Thursday, July 28, 2016

24-27 Jul: Coinjock to Chesapeake, Va. (Atlantic Yacht Basin)

We spent an extra day (25-27-Jul) at Coinjock mainly waiting on several packages and mail to catch up with us.  We used the down day to relax and catch up on more administrative items, including reconfiguring Rick’s spare phone (which had to be factory reset before Google services, including Gmail, would function….great fun.)  And of course there are always things to do on or with the boat – getting water stains off the stainless brightwork and recharging the water softener took up much of the day (in 98 degree heat.)

ICW Between Coinjock and AYB
Our final batch of packages finally arrived late on the 26th, so after another quiet evening here, we pushed away from the dock at 0830 (with the hope of avoiding the forecasted afternoon TRWs) on 27-Jul and made the short 32 NM trek to the Atlantic Yacht Basin Marina (aka AYB).  And while technically that’s located in the city of Chesapeake, Va. (home to the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge), it’s actually still about 15 miles south of the Chesapeake Bay, which was our original destination of this season’s voyaging.  So, after putting 1500 NM under the keel on this trip,  it represents progress.  As hot as it is here, we’re still noodling heading further north and coming back to the Chesapeake area when it cools down a bit on our journey back south.

Chelle & Ghost Rider at AYB
Other than the inconvenience of having to loiter for 30 minutes awaiting two bridge openings, the trip up the ICW to AYB was uneventful, and we docked up around 1400.  The forecast TRWs never materialized, but it was a freaking scorcher again.  Thus, when we plugged into shore power at AYB and discovered they only had 208V power (not enough smash for our 240V system, including the A/C) we were not happy campers.  But they were able to loan us a boost transformer that got us to the 220-225V range, a voltage we’ve run on before with no equipment damage, so hopefully our high-voltage appliances will hold up.  The A/C is cooling well at this point….so far so good.

Ghost Rider Tied Up at AYB
We chose AYB as a stop not based on its reputation as just an ‘OK’ marina (it, too, is in the middle of nowhere) but mainly because it is a reputed boat repair yard, and yes, we needed work done. Our central maintenance issue is a leaking steering ram – while very slight, that’s a critical piece of equipment and a single point of failure, thus not to be ignored….the boat is equipped with an emergency hand tiller, but that’s not a real-world experience for which anyone yearns.  We’ll have a new ram installed, and have the old one rebuilt to keep as an onboard spare.  We also had an LPG failure (the propane source for the gas cooking appliances, we’re hoping that’s simply a bad solenoid) as well as that cranky water maker that may need attention.
Good Fuel Prices at AYB...We'll Tank Up Here
Anyway, as soon as we were securely tied up, I gave James Taylor, the yard’s service manager, a call and minutes later he was at the boat, we reviewed the punch list, and we had a good service schedule worked out for the next couple of days.  And diesel fuel is only $1.85 a gallon here...I think we'll top off before heading further north.

N60 Blossom Stored at AYB
Our Nordy friends Martin and Stephanie are storing their N60, Blossom, here for the rest of the year while they take a boating break back home in California.  AYB is an excellent hurricane hole, with massive covered boat barns in a mostly fresh water cove on the backside of the marina….well protected from winds, with little to no tide or surge potential.  We're going to look into joining their hurricane club for this voyage, as it’s a centrally located place to which we can boogie should a big blow head this way during the current tropical storm season.