By Kate “Bob” Addison
August 8, 2012
And so our 2012 summer voyage has come to an end. We’ve sailed to Bermuda and back and explored the East Coast of the USA and Canada as far south as Savannah, Georgia and all the way back up to Halifax. We’ve had city adventures in New York and chilled out in some tiny villages and gorgeous bays. We’ve been a part of festivals and tall ship races, participated in parades of sail and crew parades, pancake breakfasts and crew suppers. We’ve been to parties and dances and blessings of the fleet, watched fireworks, live music, stilt-walkers, and open air movies. We’ve welcomed thousands of visitors on board and made friends across the fleet. If nothing else, this summer was certainly memorable.
An Oscar moment is coming now, so hankies at the ready. Apart from my mum and dad and God I need to thank everyone who made this summer not just possible but a great success. So here goes: thank you to the people behind each of the festivals: Savannah, Greeport, Norfolk, Newport, Halifax, Port Hawkesbury and Pugwash, and the wonderful gang at Tall Ships America for making the whole thing happen, races and festivals and all. Enormous thanks to our brilliant liaison officers in each port who did a thousand small things to make everything run smoothly, and to our fabulous army of former shipmates, parents, friends of the ship and strangers: for every laundry run, provisioning trip, use of a vehicle, edible gift, free admission to a museum and every other kindness. To the harbourmasters and dockmasters, security guards, pilots, push boat drivers and line handlers, thank you for looking after our ship and our crew. To the girl called Laura and the pet rescue centre in Savannah, thank you for introducing us to George, and George to a life as ship’s cat. Thank you to the photographers and press for capturing the spirit of the events, and helping to spread the word. Thank you to every single member of the public who came out to see the ships and in doing so helped support sail training and some of the most beautiful ships in North America and beyond. To the captains and crews of the other ships in the fleet, it was a privilege and a joy to sail with you this summer; I hope our tracks cross again before too long. And finally, to Captain Moreland, Captain Bercaw, the crew of the Picton Castle and our fabulous shore crew Maggie and Susan: thank you so much for your incredible hard work, dedication, skill and good spirit this summer. You guys are some of the best people I’ve ever met, and collectively the reason that the Picton Castle is such a great ship. Ok, I’m all done so hankies away and finish your champagne. Sorry if I missed anyone.
Our last day was spent at anchor in Rose Bay, buzzing about getting the ship all pretty for her homecoming. That evening was one of the nicest of the voyage: a peaceful sunny evening anchored in flat calm in a beautiful spot. People were tired and happy after a productive day’s work. Donald cooked steak for supper and we opened the Starboard Side Swimming Pool so people could splash about, dive off the bow or lounge about in towels on the cargo hatch. We rigged up the swing-rope on the fore course yard, and practiced back flips and belly flops swinging off the rope.
The next morning the fog had settled back in, but we hoisted our anchor and nosed our way into Lunenburg Harbour. There were plenty of people standing on the dock to welcome us home as we emerged like a ghost ship from the fog, quietly backed into our berth and threw the first line ashore. In no time we were safely tied up and with “Mr Mate, that will do the watches” the voyage was finished.
The crew have already started going their separate ways, some staying for Bosun School, and all the projects and fun of Lunenburg in the summer. Another gang has flown out to Istanbul to help rig up Fullriggeren Sorlandet, another exciting project with heaps to do and heaps to learn. Others are heading home to see family and friends, some heading back to school, or to join other ships.
Here in Lunenburg yesterday we helped to launch the beautiful schooner Martha Seabury from the Dory Shop where she’s been being built over the last couple of years. Hundreds of people came out to watch and the press was well represented too. There were speeches from Captain Moreland, dignitaries and her proud new owner Billy Campbell. She was christened Martha Seabury by Maggie breaking a rum bottle on her stem, and her decks were decorated with some of the better looking Picton Castle crew, Danish mostly, before being launched as the crowd cheered. She was floated off her cradle with help of a tow boat and some muscle from Picton Castle, Amistad and the Dory Shop heaving away with block and tackle. It was a truly wonderful day for all involved, and for the Martha Seabury just the start of many wonderful adventures to come. And then, in October the ship’s company will reconvene. New trainee crew will sign on, and old crew will return to begin the exciting preparations for the start of the next voyage. We’ll send up sails, provision and bunker, load cargo for the islands and get the ship all stowed and ready for sea. Get the crew trained, drilled and ready for sea too. And then one fine day this autumn, we’ll take in the gangway, cast off our dock lines and set sail again. But this time for the magical islands of the South Pacific.