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Ship’s Work Never Ends

The “to do” list on the Picton Castle seems endless. There is always ship’s work that needs to be done and as crew, it’s our job to keep the ship in good shape. As a shipmate once said, “Rust never sleeps.” So keeping the steel of the ship’s hull and superstructure painted is a priority. The standing rigging always needs to be tarred, rails varnished, lines replaced, the deck oiled and more. All of this in addition to the usual household cleaning that needs to be done on a daily basis when you put lots of people together in a small space.

The engineers have been working on some electrical projects lately, making sure the steaming light works properly. This is the white light on the foremast that we must display when we’re under motor but not when we’re under sail. Andrea was freed of the engine room for a while to climb aloft and tinker with the light, but what finally fixed the problem was changing the fuse.

Painting the topsides has been an ongoing project, with the bulk of the work done over two days in port. Topsides are the outside of the hull above the waterline. When everyone works together it doesn’t take long. We had the work skiff in the water with four crew aboard to work from the bottom up. They equipped themselves with rollers to make the job go more quickly and brushes attached to long sticks so they could reach higher up the hull. There were also crew on board, wearing harnesses and leaning over the rails to paint from the top down. The two teams met in the middle. On the bow, where the hull curves up making a bigger space to paint, the middle sections were reached by a crew member in a bosun’s chair, which is basically a wooden seat on a line that can be tended from deck. We have also painted the masts using a bosun’s chair.

The carpenter’s shop on board was completely emptied, cleaned, painted and re-stowed. This particular space always seems to attract random weird stuff that nobody knows what to do with, kind of like the junk drawer most people have in their kitchen that’s full of stuff that might be useful someday but doesn’t have anywhere else to go in the meantime. The new and improved carpenter’s-shop-on-a-diet looks much better with less junk, and it’s easier to find the stuff we actually need and use on a regular basis.

The galley and scullery have also had a complete overhaul and reorganization. The galley got a paint touch-up, and the scullery has been properly stocked with good food. The crew has been snacking on lots of dried fruit and nuts discovered at the bottom of a pile of totes in the hold since we left Lunenburg. The scullery, where we wash dishes, is constantly being cleaned and tidied after every meal with the occasional major top-to-bottom cleaning.

The list continues. Just as we cross a few things off there are always twice as many to add. Sails must be loosed and dried when we are in port and then furled again at the end of the day so the cotton canvas does not rot. The fresh water pump in the galley needs to be fixed, the line for the fore t’gallant halyard needs to be replaced, and on…

galley clean and empty
katie paints the mast using a bosun s chair

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