Note: I copy the daily log entries to their repective project pages almost daily. If you want to read all the entries for any project sequentially, go to the "Projects" tab and you will be able to navigate to the appropriate page. Most of the interior contruction projects will be found via links in the "Rebuilding the Interior" page. The rest of the projects have separate tabs on the "Projects" tab.
Note: I added another page under the "Projects" page that should allow smart phone and iPad users to access the separate projects via hyperlinks. I don't know why but it seems that smart phones can't access the drop down menus.
31 Dec 2015
We have started a separate dedicated sailing blog more friendely to phones and tablets. To access the site click on the tab "FRV Sailing Blog" on the menu tab above. Please join us there and feel free to leave comments. Or click here.
25 Dec 2015—We Made It!
The Far Reach, with my sister and me on board, took our departure from Cape Lookout on the morning of 8 Dec. We made landfall at Jost Van Dyke, BVI after 18 days and 1643 nautical miles of almost all upwind sailing.The Far Reach was magnificent in every way. She was solid, quiet, and though the Atlantic washed over the deck a few times she did not leak a drop of water.It was a wet upwind ride most of the way.
We had three days of absolute mirror calms just drifting—a painted ship on a painted ocean. During one calms we went swimming in 17,000 ft of water so clear and cobalt blue it defies description.
We had frustrating headwinds almost the whole way. A couple of time we were forced to sail away from where we wanted to go.Around 26 degrees north latitude we had to sail east about 180 mile, well past the longitude of Bermuda, to get a better angle on the expected reinforced south easterly trade winds as we pushed further south.The last five days, when were finally able to reach a bit the trade winds were 25-30 knots (35 kts in the squalls)with seas about 10’-14’ with a few larger ones on occasion.
Many times it was so rough we sailed only under the stays’l, often still making 5-6 knots, sometimes reefed. We were both sick a few time.I was not eating much the last 10 days.I lost my love handles and now proudly have an “outie” for a belly button!
On the first night of the trip we lost the wind and as we are engine free nervously drifted north about 20 miles in the Gulf Stream dodging commercial shipping . But we also had some glorious sailing too.We made 140 miles in one 24 hr period and 135 on another with 12-14 kts of wind sailing close hauled on a fairly smooth sea.We saw thousands of flying fish and had a beautiful tropic bird drop down and check us out from about 20 feet.
Each night we were reunited with the eternal constellations that have guided and reassured mariners for millennia. Early in the trip we saw meteor showers fascinating us with brilliant shooting stars sometimes every 15 seconds.
There was a new moon when we started where it was dark as hell and we finished under and awesome full moon on Christmas Eve shining a path for us on the final night at sea.
We were cheerfully wished a Merry Christmas on the VHF radio on Christmas Eve by the huge cruise liner “Regal Princess” as we crossed paths just north of the BVI.
We made landfall over the north bank of the BVI about 10 miles west of the west end of Anegada Island blasting along down-wind with a 30-35 knot breeze with a stays’l and a double reefed main. A few times the Far Reach surprised me by surfing probably hitting close to 9 knots.We siled into Great Harbor, Jost van Dyke anchoring under sail in 35’ of crystal clear water.
The two heroes of the trip were my sister Tricia and our magnificent Cape Horn self-steering windvane.
7 Dec 15
The Far Reach is anchored in the Bight at Cape Lookout, NC. She is patiently waiting for a suitable weather window for her first off-shore passage.
17 Nov 15
Lots of projects as we continue to make preparations for our first voyage. We completed the installation of the boom gallows a few days ago. I am very pleased with it. I cut the center notch but not the ones on each side. I will do that at a later point. Today, I swapped out the SS hex bolts for round head bronze bolts that secure the pipes to the base supports. Tomorrow, I'll drill and tap two holes on each pipe to secure the upper bronze arm to the top of the pipe. I am very pleased with how it turned out. There is no difficulty whatsoever ascending or descending the companionway ladder. Also, there is little to no obstruction on the side deck. In fact, it is quite comfortable to use it as a hand hold when going forward. We also picked up our new mainsail cover from Innerbanks Sails in Oriental, NC. What a treat it is to be able to leave the lazy jacks in place. I think it looks very nice. We elected to have the cover not cover the front of the mast. I think it looks a little sleeker than our old cover.
A while back, I built a walnut top for the work bench that fits under the companionway. I finally got around to installing the drawer that slides under the workbench top. It's a regular SS steamer tray we purchased for less than $15. I installed walnut cleats under the table, elongating the holes so the surface and contract and expand. I milled some African Mahogany for a drawer front and scribes some wood to keep the drawer front vertical and attach it to the tray. The picture to the right is the test fit. Since I took the photo I applied seven coats of varnish. I looks very nice and fits in seamlessly with the rest of the interior. I intend to use the drawer for the tools I use the most often. The SS tray allows me to keep the tools well oiled without concerns about damaging the interior of a weed drawer box
I used a steam tray as the drawer box.
With the incessant arguments for a new generation anchor I finally decided to try one for myself. The issue in the past has been the anchors with roll bars will not work with a bow sprit. But the spade anchor looked like it would work and the spade has received very high marks from a number of places--Practical Sailor and John and Phyllis Harries of Attainable Adventure Cruising among others. Thus, I picked up a spade. It fit on the roller fine but the blade can hit the underside of the bowsprit if great care is not taken when stowing the anchor in place. Today, I added a small chafing guard to the underside of the bowsprit. I made the guard from a rectangular piece of leather and some copper flashing. I secured the leather and copper in place with contact cement then used 1/2" copper tacks to further secure it.
The new spade anchor sits comfortably on the bow roller
I added another chafing guard to protect the bowsprit from inadvertant anchor strikes.
To continue our shake down, my sister Tricia and I took another overnight sail on the Far Reach. We departed in the afternoon in about 20 knots of wind with gusts to 25 knots. We experimented with different sail combinations (no surprises with the reefing protocol) and also hoisted the storm trysail. The boat behaved beautifully on all points of sail We also did a little night sailing which was wonderful. The temperatures dropped into the mid 30s. We sailed with the nav lamps lit, cabin lights lit, and the Refleks heater purring. We had a new crescent moon, the air was very clear, and the stars were astonishing. We anchored under sail and had a wonderful meal. We went over some of our charts for our planned up coming voyage. The temps dropped to 35 degrees but we were in our shorts and t-shirts in the boat. We were quite comfortable.
The next day we sailed home executing a number of man-over-board recovery drills on the way and tried out the new continuous line whisker pole system. Everything worked fine. We finished off the trip by sculling the Far Reach into her new slip on "C" dock. The new slip is not as convenient as the old slip but the water is deeper and the pilings are in better shape. I continue to be pleased with how the Far Reach sails.
7 Nov 15 Boom Gallows Continued.
I spent most of the day focused on milling and laying out the Iroko plank for the boom gallows. Explanations of each step are embedded in the photo gallery below.
It's a tricky project because the gallows are a little different on each end and on each side. By that I mean the gallows frame is 1 5/8" thick and the edge of one side/face of the frame is not a mirror image of the opposite side on the same frame. That makes laying out the jig/template a little more complicated. The template for one side will not fit the opposite side (not the other end but the other face of the same frame).
So, I made a full length template for the forward face and two short templates for the aft face. I will need to go very slow and take my time.
This would be simple if I wanted to paint the gallows timber-I'd just coat the ends in thickened epoxy and mold an exact fit. Then, paint the timber and the epoxy filler. I could also do the same thing if I wanted to varnish the timber--I'd use wood dust as the thickener and T88 epoxy which would look very wood-like in color. On the other hand, the bronze will get very hot in the tropics and that is not idea ideal epoxy. But, I'd like to leave the plank bare and that means the fit has to be very good to look good.
6 Nov 2015 -- Boom Gallows
The last two weeks were focused on the solar panel which I completed a few days ago. Then, I immediately transitioned to installing the boom gallows which I wanted to install before we make an offshore passage. I have thought about the gallows for years. Originally, I wanted the gallows at the aft end of the boom which offered a number of benefits, but it clobbered the cockpit. If the boom were a foot or 18" longer that would have been the best way to go. The next option was to install it on the cabin top over the companionway (it would be out of the way) but that would have necessitated bolting them through the cabin top. I did not like that idea--too easy for water to get into the cored cabin top. Also, to do it right, the core would need to be cut out and replaced with a solid filler as the lever arm of pulling on the pipe would stress, and possibly, crack the top skin of the deck. Thus, the strongest most sensible solution was to bolt the support base flanges through the side of the cabin top. I saw the this particular set up in stainless steel on Jim Kellam's well known Spencer 35 Haulback several years ago. Then, recently I saw a bronze set up on K. Chiswell's CD 33 which seemed to address our needs. Chiswell was kind enough to tell me that he purchased the components at Port Townsend Foundry. I called Cathy at PTF and she got the ball rolling. We had to wait about three weeks to get the parts which include the "hardened" brass pipe.
My sister Patricia was a huge help throughout the gallows install. Not only did I need an extra set of hands--she is also boat savy and mechancially minded-- she made the work fun, which I needed as I was running out of steam with another complicate multi-part project.
First, I determined the bevel required for the support blocks to make the gallows pipes vertical (if not vertical there would be no way to remove the assembly with out disassembling the component . . . nor would you be able to shorted or lengthen the pipes as a non vertical angle would cause the span dimensions to change). Second, I cut 8/4 teak blocks to the proper length and scribed the required bevel. I resawed the blocks and cut the bevel at the same time on a friends band saw. I used the cast off side of the cut for the backing block on the inside of the cabin since it was a reverse image of the outside block. I made a couple of trips to the boat to confirm the angles. Third, I pre drilled the holes through the blocks on my bench top drill press. Fourth, I used a simple jig to align the holes and keep them perpendicular as I drilled through the cabin side. Fifth, I over drilled the holes on the inside of the cabin with a 1/2" diameter drill bit and then filled the enlarged holes with thickened epoxy allowing the "plugs" to cure overnight. Sixth, I drilled back through the plugs with a 3/8" bit insuring no wood grain was exposed to the bolt holes and preventing water egress into the plywood cabin side. I bedded the bronze plate to the teak block with Dolphinite bedding compound and bedded the blocks to the fiberglass cabin side with butyl rubber.
It was a math rubic's cube to figure out the correct height for the pipes but we finally solved it by laying out the components on the garage floor and mocking it up. Then, with the pipes installed and spanned by a simple 1/4" plywood jig we were able to figure out where exactly to cut the pipes. We used a composite cut off wheel that fit my 12" Dewalt chop saw to cut the pipes square. I bought the blade at a welding supply shop for $8. We then used the jig to trace the pattern for the arched span and used that to mark out the pattern on the Iroko.
In the attached photo the spanning jig only has the arch on the top line--we needed the jig straight across the bottom to determine the cut line on the pipes. But the bottom line on the Iroko will have a bottom line to match the camber of the top curve.
The set up seems very strong and bolted through with six 3/8" bronze carriage bolts it isn't going anywhere. It will make a hell of a hand-hold when offshore. I suspect it won't take the kids long to figure out the gallows will make a terrific platform to leap from into the water.
I chose Iroko for the span timber as it is very rot resistant, I can get it down the street at World Timber, and cost $6 a BF vice nearly $28 a BF for Burmese teak. I'll start milling the Iroko tomorrow.
I completed the solar panel install a few days ago when I wired in the MPPT controller and attached the solar panel. It was a long slow project as I carefully reviewed the wiring protocols for each component (battery, distribution panel, solar panel, and accessory runs) which required that I figure out what I needed and then order the parts. I did not want anything to show in the boat so I had to think about how to hid the wire as well as the 12 volt receptacles which are on pigtails that are hidden when not needed. I charged my phone yesterday and it worked fine. The battery is topped off and the 30 watt solar panel seems to be doing it's job. I'll know more about the system after I have used it a bit. The info I used was a combination of RC Collins' excellent descriptions at his Compass Marine website and my trusted mentor who really guided me along pointing me in the right direction.
I recently ordered a 12 volt adapter and hope that it will do the job of keeping our laptop PC charged so the kids can continue using the CD based math program they have been using for the last few years. I'd like to purchase an Apple Mac Air laptop but the budget won't support it right now. We will work with what we have and see how it goes and adjust accordingly.