A New Forestay Release Device




The Far Reach has a headstay and a forestay.  Until recently, the forestay was dyneema with a spliced bronze eye connected to a bronze turnbuckle.  It was difficult to disconnect the forestay and pull it back out of the way to make short tacking easier.

Cutter rigged boats like the Far Reach have a headstay and a forestay. The forestay is sometimes referred to as the inner-stay but it is correctly called the forestay as it supports the fore stays’l.

A challenge for cutter rigged boats is tacking with both stays rigged. If the slot between the two stays is narrow, and sometimes even if it is not particularly narrow, the jib can get “hung up” on the forestay as it passes through the slot from one tack to the other.  When short-tacking (tacking a number of times in rapid succession) up a narrow channel you can get into trouble if your jib fails to pass through the slot between the stays.  Occasional tacks should not  be a concern and every sailor should be able to tack their cutter reliably with only the occasional hiccup.

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Working on a New Blog Web Address

I am in the process of developing a new web address for this BLOG site.  It may be a few days before activated. If you are a subscriber and your link no longer works, do a google search or check our website http://www.farreachvoyages.com.  On the menu tab there is a link to the blog. I’ll put the new address there when we determine what will be the new address.

A New Mainsail Preventer/Vang


The old vang/preventer required me to go forward to adjust or release it.  And, I don’t like working on the leeward side deck if it’s not necessary

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.

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A Delightful Overnight Trip


The Far Reach anchored overnight in the working harbor of Oriental, NC.

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.

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Finally, we were sailing again.  All better now!

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.

Anchor Chafing Guards



The new larger more abrasion and impact resistant anchor chafing guards.

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.

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Back In The Water



Relaunching at Beaufort Marine Center, NC. It’s always nerve wracking to see the Far Reach like this.

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.

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A Powerful Passage to Freedom


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.

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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.


Back at Cape Lookout, where our voyage began six months earlier

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).

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Making Final Prparation for Departure

20 May 2016–The Far Reach, Anchored, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten.


The Far Reach at anchor in Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten waiting to be turned loose for the trip home.

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.