Summer time in Pure Michigan

August 7, 2011

Summer time spent in the upper part of “lower Michigan” on the shores of Lake Michigan is to experience one of the “purer” examples of the American water based holidays to be found in America. The area is remote from big city influence. So there is a very real “normal” America feel whenever we mingle with the public aboard or ashore. The streets and sidewalks of the small towns are wide. The residential areas are mostly individual homes. The “out of town” areas are truly rural. For one who comes from a life of cities and suburbia of the Mid-Atlantic when I am not sailing for a living I wonder what winter life is like here. The response from any true local tends to downplay my images of lots of snow and ice and the feeling that to go out in such is not a good idea, hence everyone must be stuck indoors. No matter my imaginings of winter here, during the summer everyone is outside all the daylight day…which is a lot longer than a summer day back in Maryland. Even when PRIDE is closed after a full day’s work the long daylight offers the public many more hours to view PRIDE. Our lives aboard are lived in public…except when we go down below.

I am back aboard PRIDE again after relieving my partner Captain Jamie Trost. I joined in Boyne City, Michigan. Since then PRIDE has sailed to Mackinac Island then on to Luddington. Soon we head off from this summer ideal to the “windy city” Chicago. Thus far weather has been sublime. Wind moderate and temperatures in the upper 80’s for the high.

PRIDE is very busy! Multiple day-sails per day with almost all of them full with 35 guests. Deck tour visitors have been numerous as well. Just as I describe above, everyone in this part of Michigan is outside doing something. Something novel like PRIDE visiting is a change worthy of experiencing. This certainly helps PRIDE contribute to her support as she raises the funds paid for day-sails and walking her decks!

But such business also means there is little else that can be done. Crew are hard pressed to get catch-up maintenance done because PRIDE is underway each port day. Sailing between ports of call provide little opportunity for cosmetic maintenance. Hence cosmetics become deferred. Fortunately the fresh water of the Lakes do not provide the same wear and tear as salt water does. I have hopes the four days in Chicago with no day-sails…only dockside deck tours…will provide for some chance to get some “get ahead” maintenance accomplished.

We had one mile stone experience. PRIDE and her crew were able to join with the Kidd family of Walloon Lake (just north of Boyne City) again at the family cottage and recall how this tradition started with Jack Kidd back in 1981…thirty years ago!

I was master of the first PRIDE OF BALTIMORE back in 1981 and it was another very busy season of port stops, general public deck tours and many corporate on-board receptions well into the evening. By mid August the crew were exhausted. Jack Kidd was a regular corporate co-host with the company he represented…Tate Architectural near Baltimore, Maryland…with business connections in most of the larger cities of the country. Jack prided himself with keeping an eye out for the welfare of those he worked with. PRIDE’s crew represented an important element to his successful corporate parties aboard through the crew keeping the guests safe as well providing them the opportunity to learn about life aboard and what a 1812 War Baltimore Schooner Privateer was and how they were the cause for the nations national anthem the Star Spangled Banner to be written in Baltimore. His invitation to come to the family cottage would require time not already set aside and another port stop and more work for the crew. I was hard pressed to accept his invitation…mostly because I could not be certain we would have the time…something that would not exist if the wind was against us between Milwaukee and Charlevois. But there was a strong chance the wind would be favorable, so the odds were there would be extra time. My stress involved how to say “no” if contrary weather did not come to my rescue. In the end, Jack was able to convince me that there would be no obligation to the crew save come to the cottage and relax. And relax they did…for at least six hours of Walloon Lake fun sailing, swimming, speed boat riding, ball games in the yard and of course, plenty of food and refreshments. Just the crew and Jacks family…no obligations to explain PRIDE or Baltimore or Maryland or what it’s like to be a crew member. That 1981 crew often reflected how beneficial the stop at Jack Kidd’s Walloon Lake Cottage was. For the following 30 years, every time the PRIDE crew sail in Lake Michigan, there is a visit to the Kidd Cottage on Walloon Lake. PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is at this moment making her 11th trip into the Great Lakes. Each time the Kidd family has hosted the crew. Jack has been gone a while…but his sons continue the tradition. Well Jack, your tradition remains very much alive and the many crews always really appreciate the break from the busy life of presenting PRIDE to her public.

Cheers,
Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II


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