The Barque Picton Castle

The Picton Castle and Our
Sail Training Program

The ship is a completely refitted barque that observes the rigorous standards of Germanischer Lloyds for steel-hulled Cape Horners. She is 179 feet overall, with riveted steel hull, clear oiled-pine decks, steel masts, and wooden and steel yards. She carries 12,450 square feet of canvas sail. The ship also has a powerful 690 hp Burmeister & Wain Alpha diesel engine for occasions when sailing is not feasible. The galley is on deck and the ship’s teak wheel is also on deck. 

There are berths for 38 sail trainees and 12 professional crew members. Usually about half our trainees are men and half women. Their ages range from 18 to 60+, with the majority under 35. Sleeping accommodations are bunkroom style, in two tiers of pilot bunks. Bunks have curtains for privacy and individual reading lights.

The Picton Castle is a true working tall ship. Sail trainees participate fully in the ship’s operation: handling sails, scrubbing the deck, taking a turn at the wheel, raising anchor, hauling on lines, helping in the galley, going aloft (optional), and keeping lookout. There are training classes in seamanship and navigation, plenty of opportunities to learn square-rig sailing and, on the world voyages, to explore exotic tropical ports and islands.

Ship's Specifications

Sparred length overall – 179 ft.

Hull length – 148 ft.

Waterline length – 130 ft.

Beam – 24 ft. Draft – 14.5 ft.

Gross tonnage – 284 gross tons

Net tonnage – 85 net tons

Auxiliary Engine – Burmeister & Wain Alpha Diesel 690 hp with controllable pitch-propeller

Construction – riveted steel hull, full steel plate under 3 in. oiled planks, six watertight compartments

Sails – 12,450 square feet of cotton canvas

Accommodation – 52 total

Spars – steel lower masts, topmasts and bowsprit; pine jibboom, yards, topgallant/royal masts, mizzen topmasts, spanker gaff and boom

Rigging – parceled and served galvanized wire standing rigging, manila running rigging

Displacement – 565 tons

Fuel capacity – 20 tons, 2,500 miles range

Water capacity – 3,500 gallons and a Great Water water maker

Cargo/supplies capacity – 50 tons

Builder – Cochran’s Shipyard, Selby, Yorkshire England, 1928. Rebuild – Haugesund, Norway, 1955. Refit – Lunenburg, NS, Canada, 1997.

Boats – 18 ft. Cape Island Skiff with 40 hp outboard, 23 ft. Monomoy longboat for expeditions under oar and sail.

Communications gear – Iridium GO, hand-held satellite phone, single side band radio, ship-to-shore VHF radios

Navigation equipment – AIS, TIMEZERO electronic charts,  FURUNO Radar, depth sounder, GPS units, satellite compass, three sextants, chronometer, worldwide paper charts and tables, etc

The Picton Castle is registered in the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific, inspected and surveyed by the Maritime Cook Islands under the Ministry of Transportation. The ship’s mission is deep-ocean sail training. Also, she carries supplies and educational materials to far-flung islands in the South Pacific and Africa. She is based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada between voyages.

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