Big Changes…Part II

The aluminum diesel fuel tank is 19.7 gallons. It contains a full vertical baffle in the center and a clean out port on each side of the baffle.

Installing an engine requires a number of supporting projects. In Part I, I described how I modified the rudder, installed a shaft log, and built and installed engine beds. In Part II, I will describe how I designed and installed the fuel tank; designed, fabricated, and installed brackets to secure the Luke 70 pound storm anchor; designed, fabricated, and installed a removable engine drip pan; and installed the engine intake flush through-hull and seacock, as well as a few other ongoing projects.

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Big Changes…. Part I

We had the Far Reach hauled out at Jarett Bay Boatyard
near Beaufort NC

I built the Far Reach to be simple—and she has served me very well that way. She has never failed me and in our time together she has safely carried me to a number of magical destinations. With her taller rig, longer bowsprit, and modified underbody she has proven to be surprisingly capable upwind as well as off the wind. She is fast. In fact, I have had to slow her down a number of times, especially singlehanding. She is as reliable as the day is long. She is comfortable. She is beautiful. As John Keats the poet observed, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

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Sculling an 18,000 lb Boat? Yes You Can.


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Sculling the FarReach out of her slip on 25 Nov 2018 at the beginning of my singlehanded voyage to the Virgin Islands.

During the six year rebuild of the Far Reach I decided to remove and sell the original Perkins 4-108 50 hp diesel engine (you can read more about the decision process to ditch the engine here). We initially relied on a sculling oar to propel and maneuver the boat for the first year after the launch which included 3,500nm of sailing and a voyage to the Virgin Islands and back to North Carolina.

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Sailing Home Singlehanded: Virgin Islands to North Carolina

I don’t feel lonely at sea. After many thousands of miles together the Far Reach and I are a team.

With a reasonable weather forecast I slipped the mooring in Elephant Bay at 0800 on 10 June and sailed the Far Reach through the mooring field past all my live-aboard friends. I let loose on the conch horn I was given by my friend Ali Baba with as long a wailing trumpet blast as I could manage. With the wind out of the east about 15-20 kts I ran west along the south coast of St Thomas. My phone was buzzing with texts from my friends I had made during my time in the VI wishing me a safe trip home. I had a lump in my throat. While ready to get home I already missed my friends and the wonderful time I had in the Virgin Islands. But I needed to get focused on the voyage that lay before me. Once clear of the west end of St Thomas I turned the Far Reach NW leaving Savannah Island to starboard and then headed out into the Atlantic. In short order I had the whisker pole up and the jib winged out and started what would be days of downwind sailing wing and wing.

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The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing….

Everyone needs a place of Zen and happiness…this is mine.

My good friend Colonel Steve Davis USMC was the first person I ever heard say “the main thing….” He was a terrific leader and had a unique gift for preventing his unit from getting distracted. He never lost sight of the mission and knew how to keep the team focused like a laser-beam.

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Celestial Navigation: Going Back to the Beginning

A part of my celestial navigation tool-kit.

I learned celestial nav a long long long time ago, as in way before anyone ever heard of satnav. But I was a youngster and never got proficient. And though we don’t have a chart plotter on the Far Reach, I, like most of the modern world, have come to rely on GPS because it’s quick, simple, and accurate. But…using GPS always leaves me feeling…unsatisfied. Like I cheated. It’s just too easy. There is no reward.

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