Friday, July 29, 2016

28-29 Jul: More from Chesapeake, Va. (Atlantic Yacht Basin)

We spent Thursday and Friday (28-29 Jul) comfortably docked up at AYB, mixing up re-provisioning excursions with several maintenance activities with and some fun socializing time.

Billy & Becky's Kady-Krogen 39 The Edge
The provisioning was made a whole lot more convenient when our new dockside neighbors, Billy and Becky Edge, loaned us their very nice (and turbocharged) Audi A6, which gave Chelle the ability to drive around and load up on all sorts of things.  That was a fairly important to-do, as we are planning some consecutive sorties that probably won’t allow much time for such things over the next two weeks.  (That is, once we get out of here…more about that further below.)
Kady-Krogen 39 The Edge Parked Immediately
in Front of
Ghost Rider
We also spent a very relaxing evening of back-to-back happy hours with Billy and Becky.  We started out on their extraordinarily clean 2004 Kadey-Krogen 39, (appropriately named The Edge) whose layout provides an astonishing amount of space for the boat’s size…its engine room actually provides more headroom than the KK48 does.  And then we walked one slip over to Ghost Rider to show them around our Nordy and imbibe in more happy hour treats.  They are good people and we thoroughly enjoyed their company.

Our New Steering Ram Cylinder
As for the maintenance….over the span of two days we got the leaky steering ram removed and the new one installed.  After topping off the system’s hydraulic fluid we spent considerable time bleeding the system, both with manual helm inputs from the upper and lower steering stations, and also using the autopilot for consecutive hard-over rudder movements from stop to stop.  Everything felt and looked good, although we’ll monitor and perform repeated testing over the next few days.  We had the old steering ram sent out for a rebuild since its leak was very slight and only requires a single seal to be replaced; it will be carried as a spare.

The AYB yard staff also arranged for a Cruisair A/C tech to visit us and review our recent cooling challenges – the conclusion was that the system was performing well once the pressure was goosed up, so now we have a few tips to utilize if it acts up again.  Given that the water temp is above 90, and the ambient air has been in the mid-90’s, with heat indices above 100F, and we’re now getting our chilled water loop down into the 40’s and that doesn’t give us much to complain about.

That Small Cylinder at the Middle and Bottom
of this Pic is the LPG Culprit
Then we spent considerable time troubleshooting our recent LPG failure.  And we determined that the Fireboy-Xintex brand solenoid – which opens a valve to let the LPG flow provided it does not detect a leak – was toast.  A multi-meter test of the solenoid revealed a bad circuit.  After manually soap-testing all the connections to verify we had no leaks, we bypassed that device (actually removed it), and afterwards the gas flow to the range and oven was great.  But it’s a safety issue running without that in the supply loop, so AYB issued a rush order for a replacement, which should arrive by Monday. 

And the Damned Thing Costs
Around $100
As an far we are impressed with the AYB techs -- James Taylor is the service manager, attentive and efficient; and his go-to tech on staff, Tim, is a quiet, patient and thorough individual.  At the conclusion of today's maintenance activities Tim also arranged for two (free) bicycles for us that he had just sitting in the shop shed. 

Since the weather forecast for Saturday through Monday calls for numerous storms anyway, as a cold front sags down from the north into our area, staying here a few more days isn’t such a bad thing.  But that will trigger the need to reexamine our routing to Boston and recalibrate our timeline, which we’ll now do with the extra time here at AYB over the weekend.
Some Potential Tropical Systems
Spooling Up
Lastly, today we signed up for AYB’s “hurricane club” – which for a small fee reserves us a spot here in a very protected harbor should a big blow head our way during this tropical storm season.  It’s notable that AYB is mostly a fresh water marina (brackish at worst) being over 40 miles up-river from Albemarle Sound to the south, and is isolated from the Chesapeake Bay to the north by a lock just a mile away.  It’s a good hurricane hole…provided we can get back here in time before any storm closes the gap on us.  We’ll need to keep a close watch on the tropics from now until November as east Atlantic activity is now starting to heat up.