Indian Ocean World Voyage 4

Clean Sweet Wind

The crew of the Picton Castle is enjoying a passage across the Indian Ocean that is just about as sweet as can be. Since the dual low pressure systems we threaded between just after we sailed from Christmas Island scurried off and away we have had nothing less than perfect trade-wind sailing. Day after day of south easterly breezes blowing in over the port quarter at around 18-20 knots, clear blue skies with just enough puffy clouds to break up the blue. Seas have been small to moderate too. The Picton Castle has been carrying every stitch of canvas we can set; royals, flying jib, main-t’gallant staysail, gaff-topsail, fore lower studding sail, topmast studding sail and t’gallant studding sail. We have been making a steady 130 – 160 miles a day and although some of the gang have had to learn to concentrate, steering has been easy too.

Flying fish dance across the sparkling wave tops scattering out of our way as we plough along ever westward. We have caught a few Wahoo. And eaten them right up.

Sails are getting made up on the quarter deck, piles of bright creamy canvas blinding us in the high tropical sun. Rigger daymen (Ollie, Amanda, Tracy, Rebecca under Lynsey’s�guide) are replacing ratlines, tarring and greasing things. In the afternoons we have been holding seamanship workshops; rope-work, splicing and seizings have been the concentration. Today we will start to overhaul a backstay making new serving and wire seizings. A good chance to learn some rigging skills. Logan and Brent are lifting the teak cap-rail aft around the quarter deck. The steel underneath will be treated and painted, then the cap-rail will be bedded and refastened back in place. Maggie is making some beautiful new curtains for the t’weendecks bunks in the salon out of richly woven Ikat material from the market in Bali. A lovely Christmas has come and gone. Our formal New Years Dance was a fine success and on we sail. This is a big ocean.

This gang has logged over 16,000 miles since casting off from our wharf in Lunenburg. Mostly we have had excellent sailing conditions. Right now sailing conditions are perfect.

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