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Westward Bound in the Indian Ocean

January 2, 2011

The Picton Castle sails ever westward here along about 21 south latitude, 067 east longitude, deep in the southern Indian Ocean. Her yards are almost square to the winds flowing over the port quarter. All her sails are set to the royals. Sailing and sea conditions can only be described as perfect and have been so for some many days now. Winds are ESE at Force 4 to 5, or about 15-18 knots giving us a steady five to six knots. Skies are a delightful blue with small trade-wind clouds sailing along with us. The seas are none too big at about 3-5 feet, sometimes building to 4-8 feet. We had a squall pass by us this morning that slowed the breezes and put them into ENE for an hour or so but now it’s all back in the SE and blowing nicely again.

We are now about 3,000 miles and 23 days out of Bali. We still have some fresh potatoes and onions and even a few coconuts (lots of coconuts if you include the crew) but any other fresh veggies and fruits are all done. But we are eating just fine, pasta makes for an increasing portion of meals and Donald’s Caribbean chicken with peas and rice an ongoing favourite.

The serious navigators (Ali, Nadja, Katelinn, Frankie, Lauren, Dan, Brad and Joh) are shooting the sun and stars every morning, noon and night. Workshops are concentrating on marlin seizings; round, square, fast and dirty and nice and permanent, raking and kryds-torn baendsler. Sailmakers (Joani, Frankie, Lorraine, Meredith and 3rd Mate Rebecca) are finishing up a new fore course and have started in on a new main topmast staysail. Riggers (Logan, Katelinn, Dave) are making new wire t’gallant sheet pendants and halyards. The carpenter gang of Paul, Jan and Tammy are making new wooden hooks to hold course sheets into the lower shrouds so they do not chafe on the shrouds and have started on overhauling the framing for the many doors inside, some that date from 1955 or in there somewhere.

We have not caught a fish in a while, but we still have fish in the freezer from when we were catching beaucoup. Chibley is her svelte self and has found great delight in chasing both a feather on a string at the end of a stick made for her and the little red spot that a laser pointer makes on the floor and anywhere else it is pointed. She also has been pouncing on and eating flying fish that have flown aboard. The beautiful old teak door to the chart house is getting overhauled and revarnished by Sophie. And one at a time the nice turned mahogany stanchions of the forward quarter-deck rail are getting stripped and revarnished. These were made in Fiji by 7th generation Nantucket-Fijian shipwright Peter Whippy.

We have no idea what the engineers are doing…

At some point soon our minds and thoughts will turn to the next port and the attractions of land but that has not come about as yet, all content to be at sea under sail in this square-rigged ship of ours. Some have suggested that we pass by the next island and just keep going.

Joani sailmaking
Pania, Oddrun and Joani work on their seizings
Rigger Katelinn
Shooting the sun
The Captain teaches a seizing workshop
The riggers coming down from aloft

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