The wind in the SW North Atlantic north of the Caribbean remains elusive. I discussed it with Chris Parker of Marine Weather Center last week. Together we came up with three options:
I am very happy to report that the Far Reach survived the trial of her life during Hurricane Florence, which pounded eastern North Carolina from 13-14 Sept 2019.
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.
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.
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.