Captain's Log

Archive for the 'Transatlantic Voyage 2015' Category

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Days Run – 14 April 2016

It’s blowing pretty good, with more expected overnight tonight.  Captain still has us heading for Nova Scotia – it might be blowing too hard for us to come in tomorrow, but at least tucked in under a weather shore the fetch will be reduced bringing smaller seas and more comfortable conditions.

14 April Getting a tackle on the foresail clew to haul down the sheet

SHIP’S WORK: Prep for heavy weather: rigged all remaining heavy weather nets, an extra tarp and ratchet straps on the main hatch, extra gaskets on sails, extra lashings on the boats.

 

FROM: St George, Bermuda

TOWARDS: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD+3

NOON POSITION: 43°08.7’N /062°30.8’W

DAYS RUN: 168nm

PASSAGE LOG: 738nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 110nm

COURSE AND SPEED: North West by North (CMG: 305°T) 5kts

WIND: Force 7, North

WEATHER: 8/8 cloud cover (stratocumulus), air temp 39F (4°C), sea temp 41F (5°C), barometer reading 1026 millibars and steady, visibility fair

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 5 feet, North

SAILS SET: Lower staysails

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Day’s Run – 13 April, 2016

Still making tracks to the north under sail and main engine.  As the temperature outside drops, engine room watch becomes the most popular job onboard; it’s warm down there with the machinery running!

Hayley B & John

Hayley B & John

SHIP’S WORK: Re-lead starboard fore t’gallant and royal gear, shorten chain on port fore t’gallant sheet

FROM: St George, Bermuda

TOWARDS: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD+3

NOON POSITION: 41°08.8’N /062°40.9’W

DAYS RUN: 180nm

PASSAGE LOG: 570nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 210nm

COURSE AND SPEED: East North East (CMG: 039°T) 7.7kts

WIND: Force 4, South East by South

WEATHER: 7/8 cloud cover (stratus, cumulus), air temp 60F (16°C), sea temp 58F (14°C), barometer reading 1026 millibars, visibility fair

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 4 feet, SExS

SAILS SET: Squares to t’gallants (take in royals for a squall), lower staysails

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Day’s Run – 12 April, 2016

Full tilt boogie!  We’re going for speed now to try to get in to Lunenburg before the next low pressure brings 40 knot headwinds.  Every stitch of canvas is set and trimmed for best speed, and our powerful Burmeister & Wain 7-cylinder is working hard too.

Gabe fixes a block at the end of the spanker gaff

Gabe fixes a block at the end of the spanker gaff

SHIP’S WORK: Replace spanker clew outhaul, replace gaff topsail halyard block strop, repaired a royal sail by replacing the worn bolt rope along the foot.

 

FROM: St George, Bermuda

TOWARDS: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD+3

NOON POSITION: 38°33.9’N /064°53.4’W

DAYS RUN: 185 nm

PASSAGE LOG: 390nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 350nm

COURSE AND SPEED: North East (CMG: 028°T) 9.4kts

WIND: Force 5, South by East

WEATHER: 4/8 cloud cover (altostratus, stratus, cumulus), air temp 64F (18°C), sea temp 58F (14°C), barometer reading 1029 millibars, visibility good

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 2 feet, SSE

SAILS SET: Everything set

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Day’s Run – 11 April, 2016

Motorsailing: the sailing ship equivalent of putting our foot down. We got underway again on Sunday afternoon and have been making good speed, pushing to get close to Nova Scotia before the next weather system brings strong headwinds, big seas and all sorts of unpleasantness.

11 Apr Monday pm-fair winds_ blue skies_ small seas

SHIP’S WORK: Re-splice starboard main t’gallant sheet aloft, reinstall fairleads in the foresail, sailmaking: inner jib and upper topsail, jiboom shaping continues.  There’s a 24 hour engine room watch now the main engine is online, so apart from monitoring machinery the watch is getting some cleaning and painting done.

FROM: St George, Bermuda

TOWARDS: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD+3

NOON POSITION: 35°37.0’N /066°22.0’W

DAYS RUN: 110 nm (in 21 hours)

PASSAGE LOG: 205nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 535nm

COURSE AND SPEED: North East half-East (CMG: 018°T) 6.5kts

WIND: Force 3, East

WEATHER: 4/8 cloud cover (stratus), air temp 67F (19°C), sea temp 71F (21.5°C), barometer reading 1031 millibars, visibility good

SWELL HIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 3 feet, NxE

SAILS SET: Staysails, spankers, gaff topsail.  Set topsails at the noon change of the watch, and t’gallants shortly after as the wind backed and came fair.

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Day’s Run – 10 April, 2016

The front came through as expected over night last night, force

7 winds and some big swell, but hove-to the ship handled the weather easily and it had already started to lay down again by this morning.

Soon we’ll fire up the main engine and push north while the winds are light.  Kevin and Bronwyn were our Sunday cooks today; they did a good job of getting plenty of hot food out on time, and more impressively keeping the galley tidy in the roll.  All’s well.

10 Apr Hayley G dressed for the weather at the helm2

SHIP’S WORK: Sunday at sea

FROM: St George, Bermuda

TOWARDS: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD+3

NOON POSITION: 33°47.5’N /066°25.4’W

DAYS RUN: 30nm

PASSAGE LOG: 95nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 645nm

COURSE AND SPEED: Hove to with the helm lashed down, drifting about 055°T at about a knot and a half

WIND: Force 6, North by West

WEATHER: 5/8 cloud cover (strato cumulus, cumulus), air temp 60F (16°C), sea temp 69F (20°C), barometer reading 1025 millibars, visibility good

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 5 feet, WSW

SAILS SET: Lower topsails and lower staysails.

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Day’s Run – 9 April, 2016

It looks like we’ll be dodging low pressure systems on our way up north.  We’re currently going slow heading west more than north to make room for a big, deep cold front currently dumping snow on the USA, and forecast to pass to the north of us overnight.  Looks like we’ll have a day or so of steaming to get through the light and variable winds after the front before picking up the fair westerly winds forecast to follow it, and hopefully head straight for Lunenburg under sail.  We’re snugging down the ship to lower topsails and staysails now in anticipation of a blow tonight, and have stretch-ropes rigged up for extra hand holds and netting rigged midships and in the breezeways.

9 Apr Lying snug hove-tojpg

SHIP’S WORK: Replace fore t’gallant braces, replace fore topmast staysail sheets, end-for-end port side main brace

 

FROM: St George, Bermuda

TOWARDS: Lunenburg, NS, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD+3

NOON POSITION: 32°15.3’N /066°15.5’W

DAYS RUN: 35nm

PASSAGE LOG: 65nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 675nm

COURSE AND SPEED: NW, (CMG: 325°T)

WIND: Force 3, South West by West

WEATHER: 3/8 cloud cover (alto cumulus, cumulus, cirrus), air temp 69F (21°C), sea temp 70F (21°C), barometer reading 1018.5 millibars, visibility good

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 5 feet, WSW

SAILS SET: Topsails, spanker and staysails.

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Day’s Run – 6 April, 2016

A long morning today dealing with fouled anchors.  We had been planning to get underway today, but were delayed by some old 2″ stud link chain that had wrapped itself in a full turn around the shank of our big port anchor while it was on the bottom of the harbour. We had also let go our starboard anchor in a strong blow a couple of night before, and that had also wrapped its chain around the port chain.  It took almost five hours to clear the mess, using the windlass, capstan, tag lines and a lot of muscle power.  Thanks to Marty Amick who used his boat to manoeuvre our crew close to the anchors to get lines tied off.

By the time it was all done the Captain decided to wait one more night before proceeding to sea.  Two of the watches got a bonus afternoon ashore, and the on-watch just tidied up and looked after the ship.

taking up on a tag line

taking up on a tag line

fouled anchor

fouled anchor

SHIP’S WORK: Load KARL atop galley house, stow for sea, clear fouled anchors, emergency drills: fire and abandon ship including donning immersion suits

AT ANCHOR: St George, Bermuda (32°22.5’N /064°40.5’W) TIME ZONE: ZD+3

WIND: Force 6, North West

WEATHER: 3/8 cloud cover (cumulus, stratus), air temp 67F (19°C), barometer reading 1019 millibars, visibility good

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: no swell inside the harbour.

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Day’s Run – 5 April, 2016

Today after many months of effort we finally launched and rigged our project boat KARL, and took her out sailing. From Palmerston Atoll in the South Pacific to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where she had most of the frames replaced, the rebuild continued aboard ship during out voyage around the Atlantic Basin.  Finally all planked, caulked and painted; her spars and sails shaped and finished and she was ready to go back in the water.  Carpenter Tim held a short re-launching ceremony and Vaiufia, our Tongan Lead Seaman gave the boat a traditional South Pacific blessing before the launch. (watch the video)  She hardly took on any water on her maiden voyage, and sailed pretty fast too – good job to all of the PICTON CASTLE crew who worked on her over the this transatlantic voyage, and learnt so much about building wooden boats in the process.

sailing KARL

sailing KARL

SHIP’S WORK: Launch, rig and sail KARL; switch out inner jib and fore royal, replace port fore brace. Clean out the exhaust manifold for the main engine – Jamie and Vicky did this particularly grubby job, and looked rather like coal miners when they were done!

AT ANCHOR: St George, Bermuda (32°22.5’N /064°40.5’W) TIME ZONE: ZD+3

WIND: Force 3, North by East

WEATHER: 3/8 cloud cover (cumulus, stratus), air temp 66F (19°C), barometer reading 1023 millibars, visibility good

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: no swell inside the harbour.

SAILS SET: All sails stowed

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Day’s Run – 4 April, 2016

We arrived in Bermuda this morning, after a cracking seven day sail up from St. Martin.  It’s always amazing coming in through the narrow town cut: suddenly the water is a gorgeous shade of turquoise, the swell drops to nothing and all seems well with the world.  There was even a mother duck trailing fluffy ducklings to welcome us in.

Ty-rique, our Bermudian crew member was also met by his family and friends – understandably proud of what he’s achieved in six months at sea.

Arriving in Bermuda

Arriving in Bermuda

SHIP’S WORK: Dry and stow all sail, unbend and down rig the studdingsail sail, boom and gear.  Coats of varnish on the studdingsail boom, repairs to upper topsail, make up royal sail and inner jib for bending

FROM: Marigot, St Martin

TOWARDS: St George, Bermuda

TIME ZONE: ZD+3

NOON POSITION: 32°15.9’N /064°35.0’W

DAYS RUN: 95nm

PASSAGE LOG: 1,185nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 0nm

COURSE AND SPEED: At anchor, St George, Bermuda

WIND: Force 3, North by East

WEATHER: 3/8 cloud cover (cumulus, stratus), air temp 66F (19°C), barometer reading 1023 millibars, visibility good

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: no swell inside the harbour.

SAILS SET: All sails stowed

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Day’s Run – 3 April 2016

A squally Sunday at sea today, some swell running and darker skies.  The captain and mates have been studying the weather charts carefully over the last couple of days, watching a deep low pressure system that’s running up the coast of the USA.  Seems like we’re being affected by the tail-end of this low, with a frontal passage this afternoon bringing wind shifts and squalls.

Fiji - Ship Cat

Fiji – Ship Cat

SHIP’S WORK: End-for end port main royal sheet, Topher and John were cooks for Donald’s day off and Gabe made tasty banana bread for the night watches. No other ship’s work on a Sunday except for sail handling as needed.

FROM: Marigot, St Martin

TOWARDS: St George, Bermuda

TIME ZONE: ZD+4

NOON POSITION: 30°48.5’N /064°35.6’W

DAYS RUN: 132nm

PASSAGE LOG: 1,090nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 95nm

COURSE AND SPEED: North by East half East (CMGT 000°T)

WIND: Force 6, South West

WEATHER: 6/8 cloud cover (cumulo stratus, alto stratus), air temp 74F (23°C), barometer reading 1020 millibars, visibility good

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: approx 6 feet, South West

SAILS SET: Square sails to the royals except the mainsail, fore, main and mizzen topmast staysails and inner jib, spanker braced up on a starboard tack.

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