Pride II re­turns to port af­ter 8,000-mile voy­age

Ship trav­eled East Coast, Great Lakes to pro­mote mar­itime ed­u­ca­tion

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Colin Camp­bell cm­camp­bell@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/cm­camp­bell6

“It’s a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity to stay present and to be in the mo­ment, be­cause that’s all there really is.”

With its can­nons blast­ing and sails and flags un­furled, the Pride of Bal­ti­more II re­turned to port Thurs­day af­ter a four­month, 8,000-mile voy­age — dur­ing which the crew wel­comed thou­sands of vis­i­tors aboard and won a se­ries of races in the Great Lakes.

The 3,000-mile route along the East Coast, around Nova Sco­tia, into the St. Lawrence Se­away and through the Great Lakes is roughly the same dis­tance as Bal­ti­more to Ire­land, said Cap­tain Jan Miles, who also sailed the orig­i­nal Pride of Bal­ti­more across the At­lantic Ocean in1985.

“It’s a sub­stan­tial voy­age,” Miles said. “It’s a lot of work, but once we were in the lakes, the ship vis­ited a dif­fer­ent port ev­ery week­end to tell the story of how it is that the U.S. comes up with the na­tional an­them that it has, ‘ The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner,’ created right here in Bal­ti­more.”

The 28-year-old top­sail schooner, built in the style of the old Bal­ti­more clip­pers, which served as pri­va­teers in the War of 1812, goes by the nick­name the “StarS­pan­gled Am­bas­sador” and vis­its other ports to pro­mote his­tor­i­cal mar­itime ed­u­ca­tion and the eco­nomic in­ter­ests of Mary­land.

“The Pride of Bal­ti­more is a sym­bol of en­trepreneur­ship, in­no­va­tion,” said Rick Scott, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor for the Pride of Bal­ti­more Inc. “It’s a sym­bol of the re­silience of the peo­ple of Bal­ti­more, and we spread pos­i­tive mes­sages of Bal­ti­more and Mary­land and the port in voy­ages we’ve taken through­out the world.”

Crew mem­bers climbed the rig­ging, yanked the lines to let out the sails and fired can­nons as the ship passed a group of spec­ta­tors gathered on the lawns at Fort McHenry. A Bal­ti­more City Fire Depart­ment ves­sel led the ship into the har­bor with a wa­ter salute, and other boats sounded their horns to wel­come the Pride II home.

Thurs­day’s sail from an­chor­age near Rock Hall marked the end of a voy­age that took the Pride II to Toronto; Erie, Pa.; Chicago; Green Bay, Wis.; and Du­luth, Cap­tain Jan Miles steers the Pride II as it makes its re­turn. Miles also sailed the orig­i­nal Pride of Bal­ti­more across the At­lantic Ocean in 1985. Minn., among other ports.

“We­had a very suc­cess­ful, busy sum­mer telling the story and shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences on the boat with day sails,” Miles said.

Jor­dan Smith, the ship’s other cap­tain, has a back­ground as a pro­fes­sional racer, so his fa­vorite part was a se­ries of five races, one in each Great Lake.

“It’s ba­si­cally an op­por­tu­nity to sail the boat really hard,” Smith said. “When you’re in a race, you tend to push that much harder. Ev­ery­one gets into it.”

The Pride II won three of the races against about a half-dozen other ships of its size, and placed sec­ond and third in the other two, enough to win the over­all se­ries, Smith said.

The crew got into the races and cel­e­brated ac­cord­ingly when they won, he said, al­though there is a strong tra­di­tion of sports­man­ship in com­pet­i­tive sail­ing. “No trash-talk­ing,” he said.

Dur­ing the trip, Philip Keenan, the ship’s cook, said he nor­mally woke up about 5 a.m. to start a pot of cof­fee, then came up to the deck to watch the sun rise be­fore wak­ing the crew.

Life aboard the Pride II is mostly dic­tated by a slew of daily tasks that need do­ing, he said.

“It’s a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity to stay present and to be in the mo­ment, be­cause

Philip Keenan, the ship’s cook

that’s all there really is,” Keenan said. “When you’re at sea, there’s no real sense of lin­ear time, so it’s a rou­tine and you get into the rou­tine, and be­fore you know it, a week’s gone by, and you’re some­place else.

“It’s a to­tally dis­con­nected kind of re­al­ity from life on land. I find that in­ter­est­ing.”

De­spite the races and hec­tic sum­mer fes­ti­val sea­son in the Great Lakes, “it was a pretty re­lax­ing voy­age,” said Chad Loss­ing, the Pride’s first mate.

“We had some mo­tor­ing through the river, and then we had some really good sail­ing,” he said. “It got us ahead of sched­ule, so we were able to take a day or two of re­spite and main­te­nance in prepa­ra­tion for ar­riv­ing into Bal­ti­more.”

The crew en­joyed their time aboard, drink­ing to­gether and some­times play­ing the board game Set­tlers of Catan, Loss­ing said. (He said he won all three games this voy­age, but he’s not sure whether they let him win be­cause of his rank.)

Sail­ing and main­tain­ing the Pride II is dif­fi­cult and leaves the crew ex­hausted, Loss­ing said. But it’s worth it for the sense of ac­com­plish­ment.

“It’s not as ro­man­tic as y’all think it is,” Loss­ing said. “It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of long days, but it’s what we love to do, so it is very re­ward­ing in that sense.

“When you’re do­ing long days of sanding all day, then it gets to be tir­ing,” he said. “But in the end, it’s very re­ward­ing to see what you’ve done to the boat and how you’ve made it look bet­ter and how you’re keep­ing it go­ing for how­ever much longer.”

COLIN CAMP­BELL/BAL­TI­MORE SUN PHOTOS

The Pride of Bal­ti­more II re­turned to the In­ner Har­bor on Thurs­day. The crew wel­comed vis­i­tors and won races in the Great Lakes on its voy­age.

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