Hats off to Halifax, Eagle Steals our Broom, Tattooed at the Citadel and What we do “When No One’s Looking."

July 25, 2012

25 July 2012
Pos: Alongside the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg Nova Scotia
Wx: North Force 1, 5/8 Stratus

After an adventurous sail to windward along the Nova Scotian coast, Pride of Baltimore II is snug in the quintessentially Canadian Maritime Seaport of Lunenburg. Arriving in town along with tops’l schooners Lynx, Unicorn and Amistad we joined Larinda, Providence and Roseway for the second port of Tall Ships Nova Scotia.

Known around the fleet for its hospitality, Lunenburg follows hot on the heels of a splendid stay in bustling Halifax. From our grandstanding arrival on Tuesday, through the spectacle of an opening ceremony highlighted with as much Navy Brass as any OpSail occasion, to impressive crew events at the imposing Citadel, Halifax hosted us well. We hope the 8,900 visitors to Pride II feel we returned the favor.

As final destination in the Tall Ships Challenge series, Halifax hosted the awards ceremony for races three and four. Pride II was first again for the “Etch-a-Sketch” event of Race Three, but the US Coast Guard Barque Eagle edged us out in the “Sprint to Halifax.” As a time-trial, this fourth race was based on the corrected average speeds of the vessels over an eight-hour period. Eagle’s was .24 knots faster than Pride II’s. With our own uncorrected average being 10.23 knots, there isn’t much we could have done to push Pride II harder, but Eagle’s strategy was to wait for the breeze to build before starting their run. So no broom for a clean sweep of the series by Pride II – well done and well raced, Eagle!

Also, well done to all regiments and bands who performed the 1812 Military Tattoo at Halifax’s Citadel on Sunday night. A tour de force of fifes, drums, bagpipes and historic weapons demonstrations celebrated Canada’s rich history and highlighted the 198 years of peace and friendship between our nations. Stealing the show were the 78th Highlanders, who Pride II had the pleasure of hosting for a reception earlier in the weekend. Following their example, we did our best to close out Monday’s Parade of Sail in style as we brought up the rear of 21 ship procession around Halifax Harbour.

Not that putting on a show is new territory for Pride II. For 24 years, we’ve been striving not just to impress dockside visitors with the sleek beauty of the ship, but to inspire and awe on-lookers from shore by highlighting the characteristic nimble elegance of the Baltimore Privateers she so thoroughly represents.

Our arrival and departure from Halifax are prime examples – outbound, we carried easy sail to stay at the required parade speed of five knots until we made the final run along the downtown waterfront and cracked on the mains’l and jib to charge out to sea. But on arrival day, with the Harbour mostly to ourselves, we barreled in under all plain sail, made a few passes by downtown at seven knots, then in a barrage of four guns took in sail and rounded up close enough to our wharf to pass lines.

We hoped to impress, and the gathered crowd on the pier seemed to confirm it. In fact, one onlooker even said “Good show. But what do you guys do when no one’s looking, you still use the sails?”

The only answer I could give was this: “When no one’s looking? That’s when we do all the REALLY cool stuff.”

Sounds glib, but it’s true. Our extended experiment in live action nautical archeology is on-going. Thrashing our way out of Halifax, we noticed a slight tear in the lower section of our fores’l, so we reefed it to contain the damaged portion and sailed on, beating our way out to sea as if it were 1812, and at the end of the day, sailing on the anchor at 23:45 in Rose Bay, eight miles from Lunenburg. Too bad that no one could see us, because handling 8000 square feet of sail in the pitch dark and rounding up safely to drop the hook someplace we’d never seen before was a particularly handy piece of seamanship by the crew.

All best,
Captain Jamie Trost and the smart sailing Crew of Pride of Baltimore II


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