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.
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.
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.
Just a little project to to address the need for a way to keep drinks secure in the cockpit when sailing. Some teak, 3/32 silicon bronze, and chrome tanned leather. All scraps or off cuts from other projects. Inspired by an old article written by Lin and Larry Pardey.
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.
I am very happy to report that the Far Reach survived the trial of her life during Hurricane Florence, which pounded eastern North Carolina from 13-14 Sept 2019.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I was invited by my friend Kaj Jakobsen, to help him step the mast and splice the standing rigging on his beautiful Lyle Hess designed 34’ Falmouth Cutter. I flew to Vancouver Island in the middle of July. I had never been to British Columbia and all I can say is wow! It is gorgeous. It reminded me of Montana but with a lot of water. Many islands. Clear water. Deep fiords. Lovely Douglas Fir trees everywhere. Clear sunny skies. Perfect temps.
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 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.
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.
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.