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by Charles Reynolds - Seward, Alaska - USA

The Picton Castle is a Canadian-operated, Cook Islands registered, sail training vessel. I was hired on as Engineer and flew to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to meet the ship. I arrived late last night.

Today, I was introduced to my new home. Most of the morning and much of the afternoon was given over to orientation; from a basic tour of each compartment to safety training and signing documents. When I finally got into the engine room, I was amazed. It's a museum in there. The newest piece of equipment is a reverse osmosis water maker of unknown vintage; and not an off-the-shelf model, but a unit designed and built by some intrepid former engineer. I suppose the heater for domestic hot water is also relatively recent vintage, though nonfunctional.

I won't divulge the deep dark secrets of the engine space, but suffice to say that replacing the generators and main engine would pay for the work in fuel savings in quite short order; and switching to a modern circuit-breaker electrical system, replacing the fuse panel from 1928, would significantly reduce operating costs in blown fuses which are increasingly expensive and hard to find. It's a wonder the ship can afford to operate with this equipment. However, budget is not my department. Keeping these museum pieces operating is my department.

I spent a good portion of my afternoon walking through the startup procedure for the main engine and starboard generator. The port genset is currently undergoing overhaul by an outside contractor. The third genset, I haven't gotten to, yet, but it's a little bitty single-cylinder hand-started diesel like you might have found running a well pump 80 years ago.

I'm definitely planning to take some nifty photos. It's probably not right to post these up for public consumption, but my QMED instructor will be fascinated to see that some of this stuff is still being used long past it's sell-by date.

108v DC Panel

Looking aft on the port side.
Picton Castle
Sabb Model G

I think my running-chore for the season will be to update the wiring and plumbing diagrams aboard ship since they are about 10 years out of date; and I need to refresh labels and signage throughout the engine space. This will definitely be an interesting summer for me.

I'll update you as opportunity allows with tales of engineering work, life on a sail training vessel, and what kinds of fun I can get into with other ship's crews during the Tall Ships festivals along the US East coast.

Quote of the day, by captain to me: "Your job is the machinery spaces. I don't want to see you with a line in your hand." Bit of bummer because that's the fun part of being on a square rigged sailing ship, but it's what I'm paid for and I plan to perform to the best of my ability. I just have to see if I can adapt to this antiquated gear.

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