Sailing Around the Globe, Part 1 — Picton Castle

Let’s say that you want to circumnavigate the world by sail and yet you don’t necessarily have enough experience or even, for that matter, a boat. All the same, you really want to make a-once-in-a-lifetime voyage where you are more than just a passenger, where you stand your trick at the helm, set and furl sails and watch the sun rise and set on a rolling sea. The good news is that you can do just that, and you even have several options. In the next two posts, we will look at two very different, and yet, in many respects, interestingly similar, ways to take make that epic voyage around all, or part, of the world under sail.  

One alternative for those who want to sail a square rigger is the 179 feet long, three-masted barque, Picton Castle.

In October 2017, Picton Castle will begin it’s seventh voyage around the world under sail, setting off on an epic 18-month voyage around the world.  For a fee, you can sign on as one of 40 sail trainees supported by 12 certified professional mariners. From the Picton Castle website:

Always dreamed of standing at a ship’s wheel steering under a cloud of white canvas sails? This is your chance. You will also haul on lines, handle sails, scrub the decks, take your turn on forward lookout, paint the entire ship from top to bottom, peel carrots for the cook in the galley, observe and log the weather, plot our position on charts, tie knots, splice rope, brace the yards and whatever else it takes to keep the ship sailing. No sailing experience is needed to become a trainee. You will learn the skills you need and how it all works through the process of sailing the ship, as well as regular workshops.

For the vast majority of the voyage, Picton Castle will sail in a westerly direction, always toward the sunset. Starting from our base of operations in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada you’ll head south to lower latitudes and warmer weather in the Caribbean Sea. Then the drive west begins, passing through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean. After many, many island visits in Polynesia and Melanesia, you will pass through the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea, from the Pacific Ocean into the Indian Ocean. After crossing the Indian Ocean you will sail around the south end of Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. You’ll cross the South Atlantic from east to west, approaching the Equator again, then the Caribbean, then it’s north to return to Lunenburg a year and a half later.

Picton Castle is the only square-rigged ship sailing around the world today on which you can sign on to sail as crew the whole way ’round. Trainees may also sign on for one or more legs of the voyage. 

Of course, it costs a lot of money to build, operate and maintain a square rigger and then to sail her around the world. The fees to sign aboard as trainee for the entire voyage or for any of the four individual legs are: 

  • Entire Voyage: $62000
  • Leg 1: South Pacific Bound: $24800
  • Leg 2: Polynesian Passage: $15200
  • Leg 3: Fiji to Bali and Africa: $23200
  • Leg 4: Transatlantic: $18000 

If the cost or the time required for the world voyage are daunting, the Picton Castle also offers a series of shorter voyages in the Rendezvous 2017Rendezvous 2017 includes special voyages from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada to Charleston, USA to Bermuda to Boston and various ports in Canada, including Summerside, PEI; Sept Iles, Quebec; Baie Comeau, Quebec; Quebec City; Norris Point, Newfoundland; Louisbourg, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Digby, Nova Scotia; and Saint John, New Brunswick.  

A majestic fleet of international tall ships, including Picton Castle, will sail together, racing and cruising in company, to the various ports that make up the Rendezvous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organized by Sail Training International.  

A video of the Picton Castle arriving in New York in 2012.

Bark Picton Castle Arriving in New York Harbor 5/15/2012

Note: The Old Salt Blog has no commercial relationship with the operators of the Picton Castle, the Clipper Round the World Race or any other sailing ship or organization. For more information, contact the organizations in the links provided in the various posts. 

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