Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
Written by Purser Allison Steele
Waking at 0700 to a beaming sun was a far cry from the overcast and rainy morning of yesterday. Gone were the 10-foot swells and foul weather gear as some crew donned shorts and sandals today and spent extra time during their off watch to pitch in on deck. A ship like Picton Castle, with all her miles at sea requires perpetual maintenance and care. If we treat her well she will take us far.
Today the crew is bending sails on the fore mast. The process of bending on sail takes many hands, the crew is excited to participate. The sail is hoisted by hand, block and tackle, up to its yard. The crew will spread out along the yard and fasten the sail by hand using sturdy bits of rope or ‘robands’. Although everyone is harnessed in and clipped in while aloft, common sense and communication are first and foremost. Bending on sail is not a daily occurrence and is only done when the sails are sent down for repair or maintenance so it’s a great opportunity for the crew to get some practice working aloft. Many hands make light work!
As we sail on a SWxS course towards Charleston, South Carolina, we are passing by Cape Hatteras that is famous for her tricky weather. The Captain explained how the remnants of the cold Labrador current are squeezed between land and the much warmer Gulf Stream. Combining this clash of ocean temperatures with the accompanying air currents makes a recipe for some challenging conditions. Fortunately today we are blessed with a nice brisk breeze and minimal swells, perfect for sailing!
Just after lunch today we had some excitement on the aloha deck (at the rear of the ship) as our fishing line had hooked a small Great White Shark! We often fish while at sea much to the delight of our wonderful cook, Donald, as he is known for his ability to whip up a wonderful meal of Wahoo, Tuna or Mahi Mahi but today’s catch was released back into the ocean to continue on. Cue the Jaws soundtrack.
The crew is excited to be sailing. The sound of the waves has replaced the dull thud of our diesel engine and the sun has broken through the days of overcast sky. It is a good day to sail this beautiful ship.