With work on the tall ship Pride of Baltimore II entering its seventh month in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, construction is on schedule and on budget, officials said last week.
Gail Shawe, a Pride spokeswoman, said planking is expected to be completed this month and sailmakers will begin working on the vessel's 10,000 square feet of sails. Work on the rigging should begin in January and continue until the vessel is launched in April or early May, Shawe said.
The original Pride of Baltimore sank in May 1986 when a sudden storm hit it about 250 miles northeast of Puerto Rico as it was returning from a goodwill tour to European ports. Four crew members, including the captain, died in the accident, and eight were rescued after 4 1/2 days on a life raft.
Work on Baltimore's second goodwill ship began in May. The cost of building and operating the vessel is estimated at about $4.5 million, and the Pride still needs to raise "between $1 million and $1.5 million," Shawe said.
Shawe said she has received many telephone calls from people interested in being part of the ship's sailing crew, but she said it is too early to start taking applications.
"We don't even know where she's going, much less who will be considered for the sailing crew . . . . We will probably begin to think about that shortly after she's launched," Shawe said.
The new Pride's deck will be almost 100 feet long -- about 11 feet longer than its predecessor. Also, it will have more ballast (stabilizing weight) and freeboard (height on the side), which marine navigation experts said should make it more stable in a storm.