Captain's Log

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Sailing Along

Sailing along in the North AtlanticOur barque Picton Castle is sailing along about 400 miles ESE of Lunenburg. We continue to steer for a point just south of “the Tail of the Grand Banks”. Sea temperature is now up from 5c to about 10c (50F) and every degree it goes up we sense and it feels better every day. Seas are modest, about a metre or so, a bit more maybe. The ship is making over seven knots in these moderate conditions, not so bad. Mr. Church of St Georges, Grenada, the ships’ cook, is turning out some pretty fine meals from his emporium on the well deck. Chibley, the famous ship’s cat, is finding warm bunks to snuggle up into. The new gang is learning the ways of a ship day by day, which after all, is simply what that thing called “sail training” actually is about. Not training to sail but training under sail, getting your seafaring experience under sail instead of in a steamer, and thus is the origin of what we now call ‘sail training’. It is not actually teaching to sail or a specific skill set (although that usually comes about) but getting your seamanship ramped up and enriched resourcefulness due to working a sailing ship signed on before the mast while learning and carrying out the duties of a seaman. There is much to learn, however and that is our collective task, teacher and student alike, the ship and sea being the best and most effective teaching team of all.

Bunks are well stowed. Engine department is in their routine of charging batteries, making water to fill tanks, looking after small projects here and there. The main engine has been off since the Cross Island buoy. The Mate and Bosun are looking after reeveing off of new pieces of running rigging, seeing about chafe in the rig, not too much it seems. Not much painting yet, still too cool and dampness in the air. The ship’s varnish is in tough shape after the Nova Scotian winter just past. Oak and teak pin rails and fife rails all are crying out for attention, well, soon come. Over the winter the wooden yards were all sent down, set up in our warehouse and got stripped and plenty coats of varnish so they are well protected now and look pretty nice. But the ship is clean anyway and we are warm enough, the sun is out just now. A few small light bellied – dark backed dolphin are swooping and playing alongside. Just now we have a fair breeze just aft of the starboard beam, all sail set to the t’gallants and the ship is sailing along just as she has for so many sea miles before.

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