It's been only two weeks since Reach has been afloat.  Seems like longer ~ we feel quite at home back aboard.  We left the docks at RAM marina on May 1st, leaving behind great memories of our special time in Guatemala.  

Motoring down-river we were slicing through the water at new speeds for Reach.  Typically, we motor on one engine and switch sides over time for reasonable speeds with conserved fuel.  We made 7.5 kts with both engines at cruising rpms (>8 kts full throttle) and were seeing 6.5 kts in the calm waters under one engine, where we used do more like 6.5 and 5 .5 kts, respectively.  Of course, the clean and newly painted bottom helps, yet here we think the new sterns have given us a 1 knot gain!

Our first anchorage was in Cayo Quemado in the half-way point to the Caribbean Sea.

In this fresh water bay surrounded by canals the conditions were dead calm, not to mention picturesque!  

Kudos to Noé & Mark for the excellent color-match of the gel-coat of the new sterns to original.

The next day we checked out of the country and set sail for Honduras.  In true Reach fashion, the prevailing easterly trade winds shifted to west at 10-15 kts just in time for us to have a superb beam reach sail, passing a few cargo ships and squalls along the way.  

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We sailed comfortably in these conditions and noted how dry and true the new sterns were tracking, minus the eddies that used to form and drag us down in the past.


At one point after a squall passed, we hit a groove of higher winds that Reach loves.  The new sterns were a pleasure to watch as they displaced long stern waves and the added buoyancy lifted the boat out of the water on both the leeward and windward sides of the sail set.  The motion was noticeably smoother under sail and quieter for sleeping overnight.

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Eventually the winds diminished to the point that we had to motorsail overnight to reach Utila at dawn, yet this isn't a bad prospect at all when the alternative is 15-20 kts on the nose.

Now in salt water, we dinghied around Reach for 360* views to admire our shiny, waxed boat, before it slowly became a chromatography experiment with the wax sucking up all of the ash in the air from the burning fields, not to mention engine exhaust.

Here we could examine the salt water flotation characteristics.  As expected, the added buoyancy of the denser salt water lifted us about another inch out of the water.  

It was in Utila  that the winds shifted briefly back to the east overnight and we had west waves coming up the sterns at anchor.  The old washing-machine sounds of water on the sterns was now absent, replaced by a new drum bonking sound when a wave slapped the underside of the sterns.  It was a new sound for us, not entirely unexpected with the stern rise a few inches above the water now.  

We spent subsequent nights anchored facing into winds and waves and have not heard it since with the exception of the rare wave.  A related observation has been less motion in high winds and when launchas pass by with close wakes ~ the motion barely registers relative to modest motions felt before the new sterns.

If you couldn't tell yet, we are very happy with our new and improved catamaran.  We'll leave you with a few stats about the project while they're still fresh in our minds.

Length added to sterns:  27 inches

Weight added per stern:  ~ 150 lbs each  

Buoyancy added per stern:  ~170 lbs below & 500 lbs above waterline  

Time in boatyard:  5 months

Downtime due to delays/rain etc:  ~5 weeks

Housemates in & out of shared apartment:  8 couples 

Build cost per stern:  ~$3500

Work clothes ceremonially destroyed:  2 sets "yellow" & "blue"

Speed increase:  ~1 knot motoring & sailing

© M&M 2019