Pride II Joins USNA and Tall Ship Lynx

[An article from Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester]

A group of U.S Naval Academy Midshipmen will experience a unique learning opportunity when their “live classroom” sets sail April 30 and May 1 offshore from Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Navy Recreation Center (NRC) Solomons.

Part of an elective history course titled “War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: A Schoolhouse at Sea,” the pilot project places students on board the Lynx, a replica Baltimore Clipper tall ship, where they’ll undergo five one-hour modules each day covering various related topics.

4-30 Carolyn Corbin & Lynx 1“They’ll study the War of 1812 from a strategic standpoint,” explained Claude Berube, an instructor in the academy’s Department of History and the director of the U. S. Naval Academy Museum, which organized the program. “They’ll study operations and tactics, intelligence, celestial navigation, the economies on both sides during the war, and one of our English professors will even teach them about poetry and prose from the time period.”

Between modules, the midshipmen will be on deck learning how to handle the lines and getting a true sense of what their ancestors experienced more than 200 years ago while sailing the Chesapeake Bay.

“We’ll be accompanied by the Pride of Baltimore, and we’ll be attempting to show the midshipmen what it was like to look upon another tall ship sailing just 50 to 100 yards away, how sound carries over water when people are shouting commands on the ships, and what are safe distances in terms of navigation,” Berube said.

Studying the War of 1812 is important because the conflict is where the U.S. Navy began to grow into a formidable maritime force.

“So much took place on the Chesapeake Bay, it really was all around us,” Berube said. “We took on a major world power, the British, and in single ship actions we usually defeated them, demonstrating our superior naval architecture with the [Joshua] Humphrey frigates, such as the USS Constitution. And the heroes of the War of 1812 – Isaac Hull, William Bainbridge, David Porter –still have ships named after them today.”

As a result of that success,many Americans finally realized the importance of having a Navy, Berube noted.

“After the war, you started to see squadrons being sent overseas,” he said. “Navy funds were increased and ships were deployed worldwide to protect American interests.”

Throughout the course of the first day, the class of 10 students and their instructors will sail under the Thomas Johnson Bridge and continue past Point Patience, turning back somewhere near St. Leonard’s Creek.

They’ll then disembark at NRC Solomons where they will learn about the Marines during the War of 1812 from the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company, spend the night and conclude the class the following day before heading back to Annapolis.

“The Solomons team is excited to host the naval academy’s live floating classroom,” said Carrie Rose, NRC installation program director. “We’ll provide both lodging and camping accommodations to the midshipmen and their professors, and it will certainly be a beautiful sight to see the tall ships on our local waters.”

Berube hopes the inaugural course, sponsored by the Class of 1950, is a success and that it can be repeated next year and in years to come.

“The midshipmen in the class represent about eight different majors,” he said. “This isn’t just a class for history majors, it’s a class for all midshipmen, as history should be; they have to understand their heritage. But, more importantly, we hope to show them that the same lessons from 200 years ago are lessons they should be applying as junior, midgrade and senior officers in command of ships or aviation squadrons, or in command of Marines.”


CAPTAIN'S LOG: Pride in the People

September 15, 2014

Pride of Baltimore II, alongside at Constellation Pier, Inner Harbor

Wx: East Force 1, 2/8 Celebratory Cumulus, the rest of the sky a Bicentennial Blue

Today’s dawn ushers in a whole new century of our storied national anthem, and a well-worn Pride II crew has seen to it that the ship and the city have marked the anniversary with style and passion. Some ships have already left, the guns and jets are silent now, crowds of visitors still swarm the harbor. But yesterday’s crescendo has washed over and while we bask in the success and import of “Spectacular,” the typical snap and bustle aboard is slightly leaden with fatigue. And no surprise– during the 25 hours actual hours of the Battle of Baltimore anniversary, crew and ship were in full action themselves. With a rotation of watches and captains, plus lots of work from shore side office staff, we scarcely stopped moving, and never stopped commemorating the incredible events of 200 years ago.

As the guns of Fort McHenry thundered out Saturday morning,we sailed alongside a British-flagged Lynx and waved a truce flag over our Francis Scott Key impersonator as he plead his case across the rail for Royal Marines to unhand Doctor Beanes. When the historically timed “re-enactment rain” came down (nearly to the minute, according to the 1814 accounts), we rigged awnings, waited for the sky to clear, then sailed in sleek silence under the roaring military muscle of the Blue Angels. As the town turned electric for the prelude to the fireworks, Pride paraded through the harbor to blast off a national broadcast with three guns. When the “bombs” of the pyrotechnics bust over Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor, 100 viewers joined us on deck. Then, once the dust settled, irrepressibly enthusiastic Ranger Vince Vaise from the Fort narrated a midnight retracing of the final desperate British assault on the batteries up the Ferry Branch of the Patapsco.

From three to six am things fell silent, just as they did in 1814. But the crisp morning ushered in a new flurry of action. The culminating moment of the weekend would feature Baltimore’s 1812 historic triumvirate – the Maryland Historical Society’s hand-sewn replica of the Star-Spangled Banner would be hoisted over the Fort while Pride II stood in the offing as Key’s truce ship President and a collected squadron of Tall Ships around her represented the invading British.

With Pride II booked full of enthusiastic passengers and logistics of the ship movements rattling in my mind, Captain Miles and I decided it would work smoothest if he sailed the ship and I marshaled the squadron from a vantage ashore. To foster that plan along, Ranger Vaise welcomed me, along with my wife and parents, to survey the scene from the commanding perch of the Fort’s Bastion 5. Equipped with a handheld VHF and copies of the pages of notes and schematics I’d issued to the ships, we set off for the Fort’s dock in Pride II’s rescue boat. The physical bustle and tangible excitement at the Fort stewed with amazement – this was it, the very morning, the day when the focus of so much 1812 education, programming, efforts, and toiling over months and years was about to float in the September breeze for Baltimore and the world to see.

Ships trickled out from downtown. The inbound cruise ship Carnival Pride cleared the channel into South Locust Point and left the harbor to historic craft. US Armed Forces, and Sailors and Marines from our 1812 adversaries come allies Canada and England, took up position around dignitaries from local, state, and national government in the Parade Ground within the walls. Sun glinted off the black barrels of replica and modern armaments as they stood silently ready for a barrage of salutes. The cool northeast breeze streamed the Fort’s Storm Flag in anticipation.

The pieces started moving. Ranger Vaise, radiating excitement even through a veil of exhaustion, orchestrated the unfurling and preparation of the replica Garrison Flag. The ships slid over glittering water into position under a mantle of low cumulus. As the events of the battle were narrated, a crowd began to gather on the bastion around me, watching the ships. At first I was irritated – with eleven ships and two pulling boats to coordinate, I’d envisioned relative solitude to lay out my notes and coordinate via radio. Having a crowd to eavesdrop and chime in on the necessary communications might offer more than a slight nuisance.

But as the ceremony in the Fort and formation beyond the ramparts continued shaping up, I noticed there were nearly as many people on the bastion with me as in the parade ground. They whispered questions: What’s that ship? Where are they from? What are they all doing? And I had time, as the squadron deftly arrayed themselves across the river, to answer all the questions. Between radio calls to shift and tighten up the line, I could tell the people, these mesmerized appreciators of history, what they were seeing and how much it looked like what Major George Armistead saw 200 years ago that very minute. I wasn’t alone, and was happy for it. I was surrounded by people who, like me, felt deeply moved by this instance, the commemoration of America’s emergence from a divisive and trying, nearly adolescent, conflict into maturity.

The Army Old Guard fired a salvo. When the smoke cleared and the guns fell silent, the ramparts were teeming with people. A last salute from a replica 24lb gun, and the fifing of “Yankee Doodle” lifted the hand-sewn replica aloft. Lynx and Sultana swapped their British ensigns for American. Salutes and cheers echoed from the ships. Through the smoke,their rigs etched a striking visage of history.

By 0940, Pride II was on station off the water battery and the ships processed in, saluting both her and the Fort. Pride II’s Key impersonator was standing at the rail, cheering in the new era of the Star-Spangled Banner. Up on the ramparts, the crowd around me pressed in,asking more eager questions whenever I wasn’t hailing the passing ships on radio to thank them for their part in this historic event. It got so crowed that we were forced off the bricks and (to the chagrin of the Rangers) onto the grass that sprouted from the earthworks. Like most forts of her era, Fort McHenry is mostly earthwork – largely composed of dirt, held together by brick sheathing. Throughout the 214 years of the Fort’s existence, the bricks have been renewed, but the earth inside is still the same.

And then I realized the truth of the week – that we at Pride, the Fort, and Maryland Historical Society had helped, but history had repeated itself organically. Two-hundred years ago, this week was won by the citizens of Baltimore unexpectedly repulsing the British attack. And as Fort, Flag, and Fighting Sail recreated the events of 1814 on a brilliantly sunny morning, it was we citizens of today’s Baltimore that stood on the very earthworks our counterparts defended two centuries ago. Our feet connected us to the timeline of history, the living earth of the Fort, the very foundation of our “Land of the free,” our “Home of the Brave.”

Captain Jamie Trost

Hats off to Halifax, Eagle Steals our Broom, Tattooed at the Citadel and What we do “When No One’s Looking."

25 July 2012
Pos: Alongside the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg Nova Scotia
Wx: North Force 1, 5/8 Stratus

After an adventurous sail to windward along the Nova Scotian coast, Pride of Baltimore II is snug in the quintessentially Canadian Maritime Seaport of Lunenburg. Arriving in town along with tops’l schooners Lynx, Unicorn and Amistad we joined Larinda, Providence and Roseway for the second port of Tall Ships Nova Scotia.

Known around the fleet for its hospitality, Lunenburg follows hot on the heels of a splendid stay in bustling Halifax. From our grandstanding arrival on Tuesday, through the spectacle of an opening ceremony highlighted with as much Navy Brass as any OpSail occasion, to impressive crew events at the imposing Citadel, Halifax hosted us well. We hope the 8,900 visitors to Pride II feel we returned the favor.

As final destination in the Tall Ships Challenge series, Halifax hosted the awards ceremony for races three and four. Pride II was first again for the “Etch-a-Sketch” event of Race Three, but the US Coast Guard Barque Eagle edged us out in the “Sprint to Halifax.” As a time-trial, this fourth race was based on the corrected average speeds of the vessels over an eight-hour period. Eagle’s was .24 knots faster than Pride II’s. With our own uncorrected average being 10.23 knots, there isn’t much we could have done to push Pride II harder, but Eagle’s strategy was to wait for the breeze to build before starting their run. So no broom for a clean sweep of the series by Pride II – well done and well raced, Eagle!

Also, well done to all regiments and bands who performed the 1812 Military Tattoo at Halifax’s Citadel on Sunday night. A tour de force of fifes, drums, bagpipes and historic weapons demonstrations celebrated Canada’s rich history and highlighted the 198 years of peace and friendship between our nations. Stealing the show were the 78th Highlanders, who Pride II had the pleasure of hosting for a reception earlier in the weekend. Following their example, we did our best to close out Monday’s Parade of Sail in style as we brought up the rear of 21 ship procession around Halifax Harbour.

Not that putting on a show is new territory for Pride II. For 24 years, we’ve been striving not just to impress dockside visitors with the sleek beauty of the ship, but to inspire and awe on-lookers from shore by highlighting the characteristic nimble elegance of the Baltimore Privateers she so thoroughly represents.

Our arrival and departure from Halifax are prime examples – outbound, we carried easy sail to stay at the required parade speed of five knots until we made the final run along the downtown waterfront and cracked on the mains’l and jib to charge out to sea. But on arrival day, with the Harbour mostly to ourselves, we barreled in under all plain sail, made a few passes by downtown at seven knots, then in a barrage of four guns took in sail and rounded up close enough to our wharf to pass lines.

We hoped to impress, and the gathered crowd on the pier seemed to confirm it. In fact, one onlooker even said “Good show. But what do you guys do when no one’s looking, you still use the sails?”

The only answer I could give was this: “When no one’s looking? That’s when we do all the REALLY cool stuff.”

Sounds glib, but it’s true. Our extended experiment in live action nautical archeology is on-going. Thrashing our way out of Halifax, we noticed a slight tear in the lower section of our fores’l, so we reefed it to contain the damaged portion and sailed on, beating our way out to sea as if it were 1812, and at the end of the day, sailing on the anchor at 23:45 in Rose Bay, eight miles from Lunenburg. Too bad that no one could see us, because handling 8000 square feet of sail in the pitch dark and rounding up safely to drop the hook someplace we’d never seen before was a particularly handy piece of seamanship by the crew.

All best,
Captain Jamie Trost and the smart sailing Crew of Pride of Baltimore II

“Hotdogging” It into Hemingway Country

28 July 2011, 0928
Pos: Alongside Boyne City Docks, Lake Charlevoix, Michigan
Wx: ENE F 1, Overcast

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is all secure at the inland most end of Lake Charlevoix, a picturesque Northern Michigan Lake connected to Lake Michigan by a man-made improvement to the Pine River. Not quite as far inland as Duluth, where we arrived two weeks ago, but it fits well with our tour. Followers of PRIDE II’s voyages will remember Boyne City and Lake Charlevoix from last year – when they were an impromptu stop for crew R&R courtesy of long time Pride, Inc. friends the Kidds. This year we’re back to do a bit of business, based largely on how much interest PRIDE II attracted during her brief stay here last year. But that won’t keep us from having a day of it at the Kidd cottage today. PRIDE II is in a day early, having arrived last night at 1800 – so let the R&R begin.

Lake Charlevoix has a welcoming feeling. Maybe more so for me because this is my fifth trip here on two schooners, but I think even first timers to the Lake quickly feel at home in the landscape –rolling hills, crystal green water, quaint towns tucked into the hidden bays of the shoreline, what’s not to like? There is a sense of nostalgia, even for those new to the waters. Could be that the Lake is ingrained into a cultural consciousness because one of America’s most storied authors, Ernest Hemingway, spent his summers during his formative years here. Pick up a copy of his first book, IN OUR TIME, and the geography of the stories coincides with that on the chart. Horton Bay, East Jordan, Charlevoix, all these places make a backdrop for Hemingway’s young Nick Adams.

Appropriately, PRIDE II’s passage to Lake Charlevoix included some Hemingway-esque flair. From the time of our last posting, we continued sailing under Foretops’l, Fores’l, Stays’l and Jib, wareing our way down Whitefish Bay to the St. Marys River. And at Gros Cap, the river entrance, the breeze kept on, and so did we, sailing down the river toward Sault Ste. Marie a touch faster than we’d expect to motor at 1400 RPM. Even rounding Pointe Louise and going nearly closehauled, we were able to keep PRIDE II sailing. Sailing her, in fact, right into the MacArthur Lock with a crowd of onlookers in the bleachers ashore.

Engines on to slow her down.

With the Northwesterly wind on the port quarter, PRIDE II was predictably still making 2.5 knots under bare poles when we entered the lock. With careful coordination and some skillful line handling, it might be possible to bring the ship to a stop by checking the after leading lines. But there was no way to communicate what we needed to the line handlers at the lock, so we fired up for the first time in 12 hours so we could use reverse and get PRIDE II stopped!

Once secure, we locked down smoothly and motored on for a quarter mile to secure astern of our sister Privateer LYNX at the Carbide Docks for a provisioning run – special thanks to Harbormaster John Wellington for once again allowing us to secure there. The cook went shopping, the guest crew explored the VALLEY CAMP a retired Lake Freighter turned into a museum, and the crew played mini-golf or ate ice cream until we got underway again at 1600. Once off the dock, we set the same four sails again and carried on down the river without engines, this time with LYNX tagging along behind. At one narrow pass of the River near Neebish Island, we actually had to take in sail and feather the Foretops’l to SLOW DOWN for a freighter as it maneuvered through the narrow, one way traffic only passage. But once he was up to speed, we reset sail and carried on.

By the impossibly late Northern Michigan sunset, we were in the lower St Marys and still sailing. At 2340, we had the Mains’l set and passed De Tour light, hardening up on the wind and headed out into Lake Huron for the Straits of Mackinac. The breeze faded to flat calm at dawn, so we didn’t quite make the Mackinaw Bridge under sail, but got within sight of the island. With a light southerly and an overnight forecast of showers and thunderstorms for the night, we motored the rest of the way, stopping briefly to check off Lake Michigan in our swim call list between Greys Reef and Rose Shoal.

Even if the rest of our passage was under power, the crew and I are still giddy of our “hotdogging” on the St. Marys. We may be the first crew to sail a schooner down so much of the river since the days when a young Hemingway was hunting birds and rabbits in the nearby woods. We sure think he’d approve. Now its time for some hotdogging of a different nature with a picnic at the Kidd cottage.

All best,
Captain Jamie Trost and the resting, relaxing (for a day) crew of PRIDE of BALTIMORE II