Dyneema Soft Shackles and an Improved Deck Bucket

I selectively and carefully incorporated dyneema and it’s heat treated cousin Dynex Dux into the rebuilt Far Reach. I used Dux for the forestay and later modified it with a quick release pendant. The link to how we made the forestay releaseable can be found here. https://farreachvoyages.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/a-new-forestay-release-device/


We used a 5/16” doubled soft shackle to attach the large low friction ring to the tack fitting on the gammon iron  as part of our releasable forestay system.

We also use dyneema for our lifelines and various shackles with and without toggles. The dyneema has performed very well. We continue to find ways to use dyneema in a manner that suits our philosophy of reliability, simplicity, and self sufficiency.

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Hand Splice Standing Rigging—The Liverpool Splice




All of the standing rigging on the Far Reach is spliced to include the 3/8” bob-stay and the 5/16” sprit-shroud stays.

Readers of our rebuild website may remember I hand-spliced the standing rigging for the new mast we built for the Far Reach. It was one of the many projects associated with the six year rebuild. I used a splice called the Liverpool Splice. I learned it by reading Brion Toss’ book The Rigger’s Apprentice.

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Cape Lookout Summer Cruise

We had hoped to sail to Bermuda this summer but it was just not in the cards. We had too many balls in the air especially with the kids graduating from home high school and the seminar I teach at Camp Lejeune graduating at the end of May. So, we decided to enjoy a more simple to execute, week long cruise out to the Cape Lookout National Seashore. This trip was just for Gayle and me. Because the kids are usually with us, it was the first time Gayle and I have been alone on the Far Reach for more than a night. So we left the newly graduated high school seniors at home with a credit card and the car keys.


The Far Reach all provisioned and ready to go.

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Upgrading Primary Winches—Phase II. And a new winch base design.


Before: The primary winches were on a 2” riser pad and were, by design,  very tall winches.  They also suffered from aluminum/bronze corrosion—IMO a fundamentally bad design.


After: The new primaries are a little shorter in height plus I removed the riser pad.  They are the same model as the smaller stays’l winches we installed last fall. Note the new winch base with bronze plate.

After completing a number of small projects this year, it was time to tackle the last big project for the foreseeable future—installing the new primary winches. The new winches are bronze Lewmar Ocean Series ST 46 two speed winches. The 46s replace the original 1982 era bronze two speed Lewmar 44s.  Though they performed satisfactorily, the 44s were a flawed design from the beginning, mixing aluminum with bronze. The aluminum jaws were ate up with galvanic corrosion.  For more information on the original installation click here.

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Stepping It Up



The removable dinghy step is about 24” long x 9” wide.  The sub frame is iroko and the treads are teak.

We have found getting from the dinghy up to the Far Reach is not always so easy. It’s a little over 40” from the waterline to the top of  the bulwarks.  It’s not just us.  I think many cruisers find climbing from the dinghy to the mothership a challenge, especially as we get older.  And, the traditional stern on the Far Reach means the best way to embark or debark is along-side vice over the stern.  Many modern sailboat designs include the now ubiquitous “sugar-scoop” transom, which greatly simplifies the task of getting from the dinghy to the sailboat.  The disadvantage of a sugar-transom is that it makes the boat less secure.   It’s easy for an  unwanted visitor to get aboard the boat by clandestinely swimming up to the stern and crawling up and over the sugar-scoop.  And sugar scoops, generally, detract from the aesthetics of the boat. But I digress.

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Building Dorades


The dorade boxes were in bad shape.  Originally, I varnished them but finally painted them white after repeated mysterious varnish failures.

I have known for a long time that I needed to replace the dorade boxes on the Far Reach. During the six year long rebuild I was on a budget so I had to decide how to spend the time and money, where to save the time and money, and when to live to fight another day.   So, building new dorades was saved for another day…which, finally, arrived a few weeks ago

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Let There Be Light–Adding LED Lights.


The Alpenglow LED lights are a nice addition to the Far Reach .

From the beginning of our rebuild of the Far Reach we had three goals that guided our efforts: First, was to make her as simple as possible. Second, was to make her comfortable and enjoyable to sail and live aboard. Last, she had to be beautiful. I call our philosophy “elegant simplicity.”

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Removable Side-Mount Rotating Arm Engine Bracket




Here we are departing Hancock Marina on 29 Nov 2015 for the BVI.  There was not a breath of air.  We used the engine to get to the head of Adams Creek on the ICW that afternoon.  The next day we sailed all the way down the ICW, under two bridges, and out to Cape Lookout where we waited for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. A few days later a friend linked up with us in the Bight at Cape Lookout and we transferred the engine to his skiff.  We sailed to the BVI engine free.

While I would prefer to have the Far Reach engine free all the time it would require access to a mooring that we could sail on and off. There are very few moorings in NC and none where we are. She is berthed in a small marina with 360° of protection. So, we often carry a Honda 9.9hp four stroke outboard on a custom-made removable swing arm bracket attached to the port quarter. The outboard allows us to more conveniently move her in and out of her slip, make the tight turn onto the fairway, then exit the narrow 1/4 mile long channel out to the Neuse River.

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Crank Up the Heat: An Efficient Heater Extends Your Sailing Season.


Not only is an efficient heater a wonderful luxury, it greatly extends the sailing season.

It was about 40° F when I got to the boat the other day. Had a few small projects to accomplish and I needed to complete some reading for a college seminar I teach one night per week.  When we rebuilt the Far Reach we installed a small Danish designed gravity drip heater called a Refleks M66MK.  It is normally set up for diesel fuel but since we don’t have an inboard engine we jetted  it for slightly more efficient kerosene.  The combusted fuel is vented out of the boat via the flue and a Refleks smoke-head.

The fan on the heater top is called an Eco Fan. It runs through a process called the pelitier effect which is the result of the second law of thermodynamics—heat flows from an object at a higher tempature to a body at a cooler temperature.  The fan sits on the cast iron heater top-plate.  The fan base absorbs heat which in turn moves towards the cooling fans.  In the process, the heat passes over a thermocouple.  As as a result, a small amount of electricity powers a 12 volt fan located in the fan body, which drives the fan blade.  The fan does a wounderful job of moving the warm air around the boat.  It can also be repositioned to blow the heat in any direction desired.



When I arrived at the boat it was 42° F.

In no time the boat was toasty warm. The Refleks Heater Has settings from 1-8.  We had it on level 1 or 2 … so it’s very efficient.


It took maybe 40 minutes to get the temp up to 72° F.

The boat is wonderfully comfortable and quiet.  Like a well made tiny house but ready to go to sea and serve as our magic carpet to any place we may desire.

Another Stays’l Modification—Brass Luff Rings


I replaced the heavy and clumsy brass piston hanks on the stays’l with traditional brass luff rings.

We use SS 7×7 5/16” wire rope for all the standing rigging on the Far Reach, except the forestay. For the forestay, we use synthetic 9mm Dynex Dux (heat treated dyneema). Recently, we modified the forestay to make it easy to detach it from the gammon iron. That modification allows us to open up the foretriangle making it easier to short tack as the forestay is no longer an obstruction to the jib. The modification, includes a partially covered dyneema that serves as a lanyard, and a few low-friction rings.

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