October 19, 2013 along Portsmouth, Virginia's riverfront.

"One of the Greatest Gathering of Schooners in the World" featuring participating schooners from the 24th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Schooner Days: Set sail - Captain Jack style

The tall ship "Lynx" as she enters the Baltimore harbor. Photo by Allen B. Graves
By Carrie White
The boat that served as training grounds for Capt. Jack Sparrow and his crew is coming to Portsmouth.
The 122-foot square-topsail schooner Lynx hosted cast members from "Pirates of the Caribbean" for training before the movie. The Lynx and about 40 other tall ships will sail into Portsmouth as they conclude the 21st annual 127-nautical-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race from Baltimore.
The first race was in 1990, several years after Norfolk's Capt. Lane Briggs and his Tugantine Norfolk Rebel, the world's only schooner-rigged tugboat, challenged the 1812-era topsail-schooner replica Pride of Baltimore II to a race from Baltimore to Norfolk.

Capt. Lane Briggs Tugantine Norfolk Rebel, the world's only schooner-rigged tugboat.
 "The winner got a case of beer," laughed Jamie Trost, captain of the Lynx and co-captain of the Pride of Baltimore II.
The race moved from Norfolk to Portsmouth about seven years ago. Several days of festivities precede the race's start today in Baltimore. It will end anywhere from 11 to 44 hours later with Portsmouth's Schooner Days festival. (The race officially ends at 10 Saturday morning off Hampton's Thimble Shoal.)
Proceeds from the event go to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Portsmouth will celebrate with bands, exhibits, demonstrations and historical tours.
The Lynx was built in 2001 to be a traveling, living museum. The original Lynx sailed one mission during the War of 1812 before it was captured at anchor while waiting to begin its second. It was a privateer, a term that came from the U.S. government's endorsement of privately owned boats to take booty from foreign ships.

Color engraving of the Privateer "Lynx", circa 1813.
 Today the wooden "tops'l schooner" is crafted from Douglas fir, Southern pine and various tropical hardwoods. The cast of "Pirates" spent about a week aboard the Lynx to learn the ropes, Trost said.
On Sunday, the Lynx and the Pride of Baltimore II will host an "adventure sail," with room for about 40 people aboard each ship.

The Lynx won't battle Jack Sparrow's Black Pearl, but we wondered how they would match up.
The Lynx is a two-masted, square-topsail schooner. It is 78 feet long on deck, 72 feet on the water line and 122 feet wide over the spars, and it has a draft of just under 9 feet.
The Black Pearl doesn't have specific dimensions - the original was basically a steel barge fashioned to look like a three-masted boat. For the next three "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, a ship was built on the hull of another ship.

The"Black Pearl" created for Disney's film "Pirates of the Caribbean"
The Lynx can be sailed with nine crew members, although during its heyday it would have carried 60 to 70 crew members "to work the guns, to board enemy ships and just because of attrition," Trost said. Some crew members likely would have died.
The Black Pearl would need about "twice the size of our crew - 120, maybe, although it's hard to say," Trost guessed of the larger vessel.
The Lynx White, rigged parallel to the ship fore and aft for speed and maneuverability.
The Black Pearl Black, rigged perpendicular to the body or "square-rigged": better for "long journeys on the open ocean," Trost said.
The Black Pearl is called "nigh uncatchable," but Trost was confident in the Lynx's ability to outrun and outmaneuver the pirate ship.
The Lynx Black, deadrise hull that shoots straight up (instead of jutting out at almost a 90-degree angle) and was built for speed.
The Black Pearl The jutting "full-bilged" hull, also black, was designed for storing treasure and booty and would be an extreme handicap in a race with the Lynx.
The Lynx 6-pound carronades, or smooth-bore, cast-iron cannons.
The Black Pearl 12-pound cannons. "They've got more guns and people, so we'd just run away," Trost said.
Other differences
The Lynx "We can't flip upside down and go into the other realm" like the Black Pearl did in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," Trost said. But then, the Lynx doesn't spend much time in the world of the dead.
The Black Pearl Leaky
The Lynx Not
Time in Davy Jones' locker
The Black Pearl Yes
The Lynx No
Captains' (moral) compass:
The Lynx Trost will not barter anyone's soul to captain the boat or win the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.
The Black Pearl Sparrow bartered his soul to captain the Pearl.

Carrie White, caramine@aol.com

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