Thursday, March 26th, 2009
It is often said around the Picton Castle that we only have a 300-ton barque in order to carry wonderful small boats around. This is only half a joke. Being competent at small boat handling is an essential component of being a good seaman therefore we have been on the lookout for a good place to launch all of our boats and use them without too much in the way of distractions from ashore.
After gale-driven bays and being alongside much of the time last summer in Europe, followed by increasing opportunity for small boat handling as we made our way down the coast of Africa, many of our gang have become well advanced in small boat handling. This they learn in the course of making boat runs to and from the ship and through direct study and instruction at sea and in the different ports. Recently in Carricou our crew has been learning and practicing beach landings in modest surf.
From Bequia we sailed south in the Grenadines for Mayreau, a tiny island with about 300 inhabitants and a sweet, quiet crescent moon bay with smooth waters, making this anchorage perfect for boat practise. The good Sloop Bob, Alex Brooks, Master and Picton Castle shipmate, with fellow Castle alumni John Gallagher and friends Sarah and Kiera sailed in company with us from Bequia to this secluded cove. Once anchored the Mate went straight at getting boats launched. One brightly painted 23-foot dory with new sailing rig, our 20-foot wooden skiff, our 24-foot fiberglass rescue boat and one 12-foot Senegalese fishing canoe. The next day was spent sailing the dory around with its big rig and tooling all around with the other boats. An island schooner sailed in for a couple of hours too. The day naturally ended with a big barbeque.