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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.