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 CHALLENGEÂŽ 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 STRIVES TO EARN NUMBER FIVE

Dateline: February 5th, 2014, San Diego California

Last week at the Tall Ships America Annual Awards Dinner, Pride of Baltimore II was awarded the Perry Bowl for placing first in 2013’s Tall Ships Challenge Race Series. This marks the fifth time since 2000 Pride II has won the series, and, following on the heels of her 2012 Perry Bowl, this is the first time she has ever won in back-to-back seasons. Adding her 2010 win, she’s claimed top honors three of the last four years.

In presenting the award, Tall Ships America listed out the finishing results of the races on all five Great Lakes with a steady drumbeat – one second place and four firsts – hinting that all Pride II need do was cast off lines and slide easily to a win. But buying into such fantasy would discredit both the field of competition and the efforts of the crew.

First off, in the dynamic environment of sailing there are no foregone conclusions. The wind is fickle and the weather is a prankster. Nowhere more so than in the temperamental Great Lakes, with the patchy doldrums and summer squalls of baffling inland oceans. Seen from a height, the courses where we raced might boast a mackerel pattern – the bright sheen of flat clam here, the glittered shine and texture of wind driven water there. And if the weather weren’t opponent enough, the fleet teemed with competition. Stately Niagara and nimble Lynx, our swift 1812-era sisters; full-rigged Sorlandet, sleek Appledore IV, and three-masted Denis Sullivan, with her rig made for the Great Lakes.

All these ships and more eyed the finish line with the same set gaze as Pride II and her crew. Lynx beat us on Erie, and was a mere 22 seconds behind on Michigan, with Appledore IV nipping at her heels. Niagara held the lead on Huron and Superior until late race wind shifts favored Pride II’s weatherly hull. Competition this sharp comes only from crews and ships honed by practice, drill, and perfection of craft. At this level, the ship is like a machine with human gears and cogs. Or perhaps a wholly living being, the crew toiling and laboring as cells and pulses within the larger creature of the vessel herself.

Either way, aboard Pride II the crew was focused, dedicated, and absolutely set on getting every last ounce of speed from the ship. It’s easy to imagine the intensity as visceral sweat and muscle and a powered-up Pride frothing at the bows, heeling and surging along. But that’s romanticism, not reality. The races are long, the conditions constant only in their changing. The intensity is inward. Our fingers are on the pulse of the ship, we strain to detect changes in the rhythms of the ship and the subtleties of wind. It’s a staring contest with the weather, with the other ships. The minds of all hands scan the ever-changing horizon, study the cloud streaked or star speckled dome of sky for clues to the unfolding mystery of the future.

In the end, it comes down to luck – specifically when luck is the convergence of preparation and opportunity. The Captains, Crew, and Staff of Pride, Inc. are grateful to the Tall Ships Challenge for the opportunity to campaign Pride II with our striving sister ships, and we could not be prouder of the hard work, dedication, and commitment the 2013 crew put into preparing for the Challenge.

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and the truly proud Staff and Crew of Pride of Baltimore, Inc.

CLEVELAND TALL SHIPS FESTIVAL & LAKE ERIE TALL SHIPS RACE

PRIDE Pride II is motoring up the Detroit River this morning on her way to Lake Huron. There is significant current to stem. This current comes from Lake Huron being slightly more than 6.5 feet above Lake Erie. This height difference is spread over some 80 miles. As a result, the current speed is between one and two knots – not so much that vessels cannot make way under their own power against the current. So there is no need for a lock to go into and stop to wait to fill (or empty if down-bound) to the next water level, as there was for the St Lawrence River between Montreal, The Thousand Islands, and The Welland Canal. But the current does mean making a slower motoring speed as we go up the river.

Yesterday was the second Great Lakes Tall Ship Challenge race. The race was from Cleveland some 35 miles toward the islands at the west end of Lake Erie. While Pride led the fleet across the finish line, she was closely followed by Lynx, which Pride owes handicap time. Being we were not so far ahead of Lynx, she will no doubt receive a first, while Pride receives a second place. No other vessel in the fleet was able to cross the line before the race time limit, although Niagra looked to us in the deeply dark night to have crossed the finish line less than fifteen minutes after the time limit. Why did it take so long for so few vessels in the fleet to actually cross the finish line before the time limit? The wind was rather fickle and changeable due to several rain squalls. Altogether this made it hard to conjure a cohesive wind strategy. Lynx did a great job of putting together a very productive sailing plan and was able to keep close to us and save her handicap time for a first place finish behind Pride, even though we crossed the finish first. I know the crews of these three vessels worked hard and very well to sail their vessels in such changeable and even threateningly squally weather!

This fickle weather has been around since the fast sail Pride had from The Welland Canal to Cleveland last week. It has been raining a lot and the wind has been light and vague since last Wednesday. Notwithstanding the vaguely threatening rain, the Tall Ship Festival went well. Pride had no less than 11,000 persons cross her decks in four days!!!

Next festival is Bay City, Michigan. Three days starting Friday.

Cheers,

Captain Jan Miles

SQUALLY START, ROUNDING THE BUOYS, AND ONE LAKE DOWN

Tuesday, 25 June, 2013

Pos: At anchor in 27 feet of water off Jordan Harbor, Ontario
Wx: SW F 2-3, Overcast with light rain
Pride of Baltimore II cooling her heels, her crew cooling their hands.

Ahead of schedule for her appearance in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Pride of Baltimore II is once more swinging on her Port Bower, and once more sharing a Canadian anchorage with her sister Privateer Lynx. With Queen Elizabeth’s Way, one of Ontario’s major thoroughfares, running along the shore, this anchorage isn’t quite as quiet as La Malbaie, but we’re getting accustomed to the steady thrum of highway noise.

In case you’re starting to think all this anchoring makes Pride II’s port hook the most exercised thing on the ship, allow me to detail the recent schedule the ship and crew have had. After a jam packed festival in Toronto where our 6,657 visitors were boarding and marveling at the ship right up until an hour before departure, we got underway and immediately assembled to take up our station in a five-mile parade of sail through Toronto Harbor. Once finished, we were off to the races, literally, along with the Norwegian Ship Sorlandet, the Barkentine Peacemaker, and the Schooners Lynx and Unicorn.

At 1930 Sunday evening, the first race of the 2013 Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge started just east of Toronto. Pride II is always eager for the challenge of maximizing performance against the world’s finest traditional vessels, but on Sunday we might have been even more primed – five of us had seen a disappointing Orioles loss live at Rodgers Center on Saturday, and just as we started the parade we heard that the O’s had lost 9-0 to the Blue Jays. It was up to us to keep Baltimore proud this weekend.

All our pre-start strategies were literally rained on by squall that swept out from the heat of Toronto. With a perfect bead on the start line and the timing worked out to cross it right at the gun, we had to shorten sail for the squall, and lagged behind our timing in the lull that followed. The seven minute delay still had us across eight minutes before anyone else in the fleet. We cracked on our kites – the stuns’ls and t’gallant – and bore off toward the first mark off Pickering, Ontario.

Typically, Tall Ships races follow the rhumb line, the shortest distance between two ports. This time, however, the fleet was splitting up for their next port appearances, the overall distance to either port was less than 30 nautical miles, and our appearances were five days away. So, to jazz things up, Tall Ships America sent us around the buoys. The first leg was 14 miles dead down wind, and the next 38 miles nearly dead to weather, and the final mile a close reach.

With her nose first over the start line, Pride II established a lead she never lost. After 13 hours 20 minutes and 3 seconds, we finished ahead of the rest of the fleet. And we need to if there’s any hope of winning. Under the rating system used for Tall Ships Races, Pride II has the least favorable time correction factor in the fleet, and “owes” time to all the other ships.

After finishing a race that included ten sail changes, two wares and eight tacks in less than 14 hours, we stripped Pride II down to easy sail and took communications from the rest of the fleet. Lynx crossed around 1625, and we sailed to the anchorage with her. With the race over it was time for the next phase – the 2013 Great Lakes Five Lake Swim Call Challenge! Having missed Lake Ontario in 2011, we wasted no time washing the sweat and grime of the race off of us. One lake down, four to go!

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and the Fresh Water Cleansed Crew of Pride of Baltimore II

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

Etch-a-Sketch in Cape Cod Bay, A Place for the Birds, Tide Bound in a Rocky River and Waiting Winds of Nova Scotia

23 July 2012

Pos: Alongside the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Wx: South Force 2, Clear

Pride of Baltimore II has had a busy interval since her last Blog; and it was full of racing, anchorages, tides, fog and more racing. Eleven days ago we cleared through the Cape Cod Canal, and by mid-morning began our time trial for the third race of the Tall Ships Challenge. Prepared for an evening breeze, we nonetheless jumped to take advantage of the unexpected mid-morning Northerly wind, and worked to keep a close reach across Cape Cod Bay. Shifting conditions through the day had the breeze up and down, and Pride II’s track line across the chart looked like child’s scribble.

But just when we thought we’d finished our eight hours and started sailing North toward Portsmouth, the anticipated Southerly came up; we set the stuns’l and shook off the old track like clearing an etch-a-sketch, carrying on through the night under all plain sail plus. While no sled ride, our second trial netted us an average speed of over six knots, and was good enough for Pride II’s third first-place finish in the Tall Ships Challenge series.

Post race, we anchored off Appledore Island, the southernmost of Maine’s incredible count of islands, at the invitation of Captain Kevin Wells, who is Senior Captain for the research facility there. Having sailed in the Tall Ship fleet for years, Kevin is always eager to welcome visiting vessels. The SSV Corwith Cramer and Schooner Harvey Gamage had already arrived, and Maine Maritime Academy’s Arctic Exploring Schooner Bowdin arrived shortly after we did. We made for a busy little mooring field off an island that is nearly overrun with gulls. All forays ashore are well warned that the island’s sea birds will aggressively defend their young and their turf. Some of the researchers even wear bicycle helmets adorned antennae made from tennis balls and coat hangers to keep the dive-bombing beaks at bay. Talk about angry birds!

A quiet night at anchor ended with Venus and Jupiter beaming bright at 0400 hours as we steamed for Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This classic New England Seaport offers singular difficulties in dealing with current, and so our four pre-festival day sails were hosted in the outer section of the river off New Castle, NH. On Friday, we boarded another sold-out boat for a Parade of Sail in concert with the Sloop Providence, a replica of John Paul Jones’ first command in the Continental Navy, and the Gundalow Company’s newly constructed Piscataqua, a traditional Piscataqua River cargo vessel. After the short, busy trip up the river, we secured across from the picturesque Strawberry Banke Museum and opened to thousands of eager public.

Few ports are as tide bound as Portsmouth, and so when the high slack water came at 1130 Monday morning, both Pride II and Providence were away with it. Saluting the town on our way out, we carried some sail to complete the show. Sadly, it was just for show – the Gulf of Maine was like a mill pond – a foggy, soggy mill pond all the way to Cape Sable at the West end of Nova Scotia. The last time trial was only to be sailed in Nova Scotian waters, and the breeze seemed to be waiting for us there. At 1900 Tuesday evening, we cracked on sail until everything was set and drawing, and at 2000 started our race. This time it was quite a ride. Fog alternately encircled and released us, passing squalls glimmered lightning through the vapor, and Pride II raced on in 18-22 knots of wind and a building sea, averaging 10.23 knots for the eight-hour race, at one stage even surging up to 12.3. A good showing, but the USCG Barque Eagle was also racing, and the strong favorable breeze makes her a strong contender. Fingers are crossed as we await the results.

For now, after a full sail and four gun salute entrance, we’re snug in at Halifax enjoying the expected warmth of Nova Scotian hospitality and the surprising warmth in the Nova Scotian weather.