sail training cruises

A Tall Ship Heads to Sea

A Tall Ship Heads to Sea

The sail training barque Picton Castle, a square-rigger registered in the Cook Islands and based in Lunenburg Harbor, Nova Scotia, is about to depart its mooring and head off on its fifth circumnavigation. The 14-month, westbound trip will sail through the tropics under the command of its first and only captain, Daniel Moreland.

Some 44 trainees and 12 professional crew have spent the past four weeks finishing preparations for the voyage, including a haulout last month for a new coat of paint on the hull. The upper yards – royals and t’gallants – have been sanded and varnished, all the blocks have been overhauled, lines tarred, and inspections passed.

Sail Plan of the Barque Picton Castle

Sail Plan of the Barque Picton Castle

Picton Castle was built in 1928 as a motorized trawler, served as a Royal Navy minesweeper in World War II, and was converted to sail in 1997. Her crew must master the 175 lines that comprise her standing and running rig. As a barque, Picton Castle has a fore mast and main mast that are square-rigged, and her mizzen mast is rigged fore-and-aft.

Barque Picton Castle


Sparred Length       179′
LOA                        148′
LOD                       135′
LWL                       130′
Draft                       14′ 6
Beam                      24′
Rig Height                97′
Freeboard                6′
Sail Area                 12,450 square feet
Tons                       284 GRT
Power                      690 HP diesel
Hull                          steel

Here’s the outline itinerary for the fifth World Voyage:

Itinerary for World Voyage 5, 2010-2011

Leg Location Port Date
Leg 1 Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada April 12, 2010
  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador  
  Pitcairn Island  
  Gambier Islands, French Polynesia  
  Rarotonga, Cook Islands August 15, 2010
Leg 2 Rarotonga, Cook Islands August 16, 2010
  Palmerston Atoll, Cook Islands  
  Vava’u, Tonga  
  Suva, Fiji  
  Bali, Indonesia November 12, 2010
Leg 3 Bali, Indonesia November 13, 2010
  Cape Town, South Africa February 3 2011
Leg 4 Cape Town, South Africa February 4, 2011
  St. Helena  
  Fernando de Noronha, Brazil  
  Lesser Antilles  
  Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada June 18, 2011


You can still sign up for Leg 2 and beyond if you happen to be in a position to do that. And there are lots of ways to follow Picton Castle on its voyage. Captain Moreland keeps a log on the main website and a number of the trainees keep blogs, which are the best way to learn what a sail-training voyage is really all about.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Sail, Destinations, Passagemaking News, Sailboats, Sailing Gear & Apparel