When sailing downwind, especially offshore, there are two specialized control lines you need to have on your boat. Both are associated with the mainsail. The first is a boom-vang and the second is a preventer.
There is simply nothing like running downwind in the trades.
With our off-shore adventure on pause it was time to put the Far Reach on the hard. I have several small boat projects to complete, a summer of family camping planned, and prep work to complete for the kids 11th grade home-school year. Since I can’t spend time on her, better to have the Far Reach as safe as possible with hurricane season upon us.
2 June 2016–The Far Reach, Anchored, Cape Lookout, NC
The Far Reach, safely made landfall at Cape Lookout NC about 1830 yesterday, 1 June. We are anchored at almost the exact spot from which my sister Tricia and I took our departure for the British Virgin Islands on 8 December.
We–the Far Reach and I–for I singlehanded this voyage, sailed 1,334 nautical miles from St Maarten to Cape Lookout in 12 days. It was a wonderful offshore blue water adventure. We successfully dodged Tropical Storm Bonnie and in fact sailed right under the mostly disintegrated “Low” about 1400 lyesterday (though I now understand she may be regenerating as she moves NE up the coast).
20 May 2016–The Far Reach, Anchored, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten.
I spent 2 1/2 hours yesterday scrubbing the hull of the Far Reach in preparation for my upcoming singlehanded passage back to NC.
I moved the Far Reach out of the lagoon this morning. I have provisioned with food, ice, water, and cleared Customs. With luck I’ll get underway this afternoon. That would put me near Virgin Gorda tomorrow morning. I can divert to the BVI in daylight should the halyard chafe issue not be solved.
The winds are expected to be light for the next week. Could be a slow passage. Will have to see. inhave had a great trip this year. I have learned a lot. I have also gained tremendous confidence in the Far Reach. With luck, I’ll make landfall at Cape Lookout and 10-14 days.
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.
The Far Reach, Anchored, the Lagoon, Sint Maarten
I continue to find myself anchored in Sint Maarten, like so many other cruisers, waiting for a part to arrive. It seems that almost every boat passing through here is waiting for either parts to arrive or on repair work to be completed before they can continue their journey.
The boat in front of me has been here over six weeks trying to get proper work done to repair a broken watermaker. The boat on my starboard side limped in a few days ago having lost their mast. They were told by the rigging shop they should expect to be here at least a month. Another boat captain I spoke to has been here for almost three months getting their hydraulic systems repaired. There are a number of boatyards here and they are all filled with boats. Sadly, there also many boats that seem to be abandoned, like so many broken dreams . . . like once beautiful birds now too old and crippled to fly.
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.
20 April 2016, The Far Reach, Anchored, Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
At 1400 on 19 April I slipped the mooring at Elephant Bay, St Thomas and sailed SE down the East Gregory Channel headed for open water. My destination was St Martin(French side) / St Maarten (Dutch side), about 105 miles due east as the crow flies. This is often considered a difficult sail as the winds and ocean swell can be big and the wind is almost always on the nose. It seems most sailors motor this passage. The Far Reach does not have such a capability so sail we must, regardless the conditions.
17 April 2016, The Far Reach, Moored, Elephant Bay, St Thomas
This past week I’ve been working on several projects.
I went back up the mast and switched the clevis pin around as suggested to eliminate the jib halyard chafing problem. I think it’s unlikely that is the issue but in the spirt of eliminating all possibilities, I took on board the suggestion, so to speak. I had a long conversation with my friend Robert Quates, who built my mast, as we discussed the chafing solution. We made sketches and discussed the pros and cons. I think we have a good plan. He is working on he part now and I hope to have it soon. I am confident it will solve the problem. Also, I should be able to install it with the mast in the boat.
The Far Reach, Moored, Elephant Bay, St Thomas, USVI — As moat readers familiar with the Far Reach are aware we have very few systems on board–no electric interior lights, no electric running lights, no fixed mount VHF or SSB, no radar or refrigerator, or water maker, no inboard diesel engine, etc. I did install a 30 watt flex solar panel prior to our passage to the BVI in December. It has proven to be a wonderful addition. It keeps the phones and iPad charged. It runs a couple of clip on 12 volt fans the few times we have used them and it powers a small hand held 12v vacuum. It’s takes a compelling reason to convince me to add complexity to the Far Reach.