Hearts beat faster as countians sail Pride

July 19, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

ABOARD THE PRIDE II -- Climbing up the topmast, Dianne Klair pauses to look around in the setting sun, surveying the lush green of Naushon Island near Martha's Vineyard, Mass., far below.

"Isn't this great?" she asks, leaning back slightly to get a better view. "It's such a thrill. Sometimes I climb up here when I get up in the morning, just to get the adrenalin flowing."

The 24-year-old, a native of Churchville, is one of three Harford County natives working their first summer aboard the Pride of Baltimore II.

Ms. Klair and Peggy Flanigan, originally of Fallston, are working as deckhands, while Joshua League of White Hall is serving as the ship's cook this summer.

Taking the helm on a sunny afternoon, Ms. Flanigan carefully guides the Pride through a channel en route to Boston.

The path is fairly straight and there are few other vessels on the water.

But the way is littered with crab pots, and every once in a while the 27-year-old Penn State graduate must turn the ship sharply to port or starboard to avoid them.

"You could just go over them, but they get caught and make it difficult to steer," she said, adding that the traps are in legal fishing waters. "Plus, it is somebody's crab pot."

For her, working on the Pride culminates 12 years of racing sailboats in the Chesapeake Bay between creating a computer program for the Johns Hopkins University and teaching English in China.

This job came just as she was about to take a job teaching English in Japan.

"[The Pride] had my resume on file, and I told them the other people needed to hear from me by Tuesday. So, the Pride called me back on Monday," she said with a laugh.

The replica 1880s Baltimore clipper, owned by the state to promote Maryland commerce in the United States and abroad, is currently sailing the Maine coast and will return to the Chesapeake Bay in September.

"I like it a lot," said Ms. Klair, formerly a deckhand on the Lady Maryland, an educational vessel owned by the Lady Maryland Foundation which takes fourth-grade and older students on day trips during the school year. In summer months, the crew takes high school students on longer voyages and teaches them the finer points of sailing and seamanship.

Her boyfriend, Mr. League was the Lady Maryland's cook, and the two left the boat when the Pride responded to an application Ms. Klair had sent in last year.

"I had already sent in my resignation [for the Lady Maryland], and the Pride pulled Dianne's resume out of the blue," said Mr. League, a graduate of the International Culinary Arts Institute in Baltimore. "She asked if they had an opening for a cook, so I got the job."

On the Pride, Mr. League is responsible for feeding the crew of 12 and any guests on a budget of $5 per person per day. Baked chicken, lasagna, stews and chicken soup all come easily to the 29-year-old chef, as long as the equipment is working properly.

"Lunch will be ready in a minute," he explains patiently to an anxious crew when the oven doesn't heat up for the second time in a week.

"Well, maybe you should have put it in earlier," one crew member responds sarcastically with a laugh.

And although the cook is not required to set sails and stand watch, Mr. League eagerly pulls lines with the rest, adding his own variant of the "two-four" chant the sailors use to keep rhythm.

"Two-four, six-eight, 11-12," he yells.

Ms. Klair and Mr. League met while working as house parents for Facets Inc., a program in Fallston that deals with delinquent and disturbed teens.

"A lot of these guys had been sexually abused, something you don't think about with boys," Ms. Klair said. "It's really tough and sad when you realize that you can't help some of these kids."

Nevertheless, Ms. Klair, who graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in psychology and geology, has toyed with the idea of combining her social service and sailing experience. Vision Quest, a Philadelphia-based program for delinquents, has a project taking the "cream of the crop" out on a sailing vessel.

"I am thinking about it, especially since both captains of the Pride [Jan Miles and Robert C. Glover III] have worked with the program," she said, adding that Mr. Miles was instrumental in starting the sailing portion of Vision Quest.

However, after the boat docks in December, Ms. Klair is considering staying a little closer to land for a while. Plans for starting a master's degree in urban planning interest her, as well as getting a job closer to home.

"Nine months is a long time for people on the circuit," she said. "I'm not sure if I'll be ready to jump on another boat after this."

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