Captain's Log

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Day’s Run – December 17

BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa
NOON POSITION:26°02.8’S /049°54.3’E
DAYS RUN: 138nm
COURSE AND SPEED: W 240T, 2 knots
WIND: Wind Force 2, SSE
WEATHER: fair, 7/8 cloud, good, barometer 1017 millibars and steady
SAILS SET: All sails set.
SHIPS WORK: Continued to overhaul running rigging and footropes. Tar and patch serving applied in the head rig. The carpenter and chief mate are making a couple of ‘Dutchmen’ or small planks of new wood on the quarterdeck. Sailmaking work continues on the new outer jib, canvas hatch cover and a mainsail. Bent on the new brand new inner jib, which the sail makers finished just before Reunion.
REMARKS: Abandon ship drills and discussion, followed by a workshop on rigging theory: an overview of the purpose and nature of standing rigging. Rather than teaching specific hand-skills today, Captain discussed the basic purpose of rigging, the different strengths and characteristics of the main mast, topmast and t’gallant masts and their yards, shrouds and stays and deliberate weak points, a basic description of how Picton Castle’s rig was designed, the first principles behind setting up and tuning a rig, and touched on the evolution of sailing ship rig design and materials across Europe and the Americas. Great questions from the gang included why we serve wire rigging with tarred marlin, use of different types of ‘goop’ to preserve the rig, if it would be possible to send down the whole rig aboard ship without using a crane (yes), advantages of modern materials and fittings, and the relative advantages of wire splices compared to wire seizings.

Abandon ship drills
Abandon ship drill

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