Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
Picton Castle sailed in to the inner harbour and the anchorage at Summerside on Thursday and dropped the anchor, all under sail alone. As the crew furled sail, Ron Casey, the Executive Director of Downtown Summerside and host for our visit, came out to meet the ship along with his team in period costume representing some of Summerside’s historic figures. The crew were welcomed warmly by these characters and we were all given burlap potato sacks filled with all sorts of tourist information and small gifts from the Island. Ron is truly one of the most enthusiastic and welcoming people we know and Summerside is lucky to have him. Every town should have a Ron Casey.
Exciting projects were planned for days on board at anchor in Summerside. On the passage from Pugwash, we sent Mr. Bones, our small wooden Grenadian boat built mostly aboard, down from the galley house to the hatch for a paint job and to have a sailing rig installed. Mr. Bones was launched in Summerside and many of the crew went rowing. Sailmaker Dave spent a day ashore at the Silver Fox Yacht Club laying out a sail for Mr. Bones, which will be made out of green and orange tarps.
Rigging the Spanker Gaff
The gaff for the spanker, the aftermost sail, was sent down for an overhaul in Summerside. The on-watch brought the gaff down to deck on Friday and moved it forward to the well-deck so they could work on it. The whole spar was scraped, sanded, stained and varnished, the metal and rope hardware was overhauled and replaced as necessary. The rigging that attaches to the gaff was also brought down to be inspected and tarred. All hands were on board on Tuesday to send the gaff back up before we left Summerside. It was hauled up at the inboard end using a block and heavy samson braid until that end, the goose-neck, could be secured to the mast. The gaff vangs and span were then secured to the end of the gaff and the outboard end was hauled up and the span was shackled on and the vangs made fast in order to put the gaff back into its usual place. Lifting heavy spars is a great exercise in seamanship that crew members don’t often get to practice at sea, so sending the gaff down and back up was a good rigging for our crew and an interesting project for them to be a part of.
A New Topgallant Sail
Bending on the new main t’gallant was the third big project in Summerside. This sail was sewn entirely by hand on board Picton Castle during our recent Voyage of the Atlantic. Bending on a brand new sail is like putting on a brand new outfit, kind of a special occasion and everyone comments on how great it looks. This was the first time this sail had ever been bent on, so the canvas was clean and white and stiff. The sail was first set and used to sail out of Summerside. Sailmaker Dave is just days away from completing a new royal, so perhaps we’ll get to bend that one on soon as well.