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, a style of vessel made famous by its great success in the War of 1812. Commissioned on May 1, 1977 by Mayor William Donald Schaefer as a Goodwill Ambassador of Baltimore City and the State of Maryland. During her nine years at sea, between her maiden voyage to Bermuda, New York, and Nova Scotia in 1977 to her final European voyage in 1986, Pride of Baltimore extended the hand of friendship to countless visitors. She visited ports along the Eastern Seaboard from Newfoundland to the Florida Keys, the Great Lakes, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, and the West Coast of America as far north as British Columbia. On her final voyage, she visited European ports in the Irish Sea, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the English Channel, and the Mediterranean - the first Baltimore Clipper to be seen in those waters in 150 years. Altogether, she logged over 150,000 miles, equal to six times around the globe. She sailed further in nine years than most sailing vessels travel in their lifetimes. No museum ship was Pride, but a true Ambassador for Baltimore and Maryland. On May 14, 1986 on her return home Pride of Baltimore was tragically lost at sea, her Captain and three of the crew did not survive.

The Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned as the successor and sailing memorial to the Pride in 1988, now sails in that same goodwill role. Pride II has sailed nearly 200,000 miles, and visited over 200 ports in 40 countries in North, South, and Central America, Europe, and Asia.

Chasseur: The inspiration for the Pride of Baltimore[edit]

The 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]

History
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)
Length:
  • 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

Baltimore’s Renaissance Begins[edit]

In 1975, after many years of slow decay and decline, Baltimore was struggling to reinvent itself - to become once again the kind of vibrant center for business, commerce, and comfortable living that she had been in previous decades - indeed, in previous centuries. The old piers around the Inner Harbor had been cleared and a Promenade built around the water's edge. Citizens were beginning to discover that the harbor could become a magnet for people and recreation, as it had once been a magnet for shipping and trade. But something was still missing - a symbol, a trademark, an icon to link Baltimore to its harbor.

City officials cast about for possibilities and an idea eventually emerged that captured the theme. Former Mayor William Donald Schaefer credits then Housing Commissioner Bob Embry with the idea "Let's build a ship in the Inner Harbor to draw folks downtown." With that seminal thought, a great sailing adventure and tradition was launched that would soon catapult Baltimore back into the imagination of the nation and the world as the home of adventurous seamen and romantic ships. A name was soon selected, a choice so natural as to be almost automatic - Pride of Baltimore. The name captured the spirit of the phoenix-like town. It also tapped into her maritime heritage since "Pride of Baltimore" was the nickname of Chasseur, the largest and boldest of the legendary, Baltimore-built topsail schooners that helped win the War of 1812, a conflict that first launched the city as a commercial and maritime center.[5]

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][6]

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.[6]

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.[6]

Sinking[edit]

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][7]

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
Length:
  • 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

A New Beginning[edit]

After the tragic sinking of the original Pride of Baltimore, the Board of Directors of the non-profit company that operated Pride for the City had no heart or stamina for building a replacement ship. But then the money started rolling in. In jars of pennies, in cans of dimes, in envelopes with $3.49 inside, in checks for $10,000.

This outpouring of unsolicited public support all but forced the Board into going forward with a new ship. By late summer of 1986, plans for a replacement were under way. The ship was to be named Pride of Baltimore II and serve as a sailing memorial to the original Pride. She was to be another Baltimore Clipper topsail schooner that would continue the mission of the first ship. With an insurance payment of just under $500,000, a state grant of $1 million, and contributions from private citizens, students, corporations, and foundations of over $2.5 million, sufficient funds were available to build a new ship and endow an operating fund.

Construction and Service[edit]

Thomas Gillmer was once again commissioned as designer and supervising architect. Peter Boudreau, one of the builders and captains of the original vessel, was named as master shipwright and builder. Guided by the experience of the original Pride, the Board determined that this vessel could better fulfill the mission of Globe-trotting Ambassador that had evolved over the years if she was larger and had more cruising range both under sail and under power. It was also determined that Pride II would be licensed by the US Coast Guard as a subchapter "T" vessel approved for carrying passengers. With these guidelines in hand, designer Gillmer set out to create a new Pride that would look much like the original on the outside but have more contemporary amenities and safety features below deck.

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 but like its predecessor, is a topsail schooner. On May 3, 1987, the keel was laid in Baltimore's Inner harbor, and Pride of Baltimore II soon began to take shape. The keel and all the other framing and planking materials were shaped out of Central American hardwoods from Belize. On this ship, modern power tools and techniques were used to speed construction. When onlookers periodically opined that "Them 19th century shipbuilders sure didn't use no kinda power tools," shipwright Leroy Suroski correctly pointed out, "They woulda if they woulda had 'em."[1] Built in the iconic Baltimore Clipper style Pride II has heavily raked masts, and has 10 sails, she carries two large gaff sails (one on a boom and one loose-footed), a main gaff topsail, three 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.[6] Additionally Pride II carries a very unique sail know as a ring-tail, set like a studding sail it extends from the main boom to the main gaff.

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.[8]

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.[9]

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ "Original Pride of Baltimore". 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Scott Jeffrey (July 14, 1986). "When the Pride of Baltimore Sank, Eight Sailors Got a Crash Course in Ocean Survival". People Magazine. 
  8. ^ "Massive Rig Failure". Bosun's Mate. November 13, 2005. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  9. ^ "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