Squall on the Horizon, 2014

Photo: Squall on the horizon, 2014, courtesy of Patrick Smith

Date: Friday, August 9, 2019

When do the sails get taken in? Might be the quintessential question for all sailors.

The drive to remain sailing for sailors is strong. For traditional working sail rig sailors, it might be strongest. As sailors of the working rigs, there is common knowledge and admiration for the days before any mechanical propulsion was even in the dreams of sailors back in the days of the age of sail. Thus, there can be interest for today’s working sail mariners to emulate.

Departing from Kenosha on August 5, there was a light but fair wind to sail with. Knowing of the squall forecast, the sail combination was kept easy and quick to take in and stow. Meaning Pride’s mainsail was not set, nor was her jib. What we nicknamed the “day sail combo” was set: foresail, staysail, and square foretopsail. Out on the smooth Lake Michigan, there was plenty of sail power with this combination. We were making 5 knots on a broad reach with 10 to 12 knots of wind — adequate speed for the time limit and distance to Midland, Ontario, with a deadline of middle of the day Friday.

The motion of the sea is a significant matter when it comes to the amount of sail desired. Not enough for the given sea state and the vessel is rolling and heaving and yawing. Shaking the sails causing, bang, pop, and heaving jerking of inadequate sail area set for the wind speed available. Set some more sail and pretty much most of that jerking and banging and popping will go away. With a smooth lake, the little bit of sail area set remained undisturbed. Performed quietly. So it was pretty easy to skip setting the mainsail and the jib. If a squall threatened, the time it would take to reduce sail would be short. The mechanics of the day sail combo provide for near-complete furling in the process of striking. Specifically, the foresail brails to the mast so the act of taking that sail furls that sail at the same time. The foretopsail is somewhat similar with brail lines that collapse the sail up under the yard. It is not far different than a raised theater curtain, a little loose, but not billowing. A lot of wind can be sustained with a little bit of looseness. Furling more completely to the yard takes two persons, one per yard arm, a mere 5 to 10 minutes to climb up and wrap gasket lines around the mostly brailed-in squaresail and return to deck. Such lashings bring that sail tight to the yard … a whole lot more wind can be sustained when furled with the gaskets. The forestaysail is a typical triangular jib. It has no brail lines, but does have a downhaul that is used to bring the luff of that sail down the length of the forestay. Once down, the staysail can billow if not tied down with its gaskets that are attached to the bowsprit.

So, from the point of view of merely dousing sail, those three sails can be pretty quickly struck and stowed without calling all hands. Instead, handled by the on-watch and the ever-ready standby watch. Leaving the off-watch undisturbed. After dousing sail, some extra time to tie in the staysail. If the wind could be very strong, a bit more time to climb up and sea stow furl the brailed-up squaresail and return to deck.

Squall threat monitoring in our modern age is aided greatly by radar. Rain in the air creates an echo with radar. The degree of density of that echo can be a very general clue to the amount of water in the air. Water in the air is always evaporating. Moisture evaporation is a cooling event to any air mass. That cooled volume of air by the suspended evaporating water creates new weight for that air volume. That air volume drops due to it becoming heavier than the surrounding air that does not have suspended water in it, i.e. no evaporation going on. The dropping air mass can develop significant speed. If/when impacting the surface of water or land, or any obstruction, that fast moving downward air mass is forced to go around or bend horizontally and go along the top of land and water surfaces. Typically, doubling or tripling the pre-existing local wind speeds at the surface. So, 10 knots can easily turn suddenly into 20 to 30 knots of wind for the initial impact experience, suddenly arriving in a gusting manner. In strong squall scenarios, gusts can multiply pre-existing surface wind speeds more than five times. In extreme squall scenarios, there is no multiplier that makes sense. According to deep research done by the National Weather Service starting as far back in time as the 1970s, the “micro-burst” associated with very strong cumulus development can produce a gust front at the surface of more than 50 knots to upwards of 200 knots!!!

Calculating the speed of approach of rain in the air is another thing that radar can assist with. Understanding such speed of advance calculations must be treated with the understanding that squalls are forever changing characteristics. Meaning they cycle through increasing strength phases and decreasing strength phases constantly for as long as there is concentrated cumulus development. Such development are boiling activity in the atmosphere. Hot air, created either from land or water, climbs into the atmosphere from the surface. Rising means the temperature of that hot air rising will at some point start to cool. Moisture in that rising air will begin to condense as the temperature cools. Rising that does not continue past 30 thousand feet height and beyond are not the strongest squall creators. Not when it is a lone sole cumulus development. Those that build to 50 thousand feet and higher can be the source of very strong to extreme squalls. How does one tell the difference? I don’t know, not with conventional shipboard radar. Shore-based weather radar has developed to provide altitude information and much more. That capability requires huge antennae and lots of electrical power. So the sailor at sea with sails set and monitoring rain in the air with radar is stuck with guessing the possible strength of an approaching squall, along with pondering any potential meaning of whatever is the rate of approach.

Sailors wanting to keep sailing and to keep enough sail area up to prevent extreme rolling and heaving and yawing are challenged with guessing when a squall threat will actually arrive. As well as guessing the potential strength when it arrives. This guessing is not completely answered by radar. There are squall scenarios that can push out a wind gust front more than 10 miles ahead of the rain echo. Calculating threat by only assessing the range of the rain echo is risking getting a gust long before the rain.

As things turned out for Pride late Monday evening after departing Kenosha, the three sails set came in ahead of what turned out to be 50+ knots of wind from a totally different side of the ship than had been the sailing direction of wind. The initial gust strength leaned the ship over to near 10 degrees with only her masts and yards and rigging as resistance. The initial maximum strength gust did not last long. And the direction also changed pretty quickly. The initial gusts dropped quickly to around 30 knots for a period of time, no longer from the northeast, but instead from the north. After about a half-hour, wind speed was down below 20 knots and continuing to drop. The direction was backing back toward the northwest. But the rain remained for a couple of hours. After more than three hours, the sky was again clear to the west. The wind was from the south at maybe 10 knots. Pride continued motoring, waiting for better wind, having started motoring as sails were being secured ahead of the radar-indicated suspended water.

Over the following two days, there were several more squalls as Pride made her way eastward through northern Lake Huron. A period of nearly 12 hours of waves of bunched squalls. Radar was chock full of echos. The waves of echoes oriented north-northeast to the south-southwest and tracking west to east. Meaning coming from astern and passing over Pride and carrying on ahead toward the east. Plenty of rain. Not one gust of wind. Yet the onboard radar echo looked the same as was the experience the evening after departing Kenosha.

How to decide about sail area with this truth?

That is the question … ain’t it?

I got a bit of a clue to the difference by having connectivity to the internet. There were warnings on national radar about high wind threats for the squalls the evening after departing Kenosha. No such warnings for the 12 hours of squalls in northern Lake Huron. I left the foresail and the fore-staysail up for the first few hours of those squalls. Because of the need to make more speed, took sail in and pushed toward Pride’s date in Midland, Ontario.

Ocean sailing, with its perennial swells, presents a real challenge to the sailor interested to keep sailing when squalls approach. Sail area is required to both make way as well to damp rolling. But sail area is the cause of angle of heel based on wind speed. So, sometimes the rolling must be accepted, considering it is pretty much impossible to evaluate the strength of squalls by the rain echo seen in the radar.

By the way, there are dry wind gusts: dry squalls that have no moisture clue for radar to bounce off of and show an echo.

We can ask ourselves how, in the days of the age of sail, mariners managed squalls. Probably by a keen eye developed over time and great good fortune … till fortune turned bad.

Captain Jan C. Miles

Fiji Aboard

Fiji the cat!

Photo: Fiji the cat, courtesy of Picton Castle

Date: Monday, August 5, 2019

Fiji? Aboard? Huh?

Fiji is a cat. Calico colors … if I am not mistaken.

She is Picton Castle’s ship’s cat. Came aboard Picton Castle during the recently ended seventh round-the-world voyage.

Fiji is a wanderer.

According to Picton Castle’s cook, this wandering around ashore is new. Hmm … a cat goes wandering is not novel. Wandering from home and returning home is a common event for domestic cats that have a home base to return to from their neighborhood wanderings.

Except Fiji’s home base is moving from port to port. Weekly moves during this summer. Only three to four days at each new port. Going ashore for Fiji might possibly be akin to exploring by Europeans in far-off continents never before visited by Europeans. A time before maps made by European explorers.

The first I heard about Fiji was a story from Picton Castle’s Captain Dirk Lorenzen of getting a phone call during Basil Port of Call: Buffalo, the festival that kicked off our nation’s 4th of July long weekend.

This call came from an animal shelter. One some thirty miles from Buffalo. They figured out how to contact the ship through the chip installed in Fiji. Part of the amazement of the story is that the chip seems to indicate Fiji is from Fiji? Or is it the ship is her home and it is from the Cook Islands? Whatever, it seems the animal shelter twigged to the tall ship festival ongoing in Buffalo, thirty miles away, and managed to make contact and arrange for Fiji to be transported to Buffalo and back to her floating home, only temporarily, in Buffalo.

Now, how did Fiji get thirty miles away from Buffalo? Someone took her, of course. A good Samaritan. From that event, Fiji now carries a big sign (big for a cat with a collar) that tells of her floating home and provides a number to the captain. But I recently learned from the same captain that the phone number has been taken off. He was getting calls at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m. declaring, “we found your cat.” The captain’s response each time was, “No, you did not find the cat. You picked her up near her home floating in your harbor. Please put her down and let her be.”

So, Fiji is aboard, meaning aboard Pride — something I heard a few times during Kenosha Tall Ships®. Seems Fiji makes visits pretty frequently. Seems logical. Here in Kenosha, Pride is the first ship Fiji would come across when departing her ship for her exploring. Some couple of times Fiji has taken to sleeping on Pride‘s captain’s bunk, the bunk I use aboard Pride. I have not been using it. I am fine with Fiji making use of it. I have been using the air-conditioned hotel room provided by the festival organizers.

Unlike Toronto and Buffalo, all of the other port festivals have had all of the participating vessels moored near each other. All in one compound, so to speak. Whereas in Toronto and Buffalo, there were two or three separate compounds of ships. Each compound some distance apart. Upwards of half a mile in Toronto. More like a third of a mile in Buffalo. For the all-grouped-together-in-a-compound scenarios, I have witnessed Fiji ashore making her way along the row of ships. Seems by the stories I have heard, Fiji visits all of the ships. Not sure, nor can I guess, as to why Fiji chooses Pride’s captain’s bunk for lengthy naps.

My wife, Leslie, a friend to all animals, possessor of four house cats, and a friend to a yard cat that has adopted Leslie as much as she has adopted him, indicates that I may have some of our home cat smells for Fiji to identify with, having brought clothes from home.

Other factors that might play into the frequent visits aboard by Fiji could be smells to be found aboard Pride. Maybe also because Pride is pretty quiet. Only a dozen living aboard. All the other larger vessels have twice or more living aboard. Whatever Fiji’s thinking, she is welcome. And we make sure she is not aboard when we move Pride.

A different kind of inter-ship friendship story. Eh?

Captain Jan C. Miles

Goodbye, Kenosha, Heads Up, Midland!

Pride of Baltimore II arriving in Kenosha, August 1, 2019, courtesy of Kenosha News

Photo: Pride of Baltimore II arriving in Kenosha, August 1, 2019, courtesy of Kenosha News

Date: Monday, August 5, 2019
Position: Sailing from Kenosha, Wisconsin, toward Midland, Ontario

The sixth festival weekend over a span of five weeks just now completed in style. Blessed with great weather, the public responded with enthusiasm to Kenosha’s own Tall Ships America Tall Ships Challenge® festival, which is great for Kenosha’s festival organizers. A lot of effort goes into setting such an event up. Well done!

And as is common practice with Pride of Baltimore II‘s departures, we took advantage of favorable winds, those being winds right from astern where Pride was tied up. So, with square-fore-topsail loosed from its harbor furl while still secure to the harbor wall, Chief Mate Jeff Crosby maneuvered the ship with her two engines and propellers to a point directly off the wall out in the middle of the harbor channel. With that getting away from the dock wall maneuver complete, he called for the setting of the square-fore-topsail. As soon as the clews were drawn out, even before the yard was hoisted, Jeff turned off the engines and with wind from aft, blowing on the rig and the stern, now also the spreading canvas of the square-fore-topsail, Pride advanced forward with increasing speed to the entrance of the harbor. Once outside and clear of breakwaters and any shoals and out into Lake Michigan, we turned toward the north and re-trimmed the square-fore-topsail for the southwest wind coming over the port quarter, the crew setting the fore-staysail and the foresail. Under “easy” canvas, Pride is gliding up Lake Michigan near its western shore. Squalls are promised. We will wait for them under less sail so that it is easy and quick to strike for the coming squalls.

Between Green Bay, festival number five, and Kenosha, there was the third and last race for this year’s Tall Ship Challenge®. Participants were Denis Sullivan, Niagara, and Pride of Baltimore II.

The whole race was a light wind reach or run. During the reaching wind phase, all vessels were enjoying a easy sail. Once sails were trimmed, it was “steer small” and proceed down the race track. But when the wind drew aft sometime after midnight the first night, around the one-third point in the 125-odd-nautical-mile race, plenty of sail handling started and continued through the rest of the race.

The light winds had the characteristic of being fickle and capricious. What was at one point a working very broad reach angle of wind for power and speed, through careful sail trimming from the most recent change in wind character, would suddenly change for no apparent reason at all and make for slower sailing, forcing another round of adjustments. But not always only sail adjustments. A number of totally changing of sides for the wind to come over for the best direction toward finishing the race. Jibing and wearing-ship started to happen. Pride’s crew jibed her five times over the span of the 18 hours that it took to reach the finish.

As it so happens, being in the right place at the right time and having the right stuff, Pride was captured by a photographer in Kenosha just as she was approaching the finish line. The photo was published in online Kenosha news publications. For the locals, one could tell where the shot was taken due to the foreground view of Kenosha’s harbor entrance lighthouse-like towers with their distinctive white with red or green middle field, depending on being located on the right during entrance, or on the left. Red to the right side. Green to the left side. (I think I saw it was the red one in the photo.) Meanwhile, in the background, big enough and sharp focused enough to see that Pride’s sails were drawing well. Plus, for those that know, that strange extra sail out to the far side of the big square topsail is the studding sail.

A great way to mark the end of a busy race in light winds.

Outcome? Learned Saturday during the crew party that Pride took first, Niagara second, and Denis Sullivan third. Lots of work by all the crew. My compliments to all.

Now ‘tis off toward Midland, Ontario, for tall ship festival number seven at the end of week six.

Captain Jan C. Miles

Busy 2019 Great Lakes Tall Ship Festival Schedule

Photo: Pride of Baltimore II at the 2019 Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, Michigan, July 21, 2019, by Great Lakes Drone Works

Date: Monday, July 22, 2019
Position: Bay City, Michigan

The heat is upon us all. Even here in the Great Lakes port town of Bay City on the Saginaw River. Just about the whole nation is in a significant heatwave. So it’s a hot festival. 😎

Bay City is festival port weekend number four in three weeks, starting with Toronto’s weekend tall ship festival, followed by Buffalo’s, followed by Cleveland’s, now Bay City’s.

There have been two tall ship Races. The first was on Lake Ontario between the first summer weekend festival in Toronto and the second summer weekend festival in Buffalo. Then on western Lake Erie between the third summer weekend festival in Cleveland and the fourth summer weekend festival in Bay City.

The fifth summer weekend festival will be in Green Bay. Followed by the sixth summer weekend festival in Kenosha. The seventh summer weekend festival will be in Midland, Ontario, for a part of the fleet; another part of the fleet will be in Sarnia, Ontario, across the St. Clair River from Port Huron, Michigan. Summer weekend number eight will be in Kingsville, Ontario, on Lake Erie — a small harbor that will only have a small portion of the fleet. Yet a different part of the fleet is skipping the options on weekends number seven and eight (Midland/Sarnia and Kingsville) and instead going to Duluth from Kenosha for a separate and unaligned port festival rendezvous. Most of the port festivals are part of a series under the umbrella of Tall Ships America. This series is called TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2019.

For the eighth summer weekend, Pride II will go her own separate way and spend a “long weekend” on Lake Charlevoix, Boyne City, Michigan. Come summer weekend number nine, Pride will be underway, bound for Brockville, Ontario, for summer weekend festival number ten. Those vessels that went to Duluth will have returned in time to rendezvous with the greater fleet for summer weekend number nine in Erie, Pennsylvania. Some of the Erie fleet will meet Pride in Brockville. The tenth summer weekend is Labor Day weekend, the symbolic end of summer, the last formal port call of Pride’s Great Lakes tour, and the beginning of her voyage toward home. Starting with going down the St. Lawrence River, then on in to the Atlantic and around Nova Scotia to the American East Coast.

Anyone tired yet? More likely confused. ‘Tis a pretty complicated summer.

The hosts of each of these port festivals are very activist minded. There are liaisons for each ship for every day in port. Squads of volunteers for each festival day are tasked with public crowd control and preserving festival security in partnership with individual ship security preserved by ships crews. There is coordination of ship logistics, like pumping out waste water and supplying fuel if needed; assistance with a myriad of ship errands; keeping up with informing ship personnel of parties in their honor; and services such as showers. Of course, coordination with the United States Coast Guard and local marine police forces regarding parades of sail, entry, mooring, and maintaining external security of the assembled vessels is always required.

As can be imagined, festivals are all-day affairs: overnight security of all the venues within festival grounds, daylong management of public interest and safety, daylong availability of emergency services. This list is only the tip of the iceberg of requirements. Leading up to such festivals are years and months and back-to-back days of fundraising and planning.

After the summer is over, a tally from the participating vessels “grading” of each port will occur. At some point, a port festival will be identified as the one that satisfied vessels the most. There is a great deal of hope in each port to be named the most satisfying by the fleet.

Monday, July 22, as I finish this log up, Pride is the first of the fleet to depart Bay City. The wind is against us in Saginaw Bay. So it is best to get over to Lake Huron and the more open expanse of that lake to see about getting some sailing in … Maybe around mid-afternoon.

Captain Jan C. Miles

Pride II To Rendezvous with 101 Year-Old Norwegian Tall Ship

Pride II To Rendezvous
with 101 Year-Old Norwegian Tall Ship
The vessels will meet in Baltimore’s Harbor on November 4

Contact: Laura Rodini laura@pride2.org

Pride of Baltimore II and Norway’s Statsraad Lehmkuhl
Pride of Baltimore II and Norway’s Statsraad Lehmkuhl

BALTIMORE, October 30, 2015 – Pride of Baltimore II, America’s Star-Spangled Ambassador, finishes her season with an event of international proportions on Wednesday, November 4, 2015, as Pride will rendezvous with the HNoMS Statsraad Lehmkuhl, the largest Tall Ship (332 feet) to visit Baltimore this year! Captains of both vessels will meet near the Key Bridge at 9 am as Pride escorts Statsraad Lehmkuhl to the Inner Harbor by 10 am.

“We’re glad that Statsraad Lehmkuhl has chosen to visit Baltimore, a city known for its maritime heritage,” says Rick Scott, Executive Director, Pride of Baltimore, Inc.


Pride II Meets Statsraad Lehmkuhl


Statsraad Lehmkuhl en route to Baltimore, Courtesy Statsraad Lehmkuhl
Statsraad Lehmkuhl en route to Baltimore, Courtesy Statsraad Lehmkuhl

On September 22, 2015, Statsraad Lehmkuhl embarked on a 6-week voyage from her home port of Bergen, Norway to Baltimore, Maryland. Statsraad Lehmkuhl sailed across the North Sea, through the English Channel and into the Atlantic, stopping over in Bermuda. Captain Marcus A. Seidl has managed to stay under sail for 54% of the time in order to save fuel stores. The ship, known for its ecological commitments, prides itself on being a ‘very green alternative to most other travel methods.’

The best vantage points to see the ships under sail as they enter the Inner Harbor will be from:

-Broadway Pier in Fells Point (900 S. Broadway)
-Tide Point (1040 Hull St.,)
-Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (2400 East Fort Ave)

Other vantage points to consider include: The Canton Waterfront Park, The Promenade, Federal Hill and The Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Deck tours of the Statsraad Lehmkuhl will be offered on Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8 from 10 am to 4 pm. The ship will arrive at 10am on November 4th and depart at 2pm on November 11th.
Location: Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, West Wall

Sail Baltimore is the nonprofit group responsible for bringing Statsraad Lehmkuhl and other visiting ships from around the world to Charm City for nearly 40 years. For more information about the Statsraad Lehmkuhl’s history, visitor schedule, and more, visit Sail Baltimore’s official website: http://www.sailbaltimore.org.


About Statsraad Lehmkuhl


Image courtesy Statsraad Lehmkuhl
Image courtesy Statsraad Lehmkuhl

Built in Germany in 1914, Statsraad Lehmkuhl was used as a training vessel for German Merchant Marines until taken as a prize by England following the end of WWI. In 1921, England sold the ship to Norway, who put her to work as a training vessel in 1923. Norway’s then Cabinet Minister Kristofer Lehmkuhl was vital in creating the training ship program, so as a token of appreciation, the ship was renamed Statsraad Lehmkuhl, which translates to Minister Lehmkuhl. She remained a training ship until 1940, when the Germans confiscated and held on to her until 1944, when she was returned to Norway.

On this voyage, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl is sailed by the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy’s 1st year officer cadets, who are participating in leadership training and teambuilding during the trip. Stripped of modern communication technology, the students must work together to overcome the timeless challenges and dangers of travelling the seas by sail. Statsraad Lehmkuhl has been part of the basic training program since 2002, and the Royal Norwegian Navy leases the ship for several months every year.

The crew of Statsraad Lehmkuhl welcomed a feathered visitor somewhere in the North Atlantic on October 26, 2015. “The observation of birds is normally the first sign of land in the offing and we have a new visitor on board who most likely will hitch a ride to Bermuda,” they wrote.
The crew of Statsraad Lehmkuhl welcomed a feathered visitor somewhere in the North Atlantic on October 26, 2015. “The observation of birds is normally the first sign of land in the offing and we have a new visitor on board who most likely will hitch a ride to Bermuda,” they wrote.

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl weighs 1.516 tons and features 22 sails and can hold up to 200 people, with a permanent 20-person crew. Under sails, the ship can reach a speed of up to 17 knots, or almost 20mph, and 11 knots when only using the diesel engine. You can chart the ship’s progress through this link.

About Sail Baltimore

Sail Baltimore brings tall ships, domestic and foreign navy vessels and sea service vessels to Baltimore every year for free public tours. As a revolving maritime museum, these vessels capture the romance of the sea and bring with them visitors from around the globe. Sail Baltimore’s mission is three-fold – promoting cultural exchange, stimulating Baltimore’s tourism trade, and educating the public. For more information, visit www.sailbaltimore.org .

About The Pride of Baltimore

For nearly four decades, Pride of Baltimore and Pride of Baltimore II have represented the people of Baltimore in ports throughout the world, spreading a positive message of Baltimore and extending the hand of friendship globally. Since her commissioning in 1988, Pride II has traveled more than 250,000 nautical miles and visited 40 countries in 200 ports. Pride II has become one of the most well-known U.S. sailing vessels in the world, capturing the imagination of millions of people.

For more information, contact Laura Rodini at laura@pride2.org.

"Farewell to (Tall Ships) Nova Scotia," Two Quaint and Totally Different Towns, and Chasseur – Pride II's Pride and Joy

Tuesday, 31 July, 2012
Pos: 43 21.2’N X 066 42.1’W
Wx: WSW F 2, Seas 1′, Fog
Pride of Baltimore II Motor-Sailing under Mains’l, Gaff Tops’l and Stays’l at 6 knots.

After nearly two weeks in the cold waters and warm hospitality of Nova Scotia, Pride of Baltimore II is bound for Maine and the USA. Since our fully-packed stay in Halifax, and our action-packed passage from the Nova Scotian Capital, the pace took a decidedly more relaxing turn in the Southwestern shore towns of Lunenburg and Shelburne. But our hosts stayed just as welcoming and the visitors to the ship just as excited. Open to the public for two days in both places, Pride II saw more visitors than the total population in each town – 4422 in Lunenburg and 2888 in Shelburne! And while both towns could safely and accurately be described as “quaint,” they are about as different as can be.  

Steeped in the history of Loyalists to the crown fleeing a fledgling America for still British Canada, Shelburne has an almost English feel to it. And the flotilla of private vessels who welcomed Pride II in on Friday afternoon illustrated that they temper their ardent preservation of history with performance modern sailing. A good fit for Pride II. On arrival, the local Longboat Society, who maintain and drill with a pair of 27′ replica Bounty-style longboats, hosted a reception aboard in full 18th Century attire. With the rest of the fleet delayed by weather and Pride II there alone, they Society regaled us with the history of their town, featuring seven generations of the Cox family building fishing vessels, from schooners to dories to power-driven boats. The buildings of the Cox shipyard are all a museum now, immaculately preserved and giving the town an almost movie set quality along the waterfront. Dozens of people in traditional costume or pirate garb frequently firing off replica weapons only added to the picture.

Though small, Shelburne was certainly cozy and welcoming, from the initial flotilla to the sparse crowd on the dock to see our departure. Once off the dock, we shut down straight away, set the foretops’l and fired port guns in salute, then ran down the harbor on a Northeast breeze. The harbor itself seemed loath to let us leave, presenting us with a Southerly just before we cleared the outer reaches, and forcing us to short tack our way out beyond the rocky headlands. But it is, in fact, “Farewell to Nova Scotia” for us. 

But let’s not forget about the middle port in our Canadian foray – Lunenburg, a fishing town with an active working waterfront full of trawlers and draggers, all against a museum-like backdrop of Victorian houses and traditional ships. Homeport to Canada’s iconic schooner Bluenose II (currently being rebuilt), she is also the home of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. The museum has excellent exhibits and historic ships, but the thing it truly captures is the spirit of the town’s seagoing history. And modern day adventurers can hail at the offices for the world-ranging barque Picton Castle, a ship whose exotic voyaging, international crew and preservation of traditional seamanship perpetuate Lunenburg’s connection to the sea.

The sea is truly in the blood there – against a background of seven tall ships, the mooring field south of the waterfront was littered with local traditional small craft. On Wednesday night they were all underway for racing or fun, and Pride II’s crew was even invited to borrow a dory schooner appropriately named Miscreant. Post sailing, racing or not, all hands are called to the Malagash Harbor Yacht Club for burgers and beers.

Perhaps the most perfect yacht club in all the world, the Malagash’s Clubhouse consists of two rafts pinned together – one with a small shack and one with a barbeque grill – on a mooring in the harbor. Membership is granted on arrival, the dress code encourages shorts and bare feet, and access is only by boat. Looking around at a fleet of twenty or so traditional craft rafted up to the “club,” I found myself thinking a person could say they were raised “Lunenburg” in the same way they might say they were raised Catholic, or Jewish, or Presbyterian. Seafaring is not a pastime in Lunenburg, it is a cultural imperative.

And among those rafted boats was Pride II’s own Chasseur. Named with an historic nod to Thomas Boyle’s famous privateer, and often called “the world’s most expensive deck-box,” Chasseur has certainly been a bit underutilized in her life. The crew is too busy, the schedule too tight, the water too murky to risk a scum line on her white hull. All these, while often true, have kept Chasseur from being used to expand the seamanship of many Pride II sailors. After all, much of what a sailor needs to know can be best learned in a small, open boat.

But Nova Scotia saw a rebirth of Chasseur. Rigged “on the hip” at our Halifax dock in order to help clear some deck space for the relatively steep gangway, she tempted more than a few crew, myself included, to take her out. So in she went, and after a night of swelling, I bailed her quick and took her for a row around George’s Island as a morning work-out. Small enough to be single-handed, yet spacious enough to hold six, she’s been rowed and sailed more in the last week than she has in my four and more years with Pride II. Both the boat and the crew are happier for it. She’s been used for R&R, physical fitness, crew training and development, and even as transportation when we showed up in style to Shelburne’s waterfront crew party.

It’s good to show her off. Her full, buoyant lap-straked hull in sharp contrast to the hard-chined and flat bottomed dories of Nova Scotia, she is pleasing to both the sailor and the on-looker. Both her hull and her cotton sail are older than all our deckhands, yet she sails with all the life and joy of a laughing child.

After half a dozen rows in her, I finally took her for a sail Sunday afternoon, in a moderate Nor’easter and a light rain. Partly out of curiosity, and partly to settle a debate with Bosun Elizabeth Foretek, I forewent the rudder and tiller, maneuvering Chasseur only by sail trim and shifting weight. Those of you skeptical as to the existence of magic should try this. Constantly adjusting her trim, often standing up with the sheet in hand and the feel of her progress under my feet through her sole boards; she demanded to be sailed like a windsurfer or a planing dingy. For steering she responded to a foot placed forward or aft, a step to leeward or by hiking out with my feet tucked under a thwart in the gusts, keeping her flat to keep her from rounding up. Then the challenge of tacking – ducking to leeward and nearly diving for the bow, standing up in front of the mast and pushing her lee rail almost under water with my foot, then scampering over thwarts to the stern sheets so her head would pay off onto the next tack. Some might say physics, but in the misty rain of Shelburne Harbor, it felt like magic.

She requires constant tinkering, just like her “mother ship” Pride II. So, good for the crew to be out and tinkering, practicing the finer details of the craft we focus so intently on aboard the schooner herself. And fitting, as we enter the thick of the War of 1812 Bicentennial, that Chasseur should be so reborn, and once again teaching us all a thing or two about real sailing.

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and the “States” bound crew of Pride of Baltimore II (and Chasseur)