Interim captain joins Pride II for voyage to Hawaii Ex-deckhand to pilot ship in 5,000-mile tryout for skipper's job

January 02, 1998|By Craig Timberg | Craig Timberg,SUN STAFF

Daniel S. Parrott, who swabbed the decks of the original Pride of Baltimore and met his wife on the second one, rejoined the schooner this week to skipper a leg of its yearlong voyage to Asia.

The Pride of Baltimore II appointed Parrott, 36, interim captain for 5,000-mile stretch from Panama to Hawaii. The trip amounts to a tryout for Parrott, the leading candidate to become one of the ship's two permanent captains.

"I'm delighted to be aboard," Parrott said yesterday, speaking by satellite phone as the Pride sailed in a warm, windy Caribbean about 240 miles east of the Panama Canal.

"The sky is blue. The waves are white and frothy. It's just a beautiful day for sailing," he added.

The Pride is looking for a replacement for captain Robert C. Glover III, 39, who is leaving the ship after seven years to spend more time with his family.

Veteran Jan Miles, 47, remains the ship's senior skipper, but Pride policy is to have two captains alternating duties at sea. Miles plans to return home shortly after Parrott takes the helm next week in Panama City.

The Pride of Baltimore II, a state-owned replica of an 1812-era Baltimore Clipper, has traveled 150,000 miles since it was launched as the city's goodwill ambassador in 1988.

It replaced the Pride of Baltimore, which sank in a 1986 squall that killed its captain and three crew members.

Parrott was a deckhand on the original Pride in 1985. He was also first mate for the Pride II's 1991 trip to Europe -- the voyage on which he met his wife, Kimberly, then a deckhand. Their shared passion for sailing has made it easier for Parrott to spend long periods away from home sailing.

"We met on board a ship in 1991, so she knows how special it is for me to be back," he said.

Parrott has sailed mostly in the Pacific since his tour as the Pride's first mate in 1991. He has skippered the Harvey Gamage, the Eye of the Wind and the Tole Mour, a Hawaii-based schooner that is used as an alternative to jail or hospitalization for emotionally disturbed teens.

In May, Parrott plans to earn a master's degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island -- a credential that would make him the front-runner for the job as permanent captain on the Pride, say ship officials.

"I remember him on the trip to Europe," said Christopher C. Hartman, a Pride board member since 1979. "He was clearly identified at that time as captain material. It was expected that he would some day come back."

Parrott also earned praise from David Higgins, head of the Tole Mour's ownership foundation.

Higgins said Parrott and his wife were favorites of the emotionally disturbed boys who spent a year or more on board. In occasional talent shows, the Parrotts performed sea chanteys, with him on the guitar and her on the flute.

"He's a consummate seaman," said Higgins. "He understands the needs of a ship and the needs of the crew as well as anyone I've ever sailed with."

The Pride's 26,000-mile Asian voyage, expected to cost $1.1 mil- lion in public and private funds, is the ship's longest trip and its first crossing of the Pacific Ocean, the world's largest body of water.

A Waldorf high school teacher traveling with the 12-person crew is sending back reports on the Pride's Internet page, www.pride2.org. The site includes a captain's log, itinerary, lessons and a map showing the ship's location at sea.

The Panama-to-Hawaii leg, scheduled to begin Wednesday and last until mid-February, is typically an easy sail, with strong, steady trade winds.

This year, Parrott will face the El Nino weather pattern that threatens to produce shifting winds and dead spots near Central America.

"Overall, it should be a relative- ly straightforward trip to Hawaii," said Miles, the veteran captain, also speaking by satellite phone yesterday. "I think it's going to be a fine adventure."

Pub Date: 1/02/98

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