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Downrig and Small Boats

Picton Castle has been in Lunenburg for a week and a half now, and the ship and crew are settling into a routine of life in port. We continue to muster at 0800 every morning, we still start our workday with cleaning the ship, Donald continues to make fantastic meals on the regular schedule and we work through the day, getting things done and caring for the ship.

One of the first things we did was send the sails down. After the rain we got from Tropical Storm Danny they were quite wet, so we loosed them two days in a row to dry them. Our sails are made of cotton canvas, so they must be dried when they are wet, otherwise they will rot and tear. They certainly have to be dry before we put them away for the winter so they will be in good shape when we bring them out and send them back up next spring. With chief mate Mike and sailmaker David on deck, the rest of the crew, including our Bosun School students, worked aloft to cut the sails away from their yards and send them down to deck. Gantlines, lines that are used to carry things up and down from aloft, were rigged and the crew were split into two teams per mast, with one team working on the royal and t’gallant and the other working on the upper and lower tops’ls and the course. This job goes surprisingly quickly and all of the sails were sent down in record time.

Most of the running rigging was sent down the next day, then measured, inspected, coiled neatly and tagged to spend a winter in our warehouse. The running rigging is all manilla rope, a natural fibre. It shrinks up as it gets wet and lengthens as it dries, so it also had to be dry to be measured and put away. With less lines on the pins, it makes it easier to get to the pin rails to sand and varnish them, getting lots of coats on to protect the wood over the winter. The rest of the ship will get extra coats of paint, tar, grease and oil as appropriate to make sure that things are well-covered for the coming months.

In addition to ship’s work, the crew are enjoying being part of the community in Lunenburg. Both Sea Never Dry, our tropical-coloured dory with sails made of Senegalese fabric, and Mr Bones, the Grenadian skiff built aboard during the Voyage of the Atlantic with tarp sails made this summer, were out sailing last Wednesday night in the weekly small boat races. According to the folks who have been racing every week this summer, this past Wednesday had the best wind of the whole season. Forgetaboutit, a sweet little boat built by Dave Westergaard and owned by crew member Ollie Campbell, and Mr Bones made an appearance in the Martin’s River Regatta this past Saturday, the first time that any of our crew have participated in that event. Dave Westergaard is currently finishing building another boat, Kitty Cochrane at the Dory Shop, preparing it to be launched on Saturday. The crew assisted with stepping the masts for this 33-foot schooner yesterday, bringing it closer to completion.

crew clean up after stepping masts in Kitty Cochrane
Marie sends down the lower tops l
moving big spars at the Dory Shop
Paul and Kappy send down the t gallant

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