Wind and sea have become calm as we cross the Bay of Biscay. With only 100 miles to go a little afternoon we are anticipating anchoring tomorrow morning.
With the sun shining most of the day we have swung into full port prep: a ship coming in from sea is always supposed, at least on the inside, to look better than when she left. The ship has done well to take care of us as we crossed the North Atlantic and now it’s time we give back to her.
In the early afternoon we stopped for a while to swing the compass. This is a process that allows us to check what our steering compass error is. All ships, especially steel ones, have some amount of compass error know as deviation. It is correctable to a degree but simply knowing how much error there is at any given time is essential to proper navigation. The process of finding the deviation is turning slow circles with the ship and comparing the ship’s magnetic steering compass to a sun compass or ‘pelorus’. With a few calculations the sun provides us with true azimuth and we deduct the local magnetic variation to get the ship’s deviation. It is the same tried and true process that has been used since the age of sail.
Just after dinner having come within 60nm of the coast and with a light northerly breeze picking up, the Captain decided to shut down and sail for the night. Within a few minutes the crew, now getting very proficient at sail handling, had all sail set and PICTON CASTLE went gliding along in silence at 4kts across Biscay. As we slide past the multitudes of fishing vessels making their living in the night we have the opportunity to appreciate the calm and peace of being away from land on our last night at sea.
SHIP’S WORK: Continue galley house dutchman, general ship cleaning, acid wash bulwarks and continue overhaul of Outer Jib sheet pennants.
FROM: Lunenburg, NS, Canada
TOWARDS: La Rochelle, France
TIME ZONE: ZD 0, GMT, UTC, Zulu, etc.
NOON POSITION: 46°05.7’N / 003°41.1’W
DAYS RUN: 175nm
PASSAGE LOG: 2883nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 105nm
COURSE AND SPEED: E, 7kts
WEATHER: Sunny, air temp: 18°C, water temp: 14°C
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 1 – 2 ft, mixed
SAILS SET: None