There isn’t much dockage for a 157-foot topsail schooner in Vineyard Haven Harbor. But when Capt. Jan C. Miles made a call to fellow schooner captain Bob Douglas that his vessel, Pride of Baltimore II, was seeking safe harbor, Mr. Douglas found a spot.

Graceful schooner after sunrise Monday morning. If winds are favorable, she is due to leave Tuesday. — Mark Alan Lovewell

After four months at sea, sailing through Lake Michigan, down through Lake Huron, up through Lake Erie, cutting through the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf, wrapping around Nova Scotia and cruising along the coast of the Maine, the historic vessel pulled into Vineyard Haven Sunday afternoon. The ship is tied to Packer’s loading dock, where she awaits favorable wind to complete the final leg of her journey to her home harbor in at the northern ridge of the Chesapeake Bay.

On Monday Captain Miles stood aboard the ship as his 12-man crew oiled the 107-foot masts, painted swivel guns, varnished the wheel box and stitched a small portion of the 9,000 square feet of sail.

Captain Miles compared the routine maintenance of the vessel to the maintenance of an automobile. If she had an odometer, he estimated the ship would have registered well over 250,000 nautical miles — visiting more than 200 ports in 40 countries in North, South and Central America, Europe and Asia.

“It’s like driving a car cross country,” he said. “You can’t change the oil while you’re on the road.”

The mission of the vessel is to serve as an ambassador for Maryland to maintain and develop both national and international relationships. But the Pride of Baltimore II is also a storyteller.

Uniquely built ship is based on the historic design of the Baltimore Clipper. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Not a replica, she is a uniquely built ship based on the historic design of the Baltimore Clipper, with a V-shaped hull that gracefully cuts through the water. Sleek and fast, the vessel can sail closer to the wind than many of her predecessors.

Framed in webbed shrouds of rigging that fell from the mast, Captain Miles gestured to the Shenandoah anchored 100 yards aft.

“The Shenandoah is a breed apart, but a close descendant of the Pride,” he said.

The speed and maneuverability of the Baltimore clippers spawned a maritime history of equal parts crime and nationalistic rebellion. They were often used to smuggle contraband in the early 19th century, as they were able to outpace pursuit boats.

They were also made famous by their success as small and nimble warships. They played a vital role in defending Baltimore Harbor in the War of 1812 against the vastly superior, fully-rigged British Royal Navy — the battle that inspired the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner.

Eventually, their sacrifice of cargo space for speed made them obsolete.

The first Pride of Baltimore was launched in 1977 to commemorate America’s bicentennial, but was lost at sea along with the captain and three crew members during a violent squall north of Puerto Rico in 1986.

Capt. Jan C. Miles. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned the same year following an outpouring of public support. Pride II is 10 feet taller and 20 feet longer than the first.

Standing at the end of the wharf Monday, Stan Sersen was about to climb back aboard the Pride II. He is part of the guest crew aboard the vessel, and joined the voyage in Brockville, Ont. He lives in Baltimore and has a view of Pride II from his window when it is in her home harbor.

“It’s emblematic of American patriotism,” Mr. Gerson said, gesturing toward the 15-star flag billowing in the wind. “I still feel connected to that history today.”

Captain Miles is expecting northeasts wind Tuesday morning that will set the ship on her course out of Vineyard Haven. Once on her way, she will sail at about 13-knots, 110 miles each day, toward her home harbor in Baltimore.