Erie, Pa. native to captain tall ship to re-enactment
Erie Times-News, Pa.
ERIE, Pa. — Erie native Jamie Trost was 13 when he and his father went to Dobbins Landing on Sept. 10, 1988, to watch the launch of the U.S. Brig Niagara.
The ceremony for Erie's iconic flagship — the third version of the original vessel commanded by Oliver Hazard Perry — coincided with the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.
"I saw the ship touch the water, and it was the first time I had seen it afloat,'' Trost, 38, said. "It was back in the environment it belonged in.''
A life of sailing was something he always envisioned.
Trost's father and both grandfathers served in the U.S. Navy, so "it wasn't too big of a stretch for me to go to sea,'' he said.
In two weeks, Trost will captain the Pride of Baltimore II into his hometown for the Tall Ships Erie Festival Sept. 5-8.
Trost commands a crew of 12 and is one of two full-time captains with the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of an 1812-era topsail schooner privateer.
"It's literally a dream job,'' Trost said. "It's really an interesting and exciting combination of the magic and romanticism associated with tall ships along with leadership decisions and challenges you encounter on a daily basis.''
Trost served as third mate with the Niagara in 2004.
"It was something I had to do,'' Trost said. "I couldn't go through my career without sailing aboard Niagara.''
He was elevated to Niagara's chief mate in 2006 and 2007.
"Niagara is unique for the size, complexity and seamanship she works so hard to maintain,'' Trost said. "For a chief mate, it was great training for large-command experience, and for anyone who wants to be a tall ship sailor. It will serve them well everywhere in their career. There's not another vessel like Niagara.''
Trost said the Pride of Baltimore II and the Niagara launched within five months of each other in 1988.
Trost said he remembers his mother taking him to Dobbins Landing in 1989 when the Pride of Baltimore II stopped in Erie during the vessel's first Great Lakes voyage.
He first served with the Pride of Baltimore II in 2005 as second mate and chief mate.
Trost has served as a captain with the Pride of Baltimore II since 2008.
From 2009 to 2011, he was part of a partner-captain rotational program between the tall ship Lynx and the Pride of Baltimore II.
At the Tall Ships Erie Festival in September 2010, Trost sailed into Presque Isle Bay aboard the Pride of Baltimore II. He sailed out of Erie captaining the Lynx.
The six-ship 2010 Parade of Sail into Presque Isle was memorable for Trost. His parents, Gerald and Sharon Trost, of Millcreek Township, were aboard escort vessels near the Presque Isle Bay channel.
"My dad's job was to announce to the crowds each ship and where it was from,'' Trost said. "When we came through, he said, 'This is the Pride of Baltimore II, with Captain Jamie Trost from Erie.' That took me by surprise. The crowd went wild. I was hoping there were some kids in the crowd who were inspired enough by those ships to want to be a tall ships sailor in the future or maybe a captain in a decade.''
Trost and his ship are visiting Midland, Ontario, this weekend for a tall ships festival.
The ship is scheduled to appear next weekend at a tall ships festival in Windsor, Ontario.
Trost said his parents will join him there and accompany him aboard his vessel, which will be among 15 ships, including the Niagara, scheduled to participate in a Battle of Lake Erie re-enactment on Sept. 2 near Put-in-Bay, Ohio.
Trost's parents will also be aboard Pride of Baltimore II during the Tall Ships Erie Festival Parade of Sail into Presque Isle Bay on Thursday, Sept. 5.
"What a unique and special moment that will be,'' Trost said. "It will really be a highlight of the summer.''