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Tall Ships Greenport

By Kate “Bob” Addison

May 28, 2012

Picton Castle is enjoying a wonderful Memorial Day weekend here at the Tall Ships event at Greenport, NY. We’re tied up with the “HMS” Bounty opposite us on the other side of the pier, and topsail schooner Unicorn just along the pier next to Bounty. Topsail schooners Lynx and Pride of Baltimore II, and schooner Summerwind are just across the water, it’s a nice shippy party. Crowds are everywhere enjoying the sunshine and festival atmosphere. Everyone’s pumped to see the tall ships, and as well as visiting the ships there’s live music, stalls with food and treasure, even temporary tattooing for the smaller pirates.

Greenport itself is very pretty and an easy place for sailors: restaurants, cafes, shops, laundromat, everything is right on the waterfront, and we’re being given quite the welcome by the local people. Some of the gang found a secluded beach and chilled out there for a while, relaxing away from the bustle of the festival. Very nice. All crew were invited to a crew barbeque last night, and everyone had a lovely time. While we were there Captain Moreland accepted a trophy on behalf of the ship from Tall Ships America for finishing 4th place in the tall ships race from Savannah, Georgia. That was just the first race of the season – maybe we’ll do even better in the next one!

We’ve welcomed many people aboard Picton Castle over the weekend to show off our home. As befits a ship like ours, we’ve got a South Pacific feel on deck with crew wearing sarongs and grass skirts and island music playing. People seem delighted and amazed that we have a shiny new computer in the chartroom. “Whoah! Pirates have computers?!” In case anyone’s interested we mostly use it to run navigation software (in parallel with celestial navigation and paper charts) and also to get detailed weather information. We don’t think it’s incongruous really – the ship was cutting edge when she was built and we still like new things when they’re better than the old.

A Picton Castle contingent joined crew from the other tall ships to represent the tall ships and our shared maritime heritage at the Greenport Memorial Day parade early this morning. The ship is a war veteran herself: she served as HMS Picton Castle working as a mine sweeper in the British Navy from 1939-1945. We are told that she was once blown clear out of the water by a mine exploding under her bow but lucky for us it didn’t do any structural damage. So we marched with the boy scouts and veterans down to the pier where Pride of Baltimore II is moored, and there was a short ceremony and a gun salute overlooking the water. After the ceremony we headed back to the firestation for coffee and cake. We also discovered that new trainee Bob is an excellent fife player, as he piped along the parade. We’re trying to find him a new name though, Bob’s kind of taken…

Captains and crews receive awards for Race One in Greenport
Picton Castle, Unicorn and Bounty at the wharf in Greenport

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