. Sometime between 8 and 8:30 breakfast is served. After a half an hour it is back to work till lunch at noon. After another half an hour it is back to work till 5 PM for supper. By 6 PM the dishes and down below area have been cleaned up and everyone is walking away from the marine yard. Everyday is the same except for the work being done. Seven days a week for as long as Pride of Baltimore II is out of the water. Cost of hauling Pride of Baltimore II out of the water is impacted by how long she is up out of the water. So it is important to get the necessary work done in as short a time frame as possible.  


The work is dirty and arduous. While the caulkers (Captain Jamie Trost and1st Mate Ryan Graham) attend to the needs of the underwater seams the rest of the crew (except Bosun Rebecca Pskowski and Engineer Andrew Kaiser) scrape away any loose bottom paint from the hull and paint the bare wood spots with a wood preserving primer paint. Under the leadership of 2nd Mate Carolyn Seavey, the crew of Barbara Krasinski, Joe O’Hara, Susie Ordway, Alex Peacock, Arwyn Rogers and Paul Wiley diligently seek out blisters and the jagged edges of bottom paint that has already formed from the spray washing of the hull the marine yard crew did while removing any marine growth that accumulated during the past 12 months.  

Pride of Baltimore II has been suffering since around the mid 1990’s from what the cognoscenti call paint sickness. The cause was annual accumulation of 2 coats of bottom paint that was not designed to slough off. From 1988 to the mid 1990’s two annual coats of bottom paint represents upwards of 14 coats of paint. That accumulation creates a thickness of paint that does not expand or contract with Pride of Baltimore II‘s wooden planking as they shrink and swell during dry-dockings or shift along the seams with active sailing. Because the thick paint cannot “move” with the planking and the putty between the planks it either cracks and water gets under the paint and begins a leverage action on the broken paint edges, or the paint actually lifts from the planks without actually breaking away while only small blisters…but do eventually break away when they become larger leaving some several square inches of unprotected planking.  

Orange paint indicates areas where old paint was scraped off planks, which where then coated with a primer paint.

Since the mid 1990’s the bottom paint being used is of the sloughing off variety so there has not been any further accumulation of paint thickness. During each dry-docking Pride of Baltimore II’s crew are tasked with finding any old loose paint and clearing the planking of it for new paint. I would guess about half of the stiff old paint has been taken off the hull by this annual process of crew chipping at the old paint. It is dirty, arduous work. Maybe in another decade almost all of the old paint will be removed. The only other way to remove the old paint is to whole sale strip it off. But that is time consuming hence requires a pretty long dry-docking period…an expensive proposition by itself…not mentioning for the moment the cost of removing and disposing of all of the old paint before putting on new priming paint. So, instead of dealing with the problem all at once, Pride of Baltimore II’s crew each year slowly do what they can to scrape off the old paint during each dry-docking.  


Meanwhile, the Bosun works at rigging details until other crew can be redirected to helping re-rig Pride of Baltimore II’s complicated rig. Down below the Engineer attends to cleaning and re-greasing the thru-hull valves and other chores easier to deal with while Pride of Baltimore II is out of the water.  

Jan C. Miles, A Captain with Pride of Baltimore II  

Message from a Mate

Mid Day Local August 3, 2009

We bade farewell to Pugwash, Nova Scotia early yesterday morning, carrying a full boatload of locals to Summerside, PEI. What began as a quiet and calm motor sail culminated in a dramatic pass under full sail by the downtown pier, and a crisp striking of sail in front of the assembled crowd. After debarking all guests, we were off again, setting all sail and heaving a communal sigh as we pointed PRIDE towards Gaspe. Now it’s just us, with our Executive Director Linda Christenson aboard, and fellow sailor Christina Schallenberg, most recently from the Schooner ROSEWAY. Although leaving Pugwash meant saying goodbye to all our friends aboard the other vessels, it’s just as good to know that our lady is back on her own mission now. And when she sails into Gaspe tomorrow, you can bet that heads will be turning and eyes will be fixed on PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II.

Matt Oates, 2nd Mate aboard Pride of Baltimore II

Bound for Sydney, NS

Departing Port Hawkesbury, NS
Bound for Sydney, NS
45Degrees 27.7 minutes North X 060Degrees 59.4 minutes West

The month continues to speed by us as we transition out of the “large festival” mode and get to savor some smaller, quieter towns around Nova Scotia and Quebec. As I write, we’re pushing out of Chedabucto Bay, bound for Sydney, NS. Our last stop of Port Hawkesbury showed us a small town filled with infinitely kind and polite people. I’m sure they won’t be a singular case as we make our way first east to the bigger town of Sydney then west to the smaller towns of Pictou, Pugwash then north to Gaspe and finally west again to big city of Montreal!

Matt Oates, 2nd Mate aboard Pride of Baltimore II