The Pride of Baltimore II, who spent just as much time at home as the rest of us during the pandemic last year, is about to kick off a proper travel season for 2021.
It’s the final sprint to get voyage-ready at her “winter berth” along the Clinton Street docks on the southeast side of the Baltimore harbor, Captain Jan Miles says. In a live Facebook announcement Tuesday evening, Capt. Miles says Pride II will make her season debut in Annapolis on Friday, with some grandstanding and eventual docking for the Maryland Day Celebration taking place this weekend, March 19-21.
If you want to visit Pride II in Annapolis, she’ll be docked at the long dock just across from City Dock, with an educational shoreside display (no tours or deck day sails, due to health protocols). But, happily, Pride of Baltimore Inc. says this will be far from your only opportunity to see the ship this summer.
Pride II has just become the sailing ambassador for the National Park Service’s (NPS) Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, and is now partnering with the National Park Service on educational programs (in-person and virtual). As such, the ship will visit nine ports along the Chesapeake this season: Baltimore, Annapolis, Chestertown, Georgetown, Md., St. Michaels, Cambridge, Solomons, Havre de Grace, and St. Mary’s City.
Kate Hardy, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail manager, says Pride II will collaborate with heritage areas and 1812 historical sites at each of the stops. “The trail is not a path through the woods,” she jokes. “It is a 560-mile land and water route telling the story of the War of 1812…tracing the routes of both the British and the Americans.” But Hardy explains, having Pride II as ambassador enables NPS to go beyond the trail into the surrounding waterfront communities.
Pride of Baltimore Inc. Executive Director Jeff Buchheit says the partnership with the National Historic Trail is a natural step: “We are of national significance. We really tell America’s story!”
Capt. Miles shares that he and the crew also plan to take Pride II to Bermuda in June, and also on an offshore trip around southern New England. The seasonal crew, who had to be laid off when the ship didn’t sail in 2020, were brought back on board with some newcomers in February, and have been living in a COVID-safe “bubble” ever since. Capt. Miles invites guest crew to “join our bubble” and join a sail when the ship heads to New England. Pride of Baltimore Inc. notes that COVID-19 vaccines will be required for guest crew. Anyone interested should email [email protected].
If you won’t be in Annapolis for the season debut this weekend, you can still get your Pride II fix with NPS Virtual programs like Women of the Chesapeake Campaign (see http://bit.ly/WomenoftheChesapeake for more information), learn about Black privateers & sailors of the Chesapeake Bay, ( facebook.com/StarSpangledBannerNPS) and get a virtual tour of Pride II from Chief Mate Jeff Crosby ( facebook.com/prideII).
The organization also announced new efforts to make Pride II (and all tall ships) more accessible to underserved communities and people of color. Watch for your April issue of Chesapeake Bay Magazine and meet Jayson Williams, Pride’s first Black Board Chairman, as he talks about the plans in the works.
-Meg Walburn Viviano