Pride of Baltimore II postpones return Repairs, stormy weather delay homecoming to Inner Harbor until Dec. 7

November 25, 1996|By James Bock | James Bock,SUN STAFF

The Pride of Baltimore II's homecoming, originally scheduled for Friday in the Inner Harbor, has been delayed eight days by mechanical problems and stormy weather in the Caribbean.

Baltimore's goodwill clipper ship left San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Saturday morning and is due to sail back into town Dec. 7, capping an eight-month, 11-country European tour.

"Everything's just fine," said Mark Belton, who became the Pride's executive director last week. "The weather looks pretty good. Depending upon the speed it can make, the ship will probably pull into Annapolis Dec. 6 and then do the ride up to Baltimore the morning of the seventh. It should be at pier-side about 12: 30 p.m."

The Pride was originally supposed to leave San Juan a week ago today, but a problem with the ship's exhaust manifold delayed departure two days. By then, Hurricane Marco was stirring up the seas off Puerto Rico, creating a further delay and making arrival the day after Thanksgiving impossible.

The ship's two captains, Jan Miles (who is aboard the vessel) and Robert Glover, fixed the revised schedule in a Friday conference call.

Marco had been downgraded to a tropical storm and was no longer considered a risk to the 10-day voyage home.

"The tropical storm was stalled well to the southwest of Puerto Rico. It didn't look like it would go northeast to interfere with the track of the Pride," Belton said.

He said the Pride organization would send postcards today notifying its 2,000 members that the ship will arrive behind schedule.

"It's certainly disappointing, both for the crew and for people eager to see the ship come home," he said.

A week ago, Miles said in a message read on Sundial, The Baltimore Sun's telephone information service, that he hoped the weather might "allow us a quick passage to Baltimore."

He described the delay in Puerto Rico as "a long story of minor problems becoming big ones" and said he "would hate to disappoint" Baltimoreans eager to welcome the ship home on Thanksgiving weekend.

The Pride's Dec. 7 arrival will coincide with the 55th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Belton said the Pride hopes to salute a Pearl Harbor memorial service scheduled aboard the Coast Guard cutter Roger Brooke Taney as it sails into Baltimore.

The ship will also take part in the Parade of Lighted Boats that evening.

The Pride, with a crew of 12, left Baltimore in March on a tour that took it to England, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Italy and Spain (including the Canary Islands) before sailing across the Atlantic to San Juan late last month and early this month.

The original Pride of Baltimore, built in 1977, capsized and sank May 14, 1986, in a squall 240 miles north of Puerto Rico.

Its captain and three of 11 crew members died. The eight survivors spent four days and seven hours in a life raft before being rescued.

The Pride of Baltimore II was launched in 1988 and makes voyages around the world. Its 1997 schedule includes tours of the Chesapeake Bay and of the Great Lakes, including port calls in Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and Montreal.

Pub Date: 11/25/96

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