Tall ship ‘Pride of Baltimore II’ to visit ports in Solomons Island, Alexandria

Ahoy! The Pride of Baltimore II, a modern reproduction of an early 19th-century tall ship, will be sailing to ports in Virginia and Maryland this fall.

“The Pride of Baltimore II’s mission is basically to be used as a goodwill ambassador and a business and economic development tool. So that has brought her out of Baltimore to a multitude of different places,” Capt. Jeff Crosby told WTOP.

She was built to continue the mission of her predecessor, Pride of Baltimore, which sank in a storm in the Atlantic Ocean in May 1986. She has traveled to 42 countries, as far east as Russia and as far west as China.

While the schooner is required to have modern engines by the Coast Guard, Crosby said around 80% of the transit is done by old-fashioned sailing by her 12 crew members.

“To get 185 tons of sailing vessel going by wind power alone, managing all of that gear and all that technology is a really unique and cool experience.”

Visitors will be able to explore the Baltimore Clipper topsail schooner’s classic wooden deck while learning about Chesapeake Bay maritime history from the captain and crew.

“She is a stylistic reproduction of an 1812 Baltimore clipper. Baltimore clippers became pretty renowned, being used as privateers during the War of 1812,” said Capt. Crosby. “Privateers were basically legalized pirates.”

The Baltimore privateers would get a letter of marque that would give them permission to capture cargo vessels from the enemies, the British.

“They were pretty successful at capturing those cargo vessels, Baltimore privateers, specifically, because of their speed and maneuverability, which was a product of Chesapeake Bay watercraft design,” said Crosby.

The Pride of Baltimore II has become the figurehead of the Star Spangled Banner Trail, and the stops at Solomons Island and Alexandria are in partnership with the National Park Service.

“Privateers were so successful that the British wanted to come to Baltimore to burn down the shipyards,” said Crosby “That is what resulted in the Battle of Baltimore they ended up keeping the British out of the harbor. Francis Scott Key, who was a prisoner on one of the British ships, was able to see the American flag flying over the fort in the morning, and then wrote the words to the national anthem.”

Pride II will first dock at Solomons Island, Maryland, between Oct. 15 and Oct. 18, before sailing to Alexandria, Virginia, for a stay between Oct. 21 and Oct. 23 in the southwest end of Founder’s Park.

Deck tours in Solomons and Alexandria will be free to the public — exact hours will be available online, and all events are considered weather-dependent.

Tours of the tall ship will be free in Solomons and Alexandria. (Courtesy Pride of Baltimore)

The schooner will then voyage to Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to join the Sultana Downrigging Festival between Oct. 28 and Oct. 30. Unlike her previous stops out west, that event will be ticketed. For more details, head to the festival’s website.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up