Lake Erie Astern, Detroit to Port and Canada to the SOUTH!

8 July 2011
Pos: Alongside Port Detroit Dock
Wx: East F 2, Sunny. Hot

Pride of Baltimore II dockside in Detroit

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II now has two Lakes under her belt in 2011. With the Northeasterly filling in on Wednesday evening, we sailed until midnight, then used engines to assist for a few hours so we could make our ETA to Pelee Passage on time. Once through Pelee – a pass formed by the Southernmost point on the Canadian mainland and the Southern most island of Canada – we had enough breeze to reach the Detroit River under sail. Finding our sister Privateer LYNX at anchor off the river mouth, we sailed close under her lee, then took in sail and motored up the river. All told, we were able to sail roughly 170 of the 200nm from Buffalo to the Detroit River.

Along the river, LYNX passed us as we prepared to reset sail for our grand arrival into Detroit. LYNX is heading straight through to Duluth, MN, where we will see them again so we have some catch up to play once we leave Detroit. Before she motored on, LYNX made use of the J.W. WESCOTT II, also called “Mailboat,” to deliver a package of goodwill. As the world’s only ship-to-ship Postal delivery service, the Mailboat is typically used to deliver mail on a pre-arranged basis to passing freighters. In this case it was an assortment of snacks and other things courtesy of Captain LeeAnne Gordon and the crew of LYNX.

Making our grand arrival, we secured at the snug inner slip of the new Detroit Port Authority Facility. This marks another stop where PRIDE II is being used to showcase a waterfront development project. Tucked in between the towering Renaissance Center and the green lawn of Hart Plaza along Detroit’s Riverwalk, PRIDE II has attracted quite a bit of attention and will hopefully be the first of many traditional vessels to make an appearance here.

Today was quite busy, between the public, the logistics and the unforeseen visits. The day started with a thorough hose down of the whole boat – a sure sign of summer arrived last night in the form of the Mayfly hatch. Thousands and thousands of these strange, mouthless insects covered the deck, the sails and the river. Walking across the footbridge from the outer wall had the sound effects of rice crispies. Fortunately, that should be the last of the hatch, and serve as a good omen of warm weather.

Once the ship was cleared of the overnight plague, nearly 1200 visitors crossed the gangway, with some crew working the decks to answer questions and interpret the details of PRIDE II, while others were off handling the laundry and the provisioning and all the other details of being in port. Fortunately logistic support was near brimming from Engineer Andrew Kaiser’s mother, and from last year’s Cook, Amanda Doren, who is living locally and fixing up her own sail boat.

And though we scarcely got here, we’re off again in the morning, with three lakes and two rivers to cover before Duluth. In the meantime, we enjoy Detroit’s hospitality, as well as the novelty of having Ontario to the South of us.

All best,
Captain Jamie Trost and the crew of PRIDE of BALTIMORE II

Saved by a Swim Call

Wednesday, July 6
Position: 41 57.6’N x 081 41.5’W
Wx: NE F 3, 3/8 Cumulus, Warm, Lake Water 72 degrees
Sailing at 7.5 knots, steering 265 for Pelee Passage under all plain sail, plus T’gallant

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II has been sailing for most of the length of Lake Erie now. After leaving Buffalo Harbor yesterday, we have been beating our way pleasantly up the Lake against the prevailing Westerly breezes. Last night a several hours shift to SxW allowed us to weather Long Point, Ontario. For a two hour stretch on the morning watch, we motored when the breeze dropped to less than 8 knots.

Getting this far – we’re abeam of Cleveland, OH now – nearly entirely sailing is pretty good, but around the 2000 watch change, I was thinking we’d have to pack away the sailing and start trucking to make our arrival on time. As a softening of the blow, however, we’d heave-to for a swim call before we took in everything. Last year, the crew was able to check off swim calls in all five Great Lakes. We let Ontario slip by and will have to brave it in September if we want to complete the challenge, but I wasn’t going to let another Lake slip by un-swum.

In the middle of our swim call, however, the wind shifted to an extraordinarily favorable Northeast. We quickly got hands back aboard, trimmed up the sails still set, reset the ones we’d taken in and are now going faster than we need to toward the Pelee Passage and the entrance to the Detroit River. We may not make the whole length of the Lake under sail, but we’re on a good run now.

All best,
Captain Jamie Trost and the crew of PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II

The Port that Kept on Giving

Tuesday, July 5
Position: 12 nm North of Dunkirk, New York
Wx: SW F 3 Partly Cloudy and warm Sailing at 6.5 knots, close-hauled, steering 190 under all plain sail, plus T’gallant

After nearly a week of tours, daysails and all around excitement, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II left Buffalo’s Erie Canal Harbor this morning at 1100. As always there were details to attend to before getting underway, and more than in most ports lots of thank-you’s to say. Our visit to Buffalo was a crescendo of enthusiasm that seemed like it wouldn’t end. Thanks to the media blitz that followed our arrival, the ship was sold out for all her daysails by Friday morning, and the one we added for the afternoon of July 4th filled up in hours and over 1,500 visitors came aboard for dockside tours.

This is great news for PRIDE II, and for Buffalo. If the city ever wanted proof that a Baltimore Inner Harbor type development would be a big draw, I think the excitement of this weekend stands tall as supporting evidence. And aboard PRIDE II, we are happy to bring the flavor of Baltimore’s revival to other cities looking to emulate. Particularly when they give us such a warm welcome – special thanks to the Hilliman family of SPIRIT OF BUFFALO for all their help, and the same for Ardrey Manning for the host of volunteers she had ready to handle lines, manage crowds and stamp hands all through the weekend. Of course a huge thanks to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation for arranging docking and the media onslaught, as well as to Buffalo Place for your assistance with advertising and promotion.

Now it’s on to Detroit, with a whole Lake in between. Unlike the departure from Rochester, however, the weather is the typical Westerly and Southwesterly winds of summer. Not the right direction, in fact, the exact WRONG direction, but a pleasant and workable strength for PRIDE II to ply her way to weather. From here until Duluth we will be mostly working against the prevailing winds. Fortunately, PRIDE II is about as weatherly as schooners can be, so we have the chance to keep sailing as long as there is a breeze to work with.

All best,
Captain Jamie Trost