Pride of Baltimore II...in the Bahamas!

Charm City is a long way from the Bahamas, but a trace of Baltimore’s beloved replica clipper ship recently washed up on the beach in the land of palm trees and crystal clear waters.

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Pride of Baltimore II Captain Jan Miles says that the tall ship’s team received a Facebook message in late April reporting that a name board had been found on Cat Island in the Bahamas. The name board, which had been near the bow of the boat, was lost during a Charleston-to-Bermuda sail in mid-May of 2017.

The Captain says many Facebook users posted comments inquiring about the name board’s route, which he thinks began with the Gulf Stream and a clockwise ocean gyre. “The name board would seem likely to start to follow the western North Atlantic’s northward flow at first, then northeast, then eventually eastward, and on southward, then back westward in a large arc from the point where it was washed off of Pride as she sailed between Charleston and Bermuda.”

Miles says that if his theory is correct and the name board went around the gyre to the Bahamas, the voyage was at least 3,000 nautical miles over 11 months.

The Captain adds that he’s surprised by the good condition of the name board after what may have been nearly a year in the water. “Such good shape seems unlikely to me from my experience trying to keep Pride’s waterline clean from moss and barnacles, even with annual applications of specially created anti-fouling bottom paint,” he says. He notes that it’s possible the person who found the name board may have cleaned it before snapping the photo.

Miles also likens the name board to a surf board, which floats at the surface and rides the waves. Because of this, and the possibility that the name board may have been in the Gulf Stream’s counter currents, “it looks to me like the name board could have gone pretty directly to the Cat Island landfall. And being in such good condition, maybe achieved landfall in quite a bit less time than these past 11 months, possibly spending a lot of time resting above the high-water line on a Bahamian beach as if it had taken a warm winter holiday from the cold and maddening crowd of modern northern civilization.”

-Laura Boycourt

Laura Boycourt