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.”Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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 was having morning coffee and lounging in the cockpit chatting on the phone with Gayle. I could see the rain coming…a lot of rain. I signed off and sure enough it was a real gullywasher.
The day before yesterday the stars were finally back out at dusk. I was able to shoot Sirius and Procyon from the fantail of the Far Reach. I recorded the precise time for each shot.
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.
As the departure date for the sail home gets closer it was time for a haircut. So I took Sweet Pea into the dinghy dock and walked up the hill to the local barber shop.
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.
With fresh provisions on board we slipped the mooring in Elephant Bay, St Thomas on 12 March with only a basic plan—sail towards St John and proceed somewhere from there.
After a wonderful week in Culebra it was time to head back to St Thomas. Unfortunately, St Thomas is about 20nm dead upwind against the powerful Caribbean trades. We prepared the afternoon before by stowing gear and stripping the sun awnings and sail covers. We hauled Sweet Pea up and inverted her on the cabin top and snugged her down securely in her teak chocks.