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Waiting out the weather en route to Erie

Tuesday 7 September 2010
Pride of Baltimore II
Alongside in the St. Clair River
Wx SSW F 4 gusting 6, 1 foot sea in the river

After a weekend tucked into the excellent facility and protective dock at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Pride of Baltimore II had to make a mad dash around the “Tip of the Mitt” – the Northern Part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Our weekend in Traverse City was not the picturesque and mellow time I had hoped – even though the Grand Traverse is beautiful and quite a lot of fun for the crew, autumn definitely decided to arrive in force. There was no good weather for daysailing as the winds were gale force from the West and Northwest, but our evening event with the Maritime Heritage Alliance on Saturday was well attended. It even featured a double rainbow as a reward for each of the three squalls that passed through – a fitting natural phenomenon for the impressive landscape of the area.

Leaving Traverse City, our transit through the Mackinaw straights was fortunately timed during a lull in the breeze down to 20-25 knots from the North Northwest, going West and then shifting to South West with some more moderation. All of that represented good, possibly great, sailing conditions, but giving into the temptation to sail alone would have left us still on Southern Lake Huron and dealing with a Southerly Gale. Instead we motor-sailed, and then motored to get into the relative protection of the river before things went, literally, South.

Now we are sitting tight and waiting for the Southerlies to become Westerlies and allow us to leave the Detroit River without the experience of meeting a sea state that has been heaped up against the River’s two knot current. A bit of a breather after a full force summer tour through all five Great Lakes. It is also my last breather before leaving Pride II to rejoin her “sister” Baltimore Clipper, Lynx in Erie. My last passage aboard Pride II promises to be another downwind blast, and will take me back to the very waters I first learned to sail on as a kid. And strangely, though I sailed in and out of Erie aboard the Brig Niagara for several years, and countless other times on everything from a Sunfish to a 46-foot racing yacht, this will be my first passage into Presque Isle Bay as Captain.

What better way to do it – aboard such a splendid schooner, with a terrific crew & excellent support staff at home, and at the end of a tour-de-force of the Lakes that has totaled over 50,000 visitors to the ship, over 2,000 nautical miles sailed and awards for three races plus a First Place in the ASTA Tallships Challenge Series. To all the liasions, volunteers and organizers, and particularly to the crew and staff of Pride II and Pride, Inc. Thank you for an amazing summer.

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