Winter Maintenance ~ Work is Well Under Way

PRIDE II is under her cocoon of white shrink wrap plastic spread over her wooden frame that bridges her deck fore & aft and rail to rail. Her spars (yards, topmasts, gaffs, boom) are ashore under their own cocoon of white shrink wrap plastic spread over quonset hut shaped wooden re-enforced plastic frame. There is a 6 foot x 8 foot “hobo” hut of white shrink wrap plastic over wooden frame with peaked roof for blocks to be maintained. We have temporary loan of the heated garage of the Maryland Port Administration Operations work site where PRIDE II is moored down South Clinton St. from the Canton area of Baltimore. There are four shipping containers on the premises that are the basis of PRIDE II’s maintenance and spare parts storage and work bench. The maintenance period is half over and it looks to us all like we are getting done what we hoped to get done.

That list of “do’s” included some very different chores. Oiling the ship’s deck and repairing under engine “containment”. Both projects required some dismantling and significant preparation time before the actual work needed doing could actually be done. Oiling the deck required removing hardware from the deck, things like deck prisms, then diligent sanding of the whole deck before the oil could be laid down. The engine containment repair/overhaul required lifting the engines up off their permanent “installed” position motor mounts just to be able to do the needed work to the under engine containment system.

As of mid January the deck received its first four priming coats. It is our goal that we get between two and four more separate covering coats before the 2012 sailing crew come aboard. In the midst of doing this the old dead and falling out deck seam pitch (seam tar) that was removed before the deck sanding will be replaced. Meanwhile the deck hardware will be re-installed. In the engine compartment the PORT side engine is now back on its motor mounts and connected. The STBD engine is expected to be lifted up this week.

Throughout this same period the other normal and annual maintenance is getting done. Spars have been sanded and patch coated three times with varnish where there was 2011 sailing season wear and tear…plus the first full coat sanded and ready for the second full coat. Block maintenance is near complete and ready for being re-stropped/seized into their proper slings of wire or rope, hence ready for actual installation by the sailing crew when they re-rig/rig-up the ship early this spring.

Still to be done are the down below cosmetics. The galley and the saloon area get a significant going over with varnish. Both the focsle and the aft cabin receive some cosmetic repair/maintenance as well.

A new chapter in the tradition of winter maintenance is the Pride Winter Maintenance Volunteer Program. Starting on a mid December Saturday some seventeen PRIDE II enthusiasts joined the winter maintenance crew to help prepare PRIDE II for her 2012 sailing season. Such a turnout of so many PRIDE II enthusiasts willing to work in unheated circumstances was far above anything we were prepared to predict. Since that December day we have had a steady turn out of volunteers that come both week day and Saturdays. The day to day numbers fluctuate with Saturdays bringing the highest attendance. What a boon to the progress of winter maintenance these volunteers have been! On top of this we had our first Eagle Boy Scout Public Support Team … (who are these Scouts?) … come do some PRIDE II maintenance this last Saturday. They did a great job and we look forward to their return next Saturday.

Looking forward to the next half of the winter maintenance period we all wonder what the weather will be like. Thus far winter in Baltimore has been mild. Especially compared to the two preceding winters! Unlike those winters, we have not yet had any snow and the cold snaps have not been very deep or very long lasting when the temperature did drop to below freezing. Thus far this winter, I am reminded of the typically mild winters here in Baltimore. But there can always be a surprise. Yes siree!

For those of you that have been part of our PRIDE II winter maintenance Volunteers, we thank you very much!!! For those that support us in other ways, we thank you very much as well!!! PRIDE is the only “real” American Privateer of the of 1812 War sailing today in the 21st Century. She is also the most well known world wide American sailing vessel. There are well known American “classic” sailing yachts. But PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is the only representative of America that bridges all classes and types of sailing representations from our country. Your support of PRIDE II has brought this about. It is your support that will keep PRIDE II sailing and representing all that we Marylanders have long been proud of long into the 21st Century!

Jan C. Miles
A Captain with Pride of Baltimore, Inc.

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.