Upgrading Primary Winches—Phase II. And a new winch base design.


Before: The primary winches were on a 2” riser pad and were, by design,  very tall winches.  They also suffered from aluminum/bronze corrosion—IMO a fundamentally bad design.


After: The new primaries are a little shorter in height plus I removed the riser pad.  They are the same model as the smaller stays’l winches we installed last fall. Note the new winch base with bronze plate.

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.

Continue reading


Stepping It Up



The removable dinghy step is about 24” long x 9” wide.  The sub frame is iroko and the treads are teak.

We have found getting from the dinghy up to the Far Reach is not always so easy. It’s a little over 40” from the waterline to the top of  the bulwarks.  It’s not just us.  I think many cruisers find climbing from the dinghy to the mothership a challenge, especially as we get older.  And, the traditional stern on the Far Reach means the best way to embark or debark is along-side vice over the stern.  Many modern sailboat designs include the now ubiquitous “sugar-scoop” transom, which greatly simplifies the task of getting from the dinghy to the sailboat.  The disadvantage of a sugar-transom is that it makes the boat less secure.   It’s easy for an  unwanted visitor to get aboard the boat by clandestinely swimming up to the stern and crawling up and over the sugar-scoop.  And sugar scoops, generally, detract from the aesthetics of the boat. But I digress.

Continue reading

Building Dorades


The dorade boxes were in bad shape.  Originally, I varnished them but finally painted them white after repeated mysterious varnish failures.

I have known for a long time that I needed to replace the dorade boxes on the Far Reach. During the six year long rebuild I was on a budget so I had to decide how to spend the time and money, where to save the time and money, and when to live to fight another day.   So, building new dorades was saved for another day…which, finally, arrived a few weeks ago

Continue reading

Let There Be Light–Adding LED Lights.


The Alpenglow LED lights are a nice addition to the Far Reach .

From the beginning of our rebuild of the Far Reach we had three goals that guided our efforts: First, was to make her as simple as possible. Second, was to make her comfortable and enjoyable to sail and live aboard. Last, she had to be beautiful. I call our philosophy “elegant simplicity.”

Continue reading

Removable Side-Mount Rotating Arm Engine Bracket




Here we are departing Hancock Marina on 29 Nov 2015 for the BVI.  There was not a breath of air.  We used the engine to get to the head of Adams Creek on the ICW that afternoon.  The next day we sailed all the way down the ICW, under two bridges, and out to Cape Lookout where we waited for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. A few days later a friend linked up with us in the Bight at Cape Lookout and we transferred the engine to his skiff.  We sailed to the BVI engine free.

While I would prefer to have the Far Reach engine free all the time it would require access to a mooring that we could sail on and off. There are very few moorings in NC and none where we are. She is berthed in a small marina with 360° of protection. So, we often carry a Honda 9.9hp four stroke outboard on a custom-made removable swing arm bracket attached to the port quarter. The outboard allows us to more conveniently move her in and out of her slip, make the tight turn onto the fairway, then exit the narrow 1/4 mile long channel out to the Neuse River.

Continue reading

Crank Up the Heat: An Efficient Heater Extends Your Sailing Season.


Not only is an efficient heater a wonderful luxury, it greatly extends the sailing season.

It was about 40° F when I got to the boat the other day. Had a few small projects to accomplish and I needed to complete some reading for a college seminar I teach one night per week.  When we rebuilt the Far Reach we installed a small Danish designed gravity drip heater called a Refleks M66MK.  It is normally set up for diesel fuel but since we don’t have an inboard engine we jetted  it for slightly more efficient kerosene.  The combusted fuel is vented out of the boat via the flue and a Refleks smoke-head.

The fan on the heater top is called an Eco Fan. It runs through a process called the pelitier effect which is the result of the second law of thermodynamics—heat flows from an object at a higher tempature to a body at a cooler temperature.  The fan sits on the cast iron heater top-plate.  The fan base absorbs heat which in turn moves towards the cooling fans.  In the process, the heat passes over a thermocouple.  As as a result, a small amount of electricity powers a 12 volt fan located in the fan body, which drives the fan blade.  The fan does a wounderful job of moving the warm air around the boat.  It can also be repositioned to blow the heat in any direction desired.



When I arrived at the boat it was 42° F.

In no time the boat was toasty warm. The Refleks Heater Has settings from 1-8.  We had it on level 1 or 2 … so it’s very efficient.


It took maybe 40 minutes to get the temp up to 72° F.

The boat is wonderfully comfortable and quiet.  Like a well made tiny house but ready to go to sea and serve as our magic carpet to any place we may desire.

Another Stays’l Modification—Brass Luff Rings


I replaced the heavy and clumsy brass piston hanks on the stays’l with traditional brass luff rings.

We use SS 7×7 5/16” wire rope for all the standing rigging on the Far Reach, except the forestay. For the forestay, we use synthetic 9mm Dynex Dux (heat treated dyneema). Recently, we modified the forestay to make it easy to detach it from the gammon iron. That modification allows us to open up the foretriangle making it easier to short tack as the forestay is no longer an obstruction to the jib. The modification, includes a partially covered dyneema that serves as a lanyard, and a few low-friction rings.

Continue reading

A Reefing Jib With A Zippered Bonnet


On the left is the genoa with the zippered bonnet.   At the upper left of the photo you can see the working jib clew cringle and just below it the leather cover that protects the zipper.  You can clearly see the zipper running diagonally down from left to right. You might also notice there’s is no cover for the majority of the zipper.  It seems to handle the loads just fine.

I have been asked about our bonneted jib a number of times.  I was asked about it again the other day on the Cape Dory forum.  So, it seemed like a good time to provide more detail to those who might be interested.

Continue reading

Refining the Jib Downhaul System


On passage, with a double reefed main and a stays’l.  About 150 nm SSE of Bermuda enroute to the BVI, Dec 2015.  The downhaul keeps the head of the sail secured to the deck yet the halyard remains connected to the jib and ready to be hoisted in an instant.  The coiled downhaul is tied to the lifeline.  Photo by Tricia Stone

I like sailing with a hank-on jib. A hank-on jib is more efficient and longer lived than a furling headsail. It is less expensive. There is less maintenance required and it is more reliable. But it is not as convienent as a furling jib…no doubt about it. While there are techniques for managing a hank on jib that are tried and proven, it does take skill, occasional acrobatics, and some planning to keep things under control. Our genoa is about 390 sqft. But, it has a bonnet that we can zip off that reduces it to a working jib size of about 280 sqft. But, the challenges are similar with either headsail.

Continue reading

Varnish Repairs


, ,


The “scratch and patch” repair technique I used to repair the small damaged area on both winch bases worked very well.  I can’t tell where the repair was made on the port base.  Though it still required five repair coats and two full coats over the entire base it still saved a bunch of work.

For the last couple weeks we have been working on several projects as we continue to either further refine the Far Reach’s few systems or conduct routine maintenance. One project was the installation of a camcleat for the jib downhaul System, which is a separate article.

The first varnish project was to repair some damaged varnish on the teak stays’l winch bases. The bases are about 4” tall and are varnished. On top of the base is a 2” thick bare teak pad that serves to raise the winch up enough so the drum is above the top of the coaming. Though we varnish the coamings and pads every four months, there was a break in the varnish on the top edge of each pad. Horizontal surfaces always receive more abuse than vertical surfaces so this damage was not a big surprise.

Continue reading