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...