Schooner Farfarer | Schooner Maggie B » Building Farfarer

By: Schooner Maggie B  09-12-2011
Keywords: photos, Boat, Sails

I am thrilled, thrilled to announce that FARFARER (formerly known as Farfarer) was launched today. Soon there will be photos posted on this web site. The masts went in perfectly yesterday and the launch was almost seamless today. She is a real beauty. She will do marvelous things, if given only a little running room. And she will run. The masts are stunning tall and will be a sight when the sails get on her.

Now we are doing the 10,000 steps towards completion. Like the engines didn’t work initially – air in the lines – but they purr now. I am hard pressed to help because I just sit and stare at her captivating attributes.

One little story. We were having a tough time getting the fore mast in. As you will see from the pictures, the tolerances are very, very tight and the masses are huge. The wind was blowing, the crane was balancing the mast, two people were on temporary shrouds, two were on deck guiding things and three of us were struggling to fit the base of the mast on the main bearing, which has incredibly tight tolerances (it is from a 737 aileron housing). We three below had wedges, pry bays, blocks and lots of choice sailor curses to help and it just wouldn’t go. We were on, perhaps, try number 11 or 12, when I shouted for a halt because I realized that we had forgotten the age-old sailors offering of a coin at the base of the mast. I dug in my pocket and found a “Bluenose” Canadian dime, Colin placed it Bluenose up on the top of the bearing, and on the next try she slipped home without a hitch.

More soon. A GREAT DAY!

It has been a while since there has been a Schooner Maggie B and Farfarer update. But it has been busy.

Maggie B’s first cousin, Farfarer, is coming along well. She is still more or less on time for launch in June of this year.

Farfarer is just the “working name” and I confess that I haven’t yet decided on what her launch name will be. Currently trying out “Maia” who was the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters (the Pleiades), and mother to Hermes. Also her sister Alcyone or Halcyon, who was later changed into a Kingfisher, which is not all bad.

There is so much that is so familiar when I go to visit Farfarer in the new yard in Riverport. And so much is so different. Maggie B was perfect, but a lot has changed, and not for the worse, on Farfarer.

I had a great visit to Nova Scotia in February. Nigel Irens was able to come over for a visit and we nailed down 10,000 details. First we visited the boat in Riverport and climbed all over her and poked in every nook and cranny. It is so interesting to try to understand both the forest and the trees.

We then had a great meeting with Sandy McMillian of North Sails to discuss all the crucial details of how to get the most out of the rig. Then Nigel and I went on to Concord, MA to meet with Ted Van Dusen of Composite Engineering, who was beginning to braid up our masts. There are photos of mast-making on the web. It is totally incredible.

But back in Riverport the Farfarer is really coming together. The cockpit will be much like Maggie B. Farfarer carries her width further aft than MagB. There will be only one powered winch on either side, but there will be jammers to control the lines. In general the windward winch will be for the main and the leeward for the fore. The fore will have to share when the asymmetrical is up.

Main and fore halyards will lead to a powered winch amidships. Hopefully there will still be room for Reepicheep on deck. The foredeck will be unencumbered by the forestay and roller jib, but will be compact because the fore mast is stepped rather far forward.

Farfarer will have prism deck lights as with MagB, with the important difference that they will be positioned over the foot of the bunks, not the head – so that when they drip, the drops won’t fall in the ear of whoever is sleeping below.

Below, the galley is just like MagB’s, which was perfect. There will be only a few little innovations to help control plates, pots and pans. At the sinks there will be salt water, hot and cold fresh, and a new drinking water faucet that will have sophisticated filtration.

The Crew Mess will be the focus of the cabin. The trick is to have it right for grabbing a meal on the fly, having a fun dinner all together, and for after dinner or off-watch relaxation. Covey Island has come up with innovative sliding seats that should work great (see photos on our site).

Right forward of the Crew Mess is the Ships Office on the starboard side and cabin heater and wet locker on port. It should be easily possible to see all the essential information from anywhere in the main cabin, like “are the bilge pumps running?” “Is another radar looking at us?” “How much water is left in the port tank” “Is that a call on the Sat Phone?” We will also have a multifunction display with all the navigation data available and handy.

Then two cabins with double berths. Lots of storage space, both public and personal. Then the head on starboard, which will have lots of signs of what NOT to throw in the bowl (in many languages!). A sink on the port side with storage for personal kits. The shower is in the passage way, which will be enclosed by shutting the fore and aft doors. More room than on the MagB, but with some disincentive not to hang out there too long.

The fo’c’stle will be better utilized that on the Maggie B. There will be two good, permanent berths. Above the port side berth are two strong, deep shelves sized for large and medium plastic bins to carry all the spares that one collects. Above the starboard will be fittings for all the spare lines. There will be suitable chocks for the ship’s wine, whiskey and rum supplies.

The fore mast foots at the front of the fo’c’stle. In front of the mast is the forepeak, which will have the chain locker and substantial room for other gear. The forepeak will have deck access as well as a hatch from the fo’c’stle. Hmmm – does that make it a fore lazarette? (See John, Chapter 11).

As with the Maggie B, there will be two watertight bulkheads, one between the forepeak and the fo’c’stle and one between the fo’c’stle and the shower.

Electronics on the Farfarer will be more sophisticated than on the MagB. We will be a mostly all Furuno boat. The new Furuno system is significantly better than what we had. I won’t be sorry never to see the trackball again! Furuno has purchased and integrated MaxSea, so we shouldn’t have any more fights between the French and the Japanese as to who is running the autopilot!

We will also have AIS, which will broadcast our navigation information to all AIS equipped boats. WiFi and cell phone signals will be enhanced. Any computer aboard or nearby will be able to seamlessly interconnect. On “movie night,” we should be able to watch from any screen in the boat.

There is so much to do before she will be ready for the water, but it is exciting to be working on details like stain for the Black Walnut or which computer rather than how many engines.

All is well.
Frank Blair
Captain, Schooner Maggie B and Farfarer

Farfarer is coming along well at the new Covey Island shipyard. Everyone can watch her in progress on the web, if you check with me or John Steele at Covey Island for the password. Their web cam shows live what is happening at the yard in Riverport.

Farfarer is still a “working” name. I am also considering “Makali’i” which is Polynesian for the star constellation Westerners call the Pleiades. I am open to all other ideas, though Maggie C and Maggie B2 have been considered and rejected.

The new boat is certainly a sister or first cousin to Maggie B. The hull and structure is very much the same. The frames and planks are old growth Douglas Fir, recovered from the building that used to stand at 200 Broadway which was built in 1872. 137 years for the wood to work itself out.

The most obvious difference is that Farfarer will be a Cat Schooner. No foresails (jibs), except for an asymmetrical downwind sail. The main and the fore will be very modern “fat head’ers” as one sees with the fastest race boats, including most of the Vendee Globe boats. The masts will rotate to give the sails/foils the best possible angle to the wind. The masts will be made by Ted Van Dusen of Composite Engineering in Concord, Massachusetts. Ted is also internationally known for his racing shells and canoes. The masts will start at about 400 mm and taper to 100 mm at the 82 foot main top (Farfarer will be about 56 feet long). Nigel says that an advantage will be that the masts will “unload” in a big breeze. That means bend. Yikes! I am very comfortable to be working closely with Ted and Sandy at North Sails to make their combination work out – safe, solid and fast.

The masts will be unstayed, which brings up a serious Crew Safety Issue. How will male shipmates (and adventurous females) pee overboard without standing rigging to hang on to?? Fortunately I have found large fancy-work beckets in Annapolis Royal. They will be strapped with a suitable length strop to each mast pin rail, to assist needy shipmates.

The Maggie B had one 98 HP Yanmar propulsion engine and an Onan 6 KW generator. One propulsion source (besides the sails) and two sources of energy (three if you count solar). In Farfarer we are going to have two 40 HP Nanni diesel engines, connected to two folding Gori props, hung out on either side. Thus we will have redundant propulsion as well as redundant charging. One of the two Nannis will have a 300 amp. alternator directly connected, just before the transmission. Both will have the installed alternators. Thus redundant propulsion and charging. And differential propulsion so we can show off while docking even without bow thrusters.

The Nannis are well known in Europe, though not yet in the States. The engine is a marinized Kubota tractor engine (the same as on my tractor here in Illinois!). When I questioned the negative of having so many fewer Nanni dealers than Yanmar, the Nanni salesman pointed out that I could buy essentially all parts at a Kubota tractor dealer, at 1/2 to 1/3 the price at a Marine Dealer.

Launch is still theoretically next June, then fitting out — getting the sticks in and all that. I am planning to move to Nova Scotia in March or April to work on the finishing, and to get to know her from the inside, as with the Maggie B. Then I’ll certainly be there for the fitting out. I look forward to working and sailing with old and new shipmates starting next Spring!

All is Well. Happy New Year!

Frank Blair

Captain, Schooners Maggie B and Farfarer

Keywords: Boat, Masts, photos, Sails

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