Captain's Log

Archive for May, 2016

| More

Day’s Run – 18 May, 2016

What a day! Beautiful warm and sunny, and a fresh westerly breeze to boot. In the morning we made full sail, the wind being just right to have every stitch full and drawing, the ship bounded along all afternoon making upwards of 8 knots at times. The sailmakers finished the roping of the new Main T ‘gallant Staysail and ran the sail up into the rig for bending. Save the Flying Jib that’s all sail but the Stuns’ls. In the late afternoon the Captain held a rope work workshop on splicing. Many of the hands onboard have had experience with splicing rope already, but this gets us all on the same page and teaches some of the nuances they might not have learned. All hands did an eye splice, short splice and long splice.  As the wind built in the evening, in came the Royals, Upper Staysails and Gaff Topsail for the night.

aloft 2

SHIP’S WORK: Ratlines on the fore and main masts, prep work for the sink in the forward head, sew canvas boots on to the rigging screws for the Main T’gallant Backstays; replace bunt fairleads on the Mainsail; continue work on Inner Jib sheet pennants; oil jibboom; cut out new ‘work’ hatch cover from old Upper Topsail; finish roping and rope cover on new Main T ‘gallant Staysail and bend; patch old Flying Jib; continue tabling on new Flying Jib.

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+1

NOON POSITION: 43°38.9’N / 028°06.1’W

DAYS RUN: 139nm

PASSAGE LOG: 1696nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1158nm

COURSE AND SPEED: E x N, 7kts

WIND: W, Force 5

WEATHER: Sunny!, air temp: 19°C, water temp: 15°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 3 to 5 ft, W’rly

SAILS SET: All Square Sail to the Royals, Inner & Outer Jibs, Fore, Main & Mizzen Topmast Staysails, Mizzen Staysail, Spanker and Gaff Topsail

| More

Day’s Run – 17 May, 2016

The Crew kept busy through the night with sail drills now that we are able to carry more sail.  In the morning it was time to make a little more ground to the north, we wore ship at the 0800 watch change and set Royals.  The clouds blew off and the sun warmed the deck and many of the off watch hands came up to enjoy the sunshine and lend a hand with the work on deck and aloft.  In the afternoon we held a fire drill to keep proficient with handling our safety gear.

SHIP’S WORK: Replace the starboard fore brace and overhaul the brace pennant, finish overhaul of the fish tackle, fabricate new mounts for the forward head sink, re-lash starboard Main Lower Topsail head earring lashing, re-lash Mizzen Topmast Staysail knock lashing, grease Spanker clew outhaul pennant, continue roping on the Main T’gallant Staysail and seaming on the new Main Topmast Staysail.

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+1

NOON POSITION: 43°21.9’N / 031°01.7’W

DAYS RUN: 114nm

PASSAGE LOG: 1557nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1288nm

COURSE AND SPEED: NE, 5kts

WIND: W, Force 4-5

WEATHER: 3/8 cloud cover and good visibility, air temp: 17°C, water temp: 16°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 3 to 5 ft, W’rly

SAILS SET: All Square Sail to the Royals, Inner & Outer jibs, Main & Mizzen Topmast Staysails, Mizzen Staysail, Spanker and Gaff Topsail

| More

Day’s Run – 16 May, 2016

Half Way! We are making a very good passage to France, 10 days out and half way across.

Our Sunday weather system moved on overnight and the morning dawned clear with light cloud cover and a Force 4 wind. With this we set all sails in the morning watch. It was a good exercise as there are a few sails this gang haven’t set yet because the wind strength has been SO great since we left Canada.

Unfortunately after enjoying only a few hours of sunshine the fog moved back in. By early afternoon the visibility was reduced again, prompting many of the crew to joke; we must be nearing the coast of Nova Scotia again!

As the seas calmed down we slowly down rigged all of our heavy weather gear to give it a good fresh water rinse, cleaning an inspection ready to be used again when the next weather system comes along.

SHIP’S WORK: Continue overhaul on the fish tackle, ratlines on the fore lower shrouds, replace thumb cleat on the port fore shrouds, continue seaming on Main Topmast Staysail and sew tabling on to new Flying Jib

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+2

NOON POSITION: 43°19.8’N / 033°27.0’W

DAYS RUN: 157nm

PASSAGE LOG: 1443nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1390nm

COURSE AND SPEED: E x S, 5kts

WIND: SW x W, Force 4-5

WEATHER: Overcast and light Fog, air temp: 16°C, water temp: 15°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 8 to 10 ft, W’rly

SAILS SET: All Square Sail to the Royals, Inner & Outer Jibs, Main & Mizzen Topmast Staysails, Mizzen Staysail, Spanker and Gaff Topsail

| More

Day’s Run – 15 May, 2016

The wind moderated this morning again and the skies cleared for the early morning. As the Sunday galley team prepared breakfast (giving Donald a much deserved day off) PICTON CASTLE is pushed easily along and the sun is shining brightly. A lovely way to start our Sunday.   This didn’t last for long however; the next low pressure system to the north of us moved in and by late morning it had clouded up and the wind started to fill again.  In anticipation of this next system we had spent the night sailing to the south east, dropping latitude in order that we would miss the strongest of the winds and be in a better place to head back to the north east with the wind behind us.

The forecast held true and by mid-afternoon it was blowing again. We called all hands at 1500 to square away and put the wind on the starboard quarter. With the wind and seas behind her PICTON CASTLE was logging between 8 and 9 knots, riding comfortably as the seas had not time to build in front of this new fast moving system.

resized

It is interesting to think that people can get use to heavy weather, but after a few days of it, it can seem pretty standard stuff. In our discussions with the officers I warn against this being the most challenging time of the passage, when complacency can start to set in.  It doesn’t take much for problems to get a toe hold and become something bigger in weather like this, as such we have been spending time talking about keeping attention to detail, identifying and breaking links in the ‘error chain’ and ‘error trapping’. All good exercises for our watch officers and sailors to be thinking about the ‘what if’s’ before they become ‘should haves’.

SHIP’S WORK: Sunday at Sea! The Bosun made some well received banana bread for the watches in the afternoon.

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+2

NOON POSITION: 42°44.9’N / 036°49.3’W

DAYS RUN: 163nm

PASSAGE LOG: 1286nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1546nm

COURSE AND SPEED: E , 6.5kts

WIND: S x W, Force 6

WEATHER: Overcast and drizzle, air temp: 16°C, water temp: 15°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 8 to 10 ft, SW’rly

SAILS SET: Topsails, Foresail, Fore and Main Topmast Staysails

| More

Day’s Run – 14 May, 2016

Heavy winds kept up through the night at speeds 8 to 9 knots. The weather on the whole has warmed up, much to the relief of all hands, however that didn’t stop a squall this morning from unloading hail on to us! We quickly got out the deck brushes to clear it off as the whole deck of the ship had become an ice-skating rink.

As the day went on the wind gradually eased ofF to about Force 6 and the seas started to lay down as well. This is a brief respite as another weather system is expected to start tomorrow morning.

PICTON CASTLE is by almost every measure a good sailing ship, one thing she is not however is fast. Dragging around a 6 ft diameter propeller holds her back from the full potential that her hull shape would have to offer. That is why getting a near 180nm mile run for a 24 hour period is quite a good one for us.

With the weather expected to remain in a favourable direction for days to come we are hoping for more good runs to speed us on to France.

SHIP’S WORK: Continue overhaul of Fish Tackle, seaming on new Main Topmast Staysail, lay up and install new sheet pennant for the Mizzen Staysail, make up temporary sheet pennants for the Inner Jib.

 

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+2

NOON POSITION: 43°30.5’N / 040°08.6’W

DAYS RUN: 178nm

PASSAGE LOG: 1123nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1675nm

COURSE AND SPEED: E x S, 7.5kts

WIND: WSW, Force 7

WEATHER: Overcast, air temp: 14°C, water temp: 17°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 12 to 15 ft, W’rly

SAILS SET: Topsails, Foresail, Fore and Main Topmast Staysails

| More

Day’s Run – 13 May, 2016

Overnight as predicted the wind built with the seas still relatively small the ship rode along comfortably logging 7 and 8kts most of the night into the morning. The crew have been keeping busy doing their ship checks and keeping a close eye on things in general. It has been said that ‘eternal vigilance is the price of safety at sea’, and this we practice.

Off watch crew are comfortably ensconced in the hold working on some projects, the Bosun has the Fish Tackle down and is servicing it with a few hands and other hands are stitching the cloths of a new Main Topmast Staysail together.

On deck as the afternoon turned into night the wind has stayed strong and the seas have picked up. As the watch goes on about their rounds there are two people at the helm now to keep the ship from rounding up as the seas try to move the stern around and the Mate on watch, ever vigilant, is scanning the seas, watching the wind and keeping an eye on the helmsman.

And as such the ship speeds on safely into the night.

 

SHIP’S WORK: Continue to overhaul Fish Tackle, stitching on Main Topmast Staysail

 

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+2

NOON POSITION: 43°03.7’N / 044°08.6’W

DAYS RUN: 116nm

PASSAGE LOG: 944nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1851nm

COURSE AND SPEED: ENE, 9kts

WIND: W x N, Force 8

WEATHER: Overcast and squally, air temp: 10°C, water temp: 19°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 6 to 8 ft, W’rly

SAILS SET: Topsails, Foresail, Fore Topmast Staysail

| More

Day’s Run – 12 May, 2016

After motoring through a calm night set sail around noon today.

A north east breeze sprang up and we got the ship under sail slowly to the south. Slowing down is exactly what we want to do at this time as a low pressure system is deepening over this area and we want to give it some time to head off to the north east, putting some distance between us and the strongest of the winds forecast with this system.

As the afternoon wore on we could actually see the centre of the depression pass ahead of us, to the south came an area of clear skies, when this reached us the barometer steadied out and as the blue sky passed on ahead of us the wind slowly backed to the north then northwest and the ship was brought back up on course toward France.

As many of the old sailing ship books say, when the barometer has finished dropping and steadied out, watch for a slight rise, then the wind will come. As the low moved out on ahead of us the barometer rose and the wind jumped up to Force 7 from the west, good for us, as the ship is now speeding along at better than 7 kts under Topsails and the Foresail to the ENE. In anticipation of the seas building overnight the crew spent most of the afternoon rigging heavy weather gear and making the ship well stowed down. This strong westerly flow is forecast to last a few days, a good push along for us, and also a good chance for large seas to build.

The water has warmed up during the day making the wind not as bitter cold as it has been the previous nights. With the ship snug down the watches stand by for anything the ship might need, but the hope is all we will have to do is hold on to the helm, keep to the routine and let the ship ride.

RIMG0945

SHIP’S WORK: Down rig and begin serving the Fish Tackle, Set up Main Topmast Shrouds, Stow remaining mooring lines below, Herringbone patch in the Spanker, set up grab lines, nets, double gripe boats and double gasket light sails

 

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+2

NOON POSITION: 42°46.7’N / 046°43.9’W

DAYS RUN: 155nm

PASSAGE LOG: 813nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1968nm

COURSE AND SPEED: ESE, 3kts

WIND: NE, Force 3

WEATHER: Overcast, air temp: 6°C, water temp: 10°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 2 to 3 ft, NE

SAILS SET: Topsails, Foresail Inner Jib, Fore & Main Topmast Staysails, Mizzen Staysail

| More

Day’s Run – 11 May, 2016

Light winds continued through the night and into today and we continue to steam along. This morning dawned clear and bright, still a welcome relief from the fog. Finally our chance to dry things out a bit, all the sails were loosed and many articles of clothing and towels hung out to shed some moisture in the sun. Today also gave us a chance to get going on some ships work.

We have also been seeing much wildlife in our crossing of the Grand Banks, twice we have seen Humpback and Pilot whales close to the ship as well as White Beaked dolphins.

This has also kept Fiji the cat quite busy as there have been many sea birds in and about the rigging. Fiji spent all day stalking, running and jumping around the ship, we presume, in hopes of catching one. No such luck for her though and cat food it is again for dinner.

Fiji keeping watch

Fiji keeping watch

As we crossed the shelf off of the Grand Banks in the afternoon back into deep, cold (2°C!) water, all hands were called to participate in a man overboard drill. Before moving into the drill itself all hands were reminded that the best way to deal with a man over board is NOT to have a man over board, as with everything in the ship the best cure is prevention.

The seas being calm this afternoon it was a good time to practise launching the rescue boat, an operation not to be taken lightly at sea, even during a drill. All hands reacted smartly to the situation and the boat was safely launched, gotten away and recovered in a span of about 10 minutes.

SHIP’S WORK: New Ratlines on the fore and main masts, move and seize bunt fairleads on the T’gallants, sew covering boots on the main T’gallant backstays, seaming on the new Main Topmast staysail and roping on the new Main T’gallant staysail

 

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+2

NOON POSITION: 43°34.3’N / 049°58.1’W

DAYS RUN: 125nm

PASSAGE LOG: 660nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 2088nm

COURSE AND SPEED: E, 7kts

WIND: NW, Force 3

WEATHER: Clear, air temp: 5°C, water temp: 4°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 2 to 3 ft, NW

SAILS SET: Inner & Outer Jibs, Fore/ Main & Mizzen Topmast Staysails, Mizzen Staysail and Spanker

| More

Day’s Run – 9 May, 2016

The Fog is with us again, closing in during the night. Though the visibility was less than half a mile this morning the sky was clear so all of the fog around us was brightly glowing with the sun, talk about blinding! Most of us tried to put on sun glasses but they just fogged up with all the moisture in the air, it made for quite a sight.  It came on to blow again today with the approach of yet another cold front (our third this passage), about 1230, it was quick in with the Spanker, Mainsail and Mizzen Staysail and hard up the helm. With the wind rising it sent us scurrying off to the East North East at 9 knots. Sailing at 8 to 9 knots in the right direction is a pretty good deal, but as cold fronts do this one moved on and with its passing the sky cleared and the wind eased back to a Force 5 from the South West.

After setting T’gallants in the late afternoon we all sat down to a lovely fish and potatoes dinner from Donald and watched the sun sink into the red sky behind us.

SHIP’S WORK: Most of the day was spent sail handling but in-between the crew kept busy with cleaning and protecting our stores from the large amounts of condensation building up on the insides of the ship from the cold water and very moist (warmer) air.

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada
TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France
TIME ZONE: ZD+3
NOON POSITION: 43°38.2’N / 055°16.3’W
DAYS RUN: 113nm
PASSAGE LOG: 425nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 2312nm
COURSE AND SPEED: SE, 6kts
WIND: SW, Force 4
WEATHER: Fog and Rain, air temp: 12°C, water temp: 5°C
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 5 to 7 ft, SW
SAILS SET: Topsails, Courses, Inner & Outer Jibs, Fore/ Main & Mizzen Topmast Staysails, Mizzen Staysail and Spanker

| More

Day’s Run – 8 May, 2016

REMARKS: After a night of sailing in moderate conditions under Topsails and Courses (still with the ever present fog) this morning it came on to blow fresh. By 1100 the wind was up to Force 8 from the South and all hands were called to take in and furl Upper Topsails and the Mainsail. As the conditions continued to build the crew on deck busied themselves rigging more safety gear, nets, heavy hatch cover and straps. This is a lot of weather for the start of a voyage but the officers and crew were well in control of the situation and good work was done by all hands.

Our gale of wind was short lived however, by 1600 it had moderated and we had set Upper Topsails, Mainsail, Spanker and Jibs. Much to everyone’s delight the fog cleared off in the evening to reveal a beautiful sunset. Not a bad way to finish up a long day.

watching_the_sunset

SHIP’S WORK: Watches drill in handling the Mainsail. Replaced the Starboard Foretack.

 

FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France

TIME ZONE: ZD+3

NOON POSITION: 43°31.7’N /057°49.8’W

DAYS RUN: 129nm

PASSAGE LOG: 310nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 2414nm

COURSE AND SPEED: ESE, 6kts

WIND: S x W , Force 8

WEATHER: Fog and Rain, air temp: 11°C, water temp: 8°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 10 to 12 ft, from the S and SW

SAILS SET: Lower Topsails, Foresail, Fore and Main Topmast Staysails and Mizzen Staysail

© 2003–2017 Windward Isles Sailing Ship Company Ltd. | Partners | Site Map | Privacy Policy