Captain's Log

Archive for October, 2007

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Busy in Lunenburg

It has been a while since we posted a Captain’s Log, things have been quite busy around Picton Castle. The ship is still snugly tied to the dock in Lunenburg and now that our first Bosun School has finished we have been working away steadily on a number of different projects.

Local carpenter Dave Rodenhiser has been replacing planks in the deck, the crew have been learning how to caulk and pitch the seams to make them watertight. The saloon sole, where most of the extra rope, sails and rigging tools are stored, has been inventoried, cleaned and re-organized. Finn is pleased that he has got the boiler for the furnace working in the engine room, which will heat the ship enough during the winter to prevent the pipes from freezing. Winter preparations also require putting antifreeze in all the pipes in the ship that normally carry water. The new wire seizings on the shrouds done during the Bosun School are now being primed and painted, as are the now rust-free rails on the foc’sle head. The topmasts are being de-greased so they can be painted (usually they’re greased to help the yards move up and down smoothly), and the jibboom has been varnished after it had been scraped and sanded during Bosun School.

In the ship’s office up the street, we have been working on plans for the Atlantic voyage which will begin in May 2008. The Captain and Lynsey have been examining charts for Europe, dividers and calculator in hand, to determine the best route to take the ship to all the places we want to go. We have been researching ports, figuring out what vaccinations, visas and other documentation the crew need to get, making connections with people in Europe and checking out festivals that we may want to participate in. We’re also working to check off as many items from the to-do list as we can now by getting equipment serviced, major purchases researched and arranged and provisioning planned. Of course, we have also been spreading the word about the voyage. Trainee applicants have been coming to Lunenburg since the beginning of September for their in-person interviews and they look like the beginning of a great crew.

The crew are still enjoying Lunenburg, maybe even more now that tourist season is almost over. A few shops and businesses that are only open seasonally have closed their doors for the year, or plan to shortly. The fall colours were at their best last weekend, the days are getting noticeably shorter and the weather cooler. We’re happy to settle in and stay busy for a long Lunenburg winter.

Dave replaces planks in the quarterdeck
Ryan painting in the headrig

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A Funny Moment In Luneneburg

LaHave Manor Auction Poster

“Your dinner aboard the ship is some expensive,” said the woman sitting across from me in the doctor’s office waiting room.

Dinner aboard the ship, I wondered. Huh? “Oh, you mean the dinner that’s being auctioned off in support of LaHave Manor.”

“Fifty dollars a ticket, prepared by the Captain, served on the ship,’ she continued, until finally she permitted me to explain that the $50 ticket is for a dinner and auction in support of the local residential centre that provides a home and care for mentally challenged adults and the dinner – for six, to be prepared and served by Capt. Moreland and World Voyage IV crew member/television actor Billy Campbell aboard Picton Castle – is just one of the items that attendees will be invited to bid on.

“Well, I was going to say that $50 a person would be a lot for dinner on a ship,” she persisted.

“Actually, we’re hoping they’ll get a lot more than that,” I said, at which point she looked me dead in the face as if to see whether I was one of those people who would part with their money so easily. As a born and bred Lunenburger, I’m generally not.

“Well, at least it’s for a good cause,” she concluded. I agreed.

Click on the advertisement image (top right) to download the Adobe PDF (Requires AdobeReader®).

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The Bosun School

Here on our wharf in Lunenburg The Bosun School is in full swing and the gang has been busy, very busy. We have had six weeks of almost perfect weather at the ideal time of year. So often we find ourselves working in the cold rain and even snow while we down rig or up rig the Picton Castle. This time we get do the job in delightful summer weather and teach all the techniques at the same time and have a little fun besides. Here is what we have been up to as part of The Bosun School.

  1. Sent all the 21 canvas sails down off the yards and out of the rig. This is a job that takes seamanship and skill.
  2. Sent all the 175 pieces of running rigging and 350 blocks down. Then they have to get labelled and stowed properly. The blocks will get overhauled over the winter.
  3. Sent the t’gallant and royal yards down. This is a very nice piece of seamanship which young seafarers rarely get to take part in today.
  4. Taught, practiced and made new wire seizings as we overhauled the lower shrouds. These are the same one would use on rigging a ship like Peking or Moshulu.
  5. Bosun Chair: learning to use a Bosun Chair properly for attending to the rigging.
  6. Sail in local Tancook schooners: The local members of the Nova Scotia Schooner Association took all our crew out on a weekend of racing in some pretty fine craft.
  7. Sail in the topsail schooner Pride II: The Captain and crew of the beautiful topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore II took our whole gang out for a training sail on Lunenburg Bay; my can she sail some good!
  8. Sail in schooner Bluenose II; The Captain and crew of Lunenburg’s own magnificent schooner Bluenose II showed our gang a glimpse of the challenges of sailing a big fore and aft sailer on an afternoon daysail.
  9. Help build a Dory: A couple of our gang got to help build a dory at the Dory Shop; building dories here since 1917; see
  10. Sail in a banks dory around the harbour: evenings and weekends were often spent in sailing our own banks dory around the harbour.
  11. Liverpool wire splicing; Sailmakers splicing, seizing, sail patching and construction techniques: lots of hand seamanship and good progress made by all.

carrying sails into the warehouse
roping a sail
rowing the dory
sending down the main royal yard
setting sail on Pride II
wire seizing on the fore shrouds
wire splicing

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