Cobh welcomes seven seas faring feline

YOU’VE heard of salty old sea dogs — now meet one of the world’s most experienced sea cats.

Unlike other felines who are afraid of water, Chibley has spent most of her life on the ocean waves.

Thanks to her nine lives and four trusty sea legs, she’s circumnavigated the world four times.

She dropped anchor in Cobh, Co Cork, in near purr-fect weather conditions yesterday as part of her latest epic 15,000-mile voyage around the Atlantic.

The placid tabby has been the cat on board the Picton Castle tall ship training vessel for the last nine years.

She and her crew arrived from Nova Scotia into Baltimore at the weekend but had to batten down the hatches as storm force winds battered the west coast.

Now they are anchored safely in Cobh where their striking ocean-going vessel will be open to the public until tomorrow.

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. It is based is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

The 179-feet long vessel has a riveted steel hull, clear oiled- pine decks, steel masts and carries 12,450sq feet of canvas sails.

The galley is on deck and its 1893 stove is similar to those used on commercial sailing ships 100 years ago.

Its mission is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education but it also carries supplies and educational materials to far-flung islands in the South Pacific.

Under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland, it is bound for Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Holland and Germany in the coming weeks.

It will sail across the English Channel and down the coast of France to Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar, taking in the islands of Madeira, the Canaries and Cape Verde along the way.

It will then follow the route of Columbus, 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 West Indies.

Over the past 10 years, the vessel has circled the globe four times carrying up to 700 sail trainees during that time.

The ship also provides the backdrop for the Canadian reality TV series, Pirate Master, produced by Emmy Award- winning producer Mark Burnett.

The show follows the adventures of 16 modern-day pirates who, for 33 days, live as buccaneers as they travel around the Caribbean on board the Picton Castle in search of hidden treasure worth $1 million (€644,427).


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