Captain's Log

Archive for June, 2012

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Block Island

By Kate “Bob” Addison

June 22, 2012

It’s Friday morning and there’s an air of quiet industry here aboard Picton Castle, at anchor off Old Harbour, Block Island. We sailed in yesterday, dropped the hook just before midday.

We sailed up the lee (east) side of Block Island in the early morning sun and light westerly breezes. As the morning wore on more small sportfishing boats came out to their favorite spots just off the island, just in time for us to sail through them! Styling we were, tacking the ship and sailing onto the hook with just Siri’s watch plus idlers, no more than ten at the lines – Donald looking after the foresheets just as the cook would have done in a commercial sailing ship back when ships like ours were commonplace. Let go the lee sheet, haul away the weather! The sheets are right by the galley of course, and Donald is terribly talented. The ship would have had about the same crew as just one watch in those days too: the big salon full of cargo not bunks for trainee crew, so it’s nice that we’re getting good enough to sail her well, just as they would have done.

We looked very pretty there in the sunshine, squares set to the royals as we skirted the island to make our anchorage. People out fishing from small boats seemed very surprised to see us, maybe because we’re so quiet slipping along under sail, look up from your fishing rod and bam! Square rigger! White sails held aloft in a great pyramid, crew bustling around – climbing up things and hauling on lines. It’s almost like they don’t get ships sailing up to anchor much in these parts anymore. We sailed right up to the breakwater at the harbour’s entrance.

But it’s all in a day’s work aboard Picton Castle. And now, here at anchor, all hands are doing ship’s work in the mornings, one watch peeling off to stretch their legs ashore each afternoon. It’s good conditions to practice driving the skiff for the runs ashore too. Lots of projects going on: Drea and Siri are up on the quarterdeck mending the old foresail; Niko, Alex and Gabe in the Monomoy cleaning and prepping for painting; Aase and Elisabeth giving the decks a nice drink of oil – a matched pair of Danish sailor-girls working away in each breezeway. Sam is varnishing the sailmaking benches up on the foc’sle head. Donald cooking something delicious in his galley, with his team of assistants cleaning and sorting Tupperware in the scullery. Captain and I are busily tapping away at computers in the office.

In fact the only soul aboard not busy with something is young ship’s cat George. Sprawled out in the office, head lolling and paws akimbo. His life is one of luxurious idleness. The only sign he’s still alive is the furry tiger belly rising and falling and the occasional whisker twitch as he takes relaxing to the extreme.

Aase oiling
Gabe sanding the monomoy
George relaxing
George still relaxing

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Summer Solstice

20th June 2012

By Kate “Bob” Addison

Sigh. My life is so stressful. I have to write a Captain’s log and there’s just nothing interesting happening to write about. Really just another day at sea in a big square-rigged sailing ship.

I mean here we are just sailing along in the glorious sunshine. Square sails all set. Siri’s watch trimming the fore braces. The new foresail we bent on in the Wicomico River is looking good, drawing well on this downwind run. It makes steering a bit more challenging for the helmsman heading straight downwind – rather like steering downhill in front wheel drive. But all good practice for our sailors.

A gang on the well deck are overhauling our sailmakers’ benches with new varnish so they will be ready for some serious stitching when we lay out sails at our introductory Bosun School in Bristol, Rhode Island next week. We will be working on new sails for Picton Castle and repairing older ones which is the best learning as that is what crew are called upon to do at sea in a ship. All cotton canvas, all hand stitched and finished.

Oh and a whale just swam past, didn’t hang around for too long, but we saw the hulk of her body and the powerful waterspout as she blew. Ho hum…

I suppose I could tell you about how we celebrated Donald’s birthday yesterday. Cook extraordinaire and all round ship’s-favourite-person, we showed our love with the day off, delicious Gabe-baked carrot cake with frosting to write home about, hundreds of birthday greetings sent to the ship from all around the world via satellite, a hand drawn card and ‘happy birthday’ sung in at least three different languages. That was good fun.

And George is being very entertaining as usual – he’s taken to hunting shadows on the quarterdeck at dusk, and can now manage the charthouse ladder fairly well so his world has expanded some more. It’s all the way from main deck hatch to quarterdeck now, especially anywhere with unattended food. I think altogether he rather likes being a ship’s cat. We have decided that he is a young scamp.

But that was all yesterday. Today we have nothing to celebrate except muffins for breakfast, beautiful sailing and the summer solstice. I guess we could have some pagan-style popcorn this evening to mark the sun reaching the furthest point North in its annual orbit of the Earth.* There might even be music and dancing and good times before dinner. But nothing unusual, it’s really just another day aboard the barque Picton Castle.

*I know, I know – don’t be so pedantic.

Elisabeth gives George his first lesson at the helm
New foresail
Sanding sail makers benches

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The Great Wicomico River

17 June, 2012

By Kate “Bob” Addison & Captain Daniel Moreland

Picton Castle is anchored in Ingram Bay at the mouth of the Wicomico River at 37°48.9N 076°17.7’W. It’s a muddy bottom twenty feet under the bow, so we have our big (1,500 lbs) port anchor down and she’s holding nicely. Very good holding here the Captain says. The skies are blue with puffy fair-weather clouds, and the water green and brackish. We are taking advantage of those rare moments at an anchorage to look after a good many things from small boat training to sail repair to getting some paint on the ship. Small boat exercises are very good for seafarers.

It’s been perfect weather for coatings, so we’ve been spot-painting the ship here and there and tarring the rig. The trick with tarring is to get plenty of tar on all of the standing rigging, but none on the sails or the deck. Tarring yourself is optional. Not required, but a common practice. The tar is mixed with linseed oil to make a thin dark gloop which is slurped up by the standing rigging. Made of natural fibre rope, marlin and wire that has been wormed, parcelled and served with cotton strips and more marlin, if not tarred regularly this coating dries out and acts as a sponge to soak up water, which is terrible for the wire it’s meant to be protecting. Tar is an antifungal, mixed with linseed oil it is also waterproofing and for those headed to the beach it makes an excellent sunblock, if a bit sticky. But it does smell good. So up aloft we go with tar-bucket and brush to make the rig all shiny and happy.

Yesterday a gang was aloft on the fore yard bending on a new foresail and sending down the old one so we can do some repairs on it. There were a couple of small rips where the sail had caught on the stuns’l irons from over-enthusiastic stowing so Siri and her sail-making gang wanted to get some patches on before the damage got worse. With all our sails being stitched by hand we know how much work goes into making a new one and how much easier it is to do early repairs!

Deckhand Abbey spots an osprey on the mizzen and calls out so everyone can take a look. Sure enough, there he is hanging out on the radio aerial boom on port side, half a fish in one claw, dripping fish blood and scales on the deck and looking pretty mean. George sensibly hides in the office. I don’t know if osprey hunt kittens but probably not a good idea to find out. Turns out there are plenty osprey around here. There is a pair that have nest on the remains of an old seiner steam engine sticking out of the remains of a wreck in the harbour.

In the afternoons we’ve been out sailing in the monomoy long-boat. Our lovely double-ended surf boat from Martha’s Vineyard, the Picton Castle crew rigged her for sailing during world voyage five: carpenters made the boom, gaff, tiller, rudder and leeboard, sail makers stitched a sweet gaff mainsail and jib, and riggers made the whole lot into a working sailing rig. She’s actually got a second jib and a gaff topsail but plenty of power for these waters without. The last time I sailed the monomoy was in the South Pacific after sailing from Pitcairn Island – we were anchored in the stunning lagoon of Mangareva in French Polynesia inside the coral reefs there, sailing across to an almost-deserted island to set up camp for the night on the palm fringed white beach. Not so much in the way of palm trees, coral or blue water here, but a very pretty meandering coastline with trees right down to the water and houses dotted here and there. We sailed the monomoy into Reedville, a tiny, pretty place up the creek. As we were making our lines off to the wharf outside the Crazy Crab restaurant someone asked ‘does that thing have an engine? No? Well how did you get here?!’ Well, we do carry oars in case the wind dies. Auxiliary power by “Armstrong”.

On the way in we sailed past an industrial fish plant with maybe 13 big seine boats moored alongside. The menhaden boats offload their catch here through suction hoses. The plant produces fish oil; apparently it’s not at all fishy and was traditionally sold to Europeans to make croissants. Now, with the health benefits of omega-3 understood it’s mostly sold in caplets to the health-conscious supplement market. Pretty sure that means croissants are healthy, yes?

It’s the last plant of its kind left around the eastern seaboard – there were over thirty up and down the coast at one time, but ‘social pressure’ caused the others to all shut down. They call it social pressure – but nothing to do with concerns over the environmental sustainability of industrial fishing or workers’ rights or any other cause. No, we were told that the social pressure, powerful enough to virtually shut down an industry that employed hundreds of families in these parts, was simple – some people didn’t like the smell from the plants so real estate prices were depressed and real estate was worth more than the fishing. The smell is not pleasant to be sure, and plenty strong – something like that fish-bone-and-blood-meal used for garden fertilizer mixed with old lobster pots and just a hint of used kitty litter. But in Lunenburg, Barbara Zwicker tells us that the smell of fish was once refered to as the “smell of money”.

Ashore we needed to provision for fresh foods, but with no store in Reedville, it looked like we’d be eating tinned bully beef and dried food until Newport when we were rescued by a very kind local couple: Cindy and Gary who drove us all the way to WalMart and back, stopping at their beautiful house on the way to change cars and give us a tour. We stocked up on fresh provisions: plenty of fruit, vegetables and fresh chicken. Much easier for us to buy food than it must have been for Reed and his fellow settlers in 1874 – bet the natives didn’t even take Visa back then.

After our provisioning expedition, the monomoy was stuffed with bags of food and there was just time for an ice cream by the water before we sailed back to the ship in the evening light. The sky was big and blue and streaked with cirrus clouds, a broad stripe of red at the horizon and the rigging of the Picton Castle silhouetted between the two.

AB Alison painting
Bending on a new forecourse
Osprey and fish
Sailing the monomoy

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Rappahannock River

By Kate “Bob” Addison

It’s hard to type right now because I have a contented fat kitten purring on my lap, pinning me down. Every now and then he puts a head or a paw on my hand or on the keyboard, to help write the story, or maybe to correct my spelling. Amazing how much he’s relaxed and grown in confidence from the wide-eyed skittish and very hungry bundle of a couple of weeks ago that Tammy and Michael brought back to the ship in Savannah, Georgia.

Picton Castle is preparing to tack as we sail out of the Rappahannock River at 37°29.1’N, 076°09.9’W with spanker, headsails and square sails set to the topgallants and a nice fresh sailing breeze on the port bow.

We spent the last couple of nights at anchor near Irvington because the northeasterly winds were blowing from exactly where we wanted to go, and everyone was pretty tired after the festivities of Norfolk. It was nice to be just us again, no one to entertain or impress, and to remember that we’re sailors not tourists. Amazing how quickly crew get stupid in port, lose all their sharpness with all that time off and too much ice cream. So we’ve been drilling and practicing sail handling, bracing around, small boat skills. Working on getting things done more competently, faster with fewer people and fewer commands. Making sure people understand the detail, like how to trim the lifts. Definitely improving, but always more to learn…

We spent yesterday morning doing safety drills, talking about and practicing how to get an injured person out of the water or out of the way of a fire. Practicing launching the boats too – perfect conditions to let less experienced people have a go at lowering away. In the afternoon we went out rowing in our long boat, watch by watch in the monomoy, getting the new gang used to using the big wooden sweeps and sorting out their timing, giving people a go at being the ‘stroke oar’ (aft on port) setting the pace and letting the deckhands and ABs practice giving commands as coxswain. I got to cox too for a bit – my first time and was great fun: ‘prepare to give way – give way together’ and all eight crew pull away in time, more or less. Then ‘starboard side hold water’, their oars held steady in the water making eddies as port side keep pulling forwards, then ‘starboard side backwater’ and the boat spins round in her own length. Pretty sweet! I did a figure of eight or two and then handed back command to acting second mate Siri to bring us back alongside the ship in time for dinner.

And then after dinner, it was ‘up and stow!’ Aloft to furl all square sails that had been drying all afternoon and gasket them tight to the yards so they won’t flog about if the wind picks up overnight. What’s it like to go aloft to stow? Climbing up the ratlines, hand over hand on the shrouds, feet stepping lightly on the tarred rope ratlines, always three points of contact, following the bare feet of whoever’s just above you.

Of course you can wear shoes if you prefer, and some people do – occasionally thoughtful visitors to the ship have noticed the crew running around barefoot and asked if they should take their shoes off when they come aboard. Perhaps they’re worried about getting dirt on our cream carpets? You don’t have to go barefoot, it’s just that most of us like to. And we are sure it is safer too.

Then lay out onto the yard, balancing on the footrope leaning forward so your weight is in your hips or belly, lying onto the yard. The angle changes depending on how tall you are and how many other people are on the same footrope – everyone who steps on makes the rope a little tauter and each person a little higher so we sing out ‘laying on’ so the gang already out there aren’t caught off-guard by a sudden movement.

Take a moment to look around at the lovely view of the sea and sky, breathe the clean air. We’re often aloft at the start or end of the day, when the light is soft and clear, and there’s no nicer place in the world to be.

And then get on with the job in hand: neatly stowing the hand-stitched cotton sail. Stowing sail is rather like folding an outsized duvet cover with a bunch of friends to help you. Except that the duvet cover is curved and shaped, has ropes sewn all along the bottom and sides, and is made of stiff heavy canvas. Also, it’s attached along one edge to a jackstay on a yard of steel or wood and of course you’re doing your house-keeping aloft, maybe 80 feet up, balanced on a yard which is suspended from a mast, the whole affair swaying with the ship as she gently lifts and falls with the swell. But really, it’s just like folding a duvet cover. Tuck and fold, pass the excess fabric to your shipmate over there, tuck and fold. And then bust it all up on top of the yard, spiral a rope gasket round and round over the yard and sail, tighten it all up, make it off with a hitch and lay below to the next yard.

The day finished with a swim call off the side of the ship: long ladders over the side, lifeguards posted and then ‘pool’s open!’ in we jump, splashing about. People diving off the pin-rail up by the forward shrouds, DB showing off with crazy flips.

Not long until all’s quiet as people sit and watch the sunset, or head below to read or get an early night. And then morning came, as it tends to do, and we sailed off the hook ready for another day.

bracing practice
Headsail lesson
Jesse and Nathalie haul inner jib halyard
Victor and Abbey brace main topgallant and royal

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OpSail Virginia

By Kate “Bob” Addison

Tuesday morning and Picton Castle is smoking north bound up the Chesapeake Bay under full sail at 9 knots as we head out of Norfolk, Virginia after a very full four (exhausting!) days of festivities and fun.

Norfolk is a big, historic US Navy town, and we were there for OpSail 2012, a large-scale, international event to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the war of 1812. There were a huge number of ships and boats from all around the world: military and civilian, sailing ships big and small, battleships and yachts. Picton Castle was one of the smaller of the Class “A” tall ships in the line up, and one of a handful of non-military vessels. We spent the festival alongside a floating dock right in the middle of the goings-on. Standing on our foc’sle head looking forward you could see the Town Point Park full of visitors walking about or sitting on the grass, small stages with music, dancing, entertainments, tents and stalls selling everything from fresh lemonade to temporary tattoos. Looking left you would see two Canadian naval frigates: HMCS Goose Bay and HMCS Moncton all grey and smart and military. Looking right: the masts and rigs of five big and beautiful square rigged sailing ships – barques Guyas and Gloria from Ecuador and Colombia, United States Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, full rigged ship Cisne Branco of Brazil, and barquentine Dewaruci of Indonesia. All lit up at night, and dressed overall with bright colourful flags by day, it was an impressive and lovely sight.

The parade of sail into Norfolk was spectacular – the big military sailing ships (they mostly train cadets and sail the world representing their country at events like this) all dressed with flags and men on the yards, Dewaruci with her band playing. Historical replica ships from the 1600s such as Kalmar Nyckel and Godspeed sailing along looking jaunty with sprit-sails set. Past the USS Wasp (a big air craft carrier) we went, saluting with our lower topsails to the VIPs and EIPs aboard the aircraft carrier. The crew lined up on the deck of Wasp in their white uniforms looked like tiny toy sailors. And then past the enormous and seemingly endless Navy base – more big ships there than the whole Royal Navy owns I should think. We were joined here by a fleet of small boats, yachts and motorboats come out to welcome us in. The biggest and best welcome was from the Pride Boating Club of Hampton Roads – our sponsors for the event and boy did they take that sponsorship seriously, with a fleet to welcome us in, all Picton Castle flags and banners, then a welcome party, gifts and supplies, great fun we had partying with them too! Then on past the town, salutes firing from the ships and the land, make a sharp turn around schooner Virginia and the fire ships spraying their hoses into the air in great arcs, and then in to our berth with the help of a tug to push us upwind and against the current – ready for the fun to begin!

Our ship was open to the public for tours every day keeping the on-watch busy, and the off watch were kept busy too with free organised excursions to theme parks, shopping centres and historical sites. Visiting the other ships was a popular activity, and then there were crew parties of some sort every night, Picton Castle crew doing their bit to build international relations with the crews of the other ships. We got on especially well with the Scandinavian ships with our Danish and Norwegian contingent on board. There were extravagant fireworks on Saturday night, black tie dinners and dancing, formal receptions, a parade of crews and cadets – never seen so much matching, marching white and gold. Our gang added a splash of colour dressed in sarongs – well, we couldn’t compete on white uniforms, and sarongs seems appropriate for a South Pacific ship!

Captain and I attended a formal gift exchange ceremony with the US Navy and Mayor of Norfolk at the navy base. Transport was laid on in the form of yellow school busses, which was pretty entertaining – my first ever ride on an iconic American school bus and it was packed full of naval officers and tall ship captains. Bet that’s the most gold braid that bus will ever see. We arrived and shook hands with all the important people, our little tall ship gang standing out as civilians, the only people not saluting or wearing whites. But we looked pretty snappy too in our Picton Castle summer dress uniform of flowered Kia Orana shirts and black trousers or skirt. As this is an event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the war of 1812 there was some discussion among the officers of the principal historical combatants; England, Canada and the USA. All agreed that they would never do that again and it was all a big misunderstanding, a family spat, all is forgiven. There was an elegant finger lunch, with some chatting to some more important people and then coffee and teeny tiny cakes. The actual ceremony was a model of international diplomacy. Captains and commanding officers representing ships from all over the world shaking hands with a US Navy four-star admiral, exchanging gifts of plaques, pictures, ceremonial trinkets. Smile for the cameras and then same again with the Mayor. Four hours of travel and protocol for a 25 second photo op. Much longer than four hours if you add in all the cleaning and pressing of uniforms. But photos like that will hang on bulkheads in ships, and walls of headquarters of navy bases and at national capitals for years to come, a memento of an historic event, and of the power and influence of the world’s navies: not just their military might but the power to to do good and foster good will as well.

AB Alison steers us in
Bling at the gift exchange
Cisne Branco and PBCHR boats
DB and Susie before the ball
fireworks crowds and PC bow

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Ghosting Along… And Polishing Brass

Here off the coast of Virginia the day comes in fair and clear with light NE breezes. Skies overhead are a clear and bold blue and seas all around are small. The Picton Castle has yards squared and all square sail set. The spanker is not set as it would do little good and can be something of an annoyance sailing dead downwind as we are. Some 300 miles out of Martha’s Vineyard we ghost along steering for Cape Henry some 50 miles away to the SW. The ship steers easily. In the golden morning light the deck washdown is done, all is glistening wet and the duty watch is turning itself to the mission of polishing all the brass.

Now, as a rule, we do not polish brass much in this ship, nor very often. Years come and go between such efforts and the brass, such as it is, turns a delightful dull gold. We are quite happy with that as a rule. A goodly rule we figure. Seems sort of silly out sailing in the South Pacific tradewinds to be making this brass all shiny when in a moment of a passing squall it will be all for naught. But we are not romping across the South Pacific just now bound for Pitcairn Island or Tahiti or some such with flying fish scattering across deck or at anchor in some palm fringed cove with dugouts paddling in our general direction. No, we are in the North Atlantic and sailing to a big Tall Ship OpSail port with many Navy ships, and much shining up to do so the crew wanted to have polished brass. Maybe to just be like the others. And to be sure, the Picton Castle was once the HMS Picton Castle; 1939-1945, so we have a small right to some Royal Navy pride in this upcoming cavalcade of sailing ships and Navy ships; our ship is both. And easy enough one would think, to shine up what little brass we boast, but when brass has forgone the polish for some years this becomes a job to tackle. And you really cannot half polish brass. It has to be polished thoroughly so it gleams and shines or not at all. Half polished brass is a sight worse than brass not polished. And then even the technique of brass polishing is not without its required skill levels. It turns out that there is something to the job of brass polishing, you don’t just rub on some goop, and wipe it off, oh no, there is needed instruction and a good deal of effort to be applied in order to get brass buffed up. Of course, it is best to polish the brass and not get polish all over everything else, which is in the secret heart of brass polish; to get everywhere.

So Brass Polishing, commenced so blithely as an entertaining diversion is to become a dire quest and take up so much of the rest of the day. Tomorrow, naturally, all the brass will need to be polished all over again and again the next day. But at least it should not be so hard on the next go around. A chore indeed and one with fleeting success as the first wet hand mars the gleaming shine. Small wonder brass polishing was a Navy pastime in those heavily manned ships. Something to do and keep the many hands busy and out of mischief. And smaller wonder too that even the biggest of yachts with heaps of crew there to make all nice and shiny have almost all gone over to stainless steel and chrome, eschewing brass and the need to polish such. Like building pyramids, polishing brass is a delightful exercise in futility but impressive nonetheless and somehow we like it.

A view from the bridge
Ghosting along
Natalie polishing the ship s bell

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Sailing Martha’s Vineyard to Norfolk

By Kate “Bob” Addison

Tuesday afternoon finds our barque Picton Castle sailing happily along, heading southwest towards Virginia with a fair wind filling our square sails as it fills in from astern. Yards are squared and all sail set to the t’gallants. Six or eight knots might not sound fast to people used to cars and trains, but from the deck of a sailing ship it feels like we’re dancing right along. And of course we are taking our collective home, office and workshop along with us, pretty much a ship’s chandlery and general store down in the hold too, almost 600 tons all told. It seems to me that six knots is pretty quick for all this stuff to be moving.

The day is clear and bright, chilly about the toes but pretty: this is the North Atlantic and it is hardly summer yet – sky a clear pale blue, sea dark green-blue and everything looks clean and fresh from the quarterdeck. The horizon is big and round. Occasionally a miniature ship interrupts the line between sea and sky, stamping its silhouette on the horizon. Back into the ship’s office behind the charthouse with my coffee, and from my seat here I can see out through the chartroom window: a square of light; top half lower topsail white, bottom half sky blue with fluffy clouds.

Just sailing along, engine and generator all off and forgotten, the only sound apart from my fingers tapping away at the keyboard is the swooshing of the water past the hull as we gently rise and fall with the swell. The sails do their work silently. It’s terribly soporific on days like this, with the gentle rocking of the ship and the muted peaceful sounds. It’s a day to drink plenty of coffee if there’s work to be done, or just give up on the work and go below for a nap.

There’s something timeless about this sailing along too; the days start to merge reminding me of childhood summer holidays. Our time is marked out and divided by meal times, the sun rising and setting, the change of the watch. No deadlines or appointments or staff appraisal forms. We just get up, do stuff, learn, laugh, hang out, eat, sleep. Maybe somebody makes espresso or pulls some chocolate from their locker and we have a little treat. When you’re such a small dot on the big empty ocean the little things become your world.

Aloft to loose royal
Doc Jenny stands lookout
View from main upper topsail yard

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Sailing From Martha’s Vineyard Bound for Norfolk

Monday June 4, 2012

We are about 90 miles east of Sandy Hook, New York Harbour and the Picton Castle is sailing along nicely with a northerly wind. This wind is from a high-level low to our east and should last long enough to get us pretty close to Norfolk under sail – we had fully expected to be motoring into the typical SW airflow we could expect hereabouts off this coast, so we count ourselves lucky. Cloudy with some sun and blue poking through and with small seas, the ship is sailing standing upright as is her wont. With these nice northerly winds it is quite cool but that is nice too, it could get hot in Virginia. We should get anchored off Norfolk Wednesday.

The gang aboard is fine and happy. We have a bunch of young Danish kids as apprentice crew who made the trip last year in the Danmark. Bob and the mates are sorting out all what must be looked after in OpSail Norfolk. Donald reigns in his galley, and expanding belts are the proof. The new kitten George is pretty funny, growing, scampering, playing, being bold but always running back to his ‘safe place,’ Michael the Mate’s cabin. He seems pretty smart and with a strong sense of self preservation.

We are doing a sail repair for the Bounty, fixing up a t’gallant for them we are. A good project for our gang. And this is why we have this Bosun School, in order to teach these skills, just basic skills that are very useful to have when working in sailing ships. There’s an introductory Bosun School too in Bristol, Rhode Island June 24 – July 3.

Anyhoo, all’s good aboard – summer in Loonyberg is going to be plenty fun what with this whole gang, schooner and ketch launchings and rigging and boats and such. Then off to the South Seas this fall. A good deal of interest in this upcoming voyage and a great time at the Vineyard. The tug Thuban helped us off the dock and get turned around in small “Holmes Hole” aka Vineyard Haven and as soon as we got around West Chop we had all sail on her again and a fair tide down The Sound, sweet it was and we are under all plain sail still after a fine night – we have plenty cakes and pies from the Black Dog Bakery now making their rounds with good coffee on a cool, very cool but excellent North Atlantic morning under sail bound for Virginia.

Martha s Vineyard
under sail off Martha s Vineyard
Working on BOUNTY sail

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