Captain's Log

Archive for June, 2017

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Day’s Run – 10 June, 2017

By Purser Allison

With beautiful clear weather, the crew returned to regular ship’s work. There was a workshop on bending on sail and most of the crew participated in sending up and bending on the Main Course. Other crew assisted the Sailmaker final steps in creating a new deck awning to be ready for Boston. Ship’s cat Fiji took advantage of the calmer seas to run laps around the ship.

Fiji – the ship’s cat

Bound from: St. George’s/Hamilton, Bermuda

Towards: Boston, MA

Noon position: 38°27.5’N 065°38.9’W

Days Run: 112.9nm

Passage distance run: 354.5nm

Distance remaining: 356nm

Course and speed: Full and By. 4.9knots

Wind: WSW

Weather: good

Swell height and direction: 1m.  WXS

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Day’s Run – 9 June, 2017


By: Purser Allison

Hove to at 0820 for weather and rode out the force 8 winds and 6-metre waves. At 1300 the weather broke and we started to see sunshine and resumed our course, bending on the mizzen topmast stays’l and downrigged the heavy weather gear. We celebrated Matt’s birthday and enjoyed cake and a visit from a small pod of dolphins. A far more peaceful night than that before as we caught up on rest and prepared for the beautiful day to follow.

Bound from: St. Georges/Hamilton, Bermuda

Towards: Boston, MA

Noon Position:  37° 10.8’N 067°23.8’W

Day’s Run: 121.6nm

Passage Distance Run:  146.5nm

Distance Remaining: 370nm

Course and Speed:  NxE

Wind: 7kn WxN

Weather: heavy squalls

Swell height + Direction: 6m WxN


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Day’s Run – 7 June, 2017

Crew practised sail handling, knot tying and lines. Replaced fore upper tops’l braces.

Bound from: Hamilton/St. Georges, Bermuda

Towards: Boston, USA

Noon position: 34° 18.3’N 066° 33.0’W

Days Run: 93nm

Passage Distance Run: 188nm

Distance Remaining: 550nm

Course and Speed: NExN 5kn

Wind: W

Weather: squalls

Swell Height + Direction: 2m  W

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Day’s Run – 6 June, 2017

Ongoing training, Captain held a passage discussion to inform crew of the potential weather during our leg and common patterns for the area.

Bound from: Hamilton/St. Georges, Bermuda
Towards: Boston, USA
Noon position: 32° 51.3’N 065°.54.9’W
Passage Distance Run: 103nm
Distance Remaining: 635nm
Course and Speed: WNW
Wind: SXW
Weather: Good
Swell Height + Direction: 1m  SXW

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Captain’s Log – Tall Ships Visit Bermuda

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”.

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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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