Pride II: A safer goodwill ambassador for the city

April 25, 2004|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,Special to the Sun

When the Pride of Baltimore sank in a squall in the Atlantic in May 1986, many local leaders had no interest in building a replacement boat. The mayor, William Donald Schaefer, in particular considered it a bad idea.

But the public felt differently. The same day that news of the sinking reached Baltimore, people began raising money for a new goodwill ship. A radio station launched an on-air drive, jars of pennies and dimes collected by children began arriving in the office of Pride of Baltimore Inc., and before long, local and state leaders committed to the idea.

The result was Pride of Baltimore II. Like the first boat, Pride II was designed by Annapolis naval architect Thomas Gillmer. It resembles its predecessor, with two raked masts, a black hull, a dark green bottom and working cannon.

But Pride II is a different and markedly safer ship -- about 10 percent longer on deck and a full 50 percent heavier. She sits higher in the water and, unlike the first ship, has a 20-ton leaded keel. Even with the extra weight, the second boat carries only 2 percent more sail area than the first, giving the schooner better stability. Pride II has twin engines powerful enough to push through almost any conditions; the first boat had one sometimes overmatched engine.

Unlike the first Pride, which had a long rosewood tiller typical of the 1812 era, Pride II has a large wooden wheel. And Pride II, unlike its predecessor, has watertight bulkheads in the cabin, a modern intrusion on the ship's authenticity, but one that would serve to stop flooding in the event of a knockdown or other problems. "All the things she is are things we all learned sailing the first Pride," said Peter Boudreau, who helped build and later captained the first boat, and supervised the building of the second.

Pride II has sailed some 200,000 miles, called on 40 countries and made four trips to Europe. In 1998, the ship sailed to Asia, visiting China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. While the ship remains a goodwill vessel for the city and the state of Maryland, its operations have evolved. Most importantly, the ship can carry as many as six paying passengers, who sleep in comfortable bunks in two-person berths that line the main cabin. The crew of Pride II, meanwhile, sleeps in a stuffy warren of bunks not unlike those on the first boat.

The future of Pride II is not clear. Officials with the state of Maryland, which owns the ship, have begun playing a closer role in overseeing Pride II. Exciting but expensive trips to Europe and Asia are unlikely in the near future for a vessel that relies on state grants and constant fundraising to meet its budget. Last week, the ship was embarking on several months of touring the East Coast, including stops in Boston and New York City to coincide with the Democratic and Republican conventions. Dockside receptions for delegates could be a good revenue opportunity for the vessel.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.