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 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.
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.
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.
Sure, there is some hyperbole if I said sailing for me is like breathing for the average lubber. But, you get the point. I needed to go sailing and an overnight trip on the Far Reach seemed like just the ticket. With the southern US under what seems like constant threat of hurricanes this year and homeschool in full operation we have to fit sailing in when we can. But, we finally we had a window of opportunity and grabbed it.
11 May 2016, The Far Reach, Anchored, Sint Maarten, West Indies
Last night I found myself thinking back about our passage from Cape Lookout to the BVI. I feel fortunate that Tricia and I made the trip together. She and I have sailed together since before we were teenagers and let me tell you that is a long time! I couldn’t have asked for a better shipmate. A retired San Diego Fire Captain, she is smart, athletic, tireless, fearless, and harder than woodpecker lips.
25 April 2016–The Far Reach, Anchored in the Lagoon, Sint Maarten.
My number one priority is to get the chafing halyard under control. To do that I needed to get back up the mast and confirm exactly where the chafing is taking place. The anchorage in Simpson Bay was very rolly. So, last Monday morning, I weighed anchor about 0900 and got in a line of boats to make the 0930 opening of the Simpson Bay draw bridge. We made it through easily and without fuss and anchored in the still lagoon, on the Dutch side, in about 7-8 of water. I climbed the mast the next evening when the wind had completely died. Flat as a mill pond. A fellow cruiser hauled up my working jib with the chaffed halyard and of course it was clear to see the problem. Right where I thought. I know what I need to do.
Next day, I sent the photo off to Robert so he can fabricate the right kind of hardware to solve the problem.
I was restless. Not too much you can work on when you have a boat with almost no systems. Time to take a drive around the island. I rented a car. A red Ferrari. $30 for the day. Hard to beat a price like that.
The Far Reach, Moored, Elephant Bay, St Thomas — Back in February we met Richard and Eilish Wylie on their magnificent self built 35′ steel gaffer Granuaile. They hail from Northern Ireland and are wrapping up a two year voyage to the Caribbean. This is their second trip to the Caribbean. They are intrepid voyagers. They spent last summer on Grainuaile about 70 miles up the Essequibo River in Guyana, S. America before working their way back up the West Indies this winter.
The Far Reach, Anchored Biras Creek, Virgin Gorda Sound–8 Mar 2016
I love it here. The sailing is just gorgeous. The water is beautiful. We continue to meet all kinds of interesting people.
The Far Reach, Anchored off Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, BVI–5 March 2016
We departed Cane Garden Bay on the morning of 2 March. We sailed south along the west coast of Tortola on a broad reach with a single reefed main and the working jib in about 15 knots of wind from the east wind.