Nantucket Bound

The weather is light & the sea slight. Motoring along at around 6.5-7.0 knots, PRIDE is making her way south from Bath, Maine on the Kennebec River and her weekend visit at the Maine Maritime Museum toward the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, near Cape Cod. Her route is through the western side of the Gulf of Maine and along the outside of “The Cod”…to others…The Cape. This route will pass nearby or over such underwater locations as PASTURE, POLLOCK HUB, DOGGETT RIDGE, SAGADAHOC, MISTAKEN GROUND, PLATT’S BANK, JEFFREYS LEDGE, TILLIES BANK, WILDCAT KNOLL, MURAY BASIN and of course STELLWAGEN BANK, “summer feeding home” for whale. These underwater names come from fishing history. Famous fish like Cod Fish.

We got underway a day late due to the weather. In this instance light & dry weather. Yesterday the crew worked on cosmetics…namely painting the lower third of the above water hull…the lower topsides. (The upper topsides had been attended to during the “lay day” time scheduled last week in Portland.) Other cosmetic work on deck was also done. Like patch varnishing, de-rust-streaking and patch painting. Outside in the Gulf of Maine wind was forecast to be stronger than today while promising light conditions for today. So we took advantage of smooth river water and dry conditions yesterday to get a lot of near the waterline painting on the hull done.

Today as PRIDE motors along in light winds and relatively smooth sea each of the watches in turn are attending to additional on deck cosmetics as they steer PRIDE along. What is all the effort for cosmetics? True, we are always attending to maintenance all season long. The focus we have right now is the Classic Yacht Regatta PRIDE will be a part of in Nantucket this week and coming weekend. Unlike most of the attending yachts, PRIDE will have been working hard all sailing season since early April traveling from as far south as Savannah to as far northeast as Halifax, hosting thousands of visitors nearly every weekend, as well as sailing and racing distances between ports. The sailing and the visitors take a toll on PRIDE’s paint and varnish. While we generally attend to cosmetics as needed all season long, our pride drives us to see if we can get PRIDE looking her best “now”, when she will be amongst the classiest vessels yachting provides. Vessels that for the most part do not welcome visitors by the thousands while also sailing thousands of miles.

Besides, this will also be PRIDE’s first visit to Nantucket in decades and many Marylanders take summer holiday there. We want them to be as proud of their PRIDE as we and many others are in all the ports she has visited these 24 years.

Jan C. Miles, Captain
Acting Executive Director

A Tale of Two Captains

March 9, 2012
PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II alongside her Winter Berth at Clinton Street
Winter cover removed; Sparlandia Dismantled

This time of year, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is in her transformation phase; the period of time where she is awakened from her winter cocoon by the Spring crew who anxiously and eagerly look to put her back together so they can get on with their favorite task – sailing. 

As we enter this period during which PRIDE II converts from “stored” for the winter to her fully functional sailing beauty what are her two Captains thinking about and doing?

Starting on the day the sailing crew come aboard, some whom sailed her before and many that have not, must be oriented/reoriented as to how to: 1) live aboard PRIDE II; 2) how to keep her safe while they live aboard; 3) start the work of reloading the equipment/tools/supplies she needs, all of which were taken off for the winter; and 4) picking up from the Winter Maintenance Crew the remaining projects that did not get completed. At the same time both Captains remain involved with the rest of the staff in running the organization. This dual responsibility comes from my assuming the role of Acting Executive Director and Captain Jamie Trost taking on some of the office centric requirements, such as conversations with Ports that want PRIDE II to visit and the adjustment to contracts required to establish the details of those conversations.

Traditionally both Captains of PRIDE have always worked together during the times PRIDE is at home and not sailing. This dual management, or co-management, is very demanding on both Captains and fills all the day, seven days a week, for at least the seven weeks involved in a typical spring conversion from winter storage to a fully sailable state. The reason for this strategy is “knowledge”. To a Master alone aboard sailing during the season, there is nothing worse than discovering a problem with the ship that stems directly from a decision made by the other Captain during the spring crew training, rig-up and dry-docking phase. Naturally there are always going to be differences between Captains. Working together(!) means those differences converge/merge into mutually agreed upon resolutions, as well as mutually cognizant “knowledge” for the background to any problem that develops out of work or decisions made during intense re-commissioning/maintenance periods.

Now, with both Captains filling non-maritime specific administrative responsibilities coupled with the spring fit-out period of 7 weeks (7 days/week, with days starting at 8 am and ending sometime between 5 pm and 8 pm, the latter when also fitting in the needed history lessons for the crew), the minds of the Captains are full of things that do not have anything to do with crew training, vessel maintenance, scheduling recertification inspections, verifying spares are being obtained and the actual re-rigging of the ship. Yeah, we Captains have a lot to think about…and we share closely together what those thoughts are.

With close collaboration between the Captains as well frequent networking with the Staff we believe we have a system that brings out the best of the ship, her crew, as well what comes from the conscientious work by the Staff. But it requires periods of time when both Captains are unable to relieve each other and give each other time off as is done in the course of the sailing season.  During the season only one Captain is in charge of the ship so the other Captain has the opportunity for some time off and to live a more typical work week like that of the Staff.

Jan C. Miles, A Captain of Pride of Baltimore II
Acting Executive Director

Call to Arms for Volunteer Winter Crew

Every winter, Pride of Baltimore II removes all her running rigging and spars for an intense overhaul. During this “Winter Maintenance” period, blocks are serviced and, along with the spars, varnished; standing rigging is tarred and inspected and numerous other details are looked after. It’s a full plate for a skeleton crew. And on the eve of the War of 1812 Bicentennial, we are sounding the call for volunteers to assist us. This is a first for Pride of Baltimore, Inc., the non-profit that for three decades has been caretaker of the ship.

Spar Varnishing

Just as it is for the ship, the reward for all involved in the gritty work of maintaining Pride IIover the winter is to experience her sailing again in the spring. Dedicated volunteers will earn a daysail aboard Pride II once she is up rigged underway again.

While previous wooden boat maintenance skills are greatly welcomed, all Pride II volunteers really need is enthusiasm. Our professional crew will provide on the job direction and supervision as you work alongside them. Typical projects include:

Spar Varnishing: All of Pride II’s spars except the lower masts and bowsprit are varnished, and keeping up the glow requires multiple coats each winter. Usually, chafed and word areas are given special attention and are “patch” coated to catch them up with the rest of the spar. Then the entire spar is coated three times for cosmetic appeal and protection from ultra violet damage. 

Block Care

Block Care: Pride II’sblocks are a key component to the rig, as they provide the mechanical advantage for raising and handling the sails. In addition to the varnishing regiment the spars receive, the blocks are also dismantled and serviced on a rotating basis so that their sheaves and pins can be inspected. Re-assembly requires the use of traditional seizings to keep the blocks in their rope strops. Pride II crew will teach you the intricate traditional skill of seizing.

Standing rigging overhaul: The wire rigging that supports Pride II’s upper rigging is wire brushed to clean of rust and grime, then coated with a protective mixture. Parts of this rigging are “served,” or wound, in small diameter hemp marline. This marline is coated in tar to preserve both it and the rigging. This winter, an inspection of the splices in the standing rigging will see some of this service removed, and involved volunteers will learn this process.

Engineering: Pride II will be lifting up both of its engines this winter for inspection and maintenance. While the ship’s engineer will be running the project, assistance – from expert mechanic to eager to learn tool “gopher” – will be greatly appreciated.

Please contact us if you are interested in lending a hand.  Call 410-539-1151 or email (indicate Volunteer Crew in the subject line).  Any and all skill levels are appreciated.

1812 History ~ much to share and learn

PRIDE is in Port Washington, Wisconsin. This tall ship festival with three vessels…PRIDE, NIAGARA & FRIENDS GOODWILL…marks the beginning of PRIDE’s homeward bound trek from the Great Lakes. PRIDE left Baltimore May 30 and visited 12 ports to reach Port Washington August 18. From Port Washington PRIDE will visit 11 ports to reach Baltimore on November 1st. As much work as all of this represents to the crew that sail PRIDE, maintain her and explain her, the crew would have it no other way. The most intense learning is aboard a busy vessel. A busy vessel that is visiting a new port every time it moves presents a whole lot more learning. This is what any up and coming sailor seeks…as much learning as possible in as short a time as possible. It helps with promotion and the obtaining of professional licensing which also helps with promotion. Meanwhile PRIDE’s fame continues to be supported and expanded by her travels sharing her stunning image to her viewers in all the ports she visits…always leaving a good impression of Baltimore and Maryland.

PRIDE’s goal during this 2011 Campaign in the Great Lakes is to make everyone aware of the coming Bicentennial of the 1812 War and how much of that history took place in Baltimore & Maryland, and all of it is available for visitation, so make plans to visit Baltimore & Maryland to see that history. Interestingly she is not completely alone in her efforts. Brig NIAGARA and square-topsail sloop FRIENDS GOODWILL are two other vessels of the 1812 War…but specifically of the Great Lakes. PRIDE is from the Atlantic. Here in Port Washington, as it was in last weeks maritime festival at Navy Pier in Chicago, all of the vessels of the festival represent aspects of the 1812 War. In Chicago there was the additional vessel Privateer LYNX…she, like PRIDE, is from out of the Great Lakes. I find it interesting there is this concentration of vessels representing the 1812 War. But when one considers how many fronts there were in that war it starts to make some sense. Brig NIAGARA, built in Erie, Pennsylvania, represents the successful naval campaign between the US and British (Canada) that took place in Lake Erie under the leadership of Oliver Hazard Perry. FRIENDS GOODWILL represents an 1810 built vessel from Detroit that sailed for both the Americans and the British, having been caught by the British, eventually playing a roll in the Battle of Lake Erie. Privateer LYNX is a miniature of a Baltimore Privateer that was caught by the British in the lower Chesapeake Bay before she could perform any privateering voyaging, instead being used by the British to blockade American vessels from departing the Chesapeake Bay.

By the above sampling, one can begin to see that there is a lot about the 1812 War to be learned. The most significant activities of the war took place in Maryland. Where the burning of Washington, DC by the British Army took place, where the successful defense of Baltimore from British invasion took place and is the story of our National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, and is home of the most famous Baltimore Schooner Privateer CHASSEUR (nicknamed “pride of baltimore”). I hope, during the next three years of the Bicentennial, all of you will come see and learn.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II

Nearing Rochester…On Time!

TIME: 1430 EDT

PRIDE II is now negotiating the 1000 Islands of the Upper St. Lawrence River. The challenge of catching up three lost days of transit out of a planned total of ten seems to be met. The plan is to arrive off Rochester in company with Schooner LYNX at noon tomorrow…a plan put into play more than a month ago…but was at risk when PRIDE II was trapped in Lunenburg early last week…weather bound for three days. 

The key to catching up the three lost days was balancing fuel use with sailing opportunities while keeping a high enough average speed to catch up the lost three days of time. It is 1,160 nautical miles to Rochester from Lunenburg. Having ten days to cover the distance required 4.8 knot average speed. Covering the same distance in seven days required 6.9 knot average. Meanwhile there is not enough fuel aboard PRIDE II to motor for whole distance. Plus the distance is not truly representative of the actual through the water distance traveled considering the need to motor against the flowing current of the St. Lawrence River.

There was not much wind to use right after departing Lunenburg. In fact no wind was there till 36 hours after departing Lunenburg. When the wind did show, it came from a helpful direction with enough force to help PRIDE II cover over two hundred nautical miles in less than 24 hours. Except for that short fresh breeze, PRIDE II would not be able to contemplate arriving Rochester on the originally intended day.

While we did not get much sailing beyond a day in. We caught a significant break! Typically wind in the St. Lawrence River comes from the southwest. This is the first time in almost two dozen trips up & down this river the wind has been predominately northeasterly. Having a favorable wind while motoring makes a huge difference in PRIDE II’s motoring speed and fuel efficiency. I had been worried that going fast enough under power to make up the lost time could use too much fuel and we might just be on time only to lose to the need to stop for fuel. As it stands now, it looks like PRIDE II will arrive Rochester with less than seventy gallons…which is less than ten percent of fuel capacity and represents only twelve hours of engine time.

With so much motoring, what kinds of things do the crew do when not sailing? If the weather is good, maintenance. With the additional good fortune of dry weather while motoring up the St. Lawrence River the crew were able to do quite a bit of painting while PRIDE II was grinding her way up river to the Great Lakes.

We still have more than a hundred nautical miles to go…something could still go wrong…so please keep an eye out for the Rochester news. There ought to be two Chesapeake Bay Schooners arriving at noon tomorrow.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II

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