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A daysail aboard the Pride of Baltimore II

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Yesterday we went had a wonderful sail aboard the Pride of Baltimore II over on the Chester River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Sailing on the Pride has been a goal of mine for 35 years, ever since I saw her being built in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor during the Operation Sail gathering of tall ships in 1976.  So I purchased tickets last fall and we had been patiently waiting for the crew to complete her winter maintenance on the hard and post the new sailing schedule for the 2011 season.  At the time, we thought we would be sailing out of Baltimore, but when we saw the Chestertown trip being offered, we leapt at the opportunity.

Chestertown, Maryland – where the Pride was at anchor when we arrived – was founded in 1705 and was once designated as one of Maryland’s six Royal Ports of Entry during the time she was an English colony.  By the mid-eighteenth century, Chestertown was considered Maryland’s second leading port after Annapolis.  Today, Chestertown is ranked second behind Annapolis in its number of existing eighteenth century residences, and is home to the annual Chestertown Tea Party Festival, which is celebrated each Memorial Day weekend.  Chestertown is also used by both the Pride of Baltimore II and the HMS Sultana for winter downrigging and maintenance, and provides a wonderful starting point for a sailing cruise.

Cindy and I had last been to Chestertown some twenty years ago, when my mom had taken delivery of a used Catfisher 32 catamaran in the late autumn and needed some assistance getting it down the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk before the winter weather moved in.  Chestertown itself hasn’t changed much since then, but the surrounding communities have exploded in size and number during the past two decades.

So with all that in mind, we drove over to Chestertown with some friends, arrived early and spent the extra time exploring the local docks and taking in the atmosphere.

This was our first view of the Sultana and the Pride (the Pride is barely visible in the right background)
Historical watercraft with lee boards – the first I’ve ever seen on the Chesapeake Bay
The skipjack Elsworth, part of the historic fleet owned by the Echo Hill Outdoor School

The Elsworth is a Chesapeake Bay skipjack, built in 1901 at Hudson, Maryland. She is a 39.9-foot-long two-sail bateau, or “V”-bottomed deadrise type of centerboard sloop. She has a beam of 14.3′, a depth of 3.1′, and a gross registered tonnage of 8 tons. She is one of the 35 surviving traditional Chesapeake Bay skipjacks and a member of the last commercial sailing fleet in the United States… – via Wikipedia

The 2001 replica of the HMS Sultana, showing her bluff bow
The stern of the HMS Sultana – note the swivel guns pointed up on the rail
Our first clean view of the Pride of Baltimore II – she had just weighed anchor and was slowly headed toward us
The Sultana underway – making room for the Pride to pick us up at the dock
The Pride of Baltimore II, showing her fine bow and sleek lines
The skipper of the Pride, as he kept a running dialog of the history of the ship going during the sail
The Pride’s bow and staysail, with the Sultana in the far distance
Cindy on the deck (in the blue jacket), observing all the cool details of the rigging
The maximum sail we had aloft during our short voyage
The Sultana under power and returning to the dock
More of the Pride’s sail arrangement
Deck details of the Pride
More of the Pride’s rigging details
The crew of the Pride preparing to fire the cannon
The view of the Pride’s deck as we return to the dock

All in all, Cindy and I both felt the daysail on the Pride was too short – too short by far!    She wanted it to extend for several more hours so she could lay down on the sun-warmed decks and take a nap, and I just wanted it to never end because I enjoy sailing so much.

This was the first time either of us had ever been for a trip of any duration on a sailing vessel that large and it was truly wonderful.  Very much worth the expense!

 

One thought on “A daysail aboard the Pride of Baltimore II

  1. Teanna Byerts

    Some nice shots! The historic craft is the John Smith Shallop (the Pocahontas guy), rowed/sailed in an epic voyage following Capt John Smith's trail around the Bay a few years back by Sultana Projects' crew of 5 young women and 7 young guys. If you can, do an overnight guest crew passage on Pride, even a couple days on the Bay is great, then she will sail with a bone in her teeth! Leaving Inner Harbor, we began throwing canvas wings into the air, as we sailed under the Francis Scott Key Bridge, cars honked, small craft approached, cameras recorded, people hailed us… I looked up and saw 10,000 square feet of sail overhead, raised my camera… “this is the PICTURE! The one from the books, the T-shirts, the postcards! Wait, I can't take the picture, I'm IN the picture!” (I'ts impossible to catch the whole rig from on deck: you'd need a fisheye lens). the other privateer, Lynx, which Capt Jamie Trost has also helmed, is a gorgeous little ship too. And while Sultana isn't as fast, she's one of the coolest schoolships on the Chesapeake! Check all of them out at Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown, Halloween Weekend.

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