After a short week in port Picton Castle got underway from La Rochelle this afternoon.
Though our stay was short, we had a lovely time in this Old World port. We were well received with a welcome from the Mayor of La Rochelle and Harbour Master and much hospitality and curiosity from many in the town. The local maritime museum, which has a beautiful collection of wooden
yachts, allowed our crew in for free and we in turn gave their staff a tour of our ship. The classic yacht club also opened it’s doors to us, holding a reception in the city’s old customs house.
Last Wednesday another sailing ship joined us in the harbour, Shtandart, a representation of the 18th century flag ship of Peter the Great of Russia. It was a good opportunity for the crew of each ship to peek over each others rails and see the difference in square rig sailing technology of a little more than 100 years. It made the old harbour look a little bit closer to what it might have in the age of sail with two sets of masts showing out from the basin next to the castle at the entrance.
After all had had their last cup of French coffee and the ship was ready for sea we began to ease Picton Castle out away from the quay at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. It took a few minutes to get lined up for the narrow lock at the entrance to the basin but once through there was just enough wind to start setting sail.
It turned into a busy afternoon for the crew as we began to set sail another group had to row our pulling boat out from the basin as we could not have it hanging outboard in the davits going through the lock, once out they had to catch up to the ship and manoeuvre in to get the falls on under the davits. After we hoisted the boat the crew put the ship under full sail in order to stand out of the harbour and into the roads. We had a minute to eat dinner as we crossed Basque Roads on our way to anchorage for the night. In the failing light on the opposite side of the Roads off Ile D’Oleron, the crew quickly got aloft to stow sail and we set the anchor watch, then turned to a good night’s rest.
SHIP’S WORK: Prep for sea.
FROM: La Rochelle, France
TIME ZONE: ZD -2
NOON POSITION: Alongside, outer basin, La Rochelle
DAYS RUN: N/A
PASSAGE LOG: 0nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 4600nm
COURSE AND SPEED: N/A
WIND: NE, Force 3
WEATHER: Sunny, air temp: 20°C, water temp: 17°C
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: Calm
SAILS SET: None