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Working Hard, Playing Hard

18 July 2011
Pos: Alongside Duluth Harbor
Wx: East F 1, Overcast

Arrival in Duluth with the Brig Niagara. Deckhand Alex Peacock on the bowsprit.

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II arrived to Duluth on Thursday afternoon in grand style. Under a heft press of canvas we screamed through the entrance channel just astern of the Brig NIAGARA and making 7.5 knots on a Force 4 Easterly. Since that arrival then only thing that has slackened in the pace has been the wind speed. As I write, we have finished 11 of the 12 Daysails scheduled here, and are gearing up for our final sail, a kind of mock battle with the schooner LYNX.

These daysails have been full up, but not all with much wind. And sometimes too much. The weather has been mostly Easterly, and so that means motoring out of the narrow entrance, or committing to sailing inside the harbor and down Superior Bay. Heading out the channel requires coordination with the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, which has a new set of rules for opening and closing. In past visits, PRIDE II has been able to request a lift any time she needed one due to her status as a commercial vessel. But the new rules state any vessel under 300 tons must wait for openings at the bottom and top of the hour – every thirty minutes. Since our sailing times being and end on the half hour (the bottom of the hour) this has required some speedy boarding and getting underway!
Pride II in Duluth Harbor

On a few occasions, PRIDE II stayed inside and sailed down Superior Bay. The first of these was Friday afternoon, when the Easterly was up to 30 knots offshore, and generating a 6’ sea that had passengers aboard LYNX getting physically ill. Staying in the flat water and using the more moderate breeze seemed a good idea, so I asked former PRIDE II crew and Head Liaison for the festival Jeff Crosby for some local knowledge. Jeff has been a great asset to PRIDE II during our visit to his hometown, just as he was during his nearly three years as crew. He has been waiting on the Pier to catch our lines after nearly every sail, which is old hat for him, as he was often landed off of PRIDE II for that purpose while he worked here.

Sailing down Superior Bay was a splendid ride on Friday, with plenty of breeze and no heaped up sea to deal with. The navigation was pretty straight forward, but off the St. Louis River, the buoys change. This signals that you are no longer inbound from the Duluth entrance, but now outbound for the Superior, Wisconsin entrance. This can happen whenever there is a junction of rivers, but noting it while taking an inside route in the world’s inland most port, the change took on profoundness among the crew. As Second Mate Carolyn Seavey and I discussed the change on the quarterdeck, Bosun Rebecca Pskowski noted it aloud, “We come to the place where the buoys change.” It sounded almost mythical. Another extreme, another superlative in our voyage on this mind-boggling lake.

On the shore side, the crew have been sampling the treats and favors of the town in high style, thanks to discount package arranged through Visit Duluth for reduced prices at numerous local restaurants and shops for anyone with a crew credential. Most popular of all so far has been the Laser Tag at Adventure Zone. With one epic battle down on Friday night, the crew have plans to shoot it out again this last night in port.

But first, our shootout with our sister privateer, LYNX.

All best,
Captain Jamie Trost and the crew of PRIDE of BALTIMORE II – with phasers on stun.