Picton Castle was originally scheduled to set sail on a year-long voyage to the South Pacific in May 2020. Because of COVID-19, that didn’t happen and we had to delay the start of the voyage. Originally we delayed until July, then until October, and a few weeks ago we further postponed, pushing the start of the voyage back until May 2021. Here in Lunenburg in the Picton Castle office we have received many messages of sympathy and condolence regarding the postponing the start of this incredible voyage. Lovely sentiments of support expressed by so many that share our seafaring and tropical island world have come our way. However, with all the COVID-19 forecasts it is difficult-to-impossible to see any alternative to keeping the ship tied up until next spring right where she is.
A great many folks in the international world of tall ships and sail training look to the Barque Picton Castle as an exemplar of square-rig, blue-water voyaging. This is a distinct honour for us of course, it is a responsibility as well. With this, and the dreams, hopes and ambitions of our crew and trainees in the front of our minds, we are looking ahead to next spring with optimism, expectation, and keen desire to set sail again on a deep-sea tradewind voyage in our ocean wandering windship. As we all face and deal with issues in these times and new circumstances, we are planning accordingly for this ship.
Putting off the start of this Picton Castle voyage by what essentially amounts to an entire year has given us pause to review just about everything we have been studying in order to ensure a successful voyage. We have been granted an interesting opportunity, and are challenged, in fact, to think through the possibilities and variables that any voyage presents. Figuring out how to plan a new voyage in the ways that will give us, like earlier voyages, the highest and strongest case for success. As we batted this around with our key people, we came to a question and then a conclusion. Why not make a voyage around the world? Yes, why not?
So, all this is to say that we are pleased to announce that the Barque Picton Castle is planning to set out on a one year, 30,000-mile, voyage under sail bound around the world on a global circumnavigation in the spring of 2021. And we could not be more delighted with the prospect.
We have examined all the possibilities we can imagine for Picton Castle going forward. We came to the conclusion that a world voyage would be the voyage for the Barque Picton Castle right now, or soon as we set sail. Yes, we had thought that this past circumnavigation ending last year would be the last for a number of reasons but like in so many other areas of our lives these days, the times have caused that thinking to evolve.
Sailing deep-sea all around the world in a ‘medium-clipper’ square-rigger is an incredible seagoing odyssey so rich in seafaring and cultures, incredible islands and ports, and gorgeous trade wind passages. But we doubt we have to talk anyone into this idea that does not already see it this way. We will not even try.
Details of the routing and other questions for this epic voyage are now available here. But in broad strokes, the voyage is planned to begin in Lunenburg with crew joining the ship in April 2021, setting sail in May 2021 bound for Panama, then westward around the world, returning to Lunenburg in June 2022.
This is a big change – and a thrilling one. As the key indicators all started to line up and it became apparent to us that this would be a great way forward, we all felt a rush of excitement about embarking on a circumnavigation in the Picton Castle. We know that many others will feel that excitement too, and will want to make this voyage with us.
Captain Daniel Moreland; Maggie Ostler, Chief Operations Officer