A Simple System for Taking on Water



Water hauling day: 35 gallons or 280 lbs of water.  Our 9’ Fatty Knees has been a real work horse for almost 15 years.  She’s tough, rows well, and with a 15’ tall mast carries a lot of sail for her size. I can’t imagine trading her for an inflatable.

As part of our “keep it simple” approach to all things sailing we have developed a system for filling the water tanks on the Far Reach.  It didn’t happen all at once…it took a little time and some trial and error.

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Jost Van Dyke, BVI to St Thomas, USVI

I slipped out of Jost Van Dyke early on 30 December. The anchorage was already getting crowded in anticipation of the big New Years Eve bash. The night before I left, while I was ashore helping Baba, a 62’ private charter cat anchored way too close on the starboard side of the Far Reach…exactly the reason I wanted to get out of Great Harbor.


The FR and the cat got much closer than this photo depicts.

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Wonderful People and Anchoring Woes

The Far Reach—Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke

My 13th Day at Jost Van Dyke. I have spent the last 8 days helping out Ali Baba on whatever projects he has lined up. Painting, helping run wires, building a booth for the New Years festivities, etc. I have really enjoyed working with Baba and getting to know him and Urinthia. They have fed me and engaged me in interesting wide ranging conversations.  I have learned a little about Island culture and got a peek or two about what goes on behind the scenes.  I have traveled all over the world yet never cease to be humbled by the kindness so many people extend to people they barely know. There is nothing that demonstrates how we are so much more alike than different like foreign travel especially when you engage outside your own community and culture.


I’ve known Baba and Urinthia for three years.  If you want disco and loud music Foxy’s is the place to go.  But this is where the best food is on JVD.  It’s a great place to bring a family or a friend and have a slow meal and a long conversation. And Baba also has a fantastic and diverse play-list loud enough to hear but quiet enough not to interfere in conversation.

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Back to the BVI: a 12 Day Singlehanded Voyage


Anchored in 10’ of gin clear water on a sandy bottom in Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke.

I departed Beaufort, NC on the heels of a low pressure system and after 12 days at sea made landfall across the north bank of the British Virgin Islands. I cleared in through customs at Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke where I anchored in clear blue water on a sandy bottom.

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Improving Ventilation: A Jalousie Drop Board Window


The jalousie window keeps rain from being blown into the cabin when the wind is aft yet helps to maintain ventilation. To install it just swap it out with the center drop board.

During my last voyage to the BVI, and especially on the downwind sail home, it became evident to me that life aboard would be improved if I could prevent rain from being blown into the boat through the companionway from an aft wind while at the same time maintaining airflow in the boat.

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An Inside Lock for the Companionway Hatch


The new hatch lock conceals the bulk of the brass barrel bolt and makes it stronger. It also can’t be reached from the bridge-deck. 

One of the things I have not liked about my boat is I have no way to lock the companionway from the inside.  It’s an odd thing when you think about it.  When I rebuilt the boat, though I made a lot of changes, I kept the basic design of the original companionway intact. This is an important capability when you are sleeping on the boat and you can’t lock the “front door” so to speak. You are therefore vulnerable. I heard about more than just a few boats getting boarded at night when I was sailing in the West Indies.

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Installing Off-Shore Stanchions


Singlehanding home from Sint Maarten to N.C. in May 2016.  The lifelines felt too low and I wanted to replace them.

During the six year rebuild of the Far Reach I wanted to replace the original 24” tall lifeline stanchions with taller ones of about 30 inches.  But, at that time, taller stanchions were not enough of a priority to make it on to the budget. We made do for the past three years including 3,500nm of off-shore sailing.  

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A Few Small Projects: Bug screens, whisker pole mod, windlass rebuild, and a new sculling oar lock.


We never had problems with bugs in the West Indies as we always anchored out and there was always a breeze.  Nonetheless, I wanted to have a full set of screens for the Far Reach.

With Hurricane Florence behind us, it was time to return to the preparation of the Far Reach for the voyage back to the BVI and the West Indies.  At the moment we are working on a few small but important projects. Described below are a few of them.

We completed building the drop-in companionway bug screens.  I built the teak frames last winter but got side tracked before installing the screens. I still need to sew up some screens for the foredeck and saloon deck hatches.  Gayle sewed a nice padded pouch to protect them when stored under a bunk.

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