Captain's Log

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Dory Building, Blocks and Painting

The Picton Castle crew woke up this morning, the first workday morning since we changed the clocks back an hour this weekend, with some sun. They put on their long underwear, lots of layers, sweaters and hats and got to work. Craig, Andrew, Dave, Sarah and Jack are in the Dory Shop for the next week or so, apprenticing as wooden boat builders with dory builder Jay Langford. This morning they selected and prepared the wood that will eventually be the bottom of a Handline Dory. Meredith and Nick are working on overhauling blocks, taking apart each one to clean it up, inspect it, put some new coatings on it and put it back together again. The ship has over 300 blocks in the rig, so this task will be ongoing. David continues to stitch away in the warehouse, making repairs to the sails that have been sent down for the winter. Erin and Katie are painting aboard the ship, getting good coats of paint on all the steel parts so they can stay covered through the winter when painting outdoors isn’t possible. Nicki is in the galley today, preparing meals for the crew. The ship’s cook, Donald, has returned to his tropical home of Grenada, having had enough of this Canadian autumn weather, so the crew are taking turns cooking. This afternoon, everyone other than the dory builders will turn to painting on board.

The ship is mostly ready for winter now, she looks quite bare on deck with all of the deck boxes stowed in the warehouse and all of the manilla running rigging sent down. The wooden fore and main t’gallant yards have been sent down for the winter, stowed in the warehouse where they will be overhauled and ready to send back up next spring. The fore and main t’gallant masts have also been sent down, but they were overhauled on the wharf and sent back up. The tops’l yards and the course yards on the fore and main masts, which are made of steel, have been cockbilled and lashed firmly in place for the coming months.

The crew continue to live on board, there is some heat in the Batcave so some of the crew have already moved aft and more will likely do that soon. Chibley, the ship’s cat, also continues to live on board, although she is becoming increasingly interested in curling up in our office and store across the street. With a group of people still on board, the crew are able to make their own fun wherever we go. Sailing on Wednesday nights has continued through the fall, Norm and Steve continue to make the Grand Banker feel like our living room, and we occasionally have special occasions to celebrate. There was a big turkey dinner on board in the main salon for Canadian Thanksgiving and I’m sure we’ll do it again in a few weeks to celebrate with our American friends. With our experience of marlinspike parties on board the ship, dressing up for Hallowe’en was no problem for our crew.

As we enter the last month of our Bosun School program, the ship is pretty much ready for winter. There will be lots to do in order to get the ship ready to sail around the world again, so work will continue with maintaining and overhauling the ship and all her parts.

Andrew, Jack and Dave dig in to lunch
Craig and Sarah learn to build a dory with Jay
empty looking decks and wheel and binnacle covered for the winter
Meredith overhauls a block
the fore yard cockbilled at a sharp angle for the winter

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