Selling Maryland is goal on 13-month cruise

PRIDE II BEGINS SALES CALL

October 30, 1993|By Karen Zeiler | Karen Zeiler,Contributing Writer

The Pride of Baltimore II embarks on a 13-month public relations mission today to locales both tropical and arctic.

"We've scheduled first-time stops in Hawaii and Alaska," said W. Bruce Quackenbush Jr., executive director of the Pride of Baltimore Inc., the nonprofit corporation that operates the vessel. "Once we've completed that, we will have been to every major port in the U.S."

The 12-member crew plans to reach Hawaii by May and Glacier Bay, Alaska, by mid-June.

"When the ship arrives in Tampa next month, it will have been to 100 ports and traveled 100,000 nautical miles," Mr. Quackenbush said.

Since its commissioning five years ago, the Pride II has traveled to Europe, Scandinavia and as far east as the Black Sea, visiting Odessa, Ukraine, and Istanbul, Turkey.

The replica of a 19th century Baltimore clipper, it continues the goodwill work started by the original Pride, which was lost at sea May 14, 1986, while returning from a tour of Europe.

As the ship's goodwill "ambassadors," Captain Robert Glover and his crew will depict Maryland as a place to do business, plan a convention, or spend a vacation.

Crew members receive an orientation about the city, state, Maryland Port Administration and tourism industry, and "have a good working knowledge of the area, [of] what makes it tick and what makes it fun," Mr. Quackenbush said.

"We emphasize the diversity of the state -- from the beaches of the Eastern Shore to mountains of Western Maryland," Captain Glover said.

Five of the ship's 11 crew members on this trip are from Maryland, with others from California, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York. Crew members sign on for at least six months and sometimes as much as a year. The job is full-time, the salary meager.

Besides giving a boost to Maryland business and tourism, the Pride II directs its mission toward young people.

The crew will get extra help when five advanced-navigation students from Essex Community College and their instructor join the first leg of the journey to Savannah for practical experience in sailing and navigation.

Crew members also will be carrying letters written by about 50 students at Ridgely Middle School in Timonium, who are hoping to find pen pals in San Juan, Panama, and La Guaira, Venezuela.

The Pride's financial backing comes from several sources, ranging from charter uses of the vessel to individual and corporate contributions. State and local government contributions provide about one-third of the budget. Smaller contributions come from souvenir sales and membership fees.

"Many of our expenses are waived," Mr. Quackenbush said. "USAir has been a terrific partner, providing us with reduced rates or free tickets in exchange for use of the vessel. That and donations help to defray costs." Costs for this trip are expected to reach at least $800,000.

The Pride II was to depart at 12:30 p.m. today after a brief ceremony at the Inner Harbor. It is to return in late November 1994.

The clipper will visit Savannah, Ga.; Galveston, Texas; New Orleans; and Tampa, Key West, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville in Florida. In February, it will call on some Caribbean ports to be determined and on to San Juan, La Guaira and Panama. After passing through the Panama Canal, the ship will visit Hawaii, Alaska and Canada. Canadian stops include Prince Rupert, Vancouver and Victoria, all in British Columbia.

The way home will include stops in Washington, Oregon and California on America's west coast; Acapulco, Mexico; and then back through the Panama Canal and onto Baltimore.

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