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Sailing, Cleaning and Some Fishes

By Kate “Bob” Addison

November 12, 2012

Monday morning came in overcast and warm with light southeasterly winds. The tail end of this big slow front is giving us rain showers and gusty winds; lightening very close last night too. Picton Castle is sailing southwest on a port tack; topsails, courses, spanker, staysails and two jibs set and filling nicely. Our position is 25°14’N 059°11’W.

The watches have been doing a fair amount of sail-handling over the last few days: setting, striking and stowing topgallants and royals, bracing around as the wind shifts – lots of drills in each watch too, getting proficient at taking in and setting sails quickly.

There’s been too much roll to really crack on with ship’s work, so when not sail handling, the watches have been spending a bit of time standing-by on the quarter deck. The ABs and mates have been making the most of this time to do some teaching in the watches – in the last few days I’ve wandered out of the office into lessons on filling in the weather log, including a discussion of the Beaufort scale and cloud types; setting and striking square sails; basic ocean currents and global weather systems; knot tying and compass boxing. Getting better at steering under sail has been a big focus too – sailing with following seas is quite a bit trickier than motoring into seas on the quarter.

Saturday was sunny and breezy and saw a massive clean of the ship, which was getting a bit nasty from the days of cold, wet weather, so gangs were out with buckets of soapy water and scrubbers cleaning deckhouses, overheads, windows and portholes, and deep cleaning the interior spaces too. I even saw AB Allison taking a toothbrush to the fo’c’s’le shower.

We’ve been line fishing the last few days – now that we’re sailing it’s safe to trail lines astern and we have four rigged from the quarter-deck. We had our first bite on Saturday (Siri’s birthday), and it was Siri who pulled him in. He was a pretty little mahi mahi, but too small so Engineer David “DB” Brown threw him back in. And Drea baked a big chocolate swirl birthday cake with jelly sweets and candles for supper.

Tonya caught our first flying fish at the end of last week – she was innocently walking down the deck when the fish jumped out of the ocean, and with incredible aim, hit her in the face before falling to the deck. Tonya didn’t seem too concerned; she just picked up the fish and put it in the cooler, so that Donald could fry it up for the Captain’s breakfast. George had the leftover scraps, and he thought that was very good.

Flying fish Fried
Sail setting with Allison

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