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Archive for the ‘Guest Blogger’ Category

My Two Weeks on the USCG Barque Eagle

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 18, 2015

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As I mentioned before, we sent a few Tall Ships America members on the Fall EAGLE OCS cruise. Here is Becca’s write up of her experience…

Photo credit N. Tegethoff

Photo credit N. Tegethoff

Lunch tray in hand, walking down the wide companionway from the galley to the mess deck of the 295′ barque Eagle,  to find an open seat in a sea of a hundred matching navy blue uniforms and two hundred polished black composite toed boots is somewhat surreal.  On my last tall ship, our motley crew of twelve or so squeeze through a tiny galley in our torn up, paint and pine tar covered Carhartts, grab our plates and personalized coffee mugs, then scatter around on deck.  There are a few points of culture shock going on here: one is the sheer scale of things, the other is being a civilian on a military training vessel.

The Eagle is truly massive.  Not only the actual dimensions (39′ beam, 25′ freeboard), but the size of the crew (47 permanent and, for my cruise, 70 officer candidates), and even the rabbit-warren maze of below deck compartments feels huge.  The rig, of course, also dwarfs those of just about every other ship I have sailed.  The royal yard is the size of some tops’l yards I’ve seen, and even the buntlines are at least 3/4” line.  There are so many shrouds we climb three or four sailors abreast, at least until the futtocks.  What does not feel huge, however, is my rack: one of twelve in its compartment, stacked three high with built in personal storage unit under the mattress leaving just enough head room to roll over without my shoulders hitting the overhead. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2015, Guest Blogger, Member Programs, USCG | Leave a Comment »

Blue Water Blogs: Picton Castle

Posted by Tall Ships America on December 4, 2014

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Join PICTON CASTLE as her crew sails west across the Indian Ocean towards the Cape of Good Hope

Stunsails set. (Photo Courtesy of Picton Castle)

November 13, 2014 – 18°44.1’’S x 077°08.6’’E (Bali, Indonesia to Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean)
“Today’s afternoon workshop was on studdingsails or stunsl’s – the large sails set to windward of the foreyards on special booms in light airs; the history, the ships that carried them and how we rig up for and set stunsles in the PICTON CASTLE. If the wind stays consistently light, we might be able to rig them in the next day or two. Plenty breeze now though. To explain why that makes us so happy, here’s an archive shot of PICTON CASTLE taken in the Indian Ocean a few years ago with all stuns’ls set.  Pretty, no?”

November 14, 2014 – 18°49.6’S x 074°49.6’E (Bali, Indonesia to Rodrigues Island, Mauritius)
“The Captain gave an update on our passage so far this afternoon. He spoke about our anticipated ports of call at Rodriguez Island, part of Mauritus and described by Joseph Conrad as the ‘sugary pearl of the Indian Ocean’. Also La Renuion Island, another 500nm on from Rodriguez and a French Territory and thus in our imaginations source of endless croissants, baguettes, red wine and good cheese. Apparently the crème brulee there is unbeatable. Both islands sound very lovely but it’s also a little sad that we’re thinking about the end of this passage already, it seems to be going very quickly.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Blue Water Blogs, Guest Blogger, PICTON CASTLE | Leave a Comment »

Guest Blogger on USCGC EAGLE: School of the Ship

Posted by Tall Ships America on October 16, 2014

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For the past few years, Tall Ships America members have been invited to participate in the USCG OCS (Officer Candidate School) cruise on board the Barque EAGLE. Guest Blogger Lance Fairbanks participated this Fall  and provides a glimpse into the guest crew experience. You can see more of his photos on our Flickr page. Thank you, Lance!

Welcome Aboard: Gloucester was the first port where both Officer Candidates of the US Coast Guard and Members of Tall Ships America joined hands, before setting sail in the USCGC EAGLE. While we did not expect to win the Esperanto Cup during the 30th Annual Schooner Festival; we did however make a grand statement leaving the harbor, “We are America’s Tall Ship!” Officer Candidates and Members alike, we were all assigned to a division. We quickly made friends and found our way about the ship, what would be our home away from home for the next two weeks. As shipmates aboard a Coast Guard vessel, we were engaged in every aspect of life according to the Plan of the Day. As a sail training vessel, all of us took part in School of the Ship.

School of Ship Photo: Lance Fairbanks

School of Ship Photo: Lance Fairbanks

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2014, Guest Blogger, Member Programs | Leave a Comment »

Guest Blogger: Pride in the People

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 18, 2014

September 15, 2014

Pride of Baltimore II, alongside at Constellation Pier, Inner Harbor

Wx: East Force 1, 2/8 Celebratory Cumulus, the rest of the sky a Bicentennial Blue

Today’s dawn ushers in a whole new century of our storied national anthem, and a well-worn Pride II crew has seen to it that the ship and the city have marked the anniversary with style and passion. Some ships have already left, the guns and jets are silent now, crowds of visitors still swarm the harbor. But yesterday’s crescendo has washed over and while we bask in the success and import of “Spectacular,” the typical snap and bustle aboard is slightly leaden with fatigue. And no surprise – during the 25 hours actual hours of the Battle of Baltimore anniversary, crew and ship were in full action themselves. With a rotation of watches and captains, plus lots of work from shore side office staff, we scarcely stopped moving, and never stopped commemorating the incredible events of 200 years ago.

Photo Credit: Captain Jamie Trost

Photo Credit: Captain Jamie Trost

As the guns of Fort McHenry thundered out Saturday morning, we sailed alongside a British-flagged Lynx and waved a truce flag over our Francis Scott Key impersonator as he plead his case across the rail for Royal Marines to unhand Doctor Beanes. When the historically timed “re-enactment rain” came down (nearly to the minute, according to the 1814 accounts), we rigged awnings, waited for the sky to clear, then sailed in sleek silence under the roaring military muscle of the Blue Angels. As the town turned electric for the prelude to the fireworks, Pride paraded through the harbor to blast off a national broadcast with three guns. When the “bombs” of the pyrotechnics bust over Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor, 100 viewers joined us on deck. Then, once the dust settled, irrepressibly enthusiastic Ranger Vince Vaise from the Fort narrated a midnight retracing of the final desperate British assault on the batteries up the Ferry Branch of the Patapsco.

From three to six am things fell silent, just as they did in 1814. But the crisp morning ushered in a new flurry of action. The culminating moment of the weekend would feature Baltimore’s 1812 historic triumvirate – the Maryland Historical Society’s hand-sewn replica of the Star-Spangled Banner would be hoisted over the Fort while Pride II stood in the offing as Key’s truce ship President and a collected squadron of Tall Ships around here presented the invading British.

Photo Credit: Captain Jamie Trost

Photo Credit: Captain Jamie Trost

With Pride II booked full of enthusiastic passengers and logistics of the ship movementsrattling in my mind, Captain Miles and I decided it would work smoothest if he sailed the ship and I marshaled the squadron from a vantage ashore. To foster that plan along, Ranger Vaise welcomed me, along with my wife and parents, to survey the scene from the commanding perch of the Fort’s Bastion 5. Equipped with a handheld VHF and copies of the pages of notes and schematics I’d issued to the ships, we set off for the Fort’s dock in Pride II’s rescue boat. The physical bustle and tangible excitement at the Fort stewed with amazement – this was it, the very morning, the day when the focus of so much 1812 education, programming, efforts, and toiling over months and years was about to float in the September breeze for Baltimore and the world to see.

Ships trickled out from downtown. The inbound cruise ship Carnival Pride cleared the channel into South Locust Point and left the harbor to historic craft. US Armed Forces, and Sailors and Marines from our 1812 adversaries come allies Canada and England, took up position around dignitaries from local, state, and national governmentin the Parade Ground within the walls. Sun glinted off the black barrels of replica and modern armaments as they stood silently ready for a barrage of salutes. The cool northeast breeze streamed the Fort’s Storm Flag in anticipation.

The pieces started moving. Ranger Vaise, radiating excitement even through a veil of exhaustion, orchestrated the unfurling and preparation of the replica Garrison Flag. The ships slid over glittering water into position under a mantle of low cumulus. As the events of the battle were narrated, a crowd began to gather on the bastion around me, watching the ships. At first I was irritated – with eleven ships and two pulling boats to coordinate, I’d envisioned relative solitude to lay out my notes and coordinate via radio. Having a crowd to eavesdrop and chime in on the necessary communications might offer more than a slight nuisance.

But as the ceremony in the Fort and formation beyond the ramparts continued shaping up, I noticed there were nearly as many people onthe bastion with me as in the parade ground. They whispered questions: What’s that ship? Where are they from? What are they all doing? And I had time, as the squadron deftly arrayed themselves across the river, to answer all the questions. Between radio calls to shift and tighten up the line, I could tell the people, these mesmerized appreciators of history, what they were seeing and how much it looked like what Major George Armistead saw 200 years ago that very minute. I wasn’t alone, and was happy for it. I was surrounded by people who, like me, felt deeply moved by this instance, the commemoration of America’s emergence from a divisive and trying, nearly adolescent, conflict into maturity.

The Army Old Guard fired a salvo. When the smoke cleared and the guns fell silent, the ramparts were teeming with people. A last salute froma replica 24lb gun, and the fifing of “Yankee Doodle” lifted the hand-sewreplica aloft. Lynx and Sultana swapped their British ensigns for American. Salutes and cheers echoed from the ships. Through the smoke, their rigs etched a striking visage of history.

By 0940, Pride II was on station off the water battery and the ships processed in, saluting both her and the Fort. Pride II’s Key impersonator was standing at the rail, cheering in the new era of the Star-Spangled Banner. Up on the ramparts, the crowd around me pressed in, asking more eager questions whenever I wasn’t hailing the passing ships on radio to thank them for their part in this historic event. It got so crowded that we were forced off the bricks and (to the chagrin of the Rangers) onto the grass that sprouted from the earthworks. Like most forts of her era, FortMcHenry is mostly earthwork – largely composed of dirt, held together by bricksheathing. Throughout the 214 years of the Fort’s existence, the bricks have been renewed, but the earth inside is still the same.

Photo Credit: Captain Jamie Trost

Photo Credit: Captain Jamie Trost

And then I realized the truth of the week – that we at Pride, the Fort, and Maryland Historical Society had helped, but history had repeated itself organically. Two-hundred years ago, this week was won by the citizens of Baltimore unexpectedly repulsing the British attack. And as Fort, Flag, and Fighting Sail recreated the events of 1814 on a brilliantly sunny morning, it was we citizens of today’s Baltimore that stood on the very earthworks our counterparts defended two centuries ago. Our feet connected us to the timeline of history, the living earth of the Fort, the very foundation of our “Land of the free,” our “Home of the Brave.”

Captain Jamie Trost

 Click here to keep reading about Pride of Baltimore.

If you want to become a guest blogger, send the link to your blog to Erin @ tallshipsamerica.org.

Posted in 2014, Guest Blogger, Member Programs | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Guest Blogger: Fickle Breezes, Generous Fisherman

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 3, 2013

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The guest blogger is back!  Take it away Captain Trost…

Friday, 31 May, 2013

Pos: 47 05.9′N x 064 53.0′W Wx: WSW F 3, Overcast and chilly with scattered magic and a 100% chance of lobsters Pride of Baltimore II at Anchor in 30′ of water

Pride of Baltimore II is swinging on her port bower off the fishing village of Escuminac, New Brunswick, population 263 in 1986, according to the sailing directions. The village stands solitary on the broad sandy beaches of Miramichi Bay. To the northeast the Gulf of St. Lawrence stretches out under a leaden sky marbled with sunlight. Hovering between the light breeze and a flood current, the ship rocks nearly constantly to the wakes of lobster boats.

We anchored here yesterday at 1910, two hours before the lavishly late sunset. From our last posting in St. Georges Bay, Pride II has had a mix of nearly everything. Approaching the Northumberland Straits south of Prince Edward Island, the coastal hills of Nova Scotia shown emerald under the warmest sun we’d seen in a week. The breeze freshened and veered as we rounded Cape George and headed toward Pictou Island. We swapped the stuns’l in exchange for the fores’l as we came on the wind. Thought about the  mains’l, but held off. Pride II was just fine without it, sailing  close hauled fifty degrees off the true wind, making eight to nine knots –  impersonating a sloop by carrying everything she owned on the foremast and dragging around a bare stick of mainmast. Click here to continue reading about the adventures of Pride of Baltimore II…

If you would like to be a guest blogger (and are a Tall Ships America Member) on the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Blog, contact erin (at) tallshipsamerica (dot) org

Posted in 2013, Guest Blogger | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 31, 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!

Keep reading to find out what really happens when no one is looking onboard Pride of Baltimore II>>>

Posted in 2012, Guest Blogger | Leave a Comment »

Guest Blogger: Back in the Saddle

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 27, 2012

Pride of Baltimore II is on their way up the coast to join the fleet in Newport, RI for the Ocean State Tall Ships® Festival that starts on Friday, July 6th. Captain Jamie Trost is back at the helm and in this post, he writes about what it’s like to sail a tall ship.

Back in the Saddle-The Complex Versatility of Pride II

Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Pos: 39 13.5′N x 074 12.3′W
Wx: NxW F 4-5, Seas 3-5′ Clear
Pride of Baltimore II Sailing under Fore Tops’l, Fores’l, Stays’l, and Jib at 9-10 knots

Pride of Baltimore II is back at sea today after a month in her home waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Having relieved Captain Miles yesterday morning in Baltimore, I’m back at sea aboard her for the first time in nine months. Shoreside logistics kept us alongside until after noon yesterday, and our sail out from the Inner Harbor was shortened because the North wind would allow no progress up the narrow channels to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. But this morning at 0426 we secured engines and ran down the Delaware Bay like a thoroughbred horse penned up too long. Now – with a Northwest breeze intent on blowing the summer sky clear of clouds, the Ocean off the Jersey beaches alive and frothy, and six eager guest crew aboard – it’s a fine day to be back “in the saddle.”

Click here to keep reading about Pride of Baltimore II

Posted in 2012, Guest Blogger, Newport, RI, Tall Ship Events | Leave a Comment »

Guest Blogger: Slow Racing Day after a Night of Thrashing to Windward

Posted by Tall Ships America on May 8, 2012

Tall Ships Challenge Race #1 – Savannah to Cape Fear.

PRIDE got off to a Weatherly advantage at the start of the first Tall Ships Challenge race for 2012. But that does not mean it was a comfortable experience. 15-20 knot conditions on the bow after such winds have been blowing for 24 hours is not a lot of fun. Heavy weight to setting and trimming sails. Significant sea swell of 6 odd feet to bash against. Significant angle of heel for everyone to stumble over with a leaping PRIDE along with spray on deck and some down below because a hatch was carefully left open for ventilation…forgetting that water could also go down it. Some bunks got wet. Still good for sleeping in though after a very physical time of it on deck.

Keep reading about the race from the decks of the Pride of Baltimore II

Note: The Race Team has arrived back home today so stay tuned this week for updates on the last day of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE (R) Savannah festival and the very rainy Parade of Sail , with photos and vide0s!

Posted in 2012, Guest Blogger, Races, Savannah | 6 Comments »

Guest Blogger: The “Pride Spring” has Arrived

Posted by Tall Ships America on March 4, 2012

2 March 2012
Alongside her Winter Berth at Clinton Street
Inhabited by Crew for first time since November 2011

A year ago, news services around the globe were a-twitter with the new catch phrase “Arab Spring.” And while it came without public unrest, without violence and involved just over one-hundred people, Pride of Baltimore II’s recent transformation from a sleeping hulk to a living, inhabited ship again is almost as dramatic a change. Ignore for the moment that this transformation from hibernation to new life is an annual event that, for twenty-four seasons now, has been as predictable and natural as the change from winter to spring it portends – this year is different. Pride II, accustomed to attention, no stranger to notoriety, is ready for the focus the War of 1812 Bicentennial will bring. Her time has come.

Pride II – through the impeccable craftsmanship of her construction and a relentless maintenance regimen – remains physically as strong as the day she was launched. The operational and cosmetic details attended to this winter were largely the same as any other winter. But the spirit of Pride II is rejuvenated. As was the case when public sentiment and support insisted on the very existence of a second Pride in 1988, the spirit of Pride II and what she means is once more larger than the ship herself.

Click here to continue reading about Captain Trost and Pride of Baltimore 2>>>

Posted in Guest Blogger, Tall Ship Events | Leave a Comment »

Guest Blogger: An update on the winter maintenance of Pride of Baltimore 2

Posted by Tall Ships America on December 22, 2011

Sleeping Ship Dreams for a Bright Future

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, Layed up at her Winter Berth
South Clinton Street, Baltimore, Maryland
Wx: Heavy Rain, but unseasonably warm, wind S F 3
By Captain Jamie Trost

Pride of Baltimore II is tucked in for a long winter’s nap, so to speak. With not only the spars, sails, rigging, safety and accommodation gear off loaded, but the guns and life rafts removed as well, she seems large and lonely. Under the opaque shrink-wrap cover, the deck from house top to house top is uninterrupted by clutter, while below PRIDE II – her bunks cleared out, her shelves stripped bare – is like an empty house.

This scene would be more than a bit forlorn if it weren’t for the winter crew diligently working on the dormant ship. So far, Assistant Sarah Whittham has been seeing to the blocks and spars with first time PRIDE II Winter Maintenance Crew Rohan Rao alongside. Their work goes on mostly in to shrink-wrapped shelters ashore, nicknamed “The Hobo Tent” (after our acclaimed Hobo Band of a few seasons back) and “New Sparlandia,” the latest rendition of our PVC framed Spar House. After the collapses we suffered last winter, this version has a bit more wood in the structure. Tonight’s forecast snow and wind will be the first real test of the season for the improvements.

Aboard the ship Emily Gustavsen – new to PRIDE II, but well seasoned in the fleet – patiently works at removing deck fittings in preparation for sanding and oiling to preserve the aging Douglas Fir planking and keep in going another 23 years or more. Below, Engineer John Pickering already has the port engine suspended for some maintenance underneath.

Click here to continue reading about Pride of Baltimore II

Please contact Pride of Baltimore II if you are interested in lending a hand.  Call 410-539-1151 or email pride2@pride2.org (indicate Volunteer Crew in the subject line).  Any and all skill levels are appreciated.

Posted in 2011, Guest Blogger | Leave a Comment »

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