Friday, April 18th, 2008
Picton Castle is back in the water again after a week in drydock. The ship was taken out of the water last Wednesday and went back into the water yesterday. Our beautiful barque was well cared for by the staff at Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering while she spent a week on dry land.
Going into drydock is a part of regular, routine maintenance that ships go through. Taking a ship out of the water allows you to clean the hull thoroughly, inspect it and paint it. There are a number of valves below the waterline that are cleaned and inspected as well, it’s through these valves that water is taken in for the water-maker, the main engine cooling system, fire hoses and other salt water plumbing. Picton Castle’s hull was cleaned with a high pressure power washer and given two coats of bottom paint. The draft markings, which indicate how deep in the water the ship is sitting, were freshly repainted as well.
While the staff at the Foundry were working on the hull, our crew were working aboard the ship. The galley is getting a thorough cleaning, the salon head is being overhauled completely, and the fresh water tanks got a final coat of paint. We also took the opportunity to let down both anchors and almost all the anchor chain on dry land so we could rust bust and treat the anchors and the chain. Because it’s so rare to see the whole hull, the Captain took the crew on a walk around it yesterday morning to point out all the parts and what they do, while making a final inspection before leaving drydock.
In order to get the ship back into the water, the process of hauling it out was reversed. The giant chain that holds the cradle was slowly let out, the cradle slid down the track and into the water until the bottom of the cradle was deep enough for the ship to float up off it. The blocks that held the ship up when it was out of the water were removed and two small boats towed the ship back to her wharf. Our crew were on the ship, the Foundry staff were on the upper level of the cradle and at the controls of the giant chain, and the divers were below the water to make sure the track was clear.
Picton Castle is snugly tied to her own wharf again, where preparations for the Voyage of the Atlantic continue.