Sunday, June 13, 2010


Tonight was a long, cold night. I am somewhat frustrated with my difficulty on the helm. I think I prefer a tiller to a wheel; direct relations. It was a generally uneventful watch, outside of tacking once. We kept our generally easterly course with winds out of the SE. For the first time in a day or so we did see some other boats and even some signs of land. The biolumanecense on the deck was, admittedly more interesting to me than either of those.
The majority of this afternoon's watch was calm. We were motoring NE directly into the wind for the first few hours, but as the winds shifted we put up the three lowers (the main already being up for stabilities sake.) and the JT, FT and MGT. Bosun has explained to me that every time the MGT is set on our watch, he is going to send me aloft to do it until I learn exactly how it's done. I may grumble, but this is what I need. Also, I've lost my cell phone, which is problematic.


Quiet night holding the same starbord tack as we set earlier in the day. At some point the Main Gaff Tops'l was struck, but other than that the conditions haven't changed overly. The guest crew doesn't seem to entirely understand the expectations, but then, they're paying to be here so I suppose it's their call. The winds have been playing between ENe and SE so we've been hovering around East trying to keep it on the quarter with some effort.
We were finally forced to tack in order to keep the wind useful to us. Overcast skies all around and a few sea birds to keep us company. I was sent aloft to loose the MGT which was new for me. I did not make a great showing of myself, but I will not make the same mistakes again. Some rain was crossing out bow as we were preparing to stand down. We had it for about half an hour, hopefully it wont bee to hard on A watch.


Siling out from Boston under calm conditions. The wind started to freshen out of the East, but we still had to set everything but the t'galland and stuns'l to keep ahead of the squall off our stern. The plan was to go to Halifax, but that plan changed to Lunenburg due to logal Politics and a mandatory Pilotage issue that was not made clear previously.


I admit I was remiss in my logging of this voyage... It was long and hard with very little rest for anyone, C watch in particular. The winds were clocking around like mad as weather circled around us and we were constantly setting and striking and setting again. the closest thing to respite was when we dropped anchor in some little harbor, but even that was tainted with the knowledge that we'd have to raise the two shots (shot being 90 ft) of chain in about six hours time.
But we did make it to boston, which proved to be fun. We were tired and sore, but Eric was right.


We've arrived in NYC, sails stowed and ready for a brief rest. Last night the wind was blowing hard out of the SW and there was a fog so thick one could barely see the headrig from the helm. It was more than a little unnerving; hearing huge cargo ships blowing their horns and not being able to see a single sign of them. This morning around 0800 however, the city came into view through the mist.
As a side note, one of the guest crew made a statement that I think will be a motto for the C watch this trip.
"Tired ain't dead"-Eric


Last night's late watch was the definition of uneventful. After the weather and the stowing from earlier, we came to deck surprised to see a perfectly clear sky. The winds were very light out of the NE. There was a bit of traffic, but nothing overly interesting. It was, however, very cold; left over from the front that brought the earlier storm. This just made our bunks that much nicer to get to once stood down.
The afternoon watch had the wind back to the SE b ut so light that it could hardly be counted. Thankfully the swells were also light so we weren't tossed in our inaction. We took advantage of the calm and did some ligtht work on the boat. There is always something to paint or varnish. The winds starting building around 1430 and finally got to be enough to set some extra canvass around 1600; the FT, Jib, and Main.
I suspect our current easterly course is primarily to use up time because if we arrive in NYC early, we'll be forced to anchor. If we can't be productive either way, we might as well make a show of it and keep sailing.
During watch change we found a very large beetle with no earthly way of having gotten there. We have it in a can and are all entertained by it.


C watch called to deck. The winds have died down and we're wallowing somewhat on a port tack. Ahead of us is lighting, perhaps that anvil from earlier. Stood back down below after about fifteen minutes on deck. A little more rest before on watch.
Called back up. Stowed the Main and the Jib as the winds are picking up again. Went aloft to sea stow the FT again, under a much more exciting sea than in the canal. The watch then helped the Med officer with cleaning duty. We all managed to wrap it up quickly.


The voyage has begun. We've been out of Baltimore since about 1100 yesterday, and after spending the better part of the afternoon introducing the guest crew to the boat, we started north with the four lowers (Jib, Stays'l, Fores'l and Main) and the Fore Top set on a light breeze out of the south east.
At around 2330 C watch was called to deck to strike and stow sails as we motored into the C & D Canal. While motoring along on glassy water we passed the John Brown coming home from Philadelphia and enjoyed a brief conversation.
As A watch came to deck, we again set the four lowers, well into the Delaware river and were stood down. at 0435. A bit of a cold front moved in, which was a blessing below decks and allowed me to sleep nearly seven hours before waking up of my own accord. I came to deck around 1100just in time to see land rolling away in the swells. We have been headed North East and lost sight of Cape May NJ around 1350. The wind has freshened over the day, giving us plenty of white caps to make the view more all we'v e had to look at otherwise was a could building an anvil head to our Northwest and the occasional crab pot. Carpenter dropped a fishing line in tow behind us, but so far, nothing. Some of the guest crew and the cook were overcome with a bit of seasickness and we are beset with flies. It's still a lovely sail. Stood down 1600.

A note and explaination

So I've decided to cut forward a bit here. The daysail schedule was boring for me to write about, which makes me assume it was also dull reading. Thankfully, we're now voyaging, which lends much more interesting events, and so I'll write about those things instead.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Today was amazing.
We had serious winds; 30 kts gusting to 45. For the daysail we set the foretops'l and the stays'l and just ran with her. With only two of our ten sails set we were making 9.5 kts over water. This boat wants to run, and I for one, was glad to let her do it. It's a great feeling.


So today was Privateer day down in Fells Point. This meant many things. First and foremost there were about a billion pirates running around, which I always find entertaining. I hear they get to be tiresome when you're in this business, but I was still smiling.

We also had our first public sails. The first one was just a plain old daysail which was new for me, and showed me what I have to look forward to; quite a level of intensity. After that we had a battle sail against the HMS Bounty, whom we've been docked next to. We had the boat filled with the aforementioned pirates and had a wacky time. I'll admit, I don't remember a lot of details because we did a lot of fancy stuff with the boat. Most of my time was sprinting around pulling really hard on stuff; kind of a blur.

Good day, but a seriously long day.


Last night we had the official start to our season. We threw a big party down in Fells point.

It was really neat to see all the people coming out to see us. I sometimes forget that Baltimore can mobilize and care about something. It really was great to see so many people come out for her.

But then, this boat belongs to the city in a very real way. After the first one went down, Baltimore pulled hard to rebuild, fighting against a lot of naysayers to keep the tradition alive. Down over the chart table we have a sign that says "Remember the jar of pennies!"

I asked the mate about it one day, because I was curious. Apparently a local elementary school had all the kids bring in spare change to put in this big jar and donated it to the boat. Realistically they gave almost nothing in context of the cost of such a boat, but it proves the point; This city built this boat.
And I'll be damned if I forget that jar.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Made it back to Baltimore last night, and after a few hours of stowing the boat, started a truly impressive two days leave. A chance to recover physically and mentally from all of the work we've been doing for the past month. It has definitely been hard, but i find myself getting more confident by the day.

So now it's waiting for the next thing... finishing up odds and ends, practicing sailing and gear up for the season. I think I might almost be ready in time.

But for right now, I relax, catch my breath, and enjoy this little coffee shop, because that's part of it. When you work, you work till you're done and more... and when you're off, you get all the rest you can, because work is coming again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Currently underway, but stood down.
Yesterday was amazing and awe inspiring and a little frightening. It showed me exactly what I need to be prepared for.
We set all the sails for the first time yesterday. It showed me how much I need to learn, how much stronger my back needs to be, how much thicker my hands need to get.

But it also reminded me why I'm here in the first place. Going aloft and seeing her shadow as it raced across the water... Feeling the heel of her as we cut through it. The gentle roll of a nice cruise.

It was a long day, for certain, and at the end I was ready to turn into my bunk and get some sleep and recover a bit. It was overwhelming, without question, but also inspiring. I know where I need to get myself. I know what I need to do. Soon we'll be sailing regularly, so I need to get my comfort zone together before that, and then I need to make it muscle memory, so I can do it without thought.

Also, perhaps rope pullups... which reminds me, I need to buy some rope. Perhaps after a paycheck or two. We'll see you soon, Baltimore.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


So I want to apologize for the laps in updates; it has been a two fold issue.
First off, my internet situation was odd at best, and often non-functional.
Secondly, it would have been a dull read. I've enjoyed the past month like hell, and I've learned so much, but I don't think that reading about me painting for three days straight would have been all that much fun.
But she's a boat again. All but one of the sails are bent on, and the Main Gaff Topsail is close. We'll have it good to go tomorrow.
We're hopefully getting underway tomorrow afternoon and headed back towards Baltimore.

The family is talking about trying to come up and visiting sometime in the next couple months before we head north which would be wonderful. I can't wait to take my Dad out sailing.
Really, I can't wait to take a lot of people out sailing. I want to invite people to come see my new life.

I'm tired, and I'm sore as hell, but I'm ready to sail... I'm ready to start the voyage.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Got a few back dated logs to put up, but I'm about to go to sleep after my first standing watch. Just wanted to note that. Up again in just about 7 hours. Cheers folks.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Good day today.
Got the topmast shrouds and the stays and all the rig to make the up high work. I got to do a whole bunch of hauling, which I like. Hauling is easy, and it makes sense. Make a good hitch onto the line you're hauling up, make sure it's a fair lead... Pull real hard. I dig it. My hands feel like they did something today, and their getting hard again, aside from one hole in one of my fingers. It feels good.

I also was put in charge of the flags on the ship. I had to sort, organize, and stow all the flags we're going to need for the voyage in the summer. Turns out it's a whole lot. It was kind of fun, really. Hopefully my system works out well.


Learned a new stitch today, the Baseball stitch. I'm curious as to what it was called in the pre-baseball days, as I'm sure the stitch came first. I did well, but I did make a few mistakes. Hopefully I'll get another chance to try again; do better.

I did a few more seizings. I still need more practice. I need to figure out a good useful way to practice, because I'm way too slow and not good enough at it yet.

I also need to start studying the pin rail diagrams. We're rigged to a point where it's going to start mattering pretty significantly.


I had the duty today, so I spent a good deal of time cleaning and taking weather reports. I admit, I'm growing frustrated with myself. Some things are just going very slow, and it almost feels like the harder I try the further behind I fall. I'm sure this is in many ways due to my own unrealistic expectations for myself. I just need to keep my focus, keep honing my edge and getting better.

We started setting the jibboom before the day was done today. Every day, every step brings us that much closer to being ready to sail. I have high hopes for that first day of sailing; renew my energy some. My ankle is starting to feel better, and hopefully it'll be back to full strength soon.

I'm really looking forward to a day where I don't have any stupid questions. I don't think that day is particularly close at hand, but I'll get there.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Long day today. We finally got the cover off, and she's starting to look like a boat again. Spent a lot of time on the paint float, got more harbor water on me than I like; c'est la vie. Twisted my ankle some, but tape and Ibuprofen should keep that under control. I'm sore and tired, and still absolutely thrilled.

I was pulling splinters out of my hands, and I got to thinking, this job is kind of like a splinter. You get it in and it digs deep. It pushes under your skin.

Sitting around the table, we talk about the long hours, the lack of time off, the low pay. We talk about how much we love it. People talk about going and getting other jobs, mostly on boats still. Tugboats are a popular choice, research vessels, fishery observers and other such things. They talk about going to do that to make money so they can afford to sail more.

You get this splinter under your skin and it doesn't let go. It absorbs into you; it becomes a part of you. I try to remember when I loved waiting tables, and I just can't. I can't remember wanting to be anywhere else.

So I pick the splinters out. I'm counting each one of them as a lesson learned. Perhaps I'm romanticizing again, and I'm certainly being pointlessly philosophical, but it just stuck in my head.

It was either this or the rant about the warning label on my shampoo... this seemed way more relevant.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


It's been busy days filled with lots of learning. I did more work on leather, specifically putting leather on the eyes of stays. I learned to do a herringbone stitch, which I think will prove helpful in many things, and I'm growing confident with the sail makers palm.

I also spent a good bit of time with the Chief Mate dealing with floating debris near the boat. There's an old dock rotting into the water, dropping huge timbers which end up floating between us and the dock.

We also did a safety orientation and talked at great length about weather patterns and reading weather maps, which I hope to learn more about as the season goes on. The Captain clearly knows a great deal about such things. Hopefully he'll be willing to teach more about it.

Today was stropping blocks for me. I got to do the seizings that were briefly taught to me a few days ago. I say with absolute confidence that I need to practice that one a good deal more. Four blocks done in a nine hour work day; it's a little embarrassing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Need to organize my bunk better. Lost my pen and couldn't write without it. Finished varnishing the blocks, and learned to do a whipping. Need to practice that more, that first one was a little ugly.I also did some light leatherworking which was also new for me. I am starting to see exactly how much stuff I don't know yet; how much further I have to go before I am actually competent. Once I get paid again I have to pick up some things; A sailmakers palm, a stone for my knife and some line, assuming said things are within my price range.
Still trying to find my place with the crew, but I think that is more my self doubt than anything else. Only time and practice will tell.


For the past month life has been mostly sanding and varnishing with bits of tar and paint and fluid film to break up the regularity. Today however, was move on day; the next big event. Eleven of us currently living on the boat, as the Captain has a home nearby with a wife, so he's sleeping there. Seven of us sleeping in a room smaller than your living room; I can't tell you how excited I am. I'm lying in my bunk, dubbed "The Cave" due to its tiny little cave like appearance. I can hardly wait to get this finished so I can go to bed, wake up, and be that much closer to getting her sailing. The Captain is an intense and serious man, which are good qualities for a captain to have. I truthfully don't know why he hired me, but I intend to live up to my responsibilities that I accepted by doing so.
And now, to sleep.


Lunch break on day two. Lots of sanding yesterday. We spot sanded blocks and did a full sanding on the spars. Today we're prepping other blocks for their second full coat of varnish. Getting to know the crew and working on earning trust and respect. Working as hard as I can; think I'm doing fairly well. I know it's going to be tough, but I didn't pick this for an easy life.


Sitting in a small coffee shop before my first day of work. I shook the Captain's hand yesterday and took a tour of the boat. All her spars are down on deck to be varnished, along with the blocks. Two of the crew, Fortek and Shannon were brushing the standing rigging in the shop. I didn't sleep as well as I'd hoped, but coffee and excitement will keep me going; I suspect willpower will handle the rest. Dawn will probably help as well. Even the coffee shop owner asked why I was up. I'm happy with it.

Introduction and post dated log entry

As an introduction;

Brendan **** Licensed Merchant Mariner and for a little under a year, Tall ship sailor. Reformed bartender and repentant college dropout. As I write this I'm sitting in Florida relaxing and preparing for my first real sailing voyage. I've recently been signed on the Pride of Baltimore II for the great lakes voyage, along with sailing in Baltimore, and winter maintenance.

My sailing experience to date is fifty days on the U.S. Brig Niagara. In that time, I did learn a great deal and absolutely fell in love with the life. I don't think I can accurately discuss that time now, and that's not why I'm here. This is to talk about the future; This is to talk about the voyage to come.

In just over a week I'll be in Baltimore working on the winter crew getting the ship ready to sail; painting and sanding and varnishing. Moving forward is always good.