It was a sad day to see Gayle fly home. We had a great time together. But the kids have to declare their college selection by 1 May. She needed to assist them with another round of campus visits so they can make a wise choice. So we divided our combat power into two elements, each with missions to accomplish.
I have a fair amount of diving experience. I earned my PADI card when I was 17. I’m also a military trained diver and served in dive billets for nine years. But I don’t have diving gear anymore and I think I made my last dive about 2003. I just snorkel now. But I always think about options….
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.
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.
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
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.