Captain's Log

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Day’s Run – 7 September, 2018

Those still asleep arose to the smell of pancakes cooking on the stove. You know it’s calm when ship’s cook Donald is making pancakes. All square sails remained set throughout the night. Easy, steady winds and seas helped push us towards our goal of reaching the Kingdom of Tonga by this weekend. Tonga is held dear to our hearts as one of Picton Castle‘s long-time crew members, Vaiufia, hails from the island of Vava’u. This afternoon post power shower, the Captain will host a discussion on the island and all that it has to offer. We are all very excited to get to know and explore Vai’s homeland.

Ship’s work: Lots of painting and sanding on the agenda for today. The starboard breezeway watertight door is being overhauled, scraping and sanding off the old paint. The aloha deck rudder post received a fresh top coat of bright red paint, sprucing up our outdoor dining area. Today’s lunch was chicken sandwiches on freshly made bread, yum! Sunny morning, yet overcast skies and light rain after lunch has caused our sailmaker to pack up and relocate to the salon. Progress on our dory’s new, big and bright jib has been made, all of the strips of double-sided cloth have been cut, the next step is sewing them together. Productive Friday morning. If only the wind would hold, otherwise we’ll motor on to get our girl home.

From: Palmerston Atoll, Cook Islands
Towards: Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga
Date: September 7th, 2018
Noon Position: 18°22.1′ S x 171°35.5’ W
Course + Speed: W + 4.3 knots
Wind direction + Force: NNW + 3
Swell Height + Direction: 1 1/2m + ENE/ESE
Weather: Overcast, drizzle
Day’s Run: 100nm
Passage Log: 105nm
Distance to Port: 137nm
Voyage: 9003.8nm
Sails Set: All square sails except royals, outer jib, inner jib, fore topmast stays’l, main topmast stays’l, mizzen topmast stays’l, spanker

 

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Day’s Run – 5 September, 2018

As we sail along comfortably with the easterly South Pacific tradewinds on our quarter, the ship’s work projects get chipped away at. The rudder post on the aloha deck (which connects the rudder under the aloha deck to the worm screw steering gear and helm on the quarterdeck) got well chipped and received plenty of coats of paint. The breezeway handrails, too, received their final coat of paint.

This morning’s sunshine was interrupted by a light shower during lunch, which was served down in the salon. Spaghetti, curried parrot fish and breadfruit salad to fill and satisfy our bellies! The sun is beaming down on deck again and captain has given the order to 3rd mate Corey to loose and set royals.

Preparations for the newest member of our small boat fleet Ann continues; carpenter Carlos, of Mississauga, begins to measure and take the boat’s lines, lays out plans and sorts out materials with the guidance of our Captain. Excitedly our small boat Sea Never Dry is having a new jib made by Connor, of California, under the helpful eye of sailmaker of many years John. This afternoon second mate Dirk of Tasmania via Germany is hosting a lesson on weather. A sailor’s best friend and worst enemy is the weather. Understanding its patterns, reading the predictions and the forecast all assists the crew in becoming better seamen.

New Palmerston Boat – ANN

From: Palmerston Atoll, Cook Islands
Towards: Vava’u, Tonga
Date: September 5, 2018
Noon Position: 18°18.1’S x 167°40.6′ W
Course + Speed: SSW + 6.1 knots
Wind direction + Force: E + 4
Swell Height + Direction: 2.5m + ENE/SE
Weather: bright, sunny
Day’s Run: 145nm
Passage Log: 147nm
Distance to Port: 356nm
Voyage: 8773.7nm
Sails Set: All square sails (expect the mains’l), main topmast stays’l, inner jib

 

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Palmerston Atoll – staying ashore

The Picton Castle sailed the 270 nautical miles from Rarotonga to Palmerston Atoll, both in the Cook Islands, in record time. A roller coaster passage with some hurting stomachs. But all went calm as we slid into the placid lee of the reefs on the west side of the island and the sun came out strong with a bright blue sky to frame it. The islanders in their workboats expertly helped me spot the best anchor place for letting go and soon they were alongside the ship with halloos and hugs all around, Edward, Bob, Bill, Arthur, and a few others all came out to greet us. And brought cool fresh drinking coconuts straight out of the chilly bin. Ambrosia! Nothing better in the world for a drink than a cool drinking nut, juice dribbling down your chin.

No time to dilly-dally, we must discharge our Palmerston cargo. The weather might change and we might have to heave up and skedaddle. The cargo is precious to the islanders with supply ships so infrequent. Not much to unload this time as they did just have a supply boat but still enough to fill a couple 20-foot aluminum workboats. A drum of petrol, many personal packets and all sorts of odds and ends. Rigged the yard and stay tackles to off-load the gear into the boats alongside. Then off through the pass a couple hundred yards away into the dreamy turquoise lagoon they sped, to return for the crew. Our gang then piled over the rail into the boats with their backpacks, raced in through the pass in the reef and put their feet ashore in the creamy bright white sand of Palmerston Atoll. Before being picked by families for the duration of our stay – and trading in and out with the other watches – we were brought to a covered seating area and treated to a sweet welcome of song and prayer. Then off to our new homes hiding under the palm trees and to legendary hospitality.

It’s all pretty finest kind ‘old school’ island living on Palmerston – the way it should be. You might sleep in a bedroom porch-like affair or you might sleep in a cool tin-roof covered spot on the beach. Or maybe in a fishnet hammock. Anyway, you will sleep just fine, including, if you will, a late night stroll down to the lagoon late of a night to take in the sky bursting with stars with the booming of the surf on the reef a pounding metronome in the background. Early in the next morning, the sun does what it always does – it lightens the eastern sky. The roosters do their thing and the island begins to stir. Maybe we start the day with a fresh coconut. Breakfast is on the table under the awning in the trees outside the house. No slackers in the trencher department, the table is covered with fried eggs, toast, pawpaw, beans, bananas, Nescafe, tea and cool drink and even Cheerios (a big hit with our #1 son) and home-made yogurt.

What to do now? Take your pick. There are few rules – just be a decent sort. A swim in the lagoon with the black-tip sharks maybe. Perhaps fishing is the order of the day. Fishing is a major occupation for all at Palmerston. Parrotfish being the prime species, but others too. Wahoo, tuna, barracuda, yellowfin, snapper as well. One gang went off to Toms Island, a motu to the east of Home Island to hunt the wily coconut crab. These guys are tough, they open coconuts. There is a big feast planned so much fishing must be done. From the ship come big bowls of pasta and potato salad. And Donald is drafted to cook up his famous DFC (enough for 80 people over a coconut husk fire), Donald Fried Chicken, now legendary in the Cook Islands. We all meet at the village center near some big cement water tanks. An all-hands feast with all the islanders. Lots of swimming in the beautiful lagoon. Bonfires with guitars and ukuleles at night on the beach. And off to bed after a walk barefoot through the soft sand of Palmerston, the booming surf never ending

More fishing the next day. Our freezers will be full with parrot fish when sail.

Gathering Coconuts

 

Parrot Fish – Annie

 

 

 

Day’s Catch

 

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Day’s Run – 4 September, 2018

Bound from Palmerston Atoll towards Tonga

It’s September already! Those who joined the ship in New Orleans can’t believe how fast their time onboard has gone and those who have been on since the winter in Lunenburg, well, they consider the ship home. For the crew that hail from north of the equator, September marks a new beginning, a time when a fresh school year starts. As we sail into Leg 2 of this voyage the crew members are growing more and more as seamen, and with new hands onboard the old crew can help them through learning the ropes. We have lots of teachers now.

Yesterday we sailed off the hook from Palmerston Atoll meaning we lifted the anchor, loosed and set sails and sailed due west for Tonga without turning on the engine. Palmerston is made up of five very small islands. Home Island, as the locals refer to it, is the only populated piece of land. The island is low, no more than ten feet high, 900m wide, it takes a total of 15 minutes to walk the circumference.. unless you stop and chat with the families that inhabit the sandy island, as they’ll invite you in for copious amounts of food, tea and coffee and of course coconuts. At that rate, it takes all day to walk the island, especially with an overstuffed belly.

When we sailed into Palmerston on August 30th, two boats came out to greet us, we loaded their cargo into the boats that we transported from Rarotonga and half of the crew was whisked off to the island. When they reached the beautiful white sandy shore, the islander families each plucked a group of sailors and lead them to their homes. Upon arrival, our crew was offered a mountain of food; breadfruit, parrot fish, fried chicken, rice, stir-fry, juice, tea, coffee and of course ice cream. Arriving at Palmerston was like arriving home after a long year away at university. We were cared for as if we were one of their own. Our crew were eager to understand the islanders’ way of life and to help out as they could. Our engineer, Deyan, worked to fix a few outboards, ATVs and solar panels for the locals. Our doctor, Tomas of Argentina, assisted the island’s nurse Shelia (from Papua New Guinea) with patients, and the Captain donated some of our medical supplies. Other crew members were able to go crab hunting and fishing, as well as help with gathering coconuts – we’re all addicted to coconuts and have a healthy amount to feast on onboard.

Leaving Palmerston tugged at our heartstrings. After spending five intimate days living with the islanders, they gave us an unforgettable farewell with traditional South Pacific songs, wished us a safe journey and offered us to return. We do not leave empty-handed. On a previous voyage the islanders gave the Captain two wrecked small old wooden boats, Karl and Sydney, which he and the crew restored to perfect working order and they now happily reside in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. This time around, a small boat by the name Ann was looking worse for wear (falling apart) and again the islanders entrusted this last small boat, first launched February 26th, 1957, to our captain and crew. The project of restoring the old girl will be a fantastic education on boat building. Boat building at sea will be the added challenge. The Captain says ‘if you want to learn boat building one way is to rebuild a boat that was well built to begin with’. He says that this boat will be an interesting job for us.

Ship’s work: First day back at sea, the crew shakes off their shore brain and regains their sea legs. The carpenters discussed plans with the Captain on how to restore Ann and photo document her fine craftsmanship which they hope to replicate. The rudder shaft on the aloha deck received its 7th coat of primer, the breezeway handrails were scuffed and primed as well as the breezeway overhead was spot painted to keep its tropical blue paint looking fresh. This morning our sailmaker, John of Massachusetts, who is celebrating his birthday today, was seaming away on the new t’gallant sail, along with the help of Sue of England and Chief Mate Erin of Bermuda. All in all it’s been a pleasant day back at sea and we’re looking forward to a few days away from land.

From: Palmerston Atoll, Cook Islands
Towards: Vava’u, Tonga
Date: September 4th, 2018
Noon Position: 18°10.4 S’ x 165°07.8′ W Course + Speed: W by S Wind direction + Force: ESE + 5 Swell Height + Direction: 3m + E by S
Weather: Sunny, slight overcast
Day’s Run: 110 nm
Passage Log: 112.5 nm
Distance to Port: 505 nm
Voyage: 8626.8 nm
Sails Set: main upper and lower tops’l, main t’gallant, foresail, fore upper and lower tops’l, fore t’gallant, outer jib, main topmast stays’l

 

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Palmerston Atoll – Home Island

Barque Picton Castle at Palmerston Atoll 18-03.7S / 163-11.5W – Home Island

We had a boisterous but swift passage the 270 miles from Avatiu, Rarotonga, Cook Islands northwest to Palmerston Atoll, also in the Cook Islands. Only 43 hours at sea and it could have been shorter but we reduced sail and slowed down to avoid arriving when it was still dark of night. Strong winds drew us along at 8 knots at times but strong winds also mean heavy seas. A bit rough on our new joiners, maybe even a bit of a shock. The old hands have had thousands of miles to get used to large ocean swells. And it was rough enough for us too. But it was a great passage anyway. We hove into sight of the low atoll only a few miles away in the mist, early in the AM as we sailed along at 6.5 knots under lower topsails and a couple of fore n’ aft sails to steady the ship some. Of course, reducing sail to slow down also means that we bounce around more. Nothing to be done about it. We must set the anchor in good high light.

Palmerston Atoll was first discovered and named by Captain James Cook in 1774. The only Cook Island that the famous explorer ever saw or visited. Later the Frigate PANDORA in hot pursuit of Fletcher and the boys on the BOUNTY stopped by here some years later and actually found a spanker gaff belonging to the fated ship. I  guess it was labeled somehow. Must have been carved into. Palmerston was uninhabited then and remained so until William Marsters of England, a sailing ship mariner and ship’s carpenter, decided to set up housekeeping there in 1863. I do not have any idea why this atoll would remain uninhabited while so many others boasted large populations but so it is. A much longer story full of the romance of the South Seas, he settled there with three wives who came from Tongareva. Akakingaro, Tepou and Matavia and William settled here planted palms, harvested copra and produced 21 children in the later 19th century. The fringe reef has about six readily inhabitable motus but these are enjoyed on coconut crab hunting expeditions and camping. Everyone lives on “Home Island” with about 60 folks normally in full-time residence, only 40 just now with some folks off island. And there are 15 kids in the lovely school here. School kind of comes to a halt when the Picton Castle shows up. Instant summer holidays, days at the beach for all. The entire atoll is just under 7 miles long at its broadest north and south and Home Island is less than 1,000 yards wide and more or less roundish. But set in the SW corner of the atoll for best weather protection. There are a few passes in the reef on the lee side where small boats can get in and out in lots of current. These we got to experience many times. Good local knowledge and expert boat handling required.

It is quite amazing to feel the lumpy seas just vanish as we sailed into the lee and calm of the fringe reefs of Palmerston. From 12 to 15 foot seas to maybe one-foot seas and no swell at all in the matter of a quarter mile. As we slid into the lee and settled down we talked to the islanders on the radio. As they have done so well in the past they come out in their boats to help spot and set the anchor where it will hold the best. This does mean, however, steering the ship right up close to the reef to drop the hook. It is very very tempting for a deepwater mariner to want anchor further off, but it won’t work. You have to anchor on the ledge and let the winds hold you off the reef. And the ship needs to remain well-manned to up anchor and get away from the island quickly if conditions call for it. Scary stuff getting so close to the coral reef, if I did not know we could do this safely, and more, that it was the only way to anchor, I would not dream of it. So with the anchor down in 30 feet holding hard, the stern in 80 feet and two ship lengths astern maybe 1,000 feet deep and on to 3,000, we got sorted for four days of amazing windswept atoll life at Palmerston Atoll deep in the South Pacific.

 

 

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Pacific Tradewinds

Our barque is rolling down the sea-miles in fresh southeast tradewinds deep in the South Pacific. We are bound for Palmerston Atoll in the Cook Islands. The ship is some 150 nautical miles northwest of Rarotonga and about 700 nautical miles a bit south of due west from Tahiti. The Picton Castle is sailing along strong. Yards are braced just off square on the starboard tack. We are under t’gallants with the winds astern at almost 25 knots, sometimes more. No mainsail is set in order to allow the strong winds to flow to the foremast and help with the steering, pulling the ship along instead of pushing her.

Today calls for the best helmsmanship. Large whitecapped blue seas roll up astern and lift the ship’s counter just as she was designed to do these many years ago for fishing in the North Sea, English Channel and the dreaded winter North Atlantic. Many a winter gale and worse has this ship sailed through without effect when fishing out of Wales and in the Second World War. Now it’s a delight to take these bright blue (and warm) seas under our stern as we cross this South Pacific Ocean under sail. Currently, Kirsten has the big teak wheel and doing a fine job of keeping the ship on course.

The low bright white clouds pass overheard swiftly, chasing us, then passing us, saying ‘c’mon you old windjammer, it’s about time you were with us’. Seas and foam gurgle in through the scuppers as the ship gently rolls and dips into a swell. The cats stay aft, no wet paws for them. From time to time the breeze picks up some and the rigging moans like a deep reed instrument fading to naught soon after as the winds lay down again. The rush of the seas alongside, like a white noise, calming and exciting at the same time. Our six-year-old ship’s boy revels in playing in these sunny warm south seas scuppers of his world, soaked as soaked can get, as he is closely watched by shipmates.

Grab lines are rigged on the main deck in the rolling, sailmaking continues ahead on the quarterdeck as a new topgallant sail shapes up. The ambrosia of tarred hemp is about as well as ratline renewal on the mizzen shrouds is underway by our French rigger Anne-Laure. The look-out forward has nothing to report besides flying fish launching themselves into the winds from the sea to fly out of our way. And fly they do. Fish that fly. Whales were about yesterday, their spouts frothy and clear against the blue of the sea. We should make landfall at dawn tomorrow. And anchor in the lee of this atoll off a calm boat pass through the reef leading into a lagoon. The steady tradewinds will hold us off the reef then too.

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South Pacific Ocean

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 – South Pacific Ocean

At 1000 we are at 19-36 South and 161-19 West. Making 7-8 knots under t’gallants in force 6 southeast tradewinds and lumpy ten-foot seas covered with whitecaps. We are about 140 miles from Rarotonga and about halfway to Palmerston Atoll, both in the Cook Islands.

Picton Castle sailed away from Avatiu, Rarotonga yesterday morning just before ten o’clock. Sailed off the dock and out the pass of that small, snug but welcoming harbour and out into a beautiful blue-sky day at sea. Some friends came down to see us off. We had a great stay at Rarotonga for over a week. We had great weather almost the whole time. Many visitors came by. School children from the Avarua School and the Nikao School which now includes the Avatea School came to visit their ship and dance on the hatch too. The Marerro Lions Club donated school supplies while Picton Castle was in New Orleans back in April and they were given to these two schools. We had the kids’ sailing club from over at Muri Lagoon come as well.

What did we all do while at Rarotonga? Well, back at the ship we got all nicely tied up upon arrival, collected mail, painted the topsides, laid out sails on the dock, worked on some deck planks, fiddled and did things in the engine room, took on fuel and water, shopped for food to get us to Fiji, took on cargo for Palmerston, repaired sails, signed off crew whose time was sadly up and signed on new joining crew, and a few returning PC vets in the bunch. Then got going on the multi-day orientation and training with them. This includes a lot of safety stuff, living aboard stuff, how to go aloft securely, initial small boat handling introduction and a few dos and don’ts about life aboard and ashore.

What you really want to know is what the crew did while ashore in Rarotonga, no? I don’t know. Lots to do on Rarotonga. If you like Hawaii, and have thought of maybe going to Tahiti, skip all that and fly straight to Rarotonga. It is the best. I imagine that many of our gang went to Island Night feasts with that fantastic Cook Island dancing. Some rented bikes, scooters or even cars to get around the island. Many went to hear the wonderful singing at church. I am sure many drinking coconuts got consumed – no better drink in the world than a nice fresh green drinking nut. The island is surrounded by lagoon with almost all areas perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Trader Jacks certainly had its fair share of attendance and with such a view, such a sweet beach and such fine sushi and pizza it is no surprise. Vaiana’s down the road right on the beach found our crew’s custom as well. Great food and music there too. Vaiana’s grandfather was from Pitcairn Island and a good friend of mine. Six-year-old Dawson considers it his own beach. And very family friendly indeed. Night markets here and there found our gang taking part. The big Saturday farmers and craft market was a hit. Some folks went on cross island mountain hikes that end at a cool waterfall. I gather that a few went diving off the reefs.

Tammy and I went to see “Mamma Mia 2”, the ABBA- fest movie at the cinema in Avarua. Dawson went swimming every day. What else? Of course, people had to internet and heaps of laundry got done too. A crew member had a tumble ashore and had to get off the ship for a while to mend his ribs but he is on the mend. Could be worse with all these rented motor scooters. Makes me nervous every time when we are ashore.  But I think what people did mostly was settle into that lovely island pace of life one finds in the South Pacific, maybe it’s the accomplishment of doing nothing?

And now we are on a roller coaster ride of a passage deep in this legendary South Pacific sailing towards Palmerston Atoll. Only 50 or so people live there. Almost all descendants of William Marsters and his three wives who settled there in the 1860s. We should heave-to off the pass early tomorrow. Hopefully to get the hook down and run ashore under the palm trees for some more and different island magic.

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Day’s Run – 29 August, 2018

Picton Castle sails along steadily between 6.5 and 7 knots. As we surf the 12-foot seas towards Palmerston Atoll, another one of the Cook Islands, our minds are still on Rarotonga, having sailed from Avatiu yesterday morning. Our time in Raro was well spent. Crew members enjoyed days at the beach, hikes inland, eventful island nights full of delicious food, dancers and talented musicians. Days off and on the ship were not wasted. The on-duty watches were busy maintaining the ship’s upkeep as well as hosting various visitors. Not too often during the world voyage is the ship alongside, and on top of that we were docked where the ship is well known from previous visits. Sharing our ship, our home for the next 10 months with curious citizens is a pleasure for us sailors. Three mornings we had school groups visit the ship. The school children are fantastic to show around, they’re extremely enthusiastic and want to know every detail about living aboard a ‘pirate ship’.

 

In Rarotonga we were happy to welcome 8 fresh new faces to our crew, hailing from all over the globe. During our time in Rarotonga the new trainee crew were able to get a lay of the land, get to know the layout of the ship, running safety drills, routine of the ship and do their up and overs (the first exercise aloft, done at their will, no one is made to climb the rigging). Today marks their first 24 hours at sea aboard a square rigger! They’re doing well.  Once the ship is underway she becomes alive. She comfortably rolls with the seas but one has to become accustomed to her lifelike state. Veteran crew members recommend a wide stance, taking it slow and always one hand for you and one for the ship, i.e. always be holding on or have an available hand to grab onto the ship.

Ship’s work: Yesterday our new joiners had a workshop to go over the six knots we most commonly use on board, the protocol of hauling on a line, names of lines and boxing the compass. Today in the warm sun and cool air (at times it feels as though we’re sailing the Atlantic rather than the Pacific) on the quarterdeck sailmaker John stitches the canvas cloths of a new t’gallant, helping him this afternoon is chief mate Erin and second mate Dirk. The all-female rigging team, Vaiufia of Tonga and Anne-Laure of France, are busy prepping and making new ratlines. Later this afternoon the Captain is holding a muster to discuss our visit to Palmerston, where unbelievably we will arrive sometime tomorrow morning. Sadly it’s not enough time to decompress from the “big city” of Rarotonga. It’s hard to imagine that this is the start of Leg 2 for the voyage! These past four months went by way too fast. Good thing our slogan is “we may be slow but we get around!”

From: Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Towards: Palmerston Atoll, Cook Islands
Date: August 29, 2018
Noon Position: 19°27.9′ S x 161°30′ W
Course + Speed: NW 1/2 W + 7kts
Wind direction + Force: ESE + force 6
Swell Height + Direction: 5m + SE
Weather: bright, sunny
Day’s Run: 148 nm
Passage Log:  Same
Distance to Port: 120 nm
Voyage: 8,380 nm
Sails Set: square sails up to t’gallants

 

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Day’s Run – 16 August, 2018

Beautiful sunny day as our ship motors through glass top still waters. As we inch our way closer and closer to Rarotonga, crew members who are sadly departing us are slowly packing their personal belongings and thinking ahead to their lives outside of our 180′ barque. It’s a very strange feeling that we will be saying goodbye to a handful of crewmates that have now become like family. Greet each other every morning, witness each other’s ups and downs and in the end we’re the few people on this planet that have shared this experience together.

This morning the main mast fife rail was stripped of its lines and pins in order to scrape and sand the wood and the intricate carvings, to then be varnished. The riggers have more serving work to do. Taking over the starboard side of the galley house the rigging team has foot ropes stretched out in order to apply the servings and tar. Serving is the art of very tightly wrapping greasy tarry hemp marline around the wire to protect it from the outside elements. Our sailmaking team stitch away vigorously on a spare outer jib. For all 20 sails we have at least one or two replacements for each sail, some are considered a light wind sail and others are for heavy wind sailing.

Another lovely day aboard the Picton Castle, it’s hard to believe it’s winter here in the South Pacific, yet our daylight isn’t all that long. As we head more westerly the mornings are darker and the evenings are remaining lighter later. When you’re sailing, it’s up to your captain as to when you want to change your ship’s clocks. During long passages, we often change the ships clocks up to 3-4 times. Although there’s an extra hour, the crew do not get a rest, when we’re underway there’s always a watch on duty which consists of a mate, lead seaman and a number of crew members, on deck for four hours. When we change the clocks each watch stands an extra 20 minutes through the night, and by the time it’s morning all of the clocks are reset.

From: Mangareva, French Polynesia
Towards: Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Date: August 16th, 2018
Noon Position: 20°42.5’S x 154°50.7′ W
Course + Speed: WxS + 7 knots
Wind direction + Force: Calm
Swell Height + Direction: 1m + SW
Weather: Bright, sunny
Day’s Run: 169.5nm
Passage Log: 170.7nm
Distance to Port: 277nm
Voyage: 7953.2nm
Sails Set: None, motoring

 

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Captain’s Log – WOW!

By Arne Stefferud

August 16th, 2018

As we sail around this world, the crew members’ personalities become apparent. Some are introverted and end their “off watch time” (when not sailing the ship) in introspective pursuits of reading and journaling. Others are extroverted and spend time talking to their shipmates about all kinds of topics.

One of our more extroverted mates named Tony says “wow!” to himself and others several times a day. His statement is heartfelt as every day there are new experiences for him and all of us.

Tony is our oldest Sail Trainee, who turned 72 earlier in the voyage. He is a former actor and has a long career in television as an Assistant Director and other behind the camera jobs. His love of tall ships goes back a long time, as he sailed on the Marques in the 1970s to produce the BBC documentary film “The Voyage of Charles Darwin,” the story of Charles Darwin’s voyage of discovery on the Beagle that led to his theory of evolution.

“Wow” has many meanings for Tony. It can express wonder or joy or relief in completing a strenuous task. For Tony, “wow” is the best way to say, “I am very happy to be alive and experience this once-in-a-lifetime voyage on the Picton Castle World Voyage 7.”

We shipmates agree.

Author Arne, Leslie (Pitcairn Host) and Ted

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