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Tallship Sailing around the Canadian and USA coasts in 2009 on the Picton Castle

Map of North American Tallship Voyage on the Picton Castle in 2009

The above map shows my travels around the coasts of Canada and the USA in 2009.The first and last parts of the summer, a total of 12 weeks, were spent volunteering at the Horse and Garden Farm External link opens a new Browser window, an organic vegetable and salad farm near Windsor, Nova. What a wonderful time I had - a great experience, and something I would recommend to anyone. There are plenty of farms in Canada that want volunteers, and who provide free accommodation and food in return for 5 or 6 hours work per day - check out the possibilities on the WWOOF Canada External link opens a new Browser window website. There are some photos of the farm and my explorations in the vicinity in my Canada photo gallery.

For the rest of the summer, I spent the time learning how to crew a traditional tallship: the 3 masted barque 'Picton Castle' External link opens a new Browser window. This was something that I had wanted to do for many years. I had always been fascinated by tall ships, especially the sailing clippers that used to bring tea from China to England in the 19th century. Whilst I was working in the Antarctic in 1982-3, I used to pass my time by making fully-rigged model sailing ships inside old gin and whisky bottles.

Now I had the chance to experience the full sized version! Like other sail trainees, I started off as a complete novice, but soon picked up the nautical terminology, and literally 'learned the ropes', of which there were 175 different ones, all with different names and different jobs to do. We sailed from Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, the home port of the Picton Castle, to Gloucester, Massachusetts, arriving for the 4th of July celebrations. On to Boston, Massachusetts where we joined up with many other tallships from all over the world. Back to Canadian waters, as we sailed around Nova Scotia, visiting many small ports along the coast. A courtesy visit to Prince Edward Island and the Iles de La Madelaine followed, then an unexpected stop in Newfoundland to avoid some surprise hurricanes that had ventured further north than was usual. When they had passed, we were able to return to Lunenberg, and the end of that summer's tallship voyaging for me.

You can see some of the photos of this unique hands-on sailing experience on my Picton Castle page. There are more sailing shots, plus other land-based images, in the Canada and USA photo gallerys. There are plenty of other shots still to come, when I get the time to process them!

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