Pride of Baltimore

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Pride of Baltimore in October of 1981

The Pride of Baltimore was an authentic reproduction of a 19th-century Baltimore clipper topsail schooner, commissioned by citizens of Baltimore, Maryland as a Goodwill Ambassador of that city and the State of Maryland. It was lost at sea with four of its twelve crew on May 14, 1986.

The Pride of Baltimore II, a replica vessel of more modern design commissioned to replace the Pride in 1988, now sails in that same goodwill role.

Chasseur: The original "Pride of Baltimore"[edit]

The original Pride of Baltimore was built as an authentic reproduction of a nineteenth-century Baltimore clipper topsail schooner.[1] She was not patterned after any particular vessel, but rather she was designed as a typical Baltimore Clipper as the type was in its hey day. She was named, in a round-about way, for the legendary Baltimore-built topsail schooner Chasseur sailed by the privateer Thomas Boyle: Chasseur was known as the "Pride of Baltimore" and participated in the War of 1812.[2]

One of the most famous of the American privateers, Captain Thomas Boyle sailed his Baltimore clipper, Chasseur, out of Fells Point, where she had been launched from Thomas Kemp's shipyard in 1812. On his first voyage as master of Chasseur in 1814, Boyle sailed east to the British Isles, where he harassed British shipping and sent a notice to George III, by way of a captured merchant vessel, declaring that the entire British Isles were under naval blockade by Chasseur alone. Despite its implausibility, this boast caused the British Admiralty to call vessels home from the American war to guard merchant ships sailing in convoys. Chasseur captured or sank 17 vessels before returning home to Baltimore on 25 March 1815. Perhaps her most famous accomplishment was the capture of the schooner HMS St Lawrence.[2][3]

On the Chasseur's return to Baltimore, the Niles Weekly Register dubbed the vessel, her captain, and crew the "pride of Baltimore" for their achievement.[4]

The Pride of Baltimore[edit]

Name: Pride of Baltimore
Owner: City of Baltimore
Builder: Melbourne Smith/International Historical Watercraft Society
Laid down: April 1976
Launched: February 27, 1977
Commissioned: May 1, 1977
Homeport: Baltimore, Maryland
Fate: Sunk, May 14, 1986
General characteristics
Type: Topsail schooner
Displacement: 129 long tons (131 t)
  • 90 ft (27 m) on deck
  • 79 ft (24 m) w/l
Beam: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Draft: 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
Sail plan: 9,327 sq ft (866.5 m2) sail area
Crew: 12

Construction and service[edit]

In 1975, the City of Baltimore adopted a proposal from Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management for the construction of a replica sailing vessel as a centerpiece of the redevelopment of its Inner Harbor. The city requested proposals for "an authentic example of an historic Baltimore Clipper" to be designed and built using "construction materials, methods, tools, and procedures... typical of the period."[1][5]

A topsail schooner design by Thomas Gillmer was chosen, and master shipwright Melbourne Smith oversaw the construction of the vessel next to the Maryland Science Center on the shoreline of the Inner Harbor. During construction, residents and visitors could watch the craftsmen working with tools and techniques of two centuries earlier. Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski performed the launching ceremonies on February 27, 1977, only 10 months after the start of construction. Mayor William Donald Schaefer commissioned the Pride of Baltimore on behalf of the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland two months later on May 1, 1977.[5]

The Pride sailed over 150,000 nautical miles (280,000 km) during her nine years of service, visiting ports along the Eastern Seaboard from Newfoundland to the Florida Keys, the Great Lakes, the Caribbean and the West Coast from Mexico to British Columbia. She visited European ports across the Atlantic in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.[5]


On May 14, 1986, a microburst squall, possibly a white squall, struck the Pride while she was returning from the Caribbean, 250 nautical miles (463 km) north of Puerto Rico. Winds of 80 knots (150 km/h; 92 mph) hit the vessel, capsizing and sinking her. Her captain and three crew were lost; the remaining eight crewmembers floated in a partially inflated life-raft for four days and seven hours with little food or water until the Norwegian tanker Toro came upon them and rescued them.[1][4][6]

A memorial on Rash Field in Baltimore's Inner Harbor memorializes the Pride's lost captain and crewmembers (Armin Elsaesser 42, Captain; Vincent Lazarro, 27, Engineer; Barry Duckworth, 29, Carpenter; and Nina Schack, 23, Seaman).[1]

Pride of Baltimore II[edit]

Pride of Baltimore II
Pride of Baltimore II at OpSail 2000
Name: Pride of Baltimore II
Owner: Pride of Baltimore, Inc.
Operator: Pride of Baltimore, Inc.
Port of registry: USA
Builder: G. Peter Boudreau
Launched: April 30, 1988
Commissioned: October 23, 1988
Maiden voyage: October 23, 1988
Homeport: Baltimore, Maryland
Identification: MMSI number: 303615000
Nickname(s): "America's Star-Spangled Ambassador"
General characteristics
Type: Topsail schooner
  • 100 ft (30 m) on deck
  • 157 ft (48 m) sparred length
Beam: 26 ft 4 in (8.03 m)
Height: 107 ft (33 m)
Draft: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Propulsion: two 160 horsepower diesel
Sail plan: 9,018 sq ft (837.8 m2) sail area
Speed: Up to 13 knots
Crew: 12

The Pride of Baltimore II was launched in 1988 and continues the original Pride of Baltimore's role as Maryland's flagship and goodwill ambassador, promoting business and tourism in Maryland.

Like the original Pride, the Pride II is not a replica of a specific vessel, and, although it represents a type of vessel known as a Baltimore Clipper, it was built to contemporary standards for seaworthiness and comfort. Designed by Thomas C. Gillmer, Pride II, like its predecessor, is a topsail schooner. Unusual for its heavily raked masts, it carries two large gaff sails (one on a boom and one loose-footed), a main gaff topsail, several headsails, and a square topsail and flying topgallant on the foremast. Also rare on modern traditional sailing vessels, she flies studding sails (stun's'ls), additional sails set along the edge of the square topsail and the mainsail on temporary spars known as stun's'l booms.[5]

On September 5, 2005, the Pride of Baltimore II suffered a complete dismasting while sailing in a squall in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France. The ship returned to port under motor power for repairs.[7]

Until 2010, the Pride of Baltimore II was owned by the citizens of the state of Maryland and operated by Pride of Baltimore, Inc., a private, nonprofit organization. Ownership was transferred to the ship's nonprofit operator with unanimous approval by Maryland's Board of Public Works on June 9, 2010.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Jonathan Pitts (May 8, 2012). "City plans fixes for Pride of Baltimore memorial in disrepair". The Baltimore Sun. 
  2. ^ a b Cindy Vallar (2008). "Fells Point and the Baltimore Privateers". Pirates and Privateers. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ Jerome R. Garitee (1977). The Republic's private navy – The American privateering business as practiced by Baltimore during the War of 1812. Mystic Seaport. 
  4. ^ a b Tom Waldron (2004). Pride of the Sea: Courage, Disaster, and a Fight for Survival. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-2492-8. 
  5. ^ a b c d Thomas C. Gillmer (1992). Pride of Baltimore: The Story of the Baltimore Clippers 1800-1990. International Marine Publishing. ISBN 0-87742-309-1. 
  6. ^ Scott Jeffrey (July 14, 1986). "When the Pride of Baltimore Sank, Eight Sailors Got a Crash Course in Ocean Survival". People Magazine. 
  7. ^ "Massive Rig Failure". Bosun's Mate. November 13, 2005. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Action Item 13-GM" (PDF). After Meeting Agenda Summary. Maryland Board of Public Works. June 9, 2010. p. 21. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 

Other sources[edit]

  • American Sail Training Association; Sail Tall Ships! 16th ed. (American Sail Training Association; 16th edition, 2005 ISBN 0-9636483-9-X)
  • Greg Pease; Sailing With Pride (C. A. Baumgartner Publishing; 1990, ISBN 0-9626299-0-1)
  • Daniel S. Parrott; Tall Ships Down (International Marine Publishing; 2002, ISBN 0-07-139092-8)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°00′N 67°00′W / 23.000°N 67.000°W / 23.000; -67.000