Call to Arms for Volunteer Winter Crew

November 21, 2011

Every winter, Pride of Baltimore II removes all her running rigging and spars for an intense overhaul. During this “Winter Maintenance” period, blocks are serviced and, along with the spars, varnished; standing rigging is tarred and inspected and numerous other details are looked after. It’s a full plate for a skeleton crew. And on the eve of the War of 1812 Bicentennial, we are sounding the call for volunteers to assist us. This is a first for Pride of Baltimore, Inc., the non-profit that for three decades has been caretaker of the ship.

Spar Varnishing

Just as it is for the ship, the reward for all involved in the gritty work of maintaining Pride IIover the winter is to experience her sailing again in the spring. Dedicated volunteers will earn a daysail aboard Pride II once she is up rigged underway again.

While previous wooden boat maintenance skills are greatly welcomed, all Pride II volunteers really need is enthusiasm. Our professional crew will provide on the job direction and supervision as you work alongside them. Typical projects include:

Spar Varnishing: All of Pride II’s spars except the lower masts and bowsprit are varnished, and keeping up the glow requires multiple coats each winter. Usually, chafed and word areas are given special attention and are “patch” coated to catch them up with the rest of the spar. Then the entire spar is coated three times for cosmetic appeal and protection from ultra violet damage. 

Block Care

Block Care: Pride II’sblocks are a key component to the rig, as they provide the mechanical advantage for raising and handling the sails. In addition to the varnishing regiment the spars receive, the blocks are also dismantled and serviced on a rotating basis so that their sheaves and pins can be inspected. Re-assembly requires the use of traditional seizings to keep the blocks in their rope strops. Pride II crew will teach you the intricate traditional skill of seizing.

Standing rigging overhaul: The wire rigging that supports Pride II’s upper rigging is wire brushed to clean of rust and grime, then coated with a protective mixture. Parts of this rigging are “served,” or wound, in small diameter hemp marline. This marline is coated in tar to preserve both it and the rigging. This winter, an inspection of the splices in the standing rigging will see some of this service removed, and involved volunteers will learn this process.

Engineering: Pride II will be lifting up both of its engines this winter for inspection and maintenance. While the ship’s engineer will be running the project, assistance – from expert mechanic to eager to learn tool “gopher” – will be greatly appreciated.

Please contact us if you are interested in lending a hand.  Call 410-539-1151 or email pride2@pride2.org (indicate Volunteer Crew in the subject line).  Any and all skill levels are appreciated.


  1. No Comments


  2. Leave a Reply

    Comments in this post are closed.