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.
The lazy jack system is a little busier than I would like, but it's very simple and really captures the main sail beautifully. I pretty much followed the set up as described by John Harris at Morgan's Cloud AAC. The one change I made was to make the upper legs from 3/16" Amsteel because it is very slick and I thought it would cause less chafe. I used 1/4" stay set for the lower part to provide a little stretch attaching the outboard end to the boom with a eye splice girth hitched around the pad eye. We will have a new mainsail cover made with flaps for the lazy jacks so we can leave them up all the time.
Close hauled into the mouth of the Neuse River.For my third sail on the Far Reach, and my first overnight trip; there were a number of take aways for me. First, I have not forgotten how to sail a big boat--big by my standards. I managed the Far Reach pretty well for the first time I single-handed her. To be sure, I was a little rusty sailing a big keel boat but overall I did not embarrass myself (ok there was that little docking episode at the end but I don't think anyone saw it--and if there were no pictures then it didn't happen). Second, the boat sailed beautifully. I tuned the rig a little more before I departed and again while sailing on day three. The mast still needs more pre-bend and the uppers need to be tightened some more too. But, I think we are getting close to where the rig needs to be. At twenty degrees of heel there was about 3-4 degrees of weather helm, which is perfect. Though there was pressure on the rudder, I could easily hold her on course with just a few fingers. In the video clip below note the tiller position . . . almost centered, maybe a couple degrees to weather. The traveler is dropped down about 8-12" so that can be a little misleading. The boat is heeling a little more than 15 degrees but I noted no difference in tiller position even at 20 degrees of heel which is really where she likes to be. She tacked every time regardless the wind speed. The tacking angle appeared to be about 80 degrees or 40 degrees to true wind. I think that is very good for a full keel boat with basically outboard mounted shrouds. We also beat up about 8 miles of the Bay River, working through two dog legs, and dodging an ocean going tug pulling barges, without issue. During four days of active sailing I saw only a few boats actually sailing. Most were, sadly, motoring despite near perfect sailing conditions. On the afternoon of the third day we got schwacked by a series of fast moving summer squalls. They were very impressive. In fact, I said a little thank you prayer to Carl Alberg when at the height of the third squall the wind shifted 180 degrees and blew at least 35 knots sustained for probably 45 min to an hour putting us very close to what quickly became a lee shore in a tight spaced steep chop (I estimated 4' to 6' rolling in off the Pamlico Sound). This occurred because I had sailed close to the mouth of the South River, on the south side of the Neuse, thinking I might be able to duck in there before the first squall hit but I waved off because the squall was on us before we could safely sail through the narrow channel. Thus, we tacked away and moved back out into deeper and more open water. The first two squalls had south winds associated with them thus I chose to remain closer to the south bank to gain some protection. But, the third squall had a powerful north wind associated with it and suddenly the protection the south shore had provided was very dangerous to us. I was a little anxious about gaining some separation as we beat north with just a single reefed main. But, the Far Reach performed very well chugging slowly up wind. The better sail combination would have been a double reefed main and reefed stays'l. I had foolishly sailed with only a single reef line installed for the main as my new reefing lines had not arrived in time before I decided to go sailing. Never again.
Whisker Pole System. I refurbished the original adjustable whisker pole that came with the Far Reach. It's not a great pole but I think it will do the job for now. When we painted the spars with Awlgrip we also painted the whisker pole. The anodized end fittings were beat up but to replace them was ridiculously expensive. There are tiny pins that hold the assembly together and it looks like the SS is fused to the aluminum. Instead of fussing with them, I decided to leave it be and use it as it is for now. I washed the fittings with solvent wash then with soap and water, Next, I sanded the fittings, sprayed them with etching primer, and then applied a couple of coats of semi gloss black paint. Flat black would have been better but I had the semi-gloss on hand.