From the beginning of our rebuild of the Far Reach we had three goals that guided our efforts: First, was to make her as simple as possible. Second, was to make her comfortable and enjoyable to sail and live aboard. Last, she had to be beautiful. I call our philosophy “elegant simplicity.”
While I would prefer to have the Far Reach engine free all the time it would require access to a mooring that we could sail on and off. There are very few moorings in NC and none where we are. She is berthed in a small marina with 360° of protection. So, we often carry a Honda 9.9hp four stroke outboard on a custom-made removable swing arm bracket attached to the port quarter. The outboard allows us to more conveniently move her in and out of her slip, make the tight turn onto the fairway, then exit the narrow 1/4 mile long channel out to the Neuse River.
It was about 40° F when I got to the boat the other day. Had a few small projects to accomplish and I needed to complete some reading for a college seminar I teach one night per week. When we rebuilt the Far Reach we installed a small Danish designed gravity drip heater called a Refleks M66MK. It is normally set up for diesel fuel but since we don’t have an inboard engine we jetted it for slightly more efficient kerosene. The combusted fuel is vented out of the boat via the flue and a Refleks smoke-head.
The fan on the heater top is called an Eco Fan. It runs through a process called the pelitier effect which is the result of the second law of thermodynamics—heat flows from an object at a higher tempature to a body at a cooler temperature. The fan sits on the cast iron heater top-plate. The fan base absorbs heat which in turn moves towards the cooling fans. In the process, the heat passes over a thermocouple. As as a result, a small amount of electricity powers a 12 volt fan located in the fan body, which drives the fan blade. The fan does a wounderful job of moving the warm air around the boat. It can also be repositioned to blow the heat in any direction desired.
In no time the boat was toasty warm. The Refleks Heater Has settings from 1-8. We had it on level 1 or 2 … so it’s very efficient.
The boat is wonderfully comfortable and quiet. Like a well made tiny house but ready to go to sea and serve as our magic carpet to any place we may desire.
We use SS 7×7 5/16” wire rope for all the standing rigging on the Far Reach, except the forestay. For the forestay, we use synthetic 9mm Dynex Dux (heat treated dyneema). Recently, we modified the forestay to make it easy to detach it from the gammon iron. That modification allows us to open up the foretriangle making it easier to short tack as the forestay is no longer an obstruction to the jib. The modification, includes a partially covered dyneema that serves as a lanyard, and a few low-friction rings.
I have been asked about our bonneted jib a number of times. I was asked about it again the other day on the Cape Dory forum. So, it seemed like a good time to provide more detail to those who might be interested.
I like sailing with a hank-on jib. A hank-on jib is more efficient and longer lived than a furling headsail. It is less expensive. There is less maintenance required and it is more reliable. But it is not as convienent as a furling jib…no doubt about it. While there are techniques for managing a hank on jib that are tried and proven, it does take skill, occasional acrobatics, and some planning to keep things under control. Our genoa is about 390 sqft. But, it has a bonnet that we can zip off that reduces it to a working jib size of about 280 sqft. But, the challenges are similar with either headsail.
For the last couple weeks we have been working on several projects as we continue to either further refine the Far Reach’s few systems or conduct routine maintenance. One project was the installation of a camcleat for the jib downhaul System, which is a separate article.
The first varnish project was to repair some damaged varnish on the teak stays’l winch bases. The bases are about 4” tall and are varnished. On top of the base is a 2” thick bare teak pad that serves to raise the winch up enough so the drum is above the top of the coaming. Though we varnish the coamings and pads every four months, there was a break in the varnish on the top edge of each pad. Horizontal surfaces always receive more abuse than vertical surfaces so this damage was not a big surprise.
When I rebuilt the Far Reach, paramount to the effort was staying on budget. It was not easy. I had to determine a way to make hard choices. One thing I decided was to make use of what I already had if it was reasonably serviceable and relatively easy to replace or upgrade later. Winches fell into that category.
The original two speed ST Lewmar 44s were in bad shape. Though powerful, they were a poor design that mixed bronze and aluminum–there was some ugly galvanic corrosion. But they were ridiculously expensive to replace. I could not work around the cost as I was also building a new rig. So I rebuilt them best as I could and pressed on.
When I rebuilt the boat I also redesigned the stays’l layout and eliminated the club-footed boom. I installed bronze sheet fairleads on the side deck and installed small (using what I had on hand) #10 single speed non-self-tailing sheet winches on each coaming forward of the #44 primary winches. The design really proved itself on the trip to and from the West Indies but the small winches were barely adequate.
This past year, I set aside some money every month and during the summer I purchased four new bronze Lewmar Ocean Series self-tailing winches that were on sale. I bought two bronze #46 two speed ST winches to replace the old 44s. And, I bought two bronze #16s to replace the #10 stays’l winches.
The #46s have a different bolt pattern than the #44s. I’ll need to build new teak bases for them this winter. But the 16s have the same pattern as the 10s, so installing them is a simpler job. I decided now was a good time to install them.
The first order of business required minor disassembly of the overhead and some cabinetry to get to the nuts on the underside of the deck. This was possible because I designed the new interior to be removable. It took about 30-40 minutes.
The second order of business was to remove the nearly nine inch long, 1/4″, silicon bronze bolts that secured the winches. This was not a simple matter as I had used plenty of polysulfied bedding compound and butyl tape when I installed them several years ago. But, after a day of trying various techniques I managed to get the bolts out intact and without damage.
Third, I cleaned the bolts at home in the shop and polished them up with a buffing wheel so they would more easily slide back down the long holes through the 2″ tall bare teak rider pad, the 4 1/2″ tall base, the 7/8″ thick deck and the 1/4″ G10 backing plate.
I used a 12″ long 1/4″ drill bit to clean out the holes. I re-chamfered the holes in the teak riser pads to help drive bedding compound around the bolt shafts below the surface of the winch base when I tightened the nuts. Then I test fit the bases and taped them off. I removed the winches and positioned the bolts through the holes. I wiped the winch base and the teak pad down with acetone to remove residual oil and grease. I used butyl tape to make small donuts around the bolts just under the winch base. I applied the polysulfied and installed the winches one at a time. My daughter Cailin used a large screw driver to hold the fasteners in place while I tightened the nuts below deck with a deep socket wrench. We cleaned up the squeeze out, removed the tape, and reinstalled the drums. They looked great. They are more powerful than the #10s and also they are be self-tailing.
I look forward to using them and seeing how they work. Replacing the primaries is Phase II and replacing the jib and main halyard winches is Phase III.
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.
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.