Friday, October 11th, 2013
We sailed from Newcastle, just 60 miles up the coast, for Sydney to join in with a large Naval Review celebrating the founding of Australia’s Navy 100 years ago. Picton Castle and 15 other sailing ships boarded excellent pilots and steamed in the long winding channel under power in freezing cold rain to dock at various wharves in and around the National Maritime Museum – who knew it was so cold ‘down under’? For eight days we were tied up near all sorts of malls and shops as well as a few ships. The city is so big I think our ships got lost in the view. But no matter.
We also signed aboard good number of new trainees who were keen to join us for the Tall Ships Race we were part of, sailing across the Tasman Sea towards Auckland, New Zealand a thousand miles away. In a hot fresh NW breeze all the ships made their way out of the harbour towards Sydney Heads, made sail and started across the starting line in fair winds and lumpy seas. The magnificent restored 1874 650 ton iron Barque James Craig and the excellent replica of Cook’s Endeavour escorted us out to sea.
Now we are on our way. Last night we had sharp wind shifts and strong winds and we can expect more of this as we cross this sea. Much bracing and sail handling. Our gang had four days of drilling and practice at the dock but it all pales when compared to actually getting to sea. Now, out here is where we can really learn to steer and handle sail and learn the ways of a ship. And we caught a fish…