Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The York River into the Chesapeake Bay

This is part 2 of our November Mattoponi/York River trip. In this part we leave our overnight campground and head down the York River to the Chesapeake Bay. The winds are 15-20 knots with temperatures in the 30's.

In the Chesapeake the waves got quite large. The winds drove us flying down the bay.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Going Down the Mattoponi

Two weeksago a fellow Watertribe member, WaterDog and I did the Mattoponi and York rivers of Virginia. It just happens that we picked the rainiest and coldest two days of November.

The Mattoponi River has some of the largest tidal differential on the Chesapeake. The four foot tides generate 2-3 knot currents going up stream. We fought the current most of the first day often doing only one knot down river.

The fog lasted way past noon often accompanied  with rain squalls. Even with a dry suit on it felt like we were swimming all day. The upper Mattoponi is very remote. We launched from Aylett the furthest reach of the tides. This is a very historic region with several homes from the 1700's. Before the day of steamers and propellers the settlers used the tidal currents to their advantage pushing supply boats far up the river.

 There even was a cabin from "Deliverance". The fog gave everything the special effect. The visibility was limited so each bend in the river held a new surprise.

Around 5 PM cold front came through dropping the temperature into the 30's. Along with the front came  more rain, lightning and wind. We needed the wind. A lot of miles were lost fighting the current. We were way behind schedule. The river has no navigational aids with few houses to mark the way. Once it turned dark I depended heavily on the GPS keeping to the center of the river.

I made two videos of the Mattoponi River: Enjoy...working on the York River part of the trip...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

AI Bulkhead

This is a picture of my Adventure Island foam bulkhead. You will notice that the rudder cable turning blocks are missing. I moved them further back to make the bulkhead 100% water tight. I used Goop Plumbing Glue to seal any gaps.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mattoponi and York Rivers

I have been thinking about doing another Fall River Trip.

Last year I did the James River from Richmond, Virginia to Portsmouth. A two night, approximately hundred mile trip.

This year I am moving to the next major river on the Chesapeake watershed. The York river and it's tributary the Mattoponi River are very much different than the James.  The Mattoponi is considered one of the most pristine Rivers in the Mid-Atlantic Region. There is no industry until your reach the York at West Point. We will start at the upper tidal reaches at the Aylett public boat ramp. At this point the river is narrow with overhanging trees. We will either have to keep the Adventure Island mast down or hug the center of the channel.

The tidal range on this river can be up to four feet. This is some of the highest tides on the Chesapeake. When coming in it can run a couple of knots against you.  After Walkerton Bridge eight miles down, the river  opens up slightly. The tree lined banks fall back and open up to mashes. The Fall is a ideal time to view flocks of migrating birds.

At West Point, 32 nautical miles down, the Mattoponi merges with the Pamunkey river to form the wide York River. The south side of the York has high banks and bluffs. At low tide the shore line can be hard to approach due to the 1-2 foot water depth. After the York River State Park you can not land due to a number of Military Camps and Reservations.

On the other hand, the North side of the York River has large marshes. There are some Oyster beds shown on the nautical charts. The main channel does run closer and there may be a few small places to take out for a night camp. Google Earth is a great tool. But, it can be a little deceiving. Areas that look like sandy beaches can be under water at high tide. I might take a day trip and put in at the state park boat ramp to scope out this part of the river. Hugging the North bank is not only the most direct route but also the safest to keep you out of restricted areas.

The York River enters the Chesapeake 58 nM into the trip. To head South you can cut behind Goodwin Island trough the Thorofare. It is another 10 miles across the Poquoson Flats, along the Plum Tree National Wildlife Refuge to Grand View Island. To Hampton the total trip is about 74 nM. Cutting across the Chesapeake from Grandview to the Lynnhaven makes the trip about 86 nm.

My schedule is pretty tight. Trying to coordinate this trip with others might put me close to Thanksgiving. By that time much of the leaves will be gone and the weather will be cold, well into the 30's at night.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

AI Mast Repair

After the Watertribe North Carolina Challenge I noticed that the Mast base plate was coming loose and the mast furling drum had moved up the mast 1/4". This created a mast latch problem. Under load the mast would release and slide up several inches out of the mast receiver.

The mast base plate is held in by four small screws. Hobie uses Loctite on the screws. There is a documented problem with these screws coming loose. If they start backing out they hit the bese of the mast. The plate also starts moving around making things worse. My solution was to use epoxy. The plate is locked in place even if the screws come loose. Also water can not sit around the base creating corrosion issues.

I could not easily move the furning drum and glue it to the mast. I tried to flow as much resin into the small gap. To increase the strength and keep the drum from sliding up I wrapped layers of graphite and fiberglass cloth above and below the drum. Then I spread fairing compound over the top. This was sanded and faired to allow the mast to slide into the receiver smoothly. Here is the final product.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A new camping idea

I am working on a new camping idea for the next Watertribe Challenge. It needs to be simple and quick to set up.

Friday, October 7, 2011

2011 North Carolina Challenge

Last week I participated in the Watertribe North Carolina Challenge held on Cedar Island. I had my AI and there were three TI's in the race. Overall the Hobie Islands did very well and came in Second and Third. This is Part 1 of my Video:

I had several equipment failures:

1) Mirage drive was not fully latched on one side. When I applied pressure that side popped out and the latch closed it self below not allowing the drive to drop back in. Because of the angle the other side release hit the hex bolt and will not allow that side to be released. I was stuck up the creek without a paddle. To release you need to remove the two very small plastic screws on the handle so that the lever can clear the bolt.

2) The mast would jump out of the mast receiver ~2" when close hauled. I had to luff up to reseat the mast under the latch. This became harder as the race went on. After the race I noticed that two of the four screws holding the metal plate inside the receiver tube had fallen out and the other bolts were backing out. Also the latch screws were very loose allowing the latch to pivot. This prevented the mast from seating fully down and properly engaging in the locked position.

My Hobie dealer is slightly at a loss. Any repair recommendations are appreciated. The mast plate will be the hardest to correct. Locktite might not be the answer since I believe Hobie uses that in the installation...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lynnhaven to Mockhorn Island Overnight Camp Trip

A couple of weeksago we had Hurricane Irene pass through the Virginia Beach area. I had already planned a overnight Watertribe NCC training camping trip for the following weekend. The below is a video (Part 1) of the adventure.

I left from the Lynnhaven inlet in Virginia Beach, crossed the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and up the Virginia Channel to Mockhorn Island. The effects of the Hurricane were everywhere. The tide level was highest that I have ever seen on the Eastern Shore. The cloud colors were spectacular in the morning light. The residual waves were large but long.

I will post the second part of the Video once I have the time to produce it... 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hobie Adventure Island Forward Hatch

I have installed a watertight bulkhead just aft of the mast. Each time that I go out I get several inches of water in the bow section. I have asked on the Hobie Forum about possible sources. The mast fitting or the two mast screw plugs can be a problem if the hull is damaged.

To test for leaks I removed a screw from the sheet block and screwed in a air line. If the air pressure gets too great the hatch bungee cords will releave the pressure. I used soap water to check for leaks at all the fittings and screws. None were observed.

I did notice that the hatch did not relieve the air evenly. The Forward Stbd and Aft Port leaked more than the rest. Pushing down on the Stbd side was harder to reduce the leakage.

I believe that the gasket does not sit evenly on the coaming. The gasket channel that slips onto the hatch might also leak. I first seal all the gasket channels and reduce the size of the gap between the hatch and the hull. Then ... ??? We will see...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Watertribe North Carolina Challenge

This past May I did a practice run with my son for the Watertribe North Carolina Challenge. This year the race will be held on September 30th. It starts and ends on Cedar Island, North Carolina. If you like a little Adventure, this is the race for you. There is plenty of time to accomplish this course. The people that you meet and the food that you eat can't be beat.

This race is for all types of small boats like kayaks, sail and multihulls. Register now and you will not regret your decision.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lynnhaven to Rudee Inlet

This weekend I decided to do something a little different. Instead of the usual cruising grounds I set a destination. A trip from the Lynnhaven, around Cape Henry to Rudee Inlet. Some day I would like to circumnavigate the outer banks of North Carolina, including the Virginia Peninsula.

The wind was blowing from the east, south-east. Most of the trip was close hauled. I still averaged well over 4 knots. A very nice day with plenty of sea life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rene Potvin completed his Miami to Montreal trip

Rene Potvin has completed his Hobie Adventure Island trip from Miami to Montreal.
Here is a picture of him when he crossed the Chesapeake.

You can check out his travels at

Monday, June 13, 2011

Returning across the Chesapeake

After sailing across the Chesapeake with Rene Potvin, I still had to sail back across to the Lynnhaven Bay. The wind was on the nose and the waves were coming from the side. Half way across I got hit by a thunderstorm with hail and 40 knot winds. This was all done in a boat that I just purchased and had out only for the second time. The Hobie AI behaved well.

Tired Of Sitting in Water

My new Hobie Adventure Island tends to scoop up water through the lifting handles when  healed over. The water collects in the seat well. Also the drain plugs leak. The plug threads are incomplete and the "O"  ring might not seat well.

 I am 6' 2" and the seat back sits low on my back. To solve the drain and support problems I decided to raise the seat. Since there are no plug holes I had to drill through the back of the seat well.

To add some support to the lower back rest I added a polyethelene pad. This might be a little overkill.

  To raise the bottom two 1.5" foam pads under the seat.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trying Out the New Dogger

I installed a dogger on my Adventure Island. It was raining Sunday, perfect trial run. I also just installed the new Hobie Rudder. I did not follow all the instructions. The new rudder puts the control cables directly under the rear hatch preventing the use of the gear bucket. I used the old rudder guide tubes. This required tying some of the knots under the deck.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mike's First Hobie AI Sail

 This weekend I took my family for a Memorial Day sail. Mike sailed the AI for the first time and this was Ruth's first time on the Tandem Island. There were plenty of power boats to deal with. A relatively short sail but very much under control.

I carried both boats on the trailer. The extra boat makes setup slightly more complicated requiring full assembly of the Adventure Island.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Hobie Trailer

 I have had some question about my Hobie Trailer. I bought the trailer several years ago at Harbour Freight to carry several conventional kayaks.  Originally I decked over the frame, and added framework to carry three kayaks. When I bought the TI the boat was much longer so I had to move the forward post as far forward as it would go.

 To make the main bunk I used things around my garage. I bolted angle iron frame to the top of the trailed deck. Two 2x4 PT board are laid on each side, slightly angled down. Polyethylene Lattice is screwed into to the wood with a slight dip in the middle. The with of the bunk is based on the with of the Lattice, 2 Foot.

 The two forward posts are bow supports from the original design. I can carry my new AI on top of the TI by mounting a rear support frame. This supports the AI without putting any load on the TI. Below picture shows the two boats loaded.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Crossing the Chesapeake with Rene Potvin Video 1

This is the video of my crossing of the Chesapeake with Rene Potvin. This part is my part of the trip from Lynnhaven Bay to Willoughby to meet up with Rene and then the crossing to the Eastern Shore, Virginia Passage that runs up the east coast of the Delmarva peninsula. Notice the current running out of the bay toward the end of the video. Next I need to produce part 2, returning back to the Lynnhaven where I get hit by a thunderstorm...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crossing the Chesapeake with Rene Potvin

Rene Potvin is on a personal challenge sailing a Hobie Adventure Island from Miami to Montreal. I have been following his travels on his Web Site: miami2montreal

This weekend he arrived at Willoughby Marina in Norfolk, Virginia. I took this opportunity to meet with him. Landing in the Navy part of town, I took him to a Willoughby landmark, The Thirsty Camel for dinner. This is a true sailor bar with a old guy band and much too friendly waitress. The more beer that you drink, the better the band sounds and the better the waitress looks...
We made plans to meet up in the morning and cross the Chesapeake together.

I had to sail first sail the 13 miles from Lynnhaven to Willoughby. The wind was ideal 15-20 from the South. The crossing was smooth broad reach until we got to the other side when the wind shifted to the east.

Rene will not be going through the Chesapeake Bay. There is too much private, military and industrial development. The Chesapeake-Delaware canal dumps you high up the Delaware so you have to go south to round Cape May. He will be using the road less traveled up the east coast of the DelMarVa Peninsula. I escorted him to the start of that waterway.

He carries a lot of gear so his boat sits lower and runs slower. I had to reef and zigzag to stay broad side of him. The standard Hobie seat is replaced with a Wal-Mart fishing seat so that he does not have to deal with sitting in the water that constantly splashes up into the cockpit.

On my way back to Lynnhaven I was hit by a thunderstorm with 40 knots including hail and total whiteout. For about a half a hour it was survival weather with the sail rolled down to 1 foot trying to ride out the storm. I know now why there are handles on each side of the cockpit: Some place to bury your fingernails into, while trying to hold on. Total trip for me was 46 miles. Not a bad performance for the second time on the water in this new Hobie Adventure Island....

I have much more Video that I have taken during this trip that I will eventually be posting once i have time to produce it...

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Hobie 2011 Adventure Island

I sold my Newport 16 sailboat so that I could buy a Hobie Adventure Island. Today I picked up my new boat from my local dealer. It is a 2011 model with the old twist & stow rudder.

I started assembling the boat as soon as I got home . There are many things that I really like on this AI compared to the TI that I have been sailing for the past 7 months.  Even though the hull is smaller the distance from the bow to the front aka is longer. The rear storage is also much longer. It was dark by the time I had the boat assembled.

I noticed that some of the plastic trimming was not as clean as I would expect. The rear storage scupper holes have some plastic overlap making it hard to fit the scupper plug. The rudder steering line holes were undercut and look like a source for water leaks.

 On my TI I had problems with my screw-in fittings. The TI plugs could not be fully screwed in because of the remaining tap shavings in the holes. Some of the AI holes have shavings, but not as bad as the TI.

But the thing that I noticed the most is that Hobie has changed how they tap the threads in the plastic cups. The threads are NOT FULLY FORMED !!! Most only have 2-3 partially cut threads. As a engineer I have concerns with that. I am not sure that if enough pull is applied the fitting will pull out.

I did not inspect the inside of the hull until I had the boat assembled. When I opened the center hatch something caught my eye.  Next to the centerboard trunk there is a imperfection that looks like it has been sanded down. I had to disassemble the boat so that I could inspect the bottom.

 You can not see it from this picture but there is a slight dimple on the outside just aft and inboard of the centerboard trunk.

Another thing that I noticed while inspecting the bottom is that the hull has a slight bump right where the mast support is. Are the support turnbuckles too tight???

The AI is a beautiful boat. I can not wait to get her on the water.

But it is these few small items that I need to verify if they are OK or if I need to do something about...