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Preparing For Capetown

Cape Town is a massive stop for the Picton Castle. It is the longest port stay and this is for a number of reasons: First, South Africa is a really beautiful country with a lot to do and it’s huge; for the crew to be able to zip off and go on safari and travel around they need some time to do so. Second, Cape Town has some really excellent marine facilities and is a good place for us to work on upgrades, maintenance and or replacing things onboard. It is cost efficient, the weather is good, and we are there for at least three weeks, which enables us to take things apart that we couldn’t on a three-day port stay.

A long “ship yard stay” takes some planning. It starts in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia before we even set sail. There is always something that needs fixing or painting or rust busting on the Picton Castle. Anyone who owns a ship/boat will tell you that there is always something you can be doing to it. However, some things take priority over others; for example, you are not going to be concerned with cosmetics if your bilge needs maintenance. Some jobs are done once a year, and others need to be done every couple months no matter what; safety gear has to be officially surveyed and inspected every 12 months. So we know right away before leaving that when we get to Cape Town we will have our safety gear inspected. Sails will need mending, even though we work on these at sea all the time and in port when we get a large enough space, we know come Cape Town that we will be able to send down all sail, lay all of them out, and be able to inspect them, mend them, maybe even replace them. The rig will be tarred and painted and trimmed—good jobs to do when all sails are down. All the shroud eyes and turnbuckles will be continued to be overhauled as well as slushing the stays.

At Cape Town water tanks will be cleaned again and have special paint inside them, we can only do this when we have another water supply. The forward ladders to the foc’s’le head will be cut off and replaced by new ones, as will the engineer’s ladder to the port breezeway. The ladder to the captain’s cabin from the charthouse will be rust busted and overhauled. The floor covering inside the superstructure will be replaced. The main salon tables will be re-varnished, and the salon sole cleaned out in preparation for new canvas and rope. The starboard anchor break on the windlass needs to be overhauled, the taffrail on the quarterdeck is being refinished, and the waterways in the quarterdeck are having holes drilled in them for better drainage.

BIG BREATH … and:

We need to have the outboards serviced, and to get rid of our horrid waste slops (easier said than done). There needs to be new cement in the port side head floor, and the salon head needs to be looked at, the inside head is being rust busted, insulated and paneled, the gangway needs welding, the main engine needs its oil changed, the shaft break on the engine needs new break pads, the water-maker needs new fixtures and filters, the main engine exhaust manifold needs an overhauling and a number of cylinders on the main engine need Danie to spend some time with them. The hold will be emptied and re-stowed, as there will be massive ordering of paint, rope, canvas, and, of course, food. Then there is shopping and acquiring to be done; we desperately need some new plastic mugs, new signs for the heads, a new galley matt and new sheets and pillow cases, and about a million other things!

ALSO, we have 11 new trainees joining at Cape Town, which is great; it’s always very nice to have new faces and histories on board. There are also schools to go to, receptions to host onboard, and TV shoots to help with. And all of this is to be fit in and around the above work schedule. Phew! It’s going to be busy, but to make up for the hard work we have a visit to Danie’s family’s farm to look forward to, Mitchell’s pub, great restaurants, great wines, good cheese, new movie releases, and we have a great place that we tie up to with a perfect view of Table Mountain! And, of course, clean laundry!

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