Captain's Log

Archive for December, 2014

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Day’s Run – December 29

DATE: Dec 29th, 2014
BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
NOON POSITION: 34°14.7’S /025°46.1’E
DAYS RUN: 162 nm
WIND: Wind Force 4-5, SxE
WEATHER: Fair, 7/8 cloud, visibility very good, barometer 1021 millibars and rising slowly
SAILS SET: Square sails to t’gallants, spanker, main topmast and main t’gallant staysails, inner and outer jib
SHIPS WORK: We’ve beefed up the watches to go around the Cape of Good Hope, so most daymen are now standing watch instead. This together with the rainy weather and variable winds means we’ve not been doing much ship’s work for the last couple of days, apart from just sailing the ship. The seas started to lay down this afternoon though, and forecasts look ok, so knock on wood and cross your fingers but it looks like fair weather to round the Cape.
REMARKS: We were less than 20nm south of Cape Recife at noon today. This close to port there are lots of ships around, so we’re keeping a sharp look out and monitoring our electronic equipment to make sure we give these big commercial ships a wide berth – the rules of the road might say steam gives way to sail, but we’d be mad to start tacking about in front of a big chemical tanker! Captain gave the crew an introduction talk about Cape Town this afternoon – everyone’s getting excited now.

A bit of weather but seas are laying down now
A bit of weather but seas are laying down now

Elsa helm
Elsa on helm

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Day’s Run – December 28

DATE: Dec 28th, 2014
BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
NOON POSITION: 33°07.9’S /028°34.3’E
DAYS RUN: 210 nm
WIND: Wind Force 1, Variable
WEATHER: Rain, overcast, visibility moderate, barometer 1018 millibars and steady
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: ESE 2-3m swell and confused seas is making for a lumpy ride
SAILS SET: Took in all sail at the midday change of the watch to steam through this patch of light and variable winds.
SHIPS WORK: Sunday at sea and rainy weather so no ship’s work happening today. The wind has been very variable as we move between the different weather systems and start to feel the effects of the African continent on wind and currents, so the watches have been kept busy setting and taking in sail as the wind eases and fills and bracing round to meet the wind. The watches are slick and colourful in their wet weather gear. But at least it’s not cold.
REMARKS: Land ho! The coast of Africa is looming off our starboard beam and has been all day. At 0900 we were just 31nm east of Cape Morgan. It’s hard to believe the smudge on the horizon is a whole continent right there, though it does looks bigger than your average South Pacific island. Twenty or more dolphins came out to ride the bow wave this afternoon to the delight of the crew – we think we spotted common dolphin and rissos dolphin. Lots of sea birds too.

Turi runs aloft to furl the main t'gallant
Turi goes aloft to furl the main t’gallant

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Day’s Run – December 27

BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
NOON POSITION: 30°56.1’S /031°36.5’E
DAYS RUN: 140nm
WIND: Wind Force 5, NExE
WEATHER: fair, overcast, visibility very good, barometer 1017 millibars and falling slowly
SAILS SET: Square sails to t’gallants, main topmast staysail and a
couple of headsails.
SHIPS WORK: Preparing for the Cape in case of big seas or strong winds: re-lashing the boats on the galley house, putting ratchet straps across the main cargo hatch, checking all lashings on deck and in the hold, and stowing living spaces. Lashing sea chests in the foc’sle. Everything’s looking pretty ship shape.
REMARKS: We’re close in to the coast of Africa now. By tonight we
expect to make our turn to port, skirting fairly close to the coast to
make the most of the Agulhas current which should give us an extra 3 knots or so. There is a large high pressure system off the Cape at the moment, and we are watching a handful of low pressures move around it trying to anticipate what wind we’ll get as we head around the Cape. Right now it’s warm but wet, and we’re expecting more rainy weather overnight.

4-8 watch
The 4-8 watch on the quarterdeck

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Day’s Run – December 26

BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
NOON POSITION: 30°31.3’S /034°16.6’E
DAYS RUN: 120 nm
WIND: Wind Force 5, Southerly
WEATHER: fair, 6/8 cloud, visibility very good, barometer 1016 millibars and steady
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: SW 2-3m, and a northerly swell and an easterly swell…
SAILS SET: main and fore topmast staysails, inner jib, outer jib, foresail, main and fore topsails
SHIPS WORK: Replaced starboard mainsail sheet, greased fittings. End for ended main upper-topsail halyard. Elsa made a canvas cover for the propane bottles in the port breezeway to protect them from salt spray
REMARKS: closing the coast of South Africa. Wind fairing after frontal passage last night. Starboard tack last night, on port tack now. Large seas, but laying down.

Sailing along at sunset

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Day’s Run – December 25

BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
NOON POSITION: 29°57.9’S /036°26.7’E
DAYS RUN: 71nm
WIND: Wind Force 3-4, NxE
WEATHER: fair, 1/8 cloud, visibility very good, barometer 1016 millibars
and steady
SAILS SET: All sails set except royals and flying jib
SHIPS WORK: A holiday today, so no ship’s work except sailing the ship
and helping with galley.
REMARKS: A lovely Christmas at sea: presents under the tree in the
morning, a nice lazy afternoon and then a giant supper followed by home
made chocolate-chip cookies and ice-cream. And the wind picking up and
sending us along our way.

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Day’s Run – December 24

BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
TIME ZONE: GMT +3 (we retarded the clocks an hour last night, we’re now the same zone as Nairobi and Kuwait)
NOON POSITION: 29°14.9’S/037°32.3’E
WIND: Wind Force 3, NNE
WEATHER: fair, 3/8 cloud, visibility very good, barometer 1018 millibars and steady
SAILS SET: All sails set except the flying jib
SHIPS WORK: Half day today!
REMARKS: To celebrate Christmas eve we had lots of delicious home-made cookies and sweets (mostly thanks to Amanda)and a drop of mulled wine, and played ‘Stealing Santa’ or ‘White Elephant’, where gifts from under the tree are unwrapped one by one and then swapped amid much hilarity. More presents and the big feast tomorrow! We had music playing all afternoon, and then Mark played us a recording of Louis Armstrong reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’ at supper.Stealing Santa

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Day’s Run – December 23

BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
NOON POSITION: 28°40.4’S /039°15.4’E
DAYS RUN: 101nm
WEATHER: fair, 3/8 cloud, visibility very good, barometer 1019 millibars
and steady
SAILS SET: All sails set
SHIPS WORK: Got fresh paint aft on the coffee station and stanchions, and primer on monomoy floor boards. Greased the t’gallant mast, sanded and tarred the quarterdeck planks, replaced the main topmast staysail halyard turning block, replaced port main brace lift, finished servicing and sent up starboard main upper topsail footrope.
REMARKS: We set up the Christmas tree on the hatch today, and decked the halls with paper chains and baubles. Getting ready for Christmas!

Decorating the tree

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Christmas Greetings from the Crew!

The barque Picton Castle is at sea this Christmas: crossing the wide, blue Indian Ocean bound for Cape Town, South Africa. It’s the time of year when thoughts turn from our adventures in foreign ports and our salty, tropical, world to family and fireside and holidays at home. So here’s a little festive love from the crew of the Picton Castle to you, all of our wonderful friends, supporters, shipmates and families scattered as you are in almost every corner of the world. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all of my family & friends, especially my little Hannah and Ethan! I love and miss you, wish you were here! Love Scott/Dad/Grandpa

Glædelig Jul og godt nytar Bedstemor oy Bedstetar. Hilsen Emil

Merry Christmas everyone in Frome and Camarthen, I hope you have snow to build snowmen. Seb, no rattlesnakes here but we have seen some sea snakes. Harry, please stop growing, we can share shoes now! Love Amy, Nos da

Prettige Kerst Joppe, Berend, Renske en Barnard family – Hetty

Frohe Weihnachten von der Suedhalbkugel fuer Berlin-Steglitz, Schmoelln, Hamburg und Dresden! Jens

Wishing a very merry Christmas to the Foxies and extended family, and to my wonderful friends and shipmates across the seas and around the world. Have an extra mince pie and a glass of something good for me! Sending much love from this little barque, sailing along happily on the Indian Ocean – Kate/Bob


Glædelig jul og godt nytȧr! Mor, Far og Christian. Haber I har det godt, og at I fȧr en masse sne til jul. Bedste far mȧ gerne spise mit stykke and I ȧr. Stort julekram fra Anne-Mette

Glædelig jul mor, far M, E og Pems. IKKE spis for mange brune kartoflen far Jeg elsker jer alle 4. Karoline Larsen

To my lovely friends around the world, I miss you dearly and I promise it will happen again. Sending big Christmas love, Donald

Talamonu Kilisimasi

Malo e laumalie e Tonga kotoa moe ‘amanaki teuteu ko ia ki he ‘aho Ha’ele mai ai hotau fakamo’ui. ;Oku tutu mo mavava e Hou’eiki moe kainga ‘a Koloa Matangi mei he Lile ‘Oe ‘Avai ‘o Vuna, ki he hanganaki ko ia e katoanga’I e ‘aho ‘etau Tamai Faka-Hevani. Ko ia ai ‘oku ‘oatu ‘a e talamonu fiefia ki hoku famili Petelo mo Petiola pehe foki ki he’eku fine’eiki Kaufo’ou Makatu’u, toenga ‘oe famili, fanga tokoua(Mary Uaisele,Sulieti, Simu)fanga tokoua, kaunga fononga pea moe TONGA kotoa. Fakatauange ke mou ma’u ha Kilisimasi fiefia mo Faitapuekina ‘I he ‘Eiki.

‘Ofa Lahi atu! Vai’ufia Latu.

Dear Ma & Pa, You’re probably not reading this, so I figured I would tell you that when I was 15 I would occasionally steal the car and pick up chicks at the depot. Merry Xmas! Love, Peter

God Jul og godt nyttår Mamma, Pappa, Edvin, Tonje, Bestemor & Bestefar, skulle onske jeg var på hytten med dere! To Sergiu: can’t wait to see you on a bench at the waterfront soon J Love, Turi

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to family and friends both home and abroad. Lots of love – Travis

Schoene Greusse an die Familie und Freunde daheim. Frohe Weihnachten, geniesst die Feiertage und habt einen Guten Rutsch – Axel

Glædelig jul og godt nytȧr! Jeg savner jer, nædkȧl, brun sovs, Vega, min dyne, en der, sne og min vinterjakke. Til gengæld er jeg blevet seluudnævnt tanlinemaster, blævret, meget beskidt men utrolig glad. De storste kys og kram fra Laura

Happy Christmas to all the diverse and spread out PICTON CASTLE Gang, from Lunenburg to Boston to Pitcairn, Tahiti, Palmerston, Rarotonga, Tonga, South Africa, Oregon, New Hampshire, New Zealand, Poland, Red Dear, Vancouver, Sidney by the Sea, Gloucester, Columbia, Florida, Costa Rica, Rowayton, Bristol, Saskatchewan, PEI, Denmark, Bayport, Italy, Martin’s River, Norway, France, Sweden, England, Dublin Shore, Shetland Islands, Mexico, USA, Canada, Grenada, Fiji, Mahone Bay, New Bedford, Topsfield, Newport, Galapagos, Panama, Martha’s Vineyard, New York, Bali and who knows where else from Terrible Two Dawson and Sailmaker Tammy and her husband Dan.

Merry Krissmiss, Happy Hanukkah, a Rippin’ Ramadan, Kwayzee Kwanza and a Sexy Solstice from Mr. Roundhead in the Engine Room…

Happy Holidays! Love, Alexandra

Merry Christmas Russell family and friends. I miss you all and can’t wait to celebrate Christmas during winter again

Glædelig jul og godt nyt ȧr alle sammen, hjemme I kolde Danmark, kærlige tanker fra Christian

To all my friends and family and family friends, merry Christmas and wishes for a happy New Year! John

Glædelig jul og godt nytȧr, hȧber at I har det godt – Magnus

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year. Ni bula mai viti au vanuinui vinaka I viti raraba e na siga ni sucu kei na tawase ni yabaki. Moce 2014 bula 2015. Me ya baki vinaka vei viti na yabaki veu qo. From Josevata Vuinakasa

God Jul Pappa, Helena, Anna, brorsoma och Hedvig, hoppas alt du fȧr en häst! Och mamma och morfar sȧklart, jag saknar er allamassor. Jag räknar dagarna till Kapstaden Jens! Kramar frȧn Elsa

Chief Mate Sam Sikkema would like to wish a very Happy Christmas to his friends and family back home, but he can’t quite find the words.

Šilčiausi Linkejimai is siltuju Kraštu. Sveikinu visus su šventem – Monika

On the 12th day of Christmas, the Tall Ship brought to me:

· Two sharks a swimming

· Several dolphins leaping

· Schools of phosphorescent jellyfish

· A nightwatch in a gale (well some squalls anyway)

· A shower from the firehose midships

· A close-up view of the nebula in Orion’s sword

· Cute Danish sailors

· Two new sunspots on my face

· A bucket lanyard spliced

· Countless calluses formed

· A batch of midnight Sunday brownies

· Two lady cats performing lewd and public acts

The only thing missing is you – the Hardys & the Other Hardys, the Circa girls, you writer types and all my other beloved friends. Merry Christmas to all! Nicole xo

Seasons Greetings from the Engineering Department aboard Picton Castle. Special shout out to my Meermin, Charlotte Hooijdonk, in Amsterdam the Netherlands. Of course also to my Mother, Laynette Haas aka Ima Sis (facebook), in Albuquerque New Mexico. I miss you and am thinking of you out here on the Indian Ocean. Happy New Year. Billy

Peace and love and blessings to you family. Enjoy the season and remember the reason. P.S. Happy Belated Birthday Tunka. Nuff Love Dkembe

Merry Christmas to all back home. See you soon, from Terry

Seasons Greetings to my loved ones at home. I am grateful for your continuing love and support which has carried me so far in this world. Erin

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family!! I’ll try to bring some of the heat back with me when I return. Best Wishes, Kelley O.

God jul familjen! Ni låser nog inte det hår men jag tänker på er och hoppas ni får en underbar jul! Kram Amanda

Mom, Merry Christmas form my first time away NOT in a war zone. Give my regards to everybody (especially Grandpa and the new cats) Love, Aaron

Gud jul mamma, pappa och Ellinor! Och god jul till slåkt och vinner som kan tånkas läsa denna hälning från en solig ocean. Tänker på er! Stora kramar, Elvira

Happy Christmas!

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Day’s Run – December 22

DATE: Dec 22nd, 2014
BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
NOON POSITION: 28°23.6’S /041°05.9’E
DAYS RUN: 60nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 1,272nm WIND: Wind Force 4, W
WEATHER: fair, 1/8 cloud, visibility very good, barometer 1015 millibars and rising
SAILS SET: All sails stowed at the moment – we’re motoring for a spell to make up some time that we lost in a calm as we wait for the winds to come fair – forecast for later this afternoon.
SHIPS WORK: Sent down a foot rope on the main for overhauling. Various painting projects around the ship making the most of the fair weather while it continues. Sail making work continues on three different sails and the bridge awning. Chief Mate Sam Sikkema showed the sail makers how to eye splice ‘typhoon’ wire rope for the new lower topsail – for our strongest heavy-weather sails, we use wire rope instead of manila for the boltrope that stabilises and reinforces the edges of the sail. Best stuff this.
REMARKS: Dolphins! A pod of 8 or 10 came playing all around the ship for a short while this afternoon before heading off to the east.


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Day’s Run – December 21

DATE: Dec 21st, 2014
BOUND FROM: Reunion Island, France, Indian Ocean
TOWARDS: Cape Town, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean
NOON POSITION: 28°17.2’S /042°14.7’E
DAYS RUN: 108nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 1,334nm WIND: Wind Force 2, SWxS
WEATHER: fair, 2/8 cloud, visibility very good, barometer 1017 millibars and falling slowly
SAILS SET: All square sails set running downwind in light winds – beautiful blue sky weather after squalls last night.
SHIPS WORK: Sunday at Sea! Plenty of festive projects keeping people busy today: making gifts and paper decorations, baking batches of sweet treats and wrapping presents were priorities today.
REMARKS: The last ‘marlinspike’ before Christmas got everyone feeling festive this afternoon with music, popcorn and silly hats!

Christmas marlinspike
Christmas Marlinspike

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