Circling the world five times as part of her famed 30,000-mile circumnavigation voyages, the tall ship Picton Castle has often been called upon to deliver critically-needed goods, including medical supplies and thousands of pounds of donated books and educational materials, to remote island communities.
For Captain Daniel Moreland, founder of the award-winning sail training program, these impromptu cargo missions are valuable teaching moments – an opportunity to learn how to safely load, handle and stow cargo in the hold of this 179-foot sailing ship and practice global citizenship, with the bonus that such introductions ultimately lead to a more intimate experience of the people and places the ship visits, whether that’s an orphanage in Africa or a palm-covered atoll in the Pacific.
This summer, the Picton Castle and her crew of young professional mariners and trainees will spend 10 weeks providing much-needed shipping assistance in the heart of Polynesia. The ship and her crew will be sailing from Rarotonga, the largest and most accessible of the Cooks Islands, to the nation’s 10 other inhabited islands, including the remote and unspoiled Northern Cooks some 1,400 nm away.
“These are some of the most beautiful, untouched places in the world, offering some of the finest trade wind sailing,” says Capt. Moreland. And he should know. He’s commanded the Picton Castle through all five of her voyages around the world, earning the title Sail Trainer of the Year from both Tall Ships America and United Kingdombased Sail Training International.
Aboard Picton Castle everyone works to sail and maintain the ship: they stand watch, take their turn at the wheel, handle sail, haul on lines, go aloft (optional), scrub the deck and help in the galley. Shipboard workshops include rope and wire splicing, handling small boats under sail, oars and engine, ancient, modern and celestial navigation, weather, sailmaking and small boat carpentry.
Following her mission in the Cooks, the Picton Castle will set sail for Australia, by way of calls at Tonga and Norfolk Island, en route to Tall Ship festivals at Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand. From there, the ship will make a lengthy sea passage to Pitcairn Island, home to the ancestors of the famed Bounty mutineers, and then continue on to French Polynesia calling at Mangareva, the Marquesas, Nuku Hiva, the Tuamotus, and the Society Islands, then back through the Cook Islands, to Samoa and Fiji.
No previous sailing experience is required to join the Picton Castle, although candidates must be of good health and there is an interview process.