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First Sail of the Season

Ship's Position: 
Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Schooner Bluenose II at sail.


Good morning,

It’s beautiful here this morning. With a light overcast the harbour is flat, not a ripple or breath to be seen disturbing the water. I, at times, prefer the flatter grey light as it has less energy and the bright coloured buildings in Lunenburg seem to reflect the warmth from within and not just the sunshine and blue sky. There is a dory out this morning with two women working hard to practice their technique and get some great exercise. The Canadian Dory Rowing Association has an active chapter here in Lunenburg and are always welcoming to new members or just those who would like to try rowing. You don't have to race and they have a great fleet of dories to use. Of course to us on Bluenose II we have a great appreciation for dories and the work horses they were for the crew aboard the Grand Banks schooners.


The Dory Shop just along the waterfront at the end of Bluenose Drive is still active and well capable of producing a stout little craft suitable for work or play on the coast. It is amazing how many small boat shops are still active in our little area — Old Town Boatworks, Lutwick’s Boat Building & Repair, Tern Boatworks, Big Pond Boat Shop and more I have forgotten about. Small craft building is still active here and a viable career for those looking to work with their hands. Of course you need a supporting cast of technicians like machinist's, electricians and mechanics and a good parts supply chain. We seem to have all that here in Nova Scotia. Having a boat built here of just about any material is an attainable dream made possible by great craftspeople.


It's been a busy two weeks here on the ship and the last two days were the pinnacle of the spring refit. On Friday, our regulatory body, ABS, joined us for our annual inspection. We exercised the crew in all emergency drills and anchored as well. The inspector also surveyed our safety equipment and made sure everything was up to snuff. The two mates and the bosun, who I don’t mention nearly enough, were well prepared and had the crew and ship in excellent condition.


While the ABS inspector was aboard, we also had a radio inspection being carried out. The inspector tests all communications and safety equipment including VHF radios, MF/HF (like shortwave for marine use), satellite telex, emergency position broadcasting devices and the batteries to run them all. It's quite extensive and very much appreciated. That’s the thing about all these inspections. Parts of the inspections are regulatory in nature and others are physical inspections of equipment that will keep us alive and safe in a very harsh environment. The dispassionate second set of eyes that looks at a drill or a piece of equipment making sure it will work when you need it is greatly appreciated.


With inspections passed, yesterday was the big day. For the first time we raised the 4100 sq. ft. mainsail, shut off the engines and sailed the ship. The crew dressed smartly in their uniforms beaming with pride as the ship heeled gently and made her way past Battery Point Lighthouse. I spent a few minutes at the evening muster reminding the crew of how far they have come and of the adventures that lie before us. Stay tuned!