I’m sitting here in the chartroom with bright October sunshine streaming in through the porthole. I can hear the crew chipping at rusted metalwork on deck and smell the Deks Olje oil that they are spreading on top of the coach house. We have been using Deks Olje on the ship for over forty years, making us a good product testing ground!
We last sailed on Saturday the 30th and by Sunday afternoon, all the sails were off the ship and stored away. We have had some stunning weather this fall, and it was great to get the sails off while they were dry. Today, Tuesday October 3rd, the ship is completely stripped of sails and halyards, and we are taking advantage of the fine weather to get some maintenance done. We will scrape and prime some areas that need attention and will not suffer the ravages of winter. The freeze thaw cycle that our winters have become is terrible for painted surfaces. With the wood expanding and contracting it is difficult to keep the paint bonded with surfaces. If you add a bit of salt spray, you have your hands full!
As our season was winding down, we were treated with some time with a special guest. Kirsten Neuschäfer, the winner of the single handed Golden Globe Race, was in town for a conference and spent some time aboard, first for a reception and then a charter sail we casually asked if she would like to make our last sail. Low and behold she showed up, which was a great surprise. Kirsten is a quiet role model for many both ashore and at sea. I know she is well favoured in PEI where she refit her yacht Minnehaha prior to the race. We were very pleased to learn that Kirsten placed a Bluenose dime underneath her mast and carried the ship around the world with her. I hope she was as pleased to be here as we were to have her aboard.
“What happens now?” Is the question we are often asked. Tomorrow morning, we will move the ship to her winter berth behind the Fisheries Museum and finish up our down rigging. This will include a thick Vaseline coat for the masts to keep the water out and covers for the booms and gaffs. With many lines to the wharf and fendering including tires and logs, we will make sure Bluenose II is set for the winter. We will then install the framework for the cover and clean the ship inside and out.
So, there we are, with 4751 passengers under sail, and over 47,000 guests across the deck the season is finished. The crew will be away to their homes and future adventures, the officers and I will look to next season. I wish you all a happy winter season and look forward to seeing you next year.