Installing Off-Shore Stanchions


Singlehanding home from Sint Maarten to N.C. in May 2016.  The lifelines felt too low and I wanted to replace them.

During the six year rebuild of the Far Reach I wanted to replace the original 24” tall lifeline stanchions with taller ones of about 30 inches.  But, at that time, taller stanchions were not enough of a priority to make it on to the budget. We made do for the past three years including 3,500nm of off-shore sailing.  

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A Drink Caddy


The caddy will hold three drinks, travel mugs, or water bottles  

Just a little project to to address the need for a way to keep drinks secure in the cockpit when sailing. Some teak, 3/32 silicon bronze, and chrome tanned leather. All scraps or off cuts from other projects. Inspired by an old article written by Lin and Larry Pardey.

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A Few Small Projects: Bug screens, whisker pole mod, windlass rebuild, and a new sculling oar lock.


We never had problems with bugs in the West Indies as we always anchored out and there was always a breeze.  Nonetheless, I wanted to have a full set of screens for the Far Reach.

With Hurricane Florence behind us, it was time to return to the preparation of the Far Reach for the voyage back to the BVI and the West Indies.  At the moment we are working on a few small but important projects. Described below are a few of them.

We completed building the drop-in companionway bug screens.  I built the teak frames last winter but got side tracked before installing the screens. I still need to sew up some screens for the foredeck and saloon deck hatches.  Gayle sewed a nice padded pouch to protect them when stored under a bunk.

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Splicing Wire Standing Rigging in British Columbia



I spent three weeks on Vancouver Island splicing rigging and helping my friend Kaj install the rig on his self built Lyle Hess designed 34’ Falmouth Cutter.

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.

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Dyneema Soft Shackles and an Improved Deck Bucket

I selectively and carefully incorporated dyneema and it’s heat treated cousin Dynex Dux into the rebuilt Far Reach. I used Dux for the forestay and later modified it with a quick release pendant. The link to how we made the forestay releaseable can be found here.


We used a 5/16” doubled soft shackle to attach the large low friction ring to the tack fitting on the gammon iron  as part of our releasable forestay system.

We also use dyneema for our lifelines and various shackles with and without toggles. The dyneema has performed very well. We continue to find ways to use dyneema in a manner that suits our philosophy of reliability, simplicity, and self sufficiency.

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Hand Splice Standing Rigging—The Liverpool Splice




All of the standing rigging on the Far Reach is spliced to include the 3/8” bob-stay and the 5/16” sprit-shroud stays.

Readers of our rebuild website may remember I hand-spliced the standing rigging for the new mast we built for the Far Reach. It was one of the many projects associated with the six year rebuild. I used a splice called the Liverpool Splice. I learned it by reading Brion Toss’ book The Rigger’s Apprentice.

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Cape Lookout Summer Cruise

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.


The Far Reach all provisioned and ready to go.

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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.

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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.

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