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Return to Lunenburg

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Picton Castle motored into Lunenburg at about 8:00pm last Friday night, completing the 2009 summer voyage. Sailing into Lunenburg is always exciting. The coastline becomes familiar once we spot Cross Island in the distance, then come around into Lunenburg Bay. Crew who have spent some time in Lunenburg point out the communities and features as we sail past them, then the famous waterfront scenery comes into view as the ship approaches Battery Point and its lighthouse.

While Lunenburg is a great port, it is particularly significant in our voyages because of what it represents. Sailing into Lunenburg is the closing of one chapter and the start of a new one, of saying goodbye to shipmates and looking forward to the next adventure, whether that takes place in Lunenburg or elsewhere. Even for the crew members who had never been here before, they feel some sort of attachment to the place because it marks a milestone.

Lunenburg is, of course, also a great town to visit. We had a small but enthusiastic crowd on the wharf on Friday night to welcome us home a day earlier than scheduled. The Captain made the decision to bring the ship in early in order to allow us a bit more time to prepare for Tropical Storm Danny, forecast to arrive on Saturday evening. After the ship was safely tied to the wharf and everything was stowed, the crew greeted the crowd on the dock and headed up to the Grand Banker, our favourite place ashore to get a cold drink, where we said hello to more familiar faces.

Saturday morning was spent getting the ship ready for Tropical Storm Danny. We put out extra dock lines and added extra layers of chafe gear to all the dock lines. We were expecting the strongest wind from the southeast, which is the wind direction that creates the most swell in Lunenburg harbour. We also added extra gaskets to the stowed sails to keep them securely held to the yards. The afternoon brought overcast skies and rain, then the wind started in the evening as Danny approached. The strongest winds came in the hours after midnight, but the ship was secure with the duty watch looking after her.

Except to dry and stow sails, the crew had Sunday and Monday off to relax and enjoy being ashore. While some people used the internet or went to the library, others went surfing, visited the museum, took naps and went for bike rides. Even Donald, our fantastic cook, had days off, so Julie’s mom brought a huge turkey dinner to the ship on Sunday night.

Returning to Lunenburg brings a change of pace for the ship as well. This fall, we have five students joining us for the months of September, October and November to participate in the Bosun School, a land-based skills development program for experienced young mariners. They will assist with downrigging the ship, learning valuable skills along the way, then branch out to study rigging, sailmaking, carpentry, small boat handling and a variety of other skill sets. The Bosun School began this Tuesday, September 1, and we’re glad to have Craig, Sarah, Jack, Andrew and Dave with us.

Our focus over the fall and winter will shift increasingly to the next world voyage. Applications are already being accepted and considered, with a number of trainee applicants arriving in the next few weeks for their in-person interviews. We’re looking forward to meeting them and building a great crew for this incredible voyage. While the ship won’t be sailing for a while, there is still lots going on. Stay tuned for ongoing stories from Lunenburg…

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