Captain’s Log – The Line, Getting Close

0430 May 9, 2024: Picton Castle at 0 degrees – 44 minutes South and 045 degrees – 15 minutes West, about 100 miles off the coast of Brazil. Steering northwesterly in an ENE breeze. Small seas.

On the recent 12-4 watch just now ended, the winds shifted from ESE to ENE. Now we are braced up on starboard tack, winds abeam, instead of yards squared with winds astern. Light overcast but some stars peeking through. All sail set to the topgallants. No doubt will set the royals and flying jib when it gets light. Soon we should start seeing the new moon. The Equator, aka The Line, is 57 miles ahead on this course and at this speed of 6 knots, 9 to 10 hours away. Lots of ships so we do not know if King Neptune and Court will visit Picton Castle today or not. They must be busy attending to all these ships.

Yesterday winds were almost calm between squalls. We are in the doldrums, officially, but we are still moving in the right direction. At times we had bare steerage-way. Yet due to the current the ship was still making 4.5 to even 6 knots over the bottom, all in the right direction. Impressive. Seemed like we were becalmed and stuck on something but no, 5 knots we were making!

The new yard is coming along as is roping on new sails. Tapered and 8-sided now with Clara and helper Dan doing a great job. Not much painting or varnishing as these rather benign rain squalls put the kibosh on that sort of work.

1024: all plain sail set, every stitch, even the gaff topsail. Wind on the starboard beam, seas small, Picton Castle making 8 sweet knots… Beautiful day, sunny and bright. Small seas. Life is good. For now. 20 miles to The Line on this course, the tension is rising.

1253 and at 043 degrees 51.01 minutes West Picton Castle crossed the Equator into the northern hemisphere at 6.6 knots off the coast of Brazil. All is well. I think…

HRH King Neptune and his Royal Court did in fact come aboard Picton Castle, and set all to rights as we sailed along off the coast of Brazil 1,300 miles from Grenada. All is well.

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