PRIDE Motoring up the St. Lawrence
1030 hours Saturday June 19 2010
PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II starts a dash for the upper St. Lawrence River and on toward Oswego.
It appears the last of the sailing for the beginning part of this voyage has been accomplished. I had hoped for more sailing today…but it appears to not be available. We sailed some early this morning. But since breakfast the air has been fitful…while favorable…only able to make 3 knots or so. Meanwhile Schooner LYNX is now in sight behind us. She stopped the last of her sailing last evening and with her propeller pitched shallow and her engine RPM set high all night long she has been making around 8 knots to PRIDE’s 6 knots.
Meanwhile, the weather machine is getting ready to throw us another bowling ball of contrary conditions. Soon, sometime tonight, we are supposed to experience SW winds of gale strength…maybe 35 knots. It won’t last long…just overnight…but it could be a show stopper in terms of continuing to make way. For the moment, with light winds that are favorable, both LYNX & PRIDE are motor-sailing towards the south shore of the upper Gulf of St. Lawrence, or the north shore of the Gaspe Peninsula as it turns toward the west and south a little on its way to the actual opening of the St. Lawrence River. If both vessels are able to get to the south shore and the forecast southwest wind is truly southwest, there could be a bit of a lee provided by being really close to shore from any big waves. If that turns out to be true, maybe some sail area can also remain up to assist as engines burn fuel to push the vessels and their masts, yards and rigging against the gale force headwinds. However, if the SW winds turn out to blow right up the river, there will be no lee and the waves could get large. For PRIDE that could be a show stopper…until the wind and sea abate. Considering LYNX’s is going to stop in Montreal to get fuel anyway, as well attend to matters required to get a pass to transit the upper St. Lawrence River, she has plenty of fuel to burn fighting the gale. But would she be able to punch through any sizable waves created by the gale? Considering PRIDE will not be making a fuel stop, we cannot afford to burn a lot of fuel merely beating against the gale. Plus, hitting large seas on the bow is something we learned long ago is not worth the risk of damage…much less consuming gross amounts of fuel doing so…putting at risk running out of fuel at the very end of this voyage.
PRIDE’s fuel status is pretty good. We are still able to make way running only one engine. If we can do that all the way to the pilot station…maybe even beyond…we will have plenty of fuel to get to Oswego. If we can push through the gale, we should have no problem arriving Oswego in time for Friday’s kick off events. However, if we find the gale stopping us, it will be hard to make Oswego in time for Friday’s kick-off.
So, here is to hoping the gale does not stop PRIDE in her tracks.
Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II