Tuesday, August 2, 2016

30-Jul to 2-Aug: Still Stuck in Chesapeake, Va. (AYB)

We spent a few MORE days at AYB, albeit not voluntarily.  The weather wasn’t good and then we managed to break something else…namely the Simrad autopilot.  Shit.  Actually it was the autopilot pump, a Simrad RPU300, which suddenly decided to respond only to port turn commands.  We’re trying to be flexible and adaptable, but I didn’t like left-handed holding patterns when I was flying, even less so in this boat.
Redundant Autopilot Pumps...Until One Died
While we can’t be certain why it failed, one theory is that while we were bleeding the hydraulics after installing the new steering ram some small pieces of the old unit’s deteriorating seal fouled the pump’s cylinder and/or small screening filters.  The other theory is plain old coincidental bad luck.  (This pump had less than a year’s service on it – it was the one we had installed when we bought the boat to provide some redundancy.)  Anyway, the unit is under warranty, so we switched the valves to use the standby pump, test that thoroughly, removed the malfunctioning unit, and are had it shipped back to Yacht Tech in Florida (where it was purchased and installed) so they can process the warranty claim with Simrad.  No telling when the replacement pump will catch up with us.

Chelle's Towing Rig for the LPG Bottle
Amidst our maintenance challenges we have to celebrate the small successes, right?  Well, one of our three LPG bottles was empty, and we wanted to get it filled -- reference the adjacent picture to see how Chelle rigged our collapsible wagon as a trailer attached to her bike….much easier than walking a mile with a 30 pound gas bottle!
Since we arrived here we had been wanting to try a local and nearby restaurant, “Vino” (http://www.vinoitalianbistro.com/), and on Monday evening (01-Aug) the rain finally stopped long enough so that we could ride our bikes there and back, enjoying an outstanding dinner in between.  We highly recommend it – good Italian food and steaks, ditto for their fresh seafood specials, with excellent service, enjoyable background music, and great acoustics – you could actually have a normal conversation and hear each other.

It's Actually $1.80 When You Purchase Over 200 Gallons!
On Tuesday, 02-Aug, we were mostly waiting out weather and it was also the day we removed the bad autopilot pump & shipped it away for warranty processing.  Our main goal this day was to move Ghost Rider over to the fuel dock to take on a load of diesel and pump out the black water tank.  While we really didn’t need the fuel-up, at $1.80 a gallon (nickel discount for over 200 gallson) it was too good to pass up….nothing gets less expensive as you head north from here.  Around 1630 the TRWs finally let up, so we were able to tank up (535 gallons of the stuff plus the requisite Stanadyne fuel additive) and pump out the black water.  After moving the boat back to our slip we enjoyed a peaceful (and dry!) evening on the boat, including excellent left-overs from Vino for dinner.

On Wednesday (03-Aug) we will head further north, destination is Deltaville, Virginia. Since we have to negotiate at least one bridge opening and a lock, we think it will be a 10-hour sortie.