Captain's Log

Archive for December, 2015

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Day’s Run – 30 December, 2015

Back to work! Second layout of sails for project-boat Karl, getting the steel lower-topsail yards ready to send aloft again, tweaks to the headrig and a spot of patch serving.

30 Dec 3 - reduced

30 Dec 2 reduced

30 Dec 1 - reduced

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Christmas Festivities

Christmas aboard Picton Castle is something never to be forgotten. Here are some photos of how the crew celebrated. Many more were posted to our Facebook page and we invite you to like our page and have a look through them all!

25 Dec Christmas 11 reduced

25 Dec Christmas 2 reduced

25 Dec Christmas 9 reduced

25 Dec Christmas 8reduced

25 Dec Christmas 7 reduced

25 Dec Christmas 6 resized

25 Dec Christmas 5 resized

25 Dec Christmas 4 resized

25 Dec Christmas 3 reduced

25 Dec Christmas 1 resized

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Day’s Run – 22 December, 2015

Picton Castle has arrived at our Christmas port of La Gomera, in the sunny Canary Islands a few hundred miles off the coast of Africa. Our first day in port today and we sent down both steel lower topsail yards for inspection and some routine maintenance. We used the windlass and our own crew: no cranes, heavy machinery or external help required. Now there’s a piece of seamanship you don’t see every day.

21 Dec collage

21 Sending Down

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Day’s Run – 20 December, 2015

Sailed past the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura this morning, leaving them 35 miles off to port. It seems like we only just left Africa, and already we’re in the Canary Islands, expecting to sail past Tenerife and arrive at La Gomera tomorrow.

Victor plots a position

Victor plots a position

SHIP’S WORK: Sunday at sea. This passage is a short one so the daymen worked a half day: the carpenters finishing caulking the dutchmen they had put into the quarterdeck, the riggers learning to wire splice on some practice wire and the engineers getting into some machinery theory.

TOWARDS: La Gomera, Canary Islands
TIME ZONE: GMT
NOON POSITION: 29°18.6’N /014°54.9’W
DAYS RUN: 41.5nm
PASSAGE LOG: 311nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 146nm
COURSE AND SPEED: SWxW (CMGT 244°T)
WIND: Force 4, NxE
WEATHER: 7/8 cloud cover (cumulous and strato cumulous), air temp 68F (20°C), barometer reading 1027 millibars, visibility good
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 2-4 feet, NxW
SAILS SET: All square sails except the mainsail, main t’gallant staysail and outer jib running downwind.

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Day’s Run – 19 December, 2015

It was the final ditty bag workshop today: fitting the wooden bottom and splicing on a becket for the handle and there you have it: a properly made canvas bag to keep your ditties in. The night watches started baking overnight tonight – got to lay in plenty of cookies and treats for Christmas!

Ditty Bag Workshop

Ditty Bag Workshop

SHIP’S WORK: Spot paint tropical blue in port breezeway, ratlines, Flemish horse overhaul continues, continue to slush rig, varnish chart house door and port rail, another coat of primer on windless rocker.

TOWARDS: La Gomera, Canary Islands
TIME ZONE: GMT
NOON POSITION: 29°15.5’N /014°08.9’W
DAYS RUN: 112nm
PASSAGE LOG: 270nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 182nm
COURSE AND SPEED: Steering full and by the wind (CMGT 318°T)
WIND: Force 1, W
WEATHER: 1/8 cloud and light haze, air temp 72F (22°C), barometer reading 1027 millibars, visibility good
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 1 foot, SE
SAILS SET: Everything set: square sails to the royals, inner jib, outer jib, main t’gallant staysail, fore and mizzen topmast staysails, and the spanker.

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Day’s Run – 18 December, 2015

A clear, sunny day of light airs. The Captain declared it a crime to motor on such a fine day so we shut down the engine and set all sails early in the morning, and had a gorgeous day of sailing slowly before taking in sail and steaming overnight to make up time. This afternoon’s workshop was part III of the ditty bags: un-laying a length of manila rope and laying a strand back up to make a circular grommet, then sewing this onto the top of the canvas bag to give it shape and strength: and introducing the art of roping a sail. Heaps of dolphins round the ship this morning, even some spinning dolphins!

18 Dec Mackenzie at the helm

SHIP’S WORK: Continue work on planking Karl, fit quarterdeck dutchmen, varnish chart house door. End-for-end main upper topsail halyard, continue Flemish horse overhaul, continue to slush standing rigging, ratlines, get a coat of primer on the windlass rocker, chip, prep and primer on windlass rocker stanchion, spot paint tropical blue on aloha deck and starboard breezeway, overhaul bunt blocks, and spot paint in the skiff and Monomoy.

TOWARDS: La Gomera, Canary Islands
TIME ZONE: GMT
NOON POSITION: 30°17.1’N /012°16.5’W
DAYS RUN: 141nm
PASSAGE LOG: 158nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 287nm
COURSE AND SPEED: SW (243°T)
WIND: Force 2, ExS
WEATHER: clear skies, air temp 72F (22°C), barometer reading 1028 millibars, visibility good
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 1 foot, NW
SAILS SET: Everything set: square sails to the royals, inner jib, outer jib, main t’gallant staysail, fore and mizzen topmast staysails, and the spanker.

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Day’s Run – 17 December, 2015

After a wonderful 6-day port stop in Morocco, we hauled up the anchor and got underway this morning, bound for our Christmas port in the Canary Islands, a little over four hundred nautical miles away.

Abandon Ship Drill

Abandon Ship Drill

SHIP’S WORK: Continue to slush the rig, install new main topmast staysail halyard strop, continue overhauling flemish horses, chip & prep and prime windlass rocker, spot paint tropical blue in port breezeway, clean Sea Never Dry and the skiff. Work on two new dutchmen in the quarter deck.

Abandon ship drill: it took a little under five minutes for all hands to muster with gear per the station bill and wearing cold-water immersion suits.

TOWARDS: La Gomera, Canary Islands
TIME ZONE: GMT
NOON POSITION: 31°22’N /010°04’W
DAYS RUN: 17nm
PASSAGE LOG: 17nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 426nm
COURSE AND SPEED: SW 1/2W (240°T)
WIND: calm
WEATHER: 3/8 cloud cover (cirrus, cumulus), air temp 68F (20°C), barometer reading 1030 millibars, visibility good
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 1 foot, W
SAILS SET: We are steaming to make our first deadline of this voyage: the leg change in the Canaries.

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Day’s Run – 15 December, 2015

The off-going watch (4-8) took our beautiful boat Momonoy out for a sail this morning before heading off for their two days ashore. It was quite a relaxed work day aboard the ship for the on-watch: getting lots of coats of paint on various open projects and slushing the rig with a tarry mixture while the weather is good and the coatings will dry quickly. With shade from the main deck awning and a cool breeze blowing, music playing from the bridge and plenty of excellent food coming out of the galley it’s not so bad here at anchor off the coast of Africa.

14 Dec

SHIP’S WORK: Primer coats on starboard t’gallant rail, port freeing ports and stanchions, rust bust and prime chart house ladder, full coat black on the superstructure trim, two coats of buff on the spanker boom, paint bowsprit buff. Training in the leadline and driving the skiff.

At: anchor, Essaouira, Morocco
TIME ZONE: GMT
POSITION: 31°30.2’N /009°46.4’W
WEATHER: Still calm and clear. Temperature much the same as yesterday: warm in the day and cool at night.

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Day’s Run – 14 December, 2015

It was the 8-12 watch’s turn to take Momonoy out for a sail this morning before heading ashore. 12-4 had the watch on deck and continued with fair-weather projects, another pleasant and productive day at anchor. We’ve been really lucky with the weather during this port stop, we’ve hardly seen the strong winds for which this part of the coast is famous.

PICTON CASTLE at anchor in Morocco

PICTON CASTLE at anchor in Morocco

SHIP’S WORK: Topcoat of red on quarterdeck waterways, patch service on Flemish horses, hoist spanker boom which had been sent down for painting, continue to slush the rig, replace ratlines aloft. Training in skiff driving and leadline.

At: anchor, Essaouira, Morocco
TIME ZONE: GMT
POSITION: 31°30.2’N /009°46.4’W
WEATHER: A little more swell today, but still sunny and calm.

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Day’s Run – 13 December, 2015

A busy day of interesting work aboard the ship, while most of the off watch had a more relaxing Sunday ashore, wandering the small shops and sorting through junk in a giant flea market to find treasures. That and lots of cups of mint tea on tiled and painted terraces all over town.

KARL's new garboard strake

KARL’s new garboard strake

SHIP’S WORK: The carpenter and his gang rigged up the steam box to steam the port garboard plank for Karl to make it pliable enough to fit her curves and was fastened and clamped in place overnight. Meanwhile the captain and third mate rigged up the small sewing machine on the quarterdeck and seamed up the first layout of a new t’gallant studding sail out of number 12 canvas.

At: anchor, Essaouira, Morocco
TIME ZONE: GMT
POSITION: 31°30.2’N /009°46.4’W
WEATHER: Still calm and clear. Temperature much the same as yesterday: warm in the day and cool at night.

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