Captain's Log

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Sailing from Cobh to Falmouth

The day came in grey, overcast and drizzly. The morning light began to seep through the dark of night well before dawn at four AM. In these northern latitudes we get a lot of light at this time of year – plenty of light by 4:00 AM and you can still see at 10:30-11:00 PM. Proper dark night time is only about five hours long.

All hands were bestirred at about 0500 this morning to get underway to sail from Ireland bound for Falmouth, Cornwall, England, 190 miles away. The way the Picton Castle was moored we needed the last of the ebb tide to help peel her bow off the stone bulkhead, otherwise we would be stuck there until the next tide change. Soon the main engine was deeply rumbling as it faithfully does, chafe gear was off the hawsers and they were being singled up. Two hands stayed on the quay to let go our last lines, with the third mate standing by in the skiff to pick them up and get them back out to the ship before hoisting the boat. We backed down on a stern spring, the ebb tide caught the bow and the bow paid off away from the quay and soon we were making our way down the channel.

We called Cork Harbour Radio and let them know we were underway and our general intentions. They in turn let us know about inbound traffic. At this point Chibley came on deck (she had been incarcerated in the fore-peak due to animal regulations). It was raining and we rarely see her on deck when it is raining but this time she stomped all around checking on her ship, rain or no rain. She got a good soaking of rain before she was satisfied with her inspection tour. Well, something was on her mind anyway.

As we made our way past the channel buoys we saw a big 150,000 ton oil tanker at the oil terminal that had come in overnight and a small 400 ton coaster piled high with logs steaming inbound. At 0700 we were abeam of Roaches Point making our departure from land and loosing sail. By 0730 we were several miles at sea under all sail to the t’gallants steering southeast making 5 knots towards Lands End, Cornwall. The name gives it away. Lands End is the most southwestern point of land of mainland England. Our wind was a decent force 5-6 down from 7-8 last night and seas were not too big at all. By 0900 we were making good way in the right direction – ship well secured for sea. Just us and a couple fishing trawlers out here dragging around in the mists of the Celtic Sea. All is well enough. Wind making up here before noon, took in and furled t’gallants. Kolin, Corey and Nadja aloft to stow the stiff wet canvas and get a gasket passed around the sail and the yard.


Wind has picked up a little and faired or veered, which means the direction has rotated clockwise making it all the more useful to us. The ship is going along very nicely, making 6+ knots with a point to spare on our course for Lands End. The seas have made up to 6-10 feet, all a pale grey with peaks covered in spreads of white sea foam. Visibility is about three miles. We have fresh fruit in our deck fruit lockers from the market in Cork, apples and sweet little pears, pretty nice to munch while on the quarter-deck.

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