Captain's Log

Archive for October, 2015

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Day’s Run – 6 October, 2015

Noon Position: Docked in Lunenburg, NS, Canada

Weather: Overcast, H 16c L 9c, barometer 1013

Aloft training part two – today everyone was able to have their first experience going out on the port or starboard fore yard. Under the supervision of the Captain, with a Mate and Lead Seaman on hand to give instructions, crew members climbed aloft, made the transition to the yard at their own pace, and then maneuvered themselves along the yardarm. Everyone was then instructed on the proper positioning they will need when hauling up a sail for stowing. Though awkward at first, with practice will come confidence.

Captain Moreland came by the ship today at 1600 to introduce himself to the crew. He gave an overview of why he created the PICTON CASTLE, the charted course for the voyage and and spoke about the shipboard life and experiences that will become reality during the next three to six months. He peppered in stories of his sailing adventures across the globe and made sure that each crew member knew he was looking forward to meeting them personally. “This is one of my favourite voyages” he said, “I am very envious of you all as I will not be along for the trip”. My question becomes this: if a Captain sneaks aboard his own ship on the day of departure, is he considered a stow away?!

Optimized - Oct 6 - Lunenburg

Ships Work: Continued coatings on new jibboom and overhauled main t’gallant yard; stowed sails back under the sole of the main salon from Dory Shop sail-loft and warehouse; inventory, clean and restocked carpenters tools in hold; paint prepped porthole in foc’sle shower; sealed checks in jib boom with bees wax; installed and tightened fore top mast back stay and fore top mast stay; primed irons for spanker boom and main t’gallant yard and main t’gallant mast; inspected steel yard arms.

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Day’s Run – 5 October, 2015

Noon Position: Docked in Lunenburg, NS, Canada

Weather: Partly cloudy, warm, light cool wind, sunny, H 21c L 11c, barometer 1022

Today was a much anticipated day for most of the crew. Today, was ‘up and over’ day! Finally each new crew member will have the opportunity to head aloft. Directly after lunch the entire crew collected for a detailed talk from Captain Sikkema regarding safety procedures, proper use of a harness and the history and reasons behind why we use them. Once everyone understood the seriousness of going aloft, and had their harness and footwear approved by the Chief Mate, the pro crew took their assigned positions and the ‘up and overs’ began. One by one, those who wanted to go aloft did so – up on starboard and down on port.

Our other main training task today was to have a slow run through of our fire and prepare to abandon ship emergency drills. The importance of knowing your station bill assignments, and thus your responsibility during an emergency, was reiterated again. Along with head counters knowing where to find you, having a specific job has the effect of mobilizing the crew during an emergency. You have a focus, you have a job to do – this goes a long way to dispelling initial panic. These drills will be held over and over again, until crew responses are second nature.

Optimized - day 5 - lunenburg

Ships Work: Down rigged temporary top mast stays on fore and main; coating on jib boom and main t’gallant yard; sanded and finished clothespin on main t’gallant mast; up rigged new fore top mast stay; reorganized sole; continued primer coatings on chain plates and seizings; finished chafe gear on all head stays and foot ropes.

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Day’s Run – 2 October, 2015

Noon Position: Docked in Lunenburg, NS, Canada

Weather: Overcast, rain, H 12c L 10c, barometer 1024

Three more arrivals today means there are only three people yet to arrive and the entire crew will be on board. Lessons on all aspects of ship life continue. The Mates and Lead Seamen try to keep these sessions short so as not to overwhelm new crew members with too much information. Having said that, being overwhelmed during the first month of a voyage is par for the course. The hard part is to first find and then walk the line between seeing eyes glaze over and doling out information in just the right amount. With time and practice the confusion will ebb, but for right now it’s repeat, repeat, repeat.

optimized Day 2- Lunenburg

Ships Work: Lessons include information from the handbook, line handling, ship terminology, ship checks; sanding jib boom; group and wrap donated books in plastic; continue serving fore top mast stay; continue sewing chafe gear to head stays, royal and t’gallant foot ropes; continue stropping and seizing blocks; continue making lumber rack in the hold; continued work on main t’gallant mast

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Day’s Run – 4 October, 2015

Noon Position: Docked in Lunenburg, NS, Canada

Weather: Sunny, cool breeze, H 15c L 10c, barometer 1030.

Much of what we do on the PICTON CASTLE involves a lot of coordinated effort from every person aboard. When I say this, your mind’s eye may immediately jump to the actual activity of sailing the ship which would be absolutely correct. But it also applies to most of the ship’s work that needs to get done as well. With each new task our crew members are learning more about how to work together efficiently and also how to take direction from those leading the projects. These lessons are an important part of maintaining the safety of both the ship and her crew. Of course, knowing when to give the crew a little extra time off is a huge bonus too! Our first Sunday saw some delicious crew-cooked meals, beautiful weather and a shortened work day. Cheers to that!

Optimized - Oct 4 - Lunenburg

Ship’s Work: Moved new jibboom from Dory Shop to bay; repositioned t’gallant yard in Dory Shop; moved sail cloth to second story of warehouse and rolls of canvas to Dory Shop; hauled three freezers out of hold onto the wharf; continue cleaning and oiling anchor chain shots; patching chafe gear on fore t’gallant foot rope; sanded entire Skiff; rust busted; varnished, primed and buffed jibboom; primed bowsprits; cut off outboard port side cathead shackle; furled small boat sails; priming fore and main tangs for rust busting.

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Day’s Run – 3 October, 2015

Noon Position: Docked in Lunenburg, NS, Canada

Weather: Overcast, drizzle, light wind, H 12c L7c, barometer 1027

Along with the ongoing yard work projects, today each of the watches were rotated through a safety orientation. This one will be the first of many to come as the constant repetition enables crew members to become familiar with the routine, know where the safety equipment is stored and gain confidence in their abilities to handle a crisis. Directly after lunch the Chief Mate held a workshop and practice session for hauling the main and fore braces. The importance of repeating commands was stressed as was body positioning, keeping hands away from the pinrail edge when hauling, correctly putting the lines back on the pins and making/hanging a proper coil.

Optimized-Oct 3 - Lunenburg

Ships Work: Drop out entire port and starboard anchor chains; clean and oil anchor chain shots; clean chain locker; down rigged small boat Mr Bones and put in bay; continue organizing hold; store new paint; warehouse inventory of wire; rust busted and prepped iron work from mast, boom and yards.

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Day’s Run: 1 October 2015

Noon Position: Docked in Lunenburg, NS, Canada

Weather: Rain, wind, temp 13c high 9c low

Finally the day has arrived! Today is the official first day of the Trans-Atlantic Voyage. At muster this morning there were about 45 crew members ready and eager for the adventure to begin. Some have been here for a few days, so know a few of the routines, while others arrived in the early hours of this morning and are still sporting looks of wide eyed wonder. One of the first orders of business – the Chief Mate assigned everyone to a watch, these being 12-4, 4-8 or 8-12, and outlined what the next few weeks will look like. The daily structure will include the following: regular watch rotation with anchor watch; lessons from the handbook; ships work assignments; line handling; and further teaching of ship procedures. As each day passes there will be plenty of opportunity for each crew member to do something that they have never done before. Welcome to the PICTON CASTLE!!!

Day 1 of the Transatlantic Voyage 2015

Day 1 of the Transatlantic Voyage 2015

Ships Work: Crew orientations; ship terminology; continue serving fore top mast stay; sewing on chafe gear to head stays, royal and t’gallant foot ropes; stroping and seizing blocks; continue to empty and clean sole, chain locker and hold; started making lumber rack in hold; continue work on main t’gallant mast and jib boom.

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