You are just as likely to see knitting needles in her hands are you are a whisk and wooden spoon. Annie studied at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked in the restaurant industry for years, training for three of those years under an acclaimed Swiss-born and -raised chef. She was drawn to the Maine coast from her native Midwest and, after graduating from Michigan State University, she spent three years working in the windjammer fleet, both on deck and in the galley.
She also sailed for several seasons as professional crew on a private yacht in New England and the Caribbean. You may still see her around from time to time and if you are lucky, she may even join the Riggin for a trip or three this season! Walk past the ferry building out on the dock. We went out on the Bagheera. Eight passengers and a crew of three. Take a jacket. Although this is advertised as sailing, not a tour the crew answered everyones questions and we had a wonderful conversation out and back about all the sights along the way.
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Zeb: Celebrated Schooner Captain of Martha's Vineyard by Polly Burroughs
Log in Join. I feel like I spend more time in the Home Depot than is entirely proper. I have a little belief that the time I spend wandering around in Home Depot is not actually subtracted from my lifespan. The direct hands-on management of the crew is more done by the first mate.
Captains are sort of an upper-tier supervisory role for that aspect of things. Then of course I sail the ship. That can vary from just doing a little poking around sailing in Baltimore, or last year we went to the Great Lakes.
I sailed the ship as far as Duluth, which is the tail-end to Lake Superior. It was geographically satisfying because I just kept sailing till there was no more Great Lake, and then I got to turn it around and go home. Smith: Yes. There are a series of tall ship festivals. Last year it was on the Great Lakes. Smith: Yes, I grew up in a sailing family. I was taking on boats from the age of six months onwards. Earlier in life I was kind of a semiprofessional racing sailor.
I worked in a sail office that made sails for boats and did a lot of racing. As I got into my upper 30s, the boats kept getting lighter and faster and I kept getting older and creakier. Kind of became time to shift to something else. As it turns out, the ship, because the Baltimore Clippers are pretty high performance, as tall ships go, they are high-powered and fast.
We raced this vessel a lot. That was part of what appealed to Ian Miles, who is the senior captain. Brogan: I assume that racing a boat like this one, from your perspective as captain, is a lot different than racing a smaller sailing boat. Smith: It certainly is. It is quite a bit different and it is an immensely complicated thing to do even on a simple boat. When you add the size and the complexity of this vessel into the mix it becomes a very interesting challenge.
Brogan: When you are not involved in one of these intense races, what are your day-to-day responsibilities on board the cabin, or in? Right now it looks like there are some bunks, people sleep on board. Smith: Those are the guest cabins. These are guest cabins, and what they are for is, when we are on a passage, or race, moving the ship from one place to the other in whatever way we are doing it, we have a guest crew program where people can sign up and come along. We try to make that clear, the idea We have six slots that we could give over to that at any given time. This year we are going from here to Charleston, South Carolina, and then we are doing a race from Charleston to Bermuda, and another race from Bermuda to Boston and then the ship is coming back to Baltimore.
We have an office with a staff of around five or six, executive director, a couple of project managers, media person, and so on.
By the Numbers
There is a certain amount of meeting with them and doing the long-range planning sort of stuff. The races, the events, day sails, charters, what ports we are going to visit, so on and so forth. Brogan: Do you ever literally stand at a wheel of a ship?
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Is there a wheel on this ship? Smith: There is. More often—during the start of a race, in particular—I will steer the ship. More often than not, one of the crew is steering. I have 10 of them. Brogan: This is a very tall ship, do people—as in my childish imagination of what it is like to crew a tall ship, actually—do you have to climb the masts and do stuff up there while you are on the way?
Smith: Yeah. If you noticed the yards, which are the crosspieces, the upper one of those has the topsail furled to it, and it is pretty much exactly like your childish imaginations. I have to climb up there Smith: I dislike going aloft. I worked as a rigger for many years, not liking heights and working at the top of sailboat masts all the time is not smart.
Brogan: What are other things that might interrupt the pleasures of a voyage, seasickness ever a problem on board? Smith: Not for me personally. We were doing a race from Annapolis to Bermuda. We were crossing the Gulf Stream, and probably a knot north wind.
What happens there is you have the Gulf Stream, which is an ocean current, going north, and you have the wind blowing from the north, and they are against one another. The waves get extremely steep very quick. Smith: Yeah, just leaping up and down. This was the kind of thing where everyone is wearing a safety harness and is clipped on, and every once in a while, happened two or three times, the waves would break on the boat and wash everyone off the rail to the end of their tether, like twang, twang, twang.
When I was steering the boat I was fine because you have something to concentrate on, but if you are just sitting there, getting the washing machine, I got a little queasy. Brogan: When you are under sail, how do you dress?
The Schooner Shenandoah
Do you wear a cap and suit, or do you just Can you tell us a little bit about how you are dressed today? The whole crew has them. I thank God I do not have to wear—there are captains who have to wear that silly Captain Stubing outfit with the Smith: Yeah, and epaulets, and everything. That would have been a deal-breaker for me. In the advanced firefighting class you go to the Baltimore Fire Academy. They set the building on fire and you have the oxygen bottle, the whole thing. Smith: When you are out for an extended period, toward the end of the period, picking can get a little slim sometimes, but most of the time Phil is very on the ball about the provisioning side of things.
These guys work very hard, and Phil is really great with field-hand food. Like sticking to your ribs kind of stuff. Brogan: Do you find that you get exhausted when you are out or are you as captain more able to conserve your energy? Smith: Other ships around, yeah, like on the Great Lakes this happened several times. You get woken up a lot. Other times on ocean passages and stuff, it could be a pretty peaceful existence. In a minute he gives us a tour of the ship.
This is where the majority of the crew sleeps as you can see. Here, what you are standing in is the galley. We have two stoves, this is a propane one, this is a diesel-powered one. We call the diesel powered one Chernobyl. When the weather is cold we typically leave the diesel one lit and it just heats up this whole space pretty nicely. Brogan: It looks like a lot of copper. Is that for the backing, for the backsplash there? The crew, some of them polish it more obsessively than others, but they do polish it.
This is called the cabin sole, S-O-L-E.
Smith: Yeah, the floor. As you can see, there are panels that lift up, and underneath there is more storage space. Smith: For instance, this pile of junk that you have here, those are souvenirs. We have T-shirts and hats, and such that we can sell people. Those two ship hull models are part of our education program, describing the hull ship of Baltimore Clippers, and why they are so fast.
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We have that stuff, there are tools, there are spare parts, all kinds of things. These other three are guest cabins. Brogan: Do you ever have drama when you have people in these kind of close quarters? People who do this for a living are either good at living in close quarters or they rapidly stop doing it.
Stowing is everywhere. There was one that scolded Phil a little too much last year. Smith: Not a crewmember anymore. He has veto power; the cook has enormous power on a ship. Brogan: This is a huge white kind of octagonal pole, I guess, what it looks from our perspective down here. Smith: They are. They dramatically and spectacularly fell over the side in France about 10 years ago. They were replaced with laminated spurs. They are still wood, but they are laminated with resorcinol glue, which makes them stronger and lighter than just a tree and also more resistant to damage by rot.
Brogan: This looks much more like a modern ship. We are in an engine room here, basically. You just went from to a destroyer. These are engines, they are twin hose caterpillar diesels. Smith: Yeah, we just The engineer just replaced a valve cover gasket on this one. Smith: Right now we are plugged into shore power. We could just—we get a big cord and just plug into the dock and run all our electric stuff off that.
We can create power through the engines alternators and through the generator. In there, that is the battery bunk, the ship house batteries. We have engine start batteries and those. Those white boxes there are called the inverters, they are inverter chargers. What they do is they charge the batteries, and they also turn D. They are hatches that are going up to the deck from this room here. These are the controls for our water maker.
Basically it takes saltwater and pump it at very high pressure through extremely fine membranes and make fresh water out of it. Smith: This is the aft cabin. This is where the officers live, that large one behind you there. Here is one of the heads Smith: A little shower, hand-pumped toilet. This is called the butterfly hatch. Both of these lids open up. Brogan: This room looks like a skylight in the cabin itself.
All the wood, beautiful, heavily varnished. Is that practical as well as aesthetic? Anything in the marine environment is extremely harsh. Protecting the wood is a lot of what we work on. Smith: As you could see, we are pretty modern back here too. This is a chatting program. This is single-side band radio for communication way out in the ocean.