Couple in love with the sea marry on deck of Pride of Baltimore II Husband survived original ship's sinking in 1986

October 12, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

Robert Foster and Cathy Miles share a romance with the sea and with each other.

They came together as husband and wife on the deck of the Pride of Baltimore II, docked off Pier 5 at the Inner Harbor yesterday.

"Both Cathy and I are sailors," said Mr. Foster, wearing a black tuxedo and a plaid bow tie. "We thought it would be nice to have the ceremony here."

Mr. Foster, 29, is one of eight surviving crew members of the original Pride of Baltimore, which sank off the coast of Bermuda during a sudden storm in May 1986. Four crew members died.

A deckhand who worked aboard the original ship for about three months, Mr. Foster, of Butcher's Hill, is the second surviving crewman to be married on the Pride of Baltimore II, the state's goodwill ship.

James Chesney, a cook on the downed ship, was married on the Pride II in Camden, Maine, in September 1989.

Mr. Foster said the wedding brought back memories of his days with the Pride of Baltimore. "I have a history with the Pride," he said. "But I wouldn't correlate that with this ceremony."

The bride, a 30-year-old tutor from Alexandria, Va., added that they have a number of friends who helped build the Pride of Baltimore II, which was commissioned in 1988.

"We were both around when it was being built," she said. "We think it's a beautiful boat."

She plans to move to Baltimore and look for a job. She and her husband plan to live in Butcher's Hill.

Mr. Foster works on the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship with Baltimore as its home port.

His bride said that despite her husband's experience in the Pride disaster, she does not fear for his safety at sea. In fact, she plans to join him in a charter boat business on a schooner called the Cindy Jean, which they keep docked in Pasadena.

"It's a not a problem," said the bride, who wore a traditional white gown for the ceremony. "I know he's a very skilled sailor. I know he knows his job."

The couple started dating about five years ago and have been engaged for a year.

But they have known one another since their childhood, growing up together on the same Mount Vernon street. "She was older," Mr. Foster joked. "She didn't notice me then."

At the afternoon ceremony, about 50 relatives and friends gathered around the couple at the captain's wheel of the 170-foot-long Pride II.

A cluster of umbrellas was held over the couple to shield them from the rain.

The Fosters and their guests celebrated the marriage at a reception in Alexandria.

The couple had no immediate plans for a honeymoon -- Mr. Foster had to report for duty aboard the Comfort last night. He said he expected to see several of his old Pride shipmates at the reception.

"The crew members who didn't make it are in our thoughts," he said.

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