Annapolis offers the ‘Pride of Baltimore II’ clipper ship a temporary home

Ahoy: Annapolis provides port for Pride of Baltimore II

A replica of a 19th century “Baltimore clipper” that bears the name of a city struck by tragedy has its anchors down in a new home — temporarily. The ship’s new port is at the Annapolis City dock, because the “Pride of Baltimore II” is unable to return home to the Port of Baltimore due to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

“The ship is essentially in an airport layover of sorts,” according to Patrick Smith, the program coordinator for the Pride of Baltimore II.

The ship was docked in the state’s capital last week and planned to head back to the Port of Baltimore on Tuesday, but like millions of others around the world, the crew woke up to the news that the Francis Scott Key Bridge was no longer standing.

“This tragedy of the Francis Scott Key Bridge being collapsed is another one of those ‘shots heard around the world’ the whole world is talking about,” said Jan Miles, captain of the ship.

The inability to get to its home port left the crew wondering where the 107-foot-tall ship could dock. Smith said they didn’t have to worry long, because offers began to come in from around the state, and even out of state. One offer, though, stuck out — the offer that allowed them to stay put at the Annapolis City dock.

“It just makes sense for us to be in Annapolis if we’re a little closer to home,” Smith said.

The Pride of Baltimore II, and its predecessor the “Pride of Baltimore,” was built specifically to represent the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. It travels to ports around the world and educates those who visit it about the role privateer vessels in Baltimore played in the War of 1812.

The original ship was lost in 1986, along with four crew members, after it was caught in a microburst storm near Puerto Rico while returning from Europe.

The Pride of Baltimore II. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

The collapse of the bridge is keeping the ship from hosting planned outings and tours in Baltimore, but being stuck in Baltimore would have also been problematic.

“If we were stuck in Baltimore, there’s still miles worth of a river that we could be sailing, we could be doing some programming, some two-hour day sails for the underserved community, but then the ship would not be able to leave the river,” Smith said.

A temporary channel has been established for boats, but according to Capt. Miles, it still won’t allow the ship to return home.

“They’ve announced a detour for shallow draft vessels that are not very tall and happens to be too shallow for Pride and too short. So, we’re still on the outside,” Miles said.

While the crew is left adjusting its plans and modifying its schedule, they, along with the rest of the Baltimore maritime community, are rallying together and are thankful for all the work being done to fully reopen the port.

“Our hearts go out to those affected: the port workers, the truck drivers, and then the first responders and the dive teams that are working long hours in cold, dark water,” Smith said. “I think we’re just grateful to be able to be somewhere and open to the public.”

While docked on Monday, dozens of people showed up to tour the ship in Annapolis; among them, Charlene Beyerlein of Arnold, Maryland, and her family.

“I think it does show that the people in Annapolis care about what’s happening, and we’re all impacted by that bridge,” she said.

The crew plans to offer more tours of the ship while it is in Annapolis. Details on the tours can be found on the Pride of Baltimore II’s Facebook page.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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