Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pride of Baltimore II visits New York.


A few days ago I saw Pride of Baltimore II docked at the North Cove, Battery Park City. This evoked a bittersweet memory. In the summer of 1983, I was visiting Vancouver, and saw the first Pride of Baltimore docked there. Three years later, she was lost in a severe storm at sea, along with four of her crew.

Pride II, like the first Pride, is a replica of a ship named Chasseur which, under the command of Thomas Boyle, raided British shipping during the War of 1812. Chasseur exemplified a type called the Baltimore clipper, a topsail schooner with sharply raked masts set well aft, a long bowsprit and raked stern, and deep draft giving excellent ability to sail close to the wind. These characteristics made the clippers well suited for privateering, as well as for transporting aspiring prospectors around Cape Horn to California during the 1849 gold rush. Unfortunately, they also made them adaptable for the slave trade.