Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
Barque Picton Castle – Opua, Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand – December 31, 2013
After much preparation and anticipation the Picton Castle sailed from lovely Bay of Islands, New Zealand two days ago, bound for Pitcairn Island.
The ship and crew are ready for sea in all respects. We waited out passage of a low with strong winds and heavy rain but after that the morning broke fair and clear. The weather forecasts, both short and long term, looks very favorable to start on this voyage.
The crew is strong. We have four new crew just off the Danish full rigged school ship Danmark. The ship has been thoroughly gone over, prepped and stowed for sea, fuel tanks topped up, provisions for a long time. All the gear we need aboard. No defects in any gear aloft or alow.
The watch officers and I have been studying GRIB weather files and various weather forecasting websites for some time and we have had discussions with a number of skippers locally who have taken larger traditional sailing ships along this southern ocean route. The passage plan includes steering southeasterly making for the vicinity of Chatham Islands about 650 miles away, leaving them well to starboard and then look to making easting in reliably fair winds between 40S and 44S with hopes of making a northeasterly turn around about 150/140W to steer direct for Pitcairn Island. The distance of this planned route is about 3,200 miles. It may be less or more depending upon actual winds and weather.
Right now two days out the ship is under all sail to the royals and making a nice 120 miles a day. Days are bright and winds are fair. New Years is at hand.