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At Sea on Saturday May 27, 2017

By Allison Steele

After a few rough days at sea with rain, gale force winds and 10+ foot seas, the sun finally broke through and the seas calmed. New trainees jumped in with both feet and began to learn the ways of the ship. The Picton Castle boasts over 12,000 square feet of canvas and over 175 lines of running rigging so learning by doing is an important skill.

Short summer passages like these are an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of a longer voyage, which the Picton Castle is so famous for. Several people joining the ship this summer have done so in anticipation of joining us for our upcoming 7th around the world voyage. Although this is not required, it does give one a taste of life at sea and more often than not, they can’t wait until they can join again.

This particular passage started out challenging the crew’s endurance but clear skies, brisk breeze and gentle swells prevail as we approach Bermuda. With only 200 nm left to go, the crew has been taking advantage of the beautiful conditions to practice sail handling.

Today the crew sent up the royal yards, which are the uppermost yards on Picton Castle. Most sailing ships accomplish this with cranes while at dock but we send up yards at sea or in port when the conditions are favourable using the ship’s own rigging to lift and manoeuver the spars. Saturday we saw such conditions and the crew, both on and off watch, had the opportunity to participate in sending the yards up. In most cases with the lower yards, sails are bent on once the yard is in place but the royal yard is the smallest and its sail the lightest so it is possible to accomplish this in one go. Once the yard is in place, it is attached to the mast by its yoke, running rigging is attached and secured and the sail is ready to be set. Although this sounds like a somewhat simple process, it takes organization, communication and strong backs; a group effort resulting in our final square sail being set.

Working as a team we all celebrated pride in accomplishment and care of this big beautiful ship we all call home for this time in our lives.

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