Operation Sail 2000

tallshiprose.org - Website of the H.M.S. Rose Foundation Welcome Aboard

The "HMS" Rose

A One-legged Sandpiper Special Report

The "HMS" Rose was in Newport Rhode Island recently as part of the Operation Sail 2000 festivities. Here we see the Rose, looking stout and seaworthy, as she makes her way to her temporary berth at Bowen's Wharf, in the center of Newport's waterfront.

The original Rose, was the Royal Naval Frigate Rose, built in Hull, England around 1757. She served her country in the French and Indian wars, as well as the American revolution, where her success in blockading trade in Narraganset Bay spurred the formation of the first Continental Navy. 2

The Rose we see here, edging slowly towards Bowen's Wharf, is a reproduction, and nearly an exact replica in outboard profile. This Rose was built based on the original HMS Rose plans, archived at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwhich, England. This Rose was built in 1970, two-hundred thirteen years after the original, using as many traditional ship building practices as possible.

Although traditional in appearance and construction, certain concessions and improvements have been made. One concession is the engine, in use here to bring the vessel into her berth under power, made for the sake of safety and convenience. 4

One improvement is that there are nearly as many women in the crew as there are men. Aboard this Rose, all have equal oportunity to sweat and strain at the great variety of tasks aboard a working full-rigged sailing ship. deckhands Shannon and Rachael, seen here positioning fenders prior to docking, can attest to this.

The new Rose was built in Lunenburg Nova Scotia. She is documented, inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard as a sailing school vessel. Many of the crew come aboard with no prior sailing experience. Each season, hundreds of men and women, old and young alike, sign on as sailing trainees, to work alongside the professional crew.
All hands seem to be on deck when coming in to dock. It takes a lot of able bodies to muscle around a five-hundred ton sailing ship. The engine brings her most of the way. The last few inches are done by heaving on lines and pushing the ship by hand.

With her mix of professional and trainee crew, Rose has sailed the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States, Canadian waters north as far as Labrador, the Great Lakes, the West Indies, England, Western Europe, the Azores, Canary Islands and the coast of Africa.

Here's deckhand Rachael, a member of the paid crew for the 2000 season ending in October, lowering a fender into place. The old car tires are another concession to modern times. Durable, expendable and best of all, free.

The sail training program is open to you or I. All we need to do is apply, be patient, and pay. Rose has hosted sail training participants ranging in age from eight to eighty. Extraordinary fitness is not required. Just an eagerness to learn, a willingness to work, and above all the ability to follow orders. You are the crew.... And there is a Captain. Rachael and Shannon positioning fenders while final adjustments are made to the ship's position alongside Bowen's Wharf. We can't have any bolts on the bulkhead gouging the side of Rose. 8

It takes a lot of work to get Rose tied up just right. Especially here at Bowen's Wharf. Rose draws thirteen feet of water, just enough to get her into her berth during the highest of high tide. The receeding tide will leave her settling on the bottom, so it's very important for her to be secured properly. Tight enough to keep her from wandering, loose enough to allow her to lean as her keel touches bottom. The crew can clamber over the sides effortlessly, but the thousands of visitors that will troop aboard need a stable gangway and a level deck.

Aloft and furl! Once Rose is secure at the dock, the next order of business is furling the sails that were only partially furled after a morning sail in the waters off Newport. Fund raising is a big part of Rose's duties. 10

Grog and salt-horse are cheap enough, but diesel fuel, liability insurance, office supplies and GPS equipment are expensive. The lucky recipients of today's sail are employees of Newport Creamery. Locals know Newport Creamery as a source of good food, ice-cream and the Awful Awful. There was plenty of Newport Creamery ice-cream waiting at the dock for the crew. I myself became quite fond of the ham, egg and cheese sandwich on a bagel with home fries special for breakfast at the Bellevue Avenue store during a two month stay in Newport a few years back. The day wasn't complete without breakfast with Bobbi or Sandy.

That's deckhand Rachael aloft on the main yard-arm, instructing some trainees in the fine art of furling a main sail. The main yard is larger than a utility pole and more than fifty feet off the deck. The line they're standing on isn't much thicker than a garden hose, and moves under foot as the other crew members move across it or haul on the main sail. 12

The "HMS" Rose is a beautiful sight from any angle. She displaces 500 tons. Her LOA (Length Over All) is 179 feet. The length of the hull is 135 feet, most of the difference being her bow sprit. Her beam (width) of 32 feet gives her a stout seaworthy appearance when viewed from ahead or astern. She draws 13 feet of water, leaving as much Rose under water as the height of a one story beach house. Her main mast is 130 feet tall, and all told she carries 13,000 square feet of sail, almost a third of an acre. Enough "canvas" to cover an average suburban yard.

That's a very casual deckhand Rachael, leg crossed nonchalantly, halfway to the end of the main yard, helping to secure the main sail.

There certainly seems to be a lot of pictures of deckhand Rachael, doesn't there?

You have to put some back into it to haul in a main sail.... Or a top-gallant for that matter. This isn't like folding bed sheets. These sails are massive heavy things, thicker than a circus tent and stiff as starched cardboard.

Learning should be part of every activity. Even reading the Sandpiper. Here's Rachael giving more instructions to the trainees. She's being watched from below by the more senior members of the crew, and at almost all times by Captain Richard Baily. 16

I was braced against a deck structure on the quarter deck taking some of these pictures when I had my first encounter with Captain Baily. It went something like this:

Captain Baily: Who are you?
Me: Chandler Johnson
Captain Baily: So Who are you?
Me: I'm taking pictures for a web site.
Captain Baily: Try again.
Me: For the catering company.
Captain Baily: Now that's a good answer.

Captain Baily has been with the Rose since her rebuilding from 1985 to 1991. Prior to that, he has sailed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle, the schooners Fly, Centurion and Yankee. 18

He has sailed aboard the Black Pearl, the H.M.S. Bounty and has sailed the schooner Koukla from China to New York. Captain Baily is on the board of directors of the American Sail Training Association, which all of the above mentioned ships are a member of.
Captain Baily was a completely different person when I next encountered him at the cocktail party aboard Rose later that night. He professed to "hate these things" and seemed a bit uncomfortable in his role as cheif fund raiser for the "HMS" Rose foundation. Not so in his role as Captain. Definitely not so.

He was more than willing to spend as long as it took to answer all of my best questions. When I ran out of questions, he began telling stories. He'd be a welcome addition to any Friday night guest roster in Ocean Beach New Jersey. 20

Leaning against the rail of a full rigged wooden sailing ship, listening to the Captain telling sailing stories, sipping a cocktail and eating jumbo shrimp and brie, in Newport Rhode Island. This is a tough job, but someone's got to do it.
The camera sure loves deckhand Rachael, helping secure the deck for the cocktail party.

Deckhand Tom McCluskey, in gleaming white, and Bosun Hank Moseley discuss their choice of evening wear for tonight's cocktail party. Shorts, T-shirts and bare feet are the uniform of the day. The Captain was wearing deck shoes, the sailing equivalent of black tie. Wearing slightly more in the way of clothes, and way less relaxed, is Aggie Clifford-Carmone, in the red sweater. Aggie is the event coordinator from Eastside Catering, in charge of turning the deck of the "HMS" Rose into a cocktail party for two to three-hundred people.

This tranquil setting overlooking Newport Harbor contrasts sharply with the controlled chaos aboard Rose. Due to tide considerations, and communication problems, Rose was 2 1/2 hours late tying up. This left thity minutes to set up for the party instead of three hours.

The Eastside catering crew waited patiently dockside while Rose was being docked. Access to the deck was provided by a steep one lane gangway. All of the supplies for the party had to be quickly brought aboard and stowed, or set up for the party. The crew quickly joined in to form a human conveyor belt to pass all of the supplies to waiting hands on deck. There wasn't even time to get Rose's boats and life rafts below or over the side. These occupied precious deck space that would soon be in short supply as the Newport Creamery folks, who were already gathering dockside, came aboard. In no time at all, this capstan became an elegant Hors d’oeuvres station. 24

The guests were welcomed aboard only slightly later than the originally planned time. No one seemed to mind. It gave them an opportunity to soak up some of the Newport waterfront atmosphere, and watch Rose's crew in action, preparing her, alongside the Eastside Catering team, for the nights festivities. The elegant bars, carving station and hors d'oeuvres contrasted nicely with the weathered decks and standing rigging of a working sailing ship. The crisp white linen tablecloths a nice counterpoint to the miles of line that makes up Rose's runnung rigging.

Deckhand Rachael seems happy after a shower and change of clothes (Who wouldn't after a days sailing), and adjusts gracefully to her new duty, welcoming guests aboard.
"Cleans up real nice don't she?"
Rachael hails from Chandler Arizona and plans to attend graduate school after her stint aboard Rose.
We don't have to be as able or qualified as Rachael to sail aboard the "HMS" Rose. Trainees of any age or ability are welcome. The "HMS" Rose Foundation has two nice websites with a great virtual tour, lots of pictures, information on Rose's current whereabouts and all you need to know to sign up for a sail.

While the cocktail party aboard continues on into a beautiful Newport night, you can learn more about the "HMS" Rose at www.tallshiprose.org, or www.hmsrose.org. The Captain and crew are people worth knowing, and sailing aboard the Rose is something worth doing.

Most of the tall ships in the harbor are brightly lit with "Christmas" lights hanging from every yard arm. The crew of the Rose opts for a few tasteful spots to accent the masts and rigging.
That just about says it all.

While the party winds down and the stars come out, there's a small contingent of crew members still at work on the bow sprit hanging high over Bowen's Wharf. The Rose is above all a working sailing ship, and the work is never done.

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