Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Everyone Loves a Tall Ship

Everyone loves a Tall Ship if you've ever seen one make way under full sail then chances are you've felt something nearly visceral tug at your heart. It's an ancient sight that harkens back to a simpler and as anyone who has crewed will tell you, more physically demanding time. Take a look at this article about the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of a 19th-century Baltimore clipper, and her upcoming Atlantic crossing. She's bound for a goodwill tour of Europe. According to the article, the first stop will be the small port of Baltimore, in West Cork, Ireland. If you don't remember (or never know) the original Pride, the first Baltimore clipper to be built in 150 years, was sunk on May 14 in 1986 off the coast of Puerto Rico, having capsized in 80 mile per hour winds that developed suddenly and with no warning. The vessel had been struck and sunk so quickly that there was no time to radio for help. Four crew, including Captain Armin Elsaesser, were lost. Pride II was commissioned and built in the spring of 1987 and has since enjoyed many a sanguine voyage in the States as well as ports-of-call abroad. Tall Ships are an important part of sailing today and a fascinating subculture in their own right. In some ways, you might compare people who dedicate their lives to sailing, building and maintaining these gorgeous vessels (there are many) to the folks who reenact Civil War battles or those ladies and gents who staff Colonial Williamsburg - of course being sailors, the tall shipies are far cooler and not quite as, well, nerdy as the old fella who packs his musket and marches on the British...but I bet that if you got them together at the bar, you'd see an affinity.

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