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

LegLocationPort Date
Leg 1Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, CanadaApril 12, 2010
 Galapagos Islands, Ecuador 
 Pitcairn Island 
 Gambier Islands, French Polynesia 
 Rarotonga, Cook IslandsAugust 15, 2010
Leg 2Rarotonga, Cook IslandsAugust 16, 2010
 Palmerston Atoll, Cook Islands 
 Vava’u, Tonga 
 Suva, Fiji 
 Bali, IndonesiaNovember 12, 2010
Leg 3Bali, IndonesiaNovember 13, 2010
 Cape Town, South AfricaFebruary 3 2011
Leg 4Cape Town, South AfricaFebruary 4, 2011
 St. Helena 
 Fernando de Noronha, Brazil 
 Lesser Antilles 
 Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, CanadaJune 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.