Captain's Log

Archive for January, 2017

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January 30, 2017 – Sending Down the Mizzen Topmast

Yesterday was as good a day one could ask for in Lunenburg in January to do some rigging work.  The temperature was above freezing, the sun was shining and there was almost no wind.

Picton Castle is currently in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada and we’re getting some maintenance work done aboard.  We had sent down most of the running rigging as part of Bosun School last fall.  The one remaining thing that we wanted to send down for inspection was the mizzen topmast.

Picton Castle’s fore and main masts are made up of three parts, the lower mast which is made of steel, the topmast which is also made of steel, and the t’gallant mast which is made of wood.  The mizzen mast, the one farthest aft, is made up of two parts, the lower mast which is made of steel, and the topmast which is made of wood. 

We have sent down the mizzen topmast a few times in the past few years, always inspecting it, repairing it as necessary and sending it back up.  Our intention this time is to send it down, inspect it, and likely replace it.  We have a telephone pole aboard, lashed in the port breezeway, that is an excellent blank spar for this kind of project.

Although we only had a small number of hands to help get the mizzen topmast down, they used mechanical advantage to get the job done.  The majority of the weight of the mast was supported by a line that ran all the way from the mizzen mast to the capstan on the foc’sle head.  Anything that could be removed from the mast was removed and sent down to deck, then started the slow and careful process of lowering the mast through the cap while working the rigging secured around it to the top so it could eventually be removed by lifting it over the top of the mast.

Now that the mizzen topmast is down at deck level we can assess its state, look at the previous repairs and how well they’re holding, and likely use it as a pattern for making a new one.

Why not watch the video!

 

 

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10 January, 2017

Lunenburg photographer Peter Zwicker (http://www.bacalaophoto.ca/) captured this amazing photograph this morning of Picton Castle surrounded by snow, ice and sea smoke. Thanks, Peter, for letting us share it!

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Captain’s Log – Bosun School 2016

Bosun School is done for this year.

Another excellent Bosun School session has come to a close here on the waterfront in Lunenburg. We had a fine gang of keen marine students who will go far in the marine world as they wish. Since last September up until a few weeks ago they have been busy and hard at it. Under the leadership of long-time PICTON CASTLE Bosun Gabe St Denis and old Bosun Captain Daniel Moreland we got a lot done in in a short amount of time.

bosun

Basic Knots, Splices
& Whippings

Extensive Small Boat Handling in Sail & Power Aboard Schooners, Sloops, Cutters & Motor Skiffs Boatyard Boat Managing &
Hauling Small Vessels

Worming Parceling
& Serving

Basic Sail Making & Repair

Wire Splicing &
Serving

Small Wooden
Boat Spars

Metal Preparation,
Painting & Coating

Overhauling
Blocks

Basic Line Handling
& Bracing

Basic Caulking

Tackles

Chafe Gear & Dock Lines

Basic Varnishing

Safety Working Aloft

Ship Mooring

Shipyard Safety

Sending Down &
Crossing Yards

Leadline &
Heaving Lines

Hauling, Blocking & Sundry Details Associated with Drydocking

Ship Down Rigging

All the skill sets we go over are important. The one we try to drive home as much as possible is “small boat handling” and to that end, we go out in our wide range of boats day after day; instruction, practice, demonstration and practice, then practise practise practise. You cannot truly be an accomplished mariner without being capable, competent and practised at the handling and care of small craft. Just the way it is. And becoming good at small craft offers many insights into large ship operations in all catagories. To this end, we got the gang out sailing, rowing and motoring in dories, cutters, sloops, skiffs and schooners. And of course launched and hauled them as well as caulked and painted them and put them up for the winter. On our final days, we spent time with the gang one on one looking to placement opportunities in the “next ship” all of this gang will do well I am 100% sure.

small-boats

 

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Captain’s Log – World Voyage 7

Back in December, before Christmas, we finalized the itinerary for Picton Castle’s seventh world circumnavigation.  Just because we’ve done this six times before doesn’t mean it’s an easy voyage or one to be taken lightly.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  It’s an epic voyage that is demanding and challenging no matter how much experience we’ve got under our collective belts.
palm-anchorage

But oh, what a voyage.  This is the kind of voyage square-rig sailors from the days of commercial sail would dream about.  Mostly in the tropics, not in a particular rush to get from port to port to deliver the cargo, with an amiable crew who are all keen to be part of the experience.

69-girls-dance

Now that 2017 is here, the voyage looms large in our minds.  Picton Castle will be sailing this summer, participating in the Rendezvous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, which will build towards the excitement of this next world circumnavigation.

To say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience sounds cliché, yet that may be the most accurate description.  There’s truly nothing else like this voyage.  You participate as an actively involved crew member in getting the ship around the world.  Along the way you have unbelievable experiences in the ports we visit.  You develop relationships with your shipmates that will last a lifetime.  You learn seamanship skills and become a competent deckhand aboard a square-rigged ship.  In the quiet of nights on forward lookout or in the commotion of setting all sail, you learn what you’re capable of doing, how to trust others, and how to earn their trust that you’ll do your part when it’s your turn.

four

If 2017 is your year for epic adventure, consider joining us.  You don’t need any sailing experience, just a clean bill of health and the desire to be part of the ship’s working crew.  Highlights of World Voyage 7’s itinerary include Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Pitcairn Island, French Polynesia including the Marquesas Islands, the Tuamotus, Tahiti and the Society Islands, the Cook Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Bali, Rodrigues Island, Reunion Island, South Africa, Namibia, St. Helena, a number of Eastern Caribbean islands, Bermuda and the port where the voyage begins and ends, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada.amanda_helm

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