Captain's Log

Archive for April, 2017

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New Mizzen Topmast

Most of the crew have now arrived aboard Picton Castle in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada for the Rendezvous 2017 voyage. It’s always an exciting time when a voyage begins. There is a flurry of activity around the ship as people move aboard and get settled, ship’s work picks up speed as the number of hands increases. Training and orientation is a big part of what’s going on as well, learning the ship and how everything works.

One of the projects we’ve been working on is replacing the mizzen topmast. Each of Picton Castle’s three masts have multiple parts, they’re not each just one solid piece. The mizzen mast, the mast farthest aft (closest to the back of the ship), is made up of two parts. The lower part is made of steel and the upper part, which is called the topmast, is made of wood.

Picton Castle carries a number of spare timbers so that we have materials to use if we ever need to replace any of the spars. We’ve been carrying a telephone pole from Saint Maarten in the Caribbean for a while now. We’re saving it from a life of mediocrity, just staying in one place and holding up wires. Instead, this long straight timber has been crafted into a new mizzen topmast by local all-around-boat-guy Mike Gray and the crew put it into place yesterday, high above the steel lower mast, where it will support sails and rigging while Picton Castle sails the world.

 

 

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Captain’s Log – 18 April 2017

This summer, Picton Castle will take part in the Rendez-vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.  Events of this kind are quite rare; they involve tall ships from around the world racing from port to port on both sides of the Atlantic and appearing in festivals in various ports in between the races.  Rendez-vous 2017 kicked off this past weekend in Royal Greenwich in England on what appears to be a wonderful Easter weekend with tall ships moored along the River Thames. 

 

Ships can choose to sail on some or all of the race legs of the Regatta.  From Royal Greenwich, the ships will race to Sines, Portugal, then to Bermuda.  Picton Castle will start in the feeder port of Charleston, South Carolina, USA then meet up with more of the fleet in Bermuda. 

 

The next race is from Bermuda to Boston, and we’ll race again from Boston to the Canadian Maritimes.  Once in Canada, the fleet will divide to visit a number of ports in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and St. Lawrence River, gathering together again in Quebec City for the largest tall ships festival in Canada this summer.  Before we get to Quebec City, Picton Castle will visit Summerside, PEI; Sept-Iles, Quebec; and Baie-Comeau, Quebec. 

 

After Quebec City, the fleet will divide again, with some ships heading for Halifax and then back across the Atlantic to Le Havre in France.  Other ships will continue visiting a number of Canadian ports in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  Picton Castle will be bound for Norris Point, Newfoundland; Louisbourg, Nova Scotia; Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Digby, Nova Scotia; and Saint John, New Brunswick. 

 

So, although we haven’t yet joined up with this majestic international fleet, the Rendez-vous has begun! 

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La Grand Traversée Airs Starting April 11, 2017

Picton Castle played the role of L’Esperance last summer as the French-language documentary La Grand Traversée was filmed on board while crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

We will get to see the first episode when it airs tomorrow night, Tuesday April 11, 2017 on Radio-Canada.

La Grand Traversée tells the story of ten “colonists” who made the voyage from France to New France much as their ancestors would have done in the 18th century.  They wore clothing, lived in accommodations, cooked and ate food appropriate to the period.

Colonists sailing from Europe to the Americas at that time would not have participated in sailing the ship, but on this recreated voyage they certainly did.  The colonists stood watches alongside Picton Castle crew and contributed to sailing the ship.

The passage from La Rochelle, France to Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada, which was the ship’s first port of call in the Americas, took 39 days.  From there, Picton Castle sailed on to Quebec City, where the colonists signed off.

We’re eager to see how this exciting voyage is portrayed on film.  Be sure to tune in tomorrow night to watch!

Picton Castle as L’Esperance in Quebec City 2016

 

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