By Allison Steele
June 5, 2017
As the Picton Castle prepares for departure to Boston, there are many things to reflect upon during our stay in Bermuda, mostly being the incredible hospitality of her people. With an influx of visitors for both the America’s Cup and the Tall Ship Races, the residents always found time to extend a greeting or friendly conversation.
The weather was warm and with Bermuda being such a low lying island, it always gifted us with a beautiful breeze. The island itself is somewhat isolated and surrounded by reef so the waters sparkle in so many varying shades of turquoise. Boats here range from small daysail craft, to sleek racing vessels, mega yachts, monstrous cruise ships to of course, a fleet of beautiful Tall Ships.
Upon arrival we cleared customs in the small town of St. Georges nestled on the north side of the island protected by reef and land. Accessing the harbor can be a bit tricky sometimes but the Picton Castle, her crew and Captain sailed through the 60 yard pass with ease. At times you feel like you could reach out and shake the hands of people welcoming us. I can only imagine what a spectacle it must have been to see the parade of stunning ships travel though, one by one, such a narrow opening and emerging into turquoise harbor. Once we shook the salt from ourselves and the ship in Saint Georges, we made our way to Hamilton in company with the rest of the tall ships fleet as scheduled.
Picton Castle has visited Bermuda many times and has always been welcomed with gracious hospitality. This time was no different. The city of Hamilton is a bright, clean and colourful place and after a whirlwind few days it is easy to recall all the excitement. The main street stretching along the waterfront was closed most evenings for celebrations full of food, vendors, music and dancing. Ships were lined up alongside and visitors were welcomed to tour until late most evenings. This is not only a great opportunity for the public but for the crew as well. Visiting other ships and crew all in one place is a rare opportunity for the crew of the Picton Castle. We are known for our deep sea voyages and circumnavigations of the world where we’re usually the only sailing ship around, so when the ship is available to be part of the fleet we endeavour all to take advantage of these opportunities.
Many of the crew visited with other shipmates aboard other vessels but also spent time exploring all Bermuda has to offer. There were pink sandy beaches, crystal caves, museums and shopping. Tall Ships Bermuda graciously offered transportation and access to the crew so that they may have an afternoon at the America’s Cup Racing. It is quite exhilarating to watch the furious activity of these crew and boats. Watching these sleek vessels whip around at speeds between 35-50 knots in a 9 knots of wind! Compared to our average of 5-7 knots, it is significantly different and makes us feel our motto “We May Be Slow But We Get Around”.