Captain’s Log – Passage from Bermuda to Lunenburg

Good day everyone,

Maggie here, from Picton Castle’s office in Lunenburg.  When the ship is underway you rarely hear from me here on the Captain’s Log, but I will be the author of the log for this last passage of Picton Castle’s eighth world voyage.

Before arriving in Bermuda, we knew that we were having a problem with the battery for our Iridium Go.  The Iridium Go is like a modem, we use it to dial up via satellite to send and receive emails and to download weather forecasts.  We ordered a new battery and had it shipped to Bermuda as there were none available on the island.  The battery made it to Bermuda on Friday but did not get cleared through customs before the customs office closed for the weekend on Friday afternoon.  Picton Castle was scheduled to sail on Saturday morning so unfortunately we did not have time to wait. 

The crew do not have access to email on board, but we use it often for ship’s business.  The Day’s Runs that you see posted here are sent daily from the ship to our shore office where they’re posted online.  We’re also often back and forth throughout the day on a variety of ship’s business.  Because we’re not able to do that on this passage, we’ve set up a schedule for daily phone calls where the ship will call the shore office using the hand-held satellite phone that’s on board.  The last two mornings I’ve heard Dustin’s voice on the other end of the phone. 

Although our Iridium Go is currently not functional, there are plenty of other ways that the ship can make contact or send out a distress signal.  There’s the handheld satellite phone, which functions as both a backup for the Iridium Go and part of our abandon ship kit (when not being used, it is stored in a watertight Pelican case so it’s ready for grab-and-go in case of emergency).  There are also two EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons), a SART (Search and Rescue Transponder), numerous PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons), a Single Sideband Radio and several VHF radios.  In addition, the device that we use to update the ship’s position on our website is a stand-alone device (called YB Tracker) and it will continue to ping automatically and update the ship’s position online every eight hours. 

I have a weather update ready to pass along to the ship when they call every morning, aided by a friend and weather expert who is also keeping an eye on the North Atlantic for us.  So far it looks like a good passage for Picton Castle.  They’re experiencing light southerly winds at the moment with the occasional squall.  We’re expecting a band of rain at about 38 degrees latitude, and there’s a clockwise eddy in the Gulf Stream that we’re going to pass to the east of on a rhumbline between Bermuda and Lunenburg. 

When I spoke with Dustin this morning he gave me a day’s run of sorts.  Here are the details for Sunday July 7 at noon.
Noon position: 34 degrees 9.2’ N, 063 degrees 41.2’ W
Speed: 4.6 knots
Day’s run: 112 nautical miles
Voyage log: 28,843 nautical miles
Distance to Lunenburg: 612 nautical miles
Passage log: 124 nautical miles

Dustin also reported that the crew had the last marlinspike of the voyage yesterday afternoon, which included décor of signal flags around the main deck.  It was the final Sunday at sea for this voyage. 

It sounds like they’re working on rigging stuns’ls today, which tells me that this is a fairly gentle North Atlantic passage – we usually set them in the tradewinds, not while sailing north!  Stuns’ls, or studding sails, are three extra sails that are set on the windward side of either the sails on the foremast or the sails on the mainmast, or both.  They give an extra lift of speed to the ship, usually about half a knot to a knot every hour.  For a square rig sailor, setting stuns’ls is like letting a kid loose in a candy store – super exciting, fun, and a great treat! 

We are on track for Picton Castle to arrive in Lunenburg this coming Saturday, July 13.  We don’t know the specific time yet, we’ll announce that later in the week once we have it confirmed.

I’ll bring you more news from the ship tomorrow.  In the meantime, if you’d like to follow Picton Castle’s progress north, the best way to do that is through our tracker online here:

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