April 15, 2021
I arrived in Chesapeake, VA yesterday as the sun was going down, a day ahead of schedule and very tired. This post is another of those ‘extended log book’ posts, not really designed as prose, but rather as notes for the captain to remember the journey . . . again, I apologize for the brevity.
I woke up late (7:06am) and pulled up anchor immediately (7:09) and got underway. I was pretty patient, not pushing too hard as the water is full of unseen accidents waiting to happen along this stretch. That got worse as the day progressed, I had forgotten just how treacherous these sections of the ICW can be, particularly after CoinJock.
Here is what the Alligator river bridge looks like from afar and a little closer. The bridge operator kept the bridge open so I could slide through . . . I am sure the barge captain slowed down on his way through to allow me to get there. I was running Home Free at 2200 rpm and doing 8.3 knots for the last 12 minutes. I don’t think I have ever run that hard before.
Later in the day, just before arriving in Coinjock, my engine began to act up again. Following Lugger Bob’s diagnostic advice, I have discovered that the problem is with the throttle control or signal wire to the ZF MicroCommander. The ‘throttle level’ adjusts itself without my sending a control signal. I warmed up the flybridge, but didn’t operate from there at all. The next thing to try is to operate from the flybridge and see if the problem goes away. The real tough part is that the problem remains intermittent. It only seems to happen at high RPMs which I believe speaks to a problem with the controller (just a big resistor really). I can also check the wiring (Green 915) to ensure there is a good connection from the throttle solenoid.
The path through Currituck Sound is treacherous. I remember it being scary (in my mind) last year, but not so bad in reality. This year, I thought it would be no problem but was having difficulty controlling the boat in some areas and was pushed to the sides where my depth went to zero!!! That’s a bad sign. In some areas, the boat was being pushed as much as 20 degrees off course and using a heading (not a goto) means that correcting must be done manually. It was a bit stressful. I am not sure if that was wind or current. The winds were not horrible, but the water was very unsettled.
Things settled out before Coinjock and the trip from there on was pretty easy by comparison, but with the twists and turns it still requires a lot of attention and I remember the barges from last year. This year, I had to navigate around a couple of barges and quite a few other boaters as well.
I arrived as the sun was setting. The bridges were mostly in my favour, so I arrived a bit early and then realized that I hadn’t run my wing engine so spent an additional 30 minutes running the wing engine in forward and reverse to ensure the transmission got a good workout/lubrication as well. The rain held off until I made it to a grocery store to buy enough supplies to last until I leave!
My todo list remains significant and there is a bit of a rush to get home, so I am not sure how much I will get done. Some will have to wait until my next visit . . . for those reading, the boat will likely be in storage until June or July. Perhaps by then COVID will have dissipated enough and enough of us vaccinated to make travel easier. Then . . . Maine, here I come.