In the summer of 2017, Picton Castle will join an international fleet of tall ships for an exciting voyage in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of St. Lawrence and St. Lawrence River.
Beginning at Bermuda, meet up with ships coming from Europe, North America and South America. The ships will race from port to port as part of the Rendezvous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organized by Sail Training International in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.
Sign on to join the crew as a trainee aboard Picton Castle for an unforgettable adventure.
Rendezvous 2017 Voyage Itinerary
|Leg 1||Bermuda||June 2, 2017|
|Boston, USA||June 18, 2017|
|Leg 2||Boston, USA||June 18, 2017|
|Summerside, PEI, Canada||July 1, 2017|
|Leg 3||Summerside, PEI, Canada||July 1, 2017|
|Sept Iles, Quebec, Canada|
|Baie Comeau, Quebec, Canada|
|Quebec City, Canada||July 20, 2017|
|Leg 3A||Summerside, PEI, Canada||July 1, 2017|
|Sept Iles, Quebec, Canada|
|Baie Comeau, Quebec, Canada||July 15, 2017|
|Leg 3B||Baie Comeau, Quebec, Canada||July 15, 2017|
|Quebec City, Canada||July 20, 2017|
|Leg 4||Quebec City, Canada||July 20, 2017|
|Norris Point, Newfoundland, Canada|
|Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada||August 5, 2017|
|Leg 5||Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada||August 5, 2017|
|Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada||August 15, 2017|
|Leg 6||Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada||August 15, 2017|
|Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada|
|Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada||August 27, 2017|
Sign Aboard in Bermuda
In early June, Picton Castle will join a majestic fleet of international tall ships in Bermuda. Some of the world’s most modern sailing vessels will be in Bermuda as the America’s Cup races will be happening at the same time. Although the two events are separate, we’re intrigued by the contrast of old and new. In Bermuda, the crew can explore the pink sand beaches and historic forts for which the island is known, while also getting to know Picton Castle and learning how to work the ship.
From Bermuda, the tall ships will have our own race through the North Atlantic to Boston. Picton Castle has visited Boston a number of times, most recently in 2009. Home of the USS Constitution and the Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston's maritime heritage runs deep. On past visits, our crew have enjoyed the Freedom Trail, Boston Common, the Bunker Hill Monument and a Red Sox game at Fenway Park on their days off duty.
Celebrate 150 Years of Canada
The overall theme of this voyage is to celebrate Canada's birthday, so the next leg of the voyage takes Picton Castle into Canadian waters. In company with the other ships, Picton Castle will race from Boston bound for Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Our first Canadian stop will be in the country's smallest province. What Prince Edward Island lacks in landmass it makes up for in friendliness. Within easy walking distance of the ship you'll find waterfront shops and restaurants, a welcoming yacht and curling club and Holland College's Marine Training Institute. A bit farther afield are gorgeous red sand beaches, Anne of Green Gables attractions and more seafood and potatoes than you could ever want.
Explore Ports of the Province of Quebec
Leaving Summerside, sail the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and into the St. Lawrence River to Sept Iles. The city is named for the seven islands that front the deepwater bay on which the city sits. Sept Iles is a big commercial shipping port, sending iron ore mined in Labrador all over the world, and receives cruise ship visits as well. This will be Picton Castle's first visit to Sept Iles.
Another port we'll be visiting for the first time is Baie Comeau. Just over 100 nautical miles up the St. Lawrence River, Baie Comeau is a major forestry centre supplying the pulp and paper industry. The town boasts a number of athletic and recreation facilities including excellent hiking trails to explore ashore on your day off duty.
The trip up the St. Lawrence River will culminate at Quebec City where the largest gathering of tall ships in Canada in 2017 will take place. The city was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain and is the only city in Canada or the USA to still have its original fortified city walls intact. Old Quebec, with its stone buildings and winding street, feels like you could be in Europe. Although some may think of visiting Quebec City in the winter for their annual Carnival, visiting in the summer is just as lively and entertaining, especially in Old Quebec.
Take a Taste of Newfoundland
After the festivities in Quebec City, it will be time for Picton Castle to sail down the St. Lawrence River. We'll sail by the ports we stopped at on the way upriver as we make our way to the western coast of Newfoundland to the community of Norris Point. With a population of 750 people, Norris Point is the smallest town we'll visit on this voyage. Norris Point is on the doorstep of the Gros Morne National Park, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its geological history which shed light on plate tectonics and its exceptional scenery.
Experience Cape Breton History and Culture
Sail down the west coast of Newfoundland and across the Cabot Strait to Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, home of the famous fortress of Cape Breton. Named by French military forces after Louis XIV of France, the harbour has been used by Europeans since the late 1500s. While the Fortress of Louisbourg, which depicts life here in the 1700s, is the main attraction, the town of Louisbourg and its surrounding beaches and forests are also worth a visit.
A Unique Visit to Lunenburg
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is next on the itinerary. Sailing in to Lunenburg harbour is always special for Picton Castle. This town is the base of operations for the ship, with our wharf, warehouse and office facilities there. For crew who haven't visited before, Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated because of the grid pattern of the streets and the distinct architecture of the wooden buildings. It's also a hive of maritime knowledge and skills, home port of the Canadian icon schooner Bluenose II, and is becoming a major arts and culture destination. During Picton Castle's visit, the annual Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival will be happening, which is sure to bring some world-class folk musicians along with local talent to perform in this historic seaside town.
Tour the Bay of Fundy
Although Picton Castle will be at home on this Lunenburg visit, the voyage won't yet be over! Picton Castle still needs to call at Digby, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick, both on the Bay of Fundy. With the highest tides in the world, visiting Bay of Fundy ports is always interesting. And keep your eyes out for whales, it's quite common to spot humpback, minke and fin whales. In the past few years, whale watchers have also spotted a North Atlantic right whale and an orca in the Bay of Fundy.
After visiting Digby, famous for the fishing fleet that harvests scallops (and the restaurants that serve them), Picton Castle will participate with a fleet of tall ships in a sail-past at Annapolis Royal. Port Royal, as Annapolis Royal was previously named, was one of the earliest European settlements established in North America.
Crossing the Bay of Fundy, Picton Castle's next port is Saint John, our only port in the province of New Brunswick. Saint John is the second biggest city in the Maritime provinces and has a history as a centre of shipbuilding. At the confluence of the Kennebecasis River and the Saint John River, which empty into the Bay of Fundy at Saint John, it's not surprising that the city has an active waterfront for commercial vessels of all kinds.
The final passage of this voyage brings Picton Castle back to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, where the ship spends time in between voyages. Take the sail across the Bay of Fundy and up the Nova Scotia coast at a leisurely pace, enjoying the views of the ocean (and sometimes the land).
While visiting all of these amazing ports is a major reason to sign aboard Picton Castle as a sail trainee, this is primarily a seafaring experience. Each trainee will have time off duty in port to explore ashore, but your ship also needs you to take your turn on duty. In port, that means welcoming the public aboard for deck tours in the various ports we visit. At sea, that means being part of the crew that actually sails the ship.
Regardless of your previous sailing experience, everyone is expected to stand a watch, take your turn at the helm, haul on lines, handle sails, stand forward lookout, scrub the decks, help in the galley and do whatever it takes to keep the ship sailing. This is not a cruise, this is a hands-on participatory experience. Picton Castle's experienced, qualified, certified professional crew will teach you and guide you as you go. As one former trainee explained, "it's not a vacation, it's an adventure!"
Who Can Sail?
No experience is necessary to become a sail trainee, just good health and a strong desire to be a working trainee crew member. The success of the voyage depends on the dedication of the crew to making the voyage great. Being a good, considerate shipmate is paramount.
Men and women of all nationalities ages 16+ are welcome to apply. All applicants are subject to a personal interview.
Trainees are welcome to sign on for one or more legs of the voyage, or for the full voyage.
Prices for the voyage, in Canadian dollars (CAD), are as follows.
Uncertain about the cost? Look more closely at our voyage fees.
Step aboard for this adventurous journey. Start by filling out the online trainee application form. For more information, contact the voyage coordinator. We look forward to receiving your application.
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