Baltimore Clippers were instrumental in the War of 1812 because the new fledgling United States had no navy. Or at least not much of one, certainly not one that could go up against the mighty English navy. There were merchant ships called Clippers that travelled fast - time is money - that businesses used to ship goods all along the East Coast.
The U.S. hired these fast ships to outrun the English in sending important goods, munitions and vital material wherever needed. They even put guns in them and became, in a sense, the original PT boats that could charge enemy ships, fire at them and then dodge away quickly.
The ships hired were thusly called Privateers. The Lynx is a Clipper based in Newport Beach, California and winters in Fort Myers and St. Petersburg, but port of registry Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The Lynx firing a salute as she enters Harborage Marina in St. Pete for the winter.
I first discovered her a few years ago and the SoIL and I took a ride one Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately there was no breeze that day so we motored out to the Bay and sat there. The info we got that day was nice and all, but we really wanted to see the sails flap and make this thing fly.
After a couple years getting refitted and redone the way these things must after a while being in water, the Lynx returned to St. Pete so I once again signed up for a sail. Traveling with the current Mrs. Blythe (who was unimpressed), and her Sis, I boarded her like a veteran tar. This time, the wind was racing and the skies looked heavy with rain.
The Lynx isn't hard to find with the rakish masts. The jury is out as to whether the canted masts make her any faster, but one of the side effects was giving the look of speed to the big lumbering English war ships. One writer said of the Baltimore Clipper that they were ships "where deviltry and speed sailed together."
The ship's wheel at the stern.
This is the bow sprit and forestaysails before our rainy, stormy trip. The front going through scared the Captain (wimp) and so our trip was aborted and we turned around and headed back into port. Good thing he wasn't commanding a Privateer back in 1812 or we'd all be speaking English today.
The storm came through so quickly and the crew had to hustle to lower some sail that they simply dropped them without neatness they usually do. See how the foresails are just laying sloppily on the bowsprit? "M-I-S-T-E-R C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N-N-N-N-N!!!!"
Moored across the way in Harborage Marina is the French tallship Amara Zee. It is designed to put on theater shows. Those skittish French - better to put on a show than put on a sabre. Reminds me of the ad "French rifles. Never used, only dropped once."
Upper mast area with flag and insignias flying. Note the radar housing on the upper right mandated by the Coast Guard, and the fuzzy thing hanging on the rigging. That is twine, yard and cloth collected by the crew that separates ropes that come in contact with each other to lessen wear.
The Captain getting a weather report from his phone app which resulted in a swift 360 and back in to port. I didn't need any damn phone app to tell me that there was no foul weather; I could smell blue sky and fair winds, which was exactly what happened. I am applying for Lynx captaincy - let the kids sail under a true Son of the Sea. OK, I've never been to sea but my Dad was a 90-day Wonder. Does that count?
I think I can milk a couple of posts with the trip on the Lynx so let's go for now and I'll wrap this up in a short while.