I just got back from my last vacation, which means it’s time to start planning the next one.
I’d like to sail on a tall ship. I’ve heard of a few where the passengers are also a large part of the crew. I don’t mind working hard at something I’ve never done before, the new experience is worth it to me.
Ah, but the details are important. I’d like it to be a square-rigged ship. To me, that’s the absolute classic tall ship. Plus, I already know a bit about how sloops and schooners work, but the square rigging is a mystery. And I’d like to actually travel from one place to another. I don’t want to just putter around the Caribbean and back to where I started. These ships were invented to cross oceans; I want to experience some part of that. The ideal would be Boston-to-Bermuda, or something similar.
Searching around the net I found the Barque Picton Castle.
It does around-the-world trips, but I don’t have 18 months of vacation saved up. There’s a trip this fall that looks just about perfect, though; a three-week leg from Nova Scotia to Barbados.
Before I sign up, I still have two questions that you sailing dopers might be able to help with.
The ship was originally built in 1928 as a fishing trawler. After some exploits during World War II (minesweeping, liberating Norway, that kind of thing) it was converted to a sailing ship by welding on a new bow and adding three masts. Is that going to compromise the whole this-is-how-it-was-back-in-the-day feeling that I’m after? I thought hull design was one of the cutting-edge things that separated one ship from another. Is a tall-ship hull similar enough to a 1928 fishing-trawler hull that this is as close to the real thing as I’m likely to get?
Will there be much actual sailing on a trip from Nova Scotia to the West Indies? I know I said I wanted to cover some distance, but I’d also like to see some variety in the conditions. Do you just set a course, trim the sails and then swab the decks for three weeks? Tacking (not the specialty of a square rigger, from what I’ve been able to find out), running with the wind, I’d like to see as much of it as I can. I know prevailing winds change with latitude, is that enough to see everything the ship can do?