I have a fair amount of diving experience. I earned my PADI card when I was 17. I’m also a military trained diver and served in dive billets for nine years. But I don’t have diving gear anymore and I think I made my last dive about 2003. I just snorkel now. But I always think about options….
For the last month or so it’s been pretty easy living. The Far Reach and I have mostly remained here in Elephant Bay, St Thomas until Gayle could join us. The pace of living has been slow and relaxed. There has been plenty of time to read, sleep, swim, eat, study the sky, think, and meet new people.
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.
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.
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.