The Pride of Baltimore, a 90-foot-long topsail schooner built to historical standards for the American Bicentennial in 1976, is no more. Returning from an Atlantic crossing with its 12-member crew in May 1986, the tall ship was caught in a storm in the Bermuda Triangle. Four people died, and eight others survived after a harrowing struggle with the sea.
The Pride, an authentic replica of an 1800s Baltimore Clipper, was built at a time when the historic Maryland port city had fallen on hard times. City leaders saw the project as a way to help rekindle the glory years.
Though it was initially conceived as a waterfront museum, and not built to Coast Guard specifications, the Pride generated so much excitement that it was sent on a two-year goodwill voyage to Europe. It was nearly home when disaster struck. The ship went down rapidly in 17,000 feet of water. The six men and two women who lived to tell the tale survived by clinging to a five-by-five foot raft, and were rescued by a Norwegian tanker.
Two of the survivors married each other after a proposal in the middle of the turmoil, Waldron notes, and most of the eight remain enthusiastic sailors today.
And Baltimore’s revitalized Inner Harbor hosts a new tall ship — The Pride of Baltimore II.
Original Pride of Baltimore
Pride of Baltimore was built in 1977 in open air shipyard in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This Pride was the first Baltimore Clipper built in 150 years. She sailed over 150,000 nautical miles in nine years before she was struck by a freak squall and tragically sunk off the coast of Puerto Rico in 1986.
Specifications of the original Pride of Baltimore
90 feet on deck
79 feet at the waterline
23 feet at extreme beam
9 feet 9 inches draught
121 tons displacement
9,327 square feet sail area
Baltimore’s Renaissance Begins
In 1975, after many years of slow decay and decline, Baltimore was struggling to reinvent itself – to become once again the kind of vibrant center for business, commerce, and comfortable living that she had been in previous decades – indeed, in previous centuries. The old piers around the Inner Harbor had been cleared and a Promenade built around the water’s edge. Citizens were beginning to discover that the harbor could become a magnet for people and recreation, as it had once been a magnet for shipping and trade. But something was still missing – a symbol, a trademark, an icon to link Baltimore to its harbor.
City officials cast about for possibilities and an idea eventually emerged that captured the theme. Former Mayor William Donald Schaefer credits then Housing Commissioner Bob Embry with the idea “Let’s build a ship in the Inner Harbor to draw folks downtown.” With that seminal thought, a great sailing adventure and tradition was launched that would soon catapult Baltimore back into the imagination of the nation and the world as the home of adventurous seamen and romantic ships. A name was soon selected, a choice so natural as to be almost automatic – Pride of Baltimore. The name captured the spirit of the phoenix-like town. It also tapped into her maritime heritage since “Pride of Baltimore” was the nickname of Chasseur, the largest and boldest of the legendary, Baltimore-built topsail schooners that helped win the War of 1812, a conflict that first launched the city as a commercial and maritime center.
A New Baltimore Clipper is Born
In spring 1976, America’s Bicentennial year, an unassuming, open-air “Clipper Shipyard” was erected along the west shore of the Inner Harbor, just north of the newly completed Maryland Science Center. In May 1976, the keel for the vessel was carved out of a thousand year old piece of Central American hardwood, a species called Cortez from Belize. The adventure of recreating the first Baltimore Clipper to be built in 150 years was begun.
That adventure came to fruition on May 1, 1977 when she was commissioned in the Inner Harbor by Mayor William Donald Schaefer amid the tooting of horns, the ringing of bells, the spray of the fire boats, and a cannon salute from the USF Constellation. The adventure of embodying the pride and spirit of the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland and representing that pride and spirit to the peoples and nations of the world had just begun.
Construction of a Replica Baltimore Clipper
The classified advertisement, placed by the City in the Baltimore Sun on September 24, 1975, seeking proposals to design and construct the first Baltimore Clipper to be built in 150 years, stated that the ship was to be “an authentic example of an historic Baltimore Clipper. The ship is to be between 85′ and 90′ on deck, fully operable, capable of being sailed, and equipped with replica cannon. Construction materials, methods, tools, and procedures are to be typical of the period.” In a word, the ship was to be a replica, built by hand with traditional materials and methods as far as practicable.
The design/construction contract was awarded to the International Historical Watercraft Society, a corporate designation of master shipwright Melbourne Smith of Annapolis. Smith had extensive experience with traditional ship repair and construction and was an ideal candidate for the task. Design of the vessel was the responsibility of noted naval architect, Thomas Gillmer, long-time professor of naval architecture and engineering at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.
The vessel was built during 1976-77 in the open-air Clipper Shipyard on the west shore of the Inner Harbor adjacent to the Maryland Science Center. Work proceeded seven days a week and was followed closely by thousands of Baltimoreans and visitors who watched with fascination as the ship emerged from her keel in the makeshift yard.
Most of the work was done by hand using traditional methods and tools – the adz, the caulker’s hammer, a ship’s saw. Some of the experienced shipwrights were from Central America, associates of Melbourne Smith in a Belize shipyard where they had built and repaired boats for the Caribbean trade. Others were experienced sailors and hands from Maryland who wanted to share in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of building an “old style” ship in the traditional way. A master blacksmith, or rather a shipsmith, set up shop on site and forged thousands of special fittings for the vessel. By the time of launch, just ten months after the keel was laid, fifteen devoted craftspeople made up the building crew.
Launching and Rigging
Pride of Baltimore was launched on February 27, 1977 by “Big Red,” a huge floating crane from the Bethlehem Shipyard that lifted the bare hull like a toy and gently placed her in the water. The traditional bottle of champagne was cracked against her hull by then Congresswoman (now Senator) Barbara Mikulski. But much work remained to be done. Forty tons of fixed ballast were packed along the keel below deck. Ballast consisted of specially molded iron pigs and cubes, as well as ten tons of traditional Belgian paving stones that had been part of Baltimore streets – and had probably arrived from Europe as ballast in 19th century sailing vessels! The two masts and spars of Douglas fir from Oregon were shaped and stepped, and the rigging put in place.
A major compromise with authenticity occurred late in the ship’s construction process as a result of the incredible excitement stirred by the arrival and visit of six “tall ships” from around the world to the Inner Harbor during the City’s 1976 July 4th Bicentennial Celebration. Sensing that Pride of Baltimore could awaken the same kind of excitement in other ports, City Council authorized an additional $50,000 for a diesel engine for Prideof Baltimore to enable her to travel to distant places and maneuver in crowded ports. Hence, an 85 horsepower Caterpillar propulsion system was sandwiched into the vessel after launch.
On May 1, 1977, Pride of Baltimore was commissioned by Mayor Schaefer in the name of the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland, most of whom, it seemed, were dockside participating in the ceremony.
Her topside was painted black with green anti-fouling paint below the waterline. Her unmistakable signature was a result of her steeply raked masts (17 degrees), the broad white stripe along the exterior gunwale, and her flowing white banner atop the mainmast. With her gaff rigged fore and mainsails set and her square foretop sail raised, Pride of Baltimore was a beautiful and unforgettable reminder of Baltimore’s proud maritime heritage.
Goodwill Ambassador to the World
During her nine years at sea, between her maiden voyage to Bermuda, New York, and Nova Scotia in 1979 to her final European voyage in 1986, Pride of Baltimore extended the hand of friendship to countless visitors. She visited ports along the Eastern Seaboard from Newfoundland to the Florida Keys, the Great Lakes, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, and the West Coast of America as far north as British Columbia. On her final voyage, she visited European ports in the Irish Sea, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the English Channel, and the Mediterranean – the first Baltimore Clipper to be seen in those waters in 150 years. Altogether, she logged over 150,000 miles, equal to six times around the globe. She sailed further in nine years than most sailing vessels travel in their lifetimes. No museum ship was Pride, but a true Ambassador for Baltimore and Maryland.
A City is Stunned by the Loss of her Pride
On the morning of May 19, 1986, the early morning quiet of the McGeady family home in Severna Park was shattered by the insistent ringing of the telephone. The caller was Joe McGeady who reported that he was calling from the deck of the Norwegian tanker TORO approximately 250 north of Puerto Rico. Pride of Baltimore had been struck and sunk by a violent squall (what the US Coast Guard later called a microburst squall) some four days earlier. The captain and three crew members were missing and presumed dead.
The word spread quickly – to the staff and Board of Pride of Baltimore, Inc., to the families of survivors and those lost at sea, to the news media. In the following days as reports came out, the residents of the City and State watched and prayed with stunned disbelief as the details became known. During a dramatic news conference with the recently rescued survivors at Glen L. Martin Airport a few days later, it was confirmed that Pride of Baltimore had sunk on May 14, 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 had been no time to radio for help. Eight crew members climbed into a five by five foot rubber life raft where they floated helpless for four days and seven hours with little food or water. The captain and three crew members did not emerge from the wreckage and were presumed lost. Although the survivors saw six vessels during their ordeal, only the TORO spotted them. That was at night – the ship saw an SOS signaled with a flashlight.
Those lost were:
Armin Elsaesser, 42, Captain
Vincent Lazarro, 27, Engineer
Barry Duckworth, 29, Carpenter
Nina Schack, 23, Seaman
The tragedy brought an abrupt end to the adventures of a noble sailing vessel – but not an end to her mission. As the minister at a memorial service for the drowned crew members reminded his audience, “Those who go down to the sea in ships feel particularly close not only to nature, but to God.”
A permanent memorial to the original Pride of Baltimore has been erected in the Inner Harbor on Rash Field. The memorial consists of the characteristic raked mast of a Baltimore Clipper along with the names of those lost in the tragedy carved into pink granite. The memorial reminds those who visit it of the precariousness of life at sea, a lesson the citizens of this great port city once knew well but had long forgotten.
“As site coordinator at pics4twitts I am pleased to enjoy Falconry. I will be using images that have not been altered in any way, The Images start as a Raw file which is then changed to a jpeg.Why Raw?, when you use the jpeg your camera produces, the computer inside the camera makes all the fine tune adjustments for you.I do not want that.When using Raw I have the creative edge and make any adjustments that suit my tastes, not the camera. These images from yesterday were shot using a Manual setting, Not Automatic so each image has it’s own histogram.Enjoy and I hope to see you back soon.
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The Harris Hawk genus Parabuteo
Size: Length 48-56cm(19-22ins) Wingspan 135-165cm(53-65ins) Status: Widespread. Habitat: Dry,bush country.Lowland desert areas. (America). Reproduction: 2-4eggs.March-June.28 day incubation. Diet: Rabbits,rats and a variety of birds.
“Harris Hawks are one of the few broad-winged hawks that will readily hunt in a team (sometimes called a cast), when they are socialised with each other. When hunting as a team, they will take turns in flushing the quarry while the others wait & attack when flushed.”
The Harris Hawk is native to the central part of the Americas, southern North America down throughout much of South America. There is some evidence that they are spreading their range further into North America. Like many other raptors, the population of Harris Hawks is currently on the evidence that they are spreading their range further into North America. Like many other raptors, the population of Harris Hawks is currently on the decline. There are two subspecies of Harris Hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus harrisi is found mainly in the North American down through to northern South America & generally referred to as Harris Hawk & Parabuteo unicinctus unicinctus found mainly in South America & is generally referred to as Bay-Winged Hawk.
The Latin name Parabuteo unicinctus means similar to a buzzard (Parabuteo) with single stripe (unicinctus) (referring to tail). The ornithologist, Audobon, gave the bird the name Harris Hawk, after his friend Colonel Harris.
In the wild, Harris Hawks prey on small rodents, such as rats & mice, lizards, small birds (often taken in flight) & small mammals, such as young rabbits. If prey is scarce, they have been known to feed on carrion.
In the wild Harris Hawks will live up to 12 years, in captivity they can live for twice that long.
Very often, a female Harris Hawk will mate with two males & the nest may be made in cooperation of several other birds. Nests are made in the tops of trees or on the top of a tall yucca or cactus. Up to 5 eggs are laid & incubation is done by the female (33-36 days). Feeding of the young is done by the female & both of the males she mated with. The young are fully fledged in 7-8 weeks from hatching, though the young may stay with the parents for up to 1 year. Sometimes two clutches of eggs are laid in a season, between early March to late June.
At least one study has shown that the polyandry (mating with more than one male) exhibited by the female Harris Hawks is not due to an imbalance in the ration of males to females, the ratio is roughly 50:50. Whilst it is not certain why the polyandry exists, one theory suggests that the amount of available food available may be an issue. Some studies have shown that in areas of large amounts of food, the males (who usually provide most of the food during the early part of the breeding season) are more likely to mate with more than one female (polygamy) as they are able to provide food for both. In areas of low amounts of food, polyandry is more likely, as the chances of survival for the young is improved with two or more males providing the food. As Harris Hawks naturally hunt cooperatively & are usually more successful hunting in this manner, this has been suggested as a major reason for the female Harris Hawks taking two mates.
Harris Hawks are one of the few broad-winged hawks that will readily hunt in a team (sometimes called a cast), when they are socialised with each other. When hunting as a team, they will take turns in flushing the quarry while the others wait & attack when flushed. This enables the hunting to carry on for longer than usual, often with the prey tiring before the birds.If the prey hides in bushes, then some of the group will attempt to go in after the prey, while the rest wait on the other side for the prey to rush out. In the wild, this cooperative hunting is most often done during the winter months when prey is scarce, the prey will be equally shared at the end of the hunt, often with the juveniles being given the first share, while the adults wait.
Since being introduced into falconry in this country around 35 years ago, Harris Hawks have become one of the most popular falconry birds here. Due to its size, intelligence & temperament an ideal beginner’s bird (some think it is not suitable as a beginners bird, because it is too easy to train, & so the beginner actually learns very little). Although generally amiable, can be temperamental, females being particularly prone to aggression in adulthood and young birds can have very anti-social manners. Early imprinting on humans, & occasionally when kept singly, partial imprinting on the owner, associating people with food, can produce birds that scream for food when the owner is in sight. Juveniles tend to grow out of this after the first moult, but it is not guaranteed.
In the wild, Harris Hawks have been seen to indulge in “stacking” – sitting on each others backs, often up to three high, either on the ground or on the top of a cactus. It is not certain why they do this, though it has been suggested as either due to lack of roosting space or as a method of still hunting, giving slightly more height & so further distance seen, in desert areas which do not have the benefit of trees or poles to sit on.
Raptors are normally aggressive solitary hunters except for the
Gregarious Harris Hawk. Hunting in a well formed social group ensures the capture of more prey.
In years of an abundance of food, they rear more than one clutch, with the first youngsters helping to rear the second clutch.
They are nicknamed the wolf of the sky because of their pack hunting instincts.
Harris Hawks have an arch enemy in the wild. It is the fearsome Great Horned Owl. The owl loves to ambush them at night but if the hawks spot them in the day there’s big trouble. Gang warfare breaks out as the group will attack the owl. They will even attack a stuffed owl! Thought they were supposed to be clever?
The Harris Hawk is also known as the Bay Winged Hawk. This is due to the bay or brownish colour on their wings. Can you see them on the birds here?
The Harris Hawk is the most popular bird used in falconry. Because they are sociable you can fly more than one at the same time in most environments. But they are NOT good pets. Training is most important before you own any bird of prey.
Harris Hawks spend much of their time landing and sitting on cactus plants looking for food. They must have tough skin because much of their time is spent pulling out hundreds of cactus needles that get stuck in their feet. Ouch!
The Harris Hawk is named after Mr. Edward Harris. Mr. Harris was a companion of one of Americas most famous artists and naturalists- John James Audubon. The paintings of Mr. Audubon are famous all over the world.
Many Harris Hawks are now kept in captivity in Britain and unfortunately many are lost never to be seen again . However many do survive and there have even been reports that some have bred. This would not be good for our own environment as we have our own birds of prey that need to eat! Could we one day see the “wolf of the sky” patrolling our own countryside?