The Picton Castle is registered in the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific, and is owned and operated by the Windward Isles Sailing Ship Company, Ltd. The ship's mission is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education. Also, she carries supplies and educational materials to far-flung islands in the South Pacific. Her North American homeport is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
The ship is a completely refitted barque that observes the rigorous standards of Germanischer Lloyds for steel-hulled Cape Horners. She is 179 feet overall, with riveted steel hull, clear oiled-pine decks, steel masts, and wooden and steel yards. She carries 12,450 square feet of canvas sail. The ship also has a powerful 690 hp Burmeister & Wain alpha diesel engine for occasions when sailing is not feasible. The galley is on deck, and its 1893 cook stove is similar to those used on commercial sailing ships 100 years ago.
There are berths for 40 sail trainees and 12 professional crew members. (Usually about half our trainees are men and half women. Their ages range from 18 to 60+, with the majority under 35.) Sleeping accommodations are bunkroom style, in two tiers of pilot bunks. Bunks have curtains for privacy and individual reading lights.
The Picton Castle is a true working tall ship. Sail trainees participate fully in the ship's operation: handling sails, scrubbing the deck, taking a turn at the wheel, raising anchor, hauling on lines, helping in the galley, going aloft (optional), and keeping lookout. There are training classes in seamanship and navigation, plenty of opportunities to learn square-rig sailing and, on the world voyages, to explore exotic tropical ports and islands.