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At Sea In The Indian Ocean

By Kate “Bob” Addison

Thursday October 30th, 2014

Four days out of Bali and all is well aboard Picton Castle as we sail westwards across the southern Indian Ocean.

After motoring on and off for a few days to get clear of the currents that threatened to set us back towards Indonesia, the wind has filled in nicely and is now pushing us along well, a steady force 4 on the port quarter. Taking in and then setting all sail a handful of times in 48 hours was good practice for our gang, many of them new to the ship since Bali, but they did a good job, and they mostly know their lines already.

Now all square sails are set and all four headsails way forward out on the jibboom, as well as main topmast and t’gallant mast staysails, the mizzen topmast staysail and the spanker. We’re flying along at five knots. Might not sound fast, but our planning assumes an average speed of advance of four nautical miles per hour, day and night, so if we’re making five knots then we’re winning.

It’s early afternoon as I write and the 12-4 watch has the deck. There is a gang on the main deck sanding down one of the stunsail booms, and another boom is lying on sawhorses to port, allowing the tar and oil mix it was slurped with this morning to soak in.

The carpenter is at work on the well deck, chipping out a piece of the starboard pin rail that needs replacing and the sailmakers are up on the quarterdeck putting patches on a course sail, that though old, certainly has enough life in it to be bent one more time. The officer of the watch is putting a whipping on a line on the quarterdeck in between plotting our course on the big-scale chart and checking that the helmsman is reasonably well on course.

I have the best seat on the ship here on the bench on the bridge. The sunshine dancing on the blue waves is quite lovely, and the breeze is strong enough to keep the temperature down to perfect shorts and t-shirt weather. I keep stopping work to wander to the rail and just look out at the sparkly sea and the puffy white clouds.

Laura (Denmark) has the helm

Laura from Denmark has the helm

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