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Tall Ships in Nova Scotia

It was not too long ago that we aboard PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II were sweltering in the high humidity heat of Charleston. Now we are covered up in at least a couple of layers during the day and blankets at night, as we cruise-in-company with nearly a dozen vessels to a number of Nova Scotian ports, which are hosting small tall ship festivals.

From Halifax this small fleet broke away from the Tall Ship Atlantic Challenge 2009 race fleet when they started their race to Belfast, Ireland last Monday. Instead of going to Ireland or going to our respective home waters, this small fleet sailed on to tall ship festivals in two ports east of Halifax ~ Port Hawkesbury and Louisburg. Both ports are located on Cape Breton Island. After two days of public visits the fleet is now underway for Sydney, further to the east. Saturday and Sunday will be spent with Sydney’s public exploring the fleet. Then it is off again for the next small Nova Scotian port of Pictou. After two days there it will be time to move the fleet to Pugwash, the last Nova Scotian port to benefit from this year’s visit of tall ships and the curious and enthusiastic public coming to the waterfront to board them.

As I write this, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II and PICTON CASTLE ~ the two largest vessels of this small fleet ~ are motoring against a moderate breeze from the East. We are passing by the southwest entrance of the well-known holiday cruising ground of the Bras’ Dor Lakes, located in the middle of Cape Breton Island. Near us is ROSEWAY, the last American fishing schooner to be built at the famous Essex, Massachusetts fishing schooner building port. She is sailing at the moment, tacking to windward in the moderate breeze. It will be interesting to me to observe if she is able to sail well enough in the available breeze to make the distance to Sydney in the available time; at 1000 hours tomorrow the Sydney Tall Ships festival opens to the public with ticket holders expecting to board the ships. At any rate, sometime tonight PRIDE II and PICTON CASTLE should turn the southeast corner of Cape Breton Island and have a favorable breeze to do some sailing with up toward the entrance of Sydney Harbor. Till then PRIDE II’s crew are standing watches and getting some rest from all their public tours and the evening events put on by the locals in honor of the vessels’ crews. Not being able to sail due to the contrary breeze and the limited amount of time to shift to Sydney Harbor does provide captains with the opportunity to give the crew some added rest before facing the Sydney public tomorrow, right after a full night of travel.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II