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Working Hard, Playing Hard ~ Part 2

19 July 2011
Wx: NxE F 3, Overcast.

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II engaging in some unusual behaviors today. First off, she is headed East across a Great Lake, for the first time since our 25 nautical mile foray from the Welland Canal to Buffalo earlier this month. We have left the hospitality and excitement of Duluth, the inland most port we will ever or can ever sail to, behind. Now PRIDE II is headed back to sea. And for the second odd thing, she is motoring. We have the fores’l set for a boost in speed, but since our last pass under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this morning at 1030, we have had the engines running to make 7.5 knots.

With a forecast for light Easterlies and a mind to make the Apostle Islands town of Bayfield, Wisconsin for one more stop west of 90º Longitude tonight, the officers and I decided to give the ship some much needed work and finish some open projects. As it happened however, once we got the crew embroiled in projects, a sailable breeze came up. But the projects are open, the trip is short and there are more sailable breezes forecast for tomorrow through Friday. We’re sticking to the maintenance. The ship needs it.

Maintenance aboard PRIDE II is constant, but while we are underway and sailing the boat, the crew scarcely have time to eat and sleep, so most of the work we do to maintain PRIDE II happens in port. With our schedule in Duluth featuring 12 daysails over our four day stay, things were chock-a-block – nautical speak for fully booked – and left little time for anything but sailing and furling. So while it would be great to go sailing along in 10 knots of North by East breeze, the covering board at the outer edge of the deck needs finished up with a fresh coat of paint, the rigging needs an inspection, souvenirs need inventoried and stowed, and various other odds and ends have to be dealt with. It is a hard decision to give up sailing and use the engines, but grudgingly, we’ll burn some fuel.

I say grudgingly because PRIDE II is such a splendid sailing vessel, and thanks to the hard work of the crew has been largely sailing for most of her Great Lakes tour so far. This motoring thing is not common for us these days. In fact, since she last took on fuel in Rochester, New York, she has only been through 325 gallons of diesel while covering 1000 nautical miles to Duluth. Since we average about one gallon per mile, we’ve made nearly 700 nautical miles sailing. One hundred fifty of the rest have been through the Welland Canal, Detroit and St. Clair Rivers and the St. Marys River where sailing wouldn’t be an option anyway. We’re keeping a low carbon footprint these days.

As I write this, however, both our plan for painting and any hopes of sailing seem to be on the verge of collapse. A line of thunderstorms is approaching from the hot, open plains to the West of Lake Superior and it looks like we’re gonna get soaked before we get to the Apostles.

All best,
Captain Jamie Trost and the finally eastbound crew of PRIDE of BALTIMORE II