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Tall Ships Return to Toronto
August 16th, 2010 @ 07:18 PM EST by admin

by Eric K. Cogswell; Photos by William Turner.

Once again National Yacht Club stepped up to the plate as a member of Toronto’s sailing and waterfront community, by providing Liaison Officers (LO’s) to the Pride of Baltimore II (www.pride2.org).  What is a Liaison Officer, you may ask? The LO Manual answers:

The duty of a Tall Ships Liaison Officer (LO) is to act in the service of the assigned ship, and to answer her needs with skill and competence.

Essentially, the Liaison Officer communicates and coordinates the activities between two parties, offering technical or subject matter expertise (“Local Knowledge”), and face-to-face coordination.  National’s LO’s were seen coordinating on-deck photography during the public visits, running to make Canadian small change for the crew (Canadian coins), making Costco runs, organizing the pump-out schedule, escorting the crew to functions, and generally soaking up the atmosphere of being on a tall ship.

I thank all the members of National who volunteered to assist our team, and apologize once again to those who did not get a response to their offer of assistance when I put out the call for volunteers.  It was great to see new members offer assistance, and also see members who have not had the opportunity to volunteer as often as they may wish, get the opportunity to do so.  At least one volunteer was reliving the time she spent on tall ships as a crew member, and another applied to be a passenger on the Pride of Baltimore II.

The Pride of Baltimore II arrived in Toronto with the Europa and the Roseway.  Beforehand, CTV shot footage from a helicopter off Toronto Island, with all three vessels under full sail.  Upon docking, The Pride gave me a shock when, only a few yards away she fired her canon to announce her arrival.  Apparently they do this at every port of call, except for New York where they are afraid people might fire back!

The original Pride of Baltimore was a modern replica of the Baltimore Clipper Chasseur, a privateer (which was dubbed “the pride of Baltimore” in the press in 1815).  The Pride sunk in a white squall off Puerto Rico in 1986.  There was no intention to build another until the Maryland public began to “send in jars of pennies, cans of dimes, envelopes with $3.49 inside, checks for $10,000.”  This support forced the Board to commission a new ship.  The crew still remembers this movement today, and has the reminder taped to the ship’s bulkhead!

The Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to the original Pride.  Since her commissioning, the Pride II has sailed nearly 200,000 miles, visited over 200 ports in 40 countries throughout North America, Central America, South America, Asia and Europe.

Pride II’s Specifications:

  • Tonnage:  185.5 long tons
  • Length:  157 feet
  • Deck Length:  96.5 feet
  • Beam:  26 feet
  • Draft:  12 feet 4 inches

National provided an NYC ball cap to each member of the crew, which they proudly wore the whole time they were in Toronto.  National also provided access to the club for the crew so that they could have a shower, maybe a beverage or a meal, access National’s WiFi Network, and generally have a place they could go when off duty.  A few were spotted at National ranging from the Cook to the Captain.

Captain Jan Miles’ father used to sail on an R Boat out of Chicago.  Our Commodore jumped at the chance to offer Jan a sail, which he and the skipper of the Europa accepted.  It was very telling what type of vessels each were the skipper of, the square rigger skipper preferred downwind sailing (at the irritation of the skipper of the clipper), and the skipper of the clipper, when he was handed the helm, preferred sailing Fantom close hauled.  Returning to the dock, we all had a bountiful feast!

Before the Pride of Baltimore II left for the Parade of Sail, Jan gave this advice: It’s dangerous out there [in the city]; get on the water.  It may have been because for for days the deck of the ship had been open to the public (how would you like the city of Toronto walking through your living room) and they had had over 2,000 people on board each day, or maybe it was because he had just come from Queen’s Quay and the throngs of humanity, or maybe he’s right:
It’s dangerous out there, get on the water…

William Turner brings us several photos of the Tall Ships that visited Toronto in July. More can be found in his online gallery.