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.
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.
We are about to start our last year of homeschool. Despite what some people think, it is not a lackadaisical thing if you do it right. It’s a lot of work and takes significant preparation. This year I am teaching Current Events, Civics (for the first semester and Economics for the second semester), and Chemistry. Gayle teaches language arts, writing, and math–all the hard stuff. There is Spanish and extra curriculars too. I am also an adjunct professor for the Marine Corps Command and Staff College Distance Education Program teaching a seminar one night a week at Camp Lejeune. So, once the school years kicks off we have to find time to work on the boat and to sail. Poised at the beginning of the school year I needed to get out for a sail to charge up my psychological batteries.
So, we managed a daysail on 4 September. There was zero wind on the Neuse River. We drifted for about an hour under warm sunny skies. I didn’t care. I needed to feel the Far Reach moving under my feet no matter how slight the movement might be. But after awhile the breeze filled and settled in at a steady 12 knts. We sailed with the big jib, the stays’l, and full main. We tacked, reached, and ran. It felt wonderful. The Cape Horn windvane, however, seemed a little sluggish. It was a very nice day. We were back in the slip a few hour later. I felt “mo betta.”
The next day, I went back to the boat and looked the vane over closely. I could feel friction in it when I turned the linkages. I suspected that sand and grit from the large gravel parking lot at the boatyard was the culprit. For a year, the Far Reach had her stern to a near constant breeze that stirred up clouds of the dust and stand intermingled with the gravel. No doubt some of the debris had found its way into the fittings and bushings of the vane. So, I removed the windvane tower and took it home. I took it apart on the bench–I had exchanged emails with Eric Sicotte, the Nephew of Yves Gelinas, who builds them. I flushed the UHMW bushings with water, wiped them down with clean rags and sprayed silicone lubricant on the parts. I greased the only part that requires it and put it back together. A couple days later I took it back to the Far Reach and reinstalled it.
Hopefully we will get back on the water soon.
One of the projects we completed when we originally launched the boat, in the early summer of 2015, after the six year rebuild was to install chafing guards on the bowsprit to protect it from the stowed anchor banging in to it. I simply glued leather patches to the bowsprit and then used copper tacks to secure copper flashing to the leather and the bowsprit. You can read about it here in the daily log under the 17 Nov 2015 entry.
16 August 2017–It took 14 months but we finally relaunched the Far Reach on 15 Aug 2017. During that time we completed several projects, the most important of which was completely repainting the topside from the waterline to the gunwale. This was necessary to address the bubbles that formed in the Awlgrip during our offshore passage to the West Indies in December 2015. You can see the details of that project on our website http://www.farreachvoyages.com. We also touched up the barrier coats and repainted the bottom with anti-fouling paint.
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.
18 May 2016–The Far Reach, Anchored, in the Lagoon, St Maarten.
A couple days ago I completed the installation of the halyard diverter.
The day before the installation, I pulled both jib halyards out of the mast replacing them with messenger lines on. I did not want the halyards to get covered with metal shaving from the drilling at the top of the mast.
The next morning I got an early start and went up the mast to install the part and the headstay was in the way of the drill–couldn’t fit the drill between mast and headstay. I should have seen that earlier but I just looked right past it. Anyway, I hauled up a spectra line and tied it to the spinnaker bail then went down the mast and slacked the headstay and back stay and bob stay. Tied the block and tackle on the the spectra line and hauled it tight. Went back up the mast and removed the headstay at the tang and lowered it a couple feet on a line and tied it off to the top of the cap shroud. Then installed the part. I used some double sided carpet tape to hold the part in place, drilled and tapped five holes which did not take long–maybe 20-25 minutes, ran the fasters home with tef-gel, and “Bob’s your uncle.” The part lined up perfectly.
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.