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Captain’s Log – Conference in California

Maggie here, writing to you from Picton Castle’s shore office in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada.  While Picton Castle is in Luderitz, Namibia and our usual Captain’s Log writers are busy getting fuel and provisions sorted out for the ship (and seeing some amazing sights in this old German mining town), I’m here to bring you an update from the shore crew. 

A couple of weeks ago, Bronwen Livingston and I headed to San Pedro, California for the Tall Ships America conference.  Bronwen may be familiar to some of you – she was a frequent contributor to the Captain’s Log back on Picton Castle’s fifth world voyage (2010-2011) when she sailed as purser on that voyage.  Bronwen has joined Trudi Inglis and I in the office, working on a few special projects, and we’re glad to have her back. 

Anyway, Bronwen and I flew to California to take part in Tall Ships America’s annual conference.  We try to have Picton Castle represented there every year, and it’s especially important in years when we’re participating in the Tall Ships Challenge, like we are this year.  It’s a great opportunity for us to put names and faces together and to hammer out final details with all of the host port organizers from the various places we’ll visit in the coming summer.  The conference has all sorts of interesting, informative and educational sessions, plus lots of time to talk and connect with other people who work in our industry.  Days were full and busy, starting with breakfast at 0730 and ending with evening receptions that went into the night. 

One of the highlights for us was learning that Picton Castle’s Chief Mate, Erin Greig, would receive an award at the conference’s gala dinner.  Here’s an excerpt from Erin’s nomination as Young Sail Trainer of the Year:

“Erin has worked her way up through the ranks in Barque Picton Castle, first sailing as an apprentice in the South Pacific, then as lead seaman, then bosun on several transatlantic passages to Africa and Europe, then watch officer in training.  After taking some time away from working at sea in order to pursue her education for licensing at Warsash Academy in the UK, Erin became the first Bermudian woman to become a certified Officer of the Watch, Unlimited and 3,000 tons as Chief Officer. Now, as mentioned, she is Chief Mate on an ambitious 30,000 mile voyage, effectively and cheerfully leading young people, mature folks, men and women on this amazing circumnavigation and turning non-mariners into capable seafarers and shipmates. She is simply one of a small handful of dedicated young sailing ship mariners that I can call the most competent and inspiring leaders at sea in sail training today.”

Erin wasn’t there to receive her award in person, so I accepted on her behalf and will be sure it’s properly presented to her once Picton Castle sails into Lunenburg to complete this world circumnavigation voyage. 

We now have in our hands another award as well.  Back in November, none of us from Picton Castle were able to attend the Sail Training International conference in Seville, Spain, so when we were awarded the Sail Training Program of the Year award, Mike Rauworth, the Chair of Tall Ships America, accepted it on our behalf.  Mike toted it across the Atlantic and across the continent for us and presented it to us in person in San Pedro.  We’re still pretty excited about this one, being recognized by our industry colleagues worldwide is a huge honour. 

We were pleased to have a real Lunenburg contingent there at the conference.  In addition to Bronwen and I, there was David Jones from Class Afloat, and Captain Phil Watson and Anne Bailly from Bluenose IIBluenose II will also be sailing to the Great Lakes this summer and we’re looking forward to sailing in company with her.  

It’s always inspiring to see what other people and organizations are doing in their own home towns and this conference was no different.  In the Program Showcase session where I presented about our upcoming Bosun School, there was a presentation on the construction of the brigantine Matthew Turner in Sausalito, California, and a presentation on the schooner Ernestina which is currently undergoing a multi-year reconstruction in Maine. 

The conference flew by and soon it was time for us to head home, just ahead of the next snow storm in Nova Scotia.  Luckily we had a few hours to be tourists and explore Venice Beach before we got on the plane! 

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