Dive In: The Pride of Baltimore II

One of the hardest sights to avoid when you’re walking the Inner Harbor, are the historic ships that are docked right in the center of the promenade. But beside the USS Constellation, USS Torsk, USCGC Taney, and the Lightship 116 Chesapeake sits the Pride of Baltimore II: the second clipper ship built in Baltimore in over 150 years. Pride II has sailed 250,000 nautical miles and represented the people of Maryland in over 200 ports in 40 countries in North, South, and Central America; Europe; and Asia — all while focusing on promoting historical maritime education

While Pride II technically isn’t a historic ship (construction on the clipper ship started in 1987), it is however the result of a historic story. Pride II’s predecessor the original Pride of Baltimore was first commissioned in 1977 and was the first Baltimore Clipper to be built in 150 years, and the first tall ship to represent a city and a state. 

“[Pride] was a tremendous undertaking. One that captivated the hearts and minds of the people of Baltimore,” explains Erica Denner, Assistant Director of Pride of Baltimore, Inc. “It represented the undaunting courage and the will of the people of Baltimore. The original Pride of Baltimore was commissioned by the city of Baltimore, its mayor, and the city council.”

In 1986 The Pride of Baltimore was overtaken by a microburst squall north of Puerto Rico, and unfortunately sank. As a result of the clipper sinking, a new version was commissioned to pick up where The Pride of Baltimore left off.

“Over the 10 years that the first Pride of Baltimore sailed, she had become a household name in Baltimore. The ship had represented the rebirth of the city and had become the people’s boat. The community’s response to the loss was almost immediate, and it was strong. Unsolicited donations began to pour in. The people wanted their Pride back and it was “an unquestionable mandate,”” Denner says.

Now anyone can board Pride II when its in dock, whether that’s for a tour, to partake in sailing it itself, or to charter the ship. The ship offers regularly scheduled deck tours that are free, day sails and sunset sails you can purchase tickets for, and whenever the ship returns from a voyage, there are welcoming ceremonies you can also attend.

Because of Baltimore’s naval prowess exhibited during the War of 1812, clipper ships themselves hold a very special place in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Along with being able to board, tour, and sail the ship — Pride II also focuses heavily on historical and maritime education. Serving as a link to both living history and first-hand STEM problem solving, Referred to as, “A living descendant of the 1812 Privateers,” Pride II is essentially a floating classroom, where adults and children alike can learn about the clipper ship’s history, its relevance to Baltimore, all while learning about the skills and techniques sailors are using on the ship today that originated two centuries ago. 

“The ship is a unique learning platform for all levels of learning and all ages,” Denner says.”

Aside from renting the ship out for personal charters and private receptions, for those interested in immersing themselves completely into the Pride II experience, you can partake in a Guest Deck Hand opportunity where participants can sail the traditional ship alongside the crew, as  far as your interest and ability will let you. This means you can watch, steer the vessel, or even help with ship’s maintenance.

“Sailing as guest crew gives the adventurer the opportunity to experience the hands-on challenge of sailing a traditional ship,” explains Denner. “As guest crew, they work alongside Pride’s professional crew and participate in all aspects of life aboard the ship — up to their level of interest and ability.”

The history, resilience, and impressiveness of The Pride II makes it one that stands strongly alongside its historic neighbors, while also continuing to spread Maryland pride across the globe. 

While the city & state provide some support, Pride II relies heavily on private donations to cover more than half of the ship’s expenses. Consider donating here: www.pride2.org

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