The Picton Castle Leaves for the South Pacific

3 11 2012

The Picton Castle has been back home in Lunenburg for the summer, preparing for her next voyage to the South Pacific.

She should have left port 2 weeks ago, but Captain Moreland decided to delay the departure due to the approaching Hurricane Sandy.

The crew were not allowed to lie around.

There was plenty to learn.

Today, friends, family and the people of Lunenburg went along to watch this old very special sailing ship leave. Everyone was busy on deck,

getting the jobs done.

And above decks,

putting all their training into action.

I’m sure this is easier done from the safety of the harbour, rather than at sea.

Everyone gathered to wish the crew a ‘Safe Journey.’

I only found out at the harbourside that Captain Moreland’s and Tammy Sharp’s baby son, Dawson, would be travelling on this trip.

It looks like they might be bringing their son up in the Cook Islands, at least for the next three years.

The sails were unfurled.

The safety boat was moved away for the departure.

Horns hooted, people cheered and applauded as the Picton Castle moved off.

Some had a last look at Lunenburg. The next stop will be Grenada, then through the Panama Canal to the Galapagos Islands, Pitcairn Island, French Polynesia, and then to the Cook Islands.

She is off now on another wonderful adventure. The people of Lunenburg will miss her and all of the lively, friendly, crew.

Tiare Taporo, Lunenburg

28 10 2012

In July of this year, I was walking along the path at the Foundry in Lunenburg, when I noticed this ship. The first day, it did not have the masts, but later in the week it looked like this. I wondered who would be converting a fishing boat to a sailing ship. The name on the side was Tiare Taporo, Avatiu. Avatiu is in the Cook Islands.

I went home to do some research.

The original Tiare Tapore was one of the very last ships to trade under sail in the Cook Islands and the South Pacific. You can read about her here.

Pacific Schooners Limited, through the travels of the Picton Castle, became aware of the need for a passenger, cargo vessel, to go between the Cook Islands and the South Pacific. Having a vessel that could use wind power, would help save money on diesel.

So, where did this new Tiare Taporo come from?

Two fishing boats have been sitting in Lunenburg Harbour for some time. You will see them in the centre of this foggy photo I took. They are the green, black and mustard scallop draggers, the Zebroid and Primo, that belonged to Clearwater.

It was decide to convert the Zebroid into a new sailing, cargo vessel.

I found this excellent photo on Flickr, taken by Dennis Jarvis.


The Zebroid was taken to the dry dock, for work to begin on her hull. I did see her there, but didn’t realise that she was the ship I later saw at the Foundry. She looks much bigger out of the water.


Her sister ship, the Primo, still sits in her green paint.

I have read on the Tiare Taporo site, that the plan is for the ship to

  • carry 200 to 300 tons of break-bulk cargo including; frozen fish, fuel transport, freight, orders, govt supplies and trade goods.
  •  carry doctors and dentists as often as possible to provide specialist care for outer islanders.
  • take up to 30 passengers, 8 professional crew and 6 apprentices in comfortable cabins and bunks.
  • provide  a dependable regularly scheduled service to the islands.

The new, white, Tiare Taporo sits in the main harbour just now, alongside the Picton Castle, which is just about to head off on its next voyage to the South Pacific.

I have just looked at the last photos I took, before the Picton Castle went off for the summer and see that the Tiare Taporo was in the background.

I wonder when she will head off for her new life?

The Picton Castle Leaves Lunenburg

18 04 2012

The Picton Castle returned to Lunenburg last June after her 5th World voyage.

We have enjoyed seeing her in Lunenburg all winter, but knew that she’d leave soon on another trip.

Her new crew arrived and last week was a busy week, preparing the ship and taking on supplies.

I thought these were boxes of crisps or potato chips, but on looking closer, I see they are apples, with a Trout label, from Chelan Lake.

The ship was due to leave Lunenburg Harbour at 2pm, on Monday.

But the fog had come in overnight

and you could hardly see across the bay to the golf course.

The crew were swabbing the deck,

the bananas were sleeping,

and the laundry was hung out to dry.

T shirts were handed out to the crew and the decision made to wait until Tuesday morning to sail.

It was still foggy yesterday, but I spotted the Picton Castle as she motored out of the bay, heading for Bermuda. I hope she managed to find enough wind to raise her sails. Today is a beautiful day. I’m sure they’ll all have a wonderful trip.

Foggy Walk around Lunenburg

10 01 2012

The Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking over
harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl sandburg

We had a quiet foggy walk around Lunenburg yesterday.

The Picton Castle sat swathed in a white cloak.

and the Caledonia peered out to sea.

The scallop boats dreamt about their next trip.

Whilst the lobster boats dosed at the side of the wharf.

But this  little boat was going nowhere,  hiding in its smoke-screen.

The Picton Castle Returns to Lunenburg

18 06 2011

It was March 2010, that I watched the Picton Castle sail out of Lunenburg Harbour on her 5th World trip.

She headed to Panama, Ecuador and on to Tahiti and the Cook Islands on the first leg.

Here is a video  I found on youtube of here arriving at the Cook Islands, where she is registered.

From August until November she sailed to Tonga, Fiji and Bali.

Leg 3 took her from Bali, to Cape Town.   She then sailed from South Africa to Bermuda and back to Lunenburg.

The captain’s log makes interesting reading of this voyage.

Today, the Picton Castle returned to her home port – but I was not in town to watch her sail back!

I walked to the harbour and took these photos.

Most of the crew had left the ship.

The rain wasn’t far away.

Lunenburg was pleased to see her safe return.

She proudly flies the Canadian flag, as well as that of the Cook Islands.

Wouldn’t it be something to travel the world in one of these ships?

This summer you can sail on her to Newfoundland, the most eastern piece of land in North America – as a crew member.

And discover for yourself what life is like aboard.

You will learn everything you need to know about sailing. The trip starts in July and takes 8 weeks. Anyone interested?

Shipbuilding at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

13 04 2010

I saw this report in the local paper last fall.

Dawson Moreland & Associates Ltd., as the Lunenburg Schooner Company, will be laying the keels of two new “Lunenburg Schooners” in the finest Maritime traditions at The Dory Shop on the harbour shores of our famous seafaring town, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. We are starting off this exciting enterprise with the design and construction of two classic 48-foot, two-masted schooner yachts, for cruising, racing and ocean voyaging. “Fast and Able” schooners are our aim. An initiative to capture the imagination itself, this project is part of the restoration of The Dory Shop Boatyard as the wooden boat building and repair facility it has been for so long and is also a key component of the efforts to revitalize the Lunenburg Working Waterfront.
Starting this autumn, for the first time in many decades, townsfolk and visitors alike will once again witness wooden sailing vessels under
construction along the water’s edge of Lunenburg  Harbour. For so many generations this was such a common sight that even today in the
21st century Lunenburg is known the world over for her fleets of white-winged sailing ships and abilities to put such vessels together.
The replicas of the Bounty, Bluenose, HMS Rose, the expedition vessel Wanderbird and the world voyaging sail training ship, the Barque Picton
Castle, all sailing today, were crafted by the many area shipwrights, sailmakers, spar makers, block makers,slipways and blacksmiths. Together
they still make Lunenburg the place to build or refit a ship and launch a dream.

This was exciting news for us. Although coming from the East Coast of Scotland, the tradition of shipbuilding has almost died out and it is rare to see the building of any new boat.

We saw the keels when they had just been laid and last week-end went along to get some photos to show the progress.

The history of how they obtained the wood for these boats was also really interesting.
In the spring of 2009 while on the ship’s 18,000-mile Voyage of the Atlantic, the crew of the Picton Castle got permission from the Forestry Department of the Island of Grenada in the West Indies to go into the jungle with the famous Grenadian shipwright “Mr. Bones” and locate timbers for keels, stems and other components to build these schooners. Five days later the crew came out of the jungle with two 3,000- pound, 32’x12”x22” pieces of incredibly durable ‘Mountain Gormier’. These they loaded on the ship and sailed the 1,700 miles North to Lunenburg where they now lay at The Dory Shop with a growing pile of timbers waiting for keel laying day. Timber, carpenters, tools and other supplies are being gathered for the Autumn keel laying.

Here is an amazing video of the whole trip to acquire the wood. It is 25 minutes long, but you can move through it quicker if you wish.








It will be exciting to watch the progress of these two schooners and I’m sure that the Launch will be a day of celebration for the town of Lunenburg.