Monday, August 17th, 2009
Picton Castle sailed from Summerside, PEI last Tuesday, bound for Iles de la Madeleine. Twelve new crew members joined us in Summerside and they were all oriented to the ship and began their instruction in safety procedures and the sails and rigging while at anchor. We did two drills on Tuesday, one simulating a man overboard where we deployed gear, launched and recovered the rescue boat, the other simulating a fire in the rag bin where we ran out and charged the fire hoses. We sailed off the hook in Summerside, then out the channel and into the Northumberland Strait.
The wind was more favourable for us to head east in the Strait (we could have gone west around PEI), passing under the Confederation Bridge once again. We passed through the centre span under sail late Tuesday afternoon, then headed to anchor on the PEI coast just on the other side of the bridge. Wednesday morning we continued sailing east in the Northumberland Strait, turning on the main engine for a few hours to help push us along in the light wind. We anchored again that evening, on the Nova Scotia side of the Northumberland Strait.
Thursday brought the first overnight sail for our new crew. We broke into watches shortly after heaving up the anchor and started sailing around the east end of PEI. By Thursday evening, we could see the lights of Souris in north eastern PEI, then we sailed out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, out of sight of land, towards Iles de la Madeleine.
Being at sea for a few days means that the crew can fall into a comfortable rhythm of watches and ship’s work. On this passage, the pin rails on the foc’sle head were scraped, sanded and varnished, the breezeway overhead was painted, rust was chipped from the starboard bulwarks on the well deck, ratlines were replaced, the mizzen shrouds were tarred, and blocks were oiled on deck and aloft. Sailmaker David was working on a sail he laid out in Summerside for MR BONES, our Grenadian boat built on board this past winter. MR BONES was on the hatch to get the final bits of a sailing rig installed, so when the sail was finished we set up the rig in the boat on the hatch to test it out. The mainsail looked great, so David also put together a jib, made of the same green and orange tarp material. This was a busy passage for the sailmaker as David also put the finishing touches on a new main royal, which would be bent on while at anchor.
Friday was a great sailing day as we approached Iles de la Madeleine. We spotted Entry Island, the most south-eastern island in the archipelago first, then sailed past it and into the Baie de Plaisance (which translates to English as Pleasure Bay) and toward the island and town of Cap Aux Meules (which translates to English as Wheel Cape, as in a cheese wheel, not sure why that’s its name) where we would anchor.