Picton Castle (ship)
The Picton Castle is a tall ship employed in sail training. The Picton Castle undertakes 13-month round-the-world voyages, among a variety of shorter voyages along the east coast of the Americas. The Picton Castle's home port is historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. In 2001 a series called the Tallship Chronicles followed the Picton Castle on her voyage around the world. The ship has carried out four world voyages to date.
The Picton Castle is rigged as a three-masted barque, is 179 feet (55 m) long, and carries 12,500 square feet (1,160 m2) of sail. The ship displaces 300 tons. She has a 690-hp diesel engine for the times when sailing is not feasible. The ship has space for roughly 50 people, consisting of about 12 professional crew and 40 sail trainees.
The Picton Castle was originally built as a motorized fishing trawler in 1928. She was built along with four other trawlers for the same company and operated out of Swansea, Wales. The ship was named after the Welsh castle of the same name.
In August 1939, the Royal Navy requisitioned the trawler for use in World War II and refit her as a minesweeper. While sweeping mines near Norway, she made way for the port of Bergen for repairs. The Germans had just left Norway, and the sight of the Union Jack-bearing HMS Picton Castle earned her the title "The Liberator of Norway."
Following World War II, the ship was renamed Dolmar and worked as a freighter in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. During the early nineties, Daniel Moreland acquired the ship while seeking a vessel to convert to a barque.
The Picton Castle is still captained by Daniel Moreland, although its fifth world voyage is expected to be his last.
In September 2007, the Picton Castle announced its first Voyage of the Atlantic  The ship will embark in May 2008 from its home port of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and follow the Westerlies across the North Atlantic for the British Isles and Northern Europe. Then sail across the English Channel and down the coast of France to Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar. Explore the Atlantic Islands of Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde and follow in the wake of Columbus as the Picton Castle sets sail on one of the finest studdingsail passages, riding the tropical trade-winds across the mid-Atlantic from Senegal, West Africa, crossing the Equator to Fernando De Noronha, Brazil and onward to the sweet isles of the West Indies.
During the summer of 2007 the Picton Castle successfully completed its first Bosun School . The purpose of the Picton Castle Bosun School is to provide an opportunity to young dedicated mariners to advance their skill level in a concentrated fashion without the natural demands and distractions of being underway at sea.
In the spring of 2007 the Picton Castle was featured in Mark Burnett's CBS reality show Pirate Master. The show was filmed in the Caribbean island of Dominica and premiered May 31, 2007 in the spot previously occupied by Survivor.
On the night of December 8, 2006, as the Picton Castle was roughly 760 kilometres south-east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the ship encountered bad weather; a wave swamped the ship, sweeping one of the crew overboard. The person swept overboard was later identified as lead seaman Laura Gainey, daughter of Bob Gainey and respected member of the Picton Castle professional crew. She was not wearing a life jacket or a survival suit, but due to the warm water temperatures (22 °C) and her excellent physical condition, she was expected to survive for up to 36 hours. She was able to call out while being swept overboard, and crew on the ship threw flotation devices and radar reflectors into the water to aid her and mark her position; subsequent searching was concentrated on this 'debris field'. However, the search was called off after three days when no trace of her had been found. The search was carried out by the Picton Castle, United States Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard aircraft, and merchant vessels.
The "Tribute to Laura" is an on-going tribute to the life of a shipmate and friend.
A recent investigation titled "Overboard" by the CBC program the fifth estate claims to have uncovered serious safety problems with the ship.  On November 18, 2007 the Transportation Safety Board of Canada decided to undertake an independent investigation of the event. The completed report, M06F0024 Crew Member Lost Overboard, Sail Training Vessel Picton Castle, 376 nm SSE of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is available on the TSB website.
- Barque Picton Castle Official Site
- Fair Wind and Plenty of It
- Overboard documentary on Gainey accident by CBC TV's investigative news program The Fifth Estate; reviews of Overboard by the Ottawa Citizen, National Post, and Toronto Star.
- Transportation Safety Board of Canada's Marine Report M06F0024 Crew Member Lost Overboard, Sail Training Vessel Picton Castle, 376 nm SSE of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia Also available in .PDF format