Sorry for the delays in our postings lately, but life has been coming at us rather quickly since we arrived in the Chesapeake. We try and do a recap of each of our cruises and some thoughts on the equipment we have installed and used along the way. We departed Beaufort, South Carolina at 7:25 AM on the 14th of September and arrived at our slip in Pasadena, Maryland at 5:00 PM on the 6th of October covering a total of 753 statute miles, according to the trip log on our chart plotter. We only anchored nine times on this trip, and used marinas three different times for a total of ten days. Six of those days were to deal with repairs and four were to rent a car and drive north to take care of business. We also tied to the free seawall at Great Bridge, Virginia for one night. We motored for a total of 106 hours, added 150 gallons of fuel to our tanks in Beaufort and another 168 gallons in Great Bridge, but we could have made it to Pasadena on the fuel we had. The low cost at Atlantic Yacht Basin was the reason we topped the tanks off. We knew we would pay much more as we headed north. We still have 225 gallons in the tank now so our fuel burn rate was approximately 2.3 gallons per hour or approximately 1/3 gallon per mile. This is about what we expected to use running our Ford Lehman 120 hp engine at an average rate of 1800 rpms.
Things That Didn't Work
We did have a couple of breakdowns despite all of our planning and preparation. Our Leece-Neville alternator quit working unexpectedly after only two days into our trip. A mechanic in Georgetown ordered us the wrong replacement causing us a delay. Our anchor wash down system worked well for us but we determined that we really need a pump with more pressure to do a better job.
Our TV antenna, a Shakespeare Seawatch 2025 stopped working for no apparent reason. Our dealings with Shakespeare were less than enthusiastic. It is under warranty and after we called Shakespeare, they asked us to send it back to them for repair. I was assured that the turn around would only be a day or two. We shipped it back at our cost and after two weeks and not hearing from them we finally called to inquire regarding the status of the repair. We were told the ONLY technician at Shakespeare would be out of the office for at least another two weeks. After a conversation explaining that this was totally unacceptable, they assured me someone would call me back. After a couple of days and no call we called them again. After another less than pleasant conversation we were told that, "Oh we don't fix them, we just send a replacement." So when I inquired why they had not sent me a replacement after almost three weeks, I was assured that one would go out the next day. You can guess what happened next. A week passed and with no replacement so I called again and asked where it was. I was informed they were out of stock and waiting for a shipment. Again, I explained this was not acceptable and this was probably the worst service I could remember from any company. I was told someone would call me back, but once again I had to call them. They then assured me a new shipment was coming in the next day. Finally I was told something that actually was true and when the shipment came in the next day, they finally sent us a replacement.
During the course of the trip, our Raritan hot water heater developed a leak and the bottom of the unit was rusting. Fortunately we had a replacement that we had been carrying for just such a problem. We also found that the 12 volt side of our Dometic refrigeration unit would not keep the box cool so we had to run it strictly from the inverter when not connected to shore power. This was a disappointment, but it was one of those things we had not checked before we left Beaufort.
Breaking Down The Expenses
Our expenses for this trip were not far off from what we might normally spend. The repairs and the need to spend extra days at a dock did increase our expenditures more than they ordinarily would have been. Some of the numbers break down like this;
Food, including initial provisioning $406.00
Repairs, alternator, raw water strainer housing $458.00
Dining out $45.00
Fuel, including what is left in the tank $800.00
Keep in mind that this was a relocation and not a pleasure cruise. Many of the expenses we might have had if we were just out playing are not reflected here.
Things That Worked
Much of the equipment we installed worked well and made the trip much more enjoyable and even safer. Our Standard Horizon chart plotter was invaluable, as was the laptop at the lower helm station running our old but reliable Capn First Mate software, using up to date and FREE NOAA charts. The plotter runs C-Map, our preferred choice. Our anchoring system and the Manson Supreme anchor did a fabulous job and thankfully we did not have to test it in severe conditions. It set well and quickly so we feel confident it will do just as well in most any conditions. We do think we will add another 50 feet of chain to the rode, with only 50 on there now. The Standard Horizon VHF also worked well and gave us no issues. The Command Mike at the upper helm is great and we found it to be just as good as having a complete full radio. The Victron battery monitor is a fine piece of equipment and gave us the ability to know at all times the state of our batteries and the state of charge. We highly recommend the Victron unit, but any good battery monitor is a must for a cruising boat.
The 2000 watt ProMariner inverter proved to be more than adequate for our needs and we are very pleased with the performance. Our Track-It TV system for our DirecTV as usual worked as advertised and we had TV and satellite music for entertainment wherever we were anchored or docked. The Clarion stereo system with the CD changer and four new speakers in the fly bridge were pretty much on most of the time we were under way. The rebuild of the steering system and reworking the rudder problem eliminated all of the stiffness we originally had in the steering. We can't say enough about our Honda portable generator, it simply surpassed our expectations and is the absolute next best thing to a built in generator system. Anyone that has followed our upgrades and renovations knows of all of the many changes, repairs and additions we have made and in every case they have gone a long way to making this cruise, and those in the future, a pleasant experience.