Captain's Log – Anchored in Chippewa Bay…

Date: Thursday September 15, 2016

Position: Anchored in Chippewa Bay on the American side of the St. Lawrence River, State of New York

Chippewa Bay. Mentioned in music and other literature. Located within the area of the upper St. Lawrence River described as the Thousand Islands. An exceedingly picturesque area. Homes dating back more than a century built on nearly enumerable islands and islets, some homes within one stride of the river. In the days before income tax, some of the homes were considerable statements of wealth. Singer Castle is just one example — very European in its style. Mostly the homes are simple “summer cottages,” ranging in size from one room to sprawling. Boathouses abound. The water level remains nearly constant so a boathouse is a pretty practical idea. Some are very imaginative architectural expressions, nearly castle-like in some instances.

Pride is in a very quiet area separated from the commercial ship channel by Cedar Island. The winds during the transit thus far between Erie and Brockville permitted good sailing and fast sailing in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The transit down the eight locks of the Welland Canal was speedy due to not as many commercial ships transiting as there sometimes can be. So we are ahead of schedule. A great opportunity to find a sheltered and quite anchorage. Today is maintenance day. Soon the ship will be back in the Atlantic with its saltiness. We want to get as much re-coating of the ship as we can to better hold off salt-rooted wear and tear. The crew have the varnish somewhat prepared. Today’s focus is mast and rigging care: tar and slush put on served and unserved wire rigging, coating of the big lower masts with protective wood preserving oil, and paint upon selected areas of the exterior hull.

With a full night’s rest last night and another one coming tonight, based on benign weather and a quite anchorage, there is a great opportunity to care for the ship and get ready for both Tall Ships® Brockville this coming weekend and the long voyage back home to Baltimore starting next week.


Captain Jan C. Miles

Photo: Thanks to Rebecca Samler, who caught Pride II firing a cannon on Lake Erie after departing Tall Ships® Erie on September 12, for sharing her photo with us. Click on the photo for a full view.

Tides, Again

20 September 2011
47 21.4’N x 070 15.5’W
Wx: SW F3, Light Rain

Some say all good things must end – casting off lines and heading out from Montreal yesterday at 1230, the crew of Pride of Baltimore II were in full agreement. Canada’s little piece of Europe had plenty to interest and even overwhelm the crew ashore, while Pride IIwas herself a spectacle for 8,789 visitors to Les Grand Voiliers sur les Quais. After brilliant weather for the opening Parade of Sail, things turned to chilly rain for Thursday, keeping all but the hardiest away from the ships. The visit brought a crescendo of improving weather which crested Sunday with clear skies, calm winds and temperatures near 70 degrees. A perfect late summer day in a perfect port!

With good weather continuing through yesterday, we went through the hustle and scramble of getting Pride II ready for sea again. Customs forms and currency exchanging, packing up and stowing of all the in-port gear while turning on the weather fax and sat phone. With the westbound vessels – the Brig Niagara, the brigantines St. Lawrence II and Pathfinder, and the schooner Challenge – all held up for traffic in the Seaway Locks until noon, we made our departure together. This unintentional spectacle once more drew eager crowds to the dock – we saluted before racing down the current under the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Our sister Privateer Lynx was off the dock just after us and the schooner Highlander Sea locked through just ahead of our departure. The three schooners are all bound for coastal Massachusetts, and have a number of shared friendships among the crews, so we’re sure to be in contact as we make our way out the river and through the gulf.

It is good to be traveling with friends, so to speak. As I write this, Pride II is well beyond Quebec, having past its enormous Citadel just before 0400, and into the lonely stretches of the lower river. The shores are lined with high wooded mountains and washed soft with the light rain. There is scant population along the shore. In some sections, only the buoyage in the river gives indication that we aren’t traveling with Champlain or Cartier some 400 years ago. This landscape is at once beautiful and foreboding, settled little since the days of exploration.

And in it Pride II is experiencing her first taste of tides in exactly three months. And they are no small tides. Even fighting the weaker flood current has slowed us down over two knots, and when the ebb begins, we’ll gain three or four in some sections. The return to salt, or at least brackish, water has her feeling more buoyant and springy, even though the draft changes a mere two inches with the density of water. The Lakes are behind Pride II now, for another year. We bid them a fond adieu, but have no time now to reminisce. Boston is still 1000 miles off, and we have sailing to do.

All best,
Jamie Trost and getting saltier by the minute crew of Pride of Baltimore II

St. Lawrence Sailing

15 September 2011

Pos: Alongside Jacques Cartier Basin, Montreal, Quebec
Wx: Overcast, cool, French

It is physically possible for Pride of Baltimore II’s passage from Hamilton, Ontario to the Iroquois Lock in the St. Lawrence River to have included more sailing, but only just. Having sailed off the dock in Hamilton Monday morning, we were less than a mile from the head of Burlington Bay, and when the foretops’l finally came in on Tuesday, 225 nautical miles and 27 hours later, the Iroquois lock was in sight. That’s an average speed of 8.25 knots. Our passage across the Lake took less than 20 hours, and at one stage the Vessel Traffic Control center at Seaway Sodus was concerned that at 11.5 knots we were going TOO FAST and would get to the Snell Lock before a pilot could be scheduled to meet us!

We assured the folks at the Seaway we would be slowing down once out of the open Lake, past Cape Vincent and into the river. We did, but only barely – with the breeze still favorable and help from the following current we carried on into the Thousand Islands area under four lowers and foretops’l.  Near the town of Clayton, NY, we loaded our starboard guns for a salute. Earlier this season, I spent a week in Clayton while serving as relief Captain of Lynx, and discovered the town both loves ships of all kinds and is chock full of generous and hospitable folk. Event organizer Michael Folsom contacted Pride II via text message and alerted the town we’d be passing by, and Mayor Norma Zimmer, who sailed aboard Lynx from Ogdensburg to Clayton with me in the spring, was standing on the dock. We feathered up close enough to say hello and pass a warning that we’d be saluting, fired, then bore off to keep reaching down the river.

After passing Clayton, I began pondering just how far we could carry on under sail. We were making 8-10 knots, faster than we’d likely be motoring and the course up the river required just a few maneuvers, waring ship along the bends of the river to reduce the risk of accidentally gybing the mains’l. In the spring, I had the good fortune of being able to sail Lynx UP the river from Ogdensburg, NY to Clayton with a 25 knot North Easter, and then sail from Clayton half way across Lake Ontario to Rochester a week later. This gave no small personal motivation to be able to make a “round trip” of the upper river by sailing at least to Ogdensburg.

And Pride II did exactly that, carrying four lowers and the foretops’l to within sight of the Ogdensburg Prescott Bridge, before reducing to just the foretops’l. With more current in that section of the river, plus the wind increasing to near 40 knots, we kept making 10 knots until sighting Iroquois Lock, taking in the tops’l and firing up engines to Slow down. Unlike our approach to the SOO Locks in July, there was no safe way to sail into Iroquois with the breeze being what it was. In fact, it was workout enough to get Pride II pointed in the right direction and slowed down enough under power.

Once clear of the lock, we took advantage of the breeze, re-set the foretops’l and sailed clear to the American locks, right at the Canadian border. After securing precariously at the approach wall of the Eisenhower Lock for passing traffic, we got underway again at sunset, dropped down to the lower level and secured at the Snell Lock approach wall to wait for our pilot. Pride II has never required a pilot in the St. Lawrence Seaway before, but new Canadian regulations make it necessary, so we were forced to coordinate our passage with the 12 hour advance notice the Pilots require. By the time we boarded our first Pilot, the breeze had died down and the passage was made entirely under power. With no traffic to hold us up, we made the last lock, St. Lambert, at 1041, exchanged for a Harbor Pilot, and waited at anchor for the rest of the fleet to arrive and start the Parade of Sail.

As if on schedule for the parade, the skies cleared and the breeze became a nearly sailable SW. Not that sailing from the Longueuil Anchorage into the Jacques Cartier Basin would be possible except with ideal conditions – the Lachine Rapids, which the first locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway circumvent, have the current on the approach to the Basin running at 6 knots. The bouys to mark the channel have to be specially made so they aren’t swept under water and low horsepower vessels have a slow transit of the area. With thousands of people watching the procession of six sailing vessels, the slow approach must have created a sense of suspense. At 1630 sharp, Pride II ended the anticipation by firing a salute just off the basin. We even shifted a gun from port to starboard to add flair.

With all ships secure at the dock, we’re ready for a weekend of heavy traffic. Last year over 9,000 people came to see Pride II in just three days, and this year we’re here for four. I hope the crew have been brushing up on their French.

All best,
Jamie Trost and the crew of Pride of Baltimore II

Last Lake

 12 September 2011
Pos: 43 30.5’N x 078 52.7’W
Wx: SWxS F 5

After a hectic late week and weekend in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, respectively, Pride of Baltimore II is underway once more, this time headed down the length of Lake Ontario and entering the 662 nautical miles of the St. Lawrence River. While the big city hustle and the Toronto International Film Festival overshadowed Pride II’s visit, the crew were still able to capitalize on the Orioles being in town to play – and defeat – the Toronto Blue Jays. During our Thursday and Friday stay there, Craig Weeks and company at Toronto Harbourfron Centre were terrific in their support.

Sailing to Hamilton on Saturday morning, Pride II took center stage, even outstripping the HMCS Montreal, a Canadian Frigate for the attentions of the town. We arrived to Hamilton Harbor with an Easterly breeze and threaded our way through a slough of sailing races to grand stand in front of Hamilton’s Marine Discovery Center. Opening at 1530 once the ship was secure and the gangway suitable, we saw 995 people visit by 1900, and then another 2186 between 1100 and 1800 Sunday. Hamiltonians are proud of their history, enthused about all things maritime and even had a pirate themed roller-derby in honor of our visit! Thanks to all the folks who made our visit to the Western-most port on Lake Ontario a great one.

As I write this, Pride II is charging along between 8 and 10 knots under all plain sail, plus the stuns’l and t’gallant. The breeze is forecast to hold and possibly increase while remaining from some Westerly direction, which means it’s a favorable breeze all the way to Montreal, our next port. With such conditions, it looks as if we may not get to add Lake Ontario to our swim call list, but, having sailed off the dock in Hamilton this morning, we may trade that check mark for being able to sail the entire length of the Lake. Here’s hoping.

All best,
Jamie Trost and Montreal bound crew of Pride II

326 Ft. Climb

28 June 2011
Position: Alongside West Street Wharf, Port Colbourne, Ontario
Wx: WSW F 3-4 Partly Cloudy and Warm

Pride of Baltimore II has made it up Niagara Falls…Sort of…By using the eight locks of the Welland Canal, the ship has “climbed” 326 feet today, and bridged the gap between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. A fitting event for my first passage back in command, because just sixty-five nautical miles to the Southwest are the very waters on which I first learned to sail. And meanwhile, yacht racers from my childhood are in a Canadian port just ten miles to the East of us, finishing up the Annual “Interclub” racing series between Lake Erie Yacht Clubs.

Our sailing aboard Pride II was overly speedy en route from Rochester, but thanks to favorable breezes we sailed from the entrance channel of Rochester to within sight of the entrance to the Welland, reducing sail at times to make the canal at day break so our guest crew could get a good look at the spectacle that moving ships vertically can be.

Compared to the sailing, the locking through the Welland was much more work. The crew have plenty to do rigging wooden fendering to protect the ship and lines to take up as furiously as the water fills the deep box of the locks. There are eight total locks in the canal, seven of them raising the ship over 40 feet. Thanks to careful positioning by the lock crews, Pride II encountered minimal turbulence, which translates to less work for the crew. But still lots of work. As a pay off, the crew was able to look astern from the top of Lock 7 and see clear back (7 miles) and down (326 feet) to Lake Ontario.

With eighteen hours of sailing and twelve hours of locking behind us, we are sitting pretty to make Buffalo – a mere 20 miles East – for a grand arrival tomorrow. Lake Erie has churned up a 5 foot chop, and the forecast is for moderation tomorrow, so we are taking the opportunity to rest up and get ready to wow them in Buffalo tomorrow.

All best, 
Jamie Trost, 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