– A modern-day tall ship adventure
Rigel Crockett, Knopf Canada, 2004
The three-masted barque Picton Castle is, for different reasons, well-known in the tall ship world. Right now she is on her fifth world circumnavigation.
Rigel Crockett was one of the people working with the project as it took shape in the nineties. He grew up in Lunenburg where his father worked as a wooden boat builder. He has been sailing since young ages, first on smaller vessels and then on the schooner Ernestina. Here he met Captain Dan Moreland, the initiator and Captain of Picton Castle. Here the story takes off and we get the start of the complex relationship between Crockett and Moreland that will follow throughout the book.
Crockett takes us on a journey from the struggling and hard labour to get the ship ready for the announced world circumnavigation, that they already had sold spots for, to the adventurous maiden voyage around the world in 1997. All beautifully and honestly told by a young Crockett who’s also an accomplished writer who can tell a story in a picturesque way.
We have all the hardships of sailing a square rigger through rough weather, all the fine moments of fair wind sailing, rushing down the trade winds with all the canvas flying in perfect motion with the earth, wind and water. Crockett’s story also records an upright tale about the social structures of modern sailing ship life, that for me was very recognizable. Relations between paying crew and non-paying crew, between officers and crew, captains and officers and so on.
It’s also a very personal story of a young man travelling around the world and getting to know his surroundings, different people and cultures, and last but not least – himself and his abilities and where he fits into the picture.
I’m glad Mr. Crockett took the time to share his story.
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