2012-11-12 Back to Normal

November 12, 2012


Bradley and Jeff – couldn’t they be brothers?

Sandy is gone and so is the Nor’easter that followed her. So things on Shear Madness are back to normal – that is, as normal as they ever seem to get! Just before Sandy, we had a visit from one of Bradley’s old friends, Jeff, and his daughter Anna. Jeff was one of Bradley’s first bosses – when they used to lifeguard and manage pools in high school in Reston, VA. They had not seen each other in years and it was a wonderful visit. They could even pass for brothers!

We bid farewell to our friends Aaron and Liz, a young newlywed couple we met who are living aboard their sailboat Bateau. They are headed south to Miami but were delayed by Sandy. We hope to catch up with them in Florida. We also had a visit from Chris, a member of the Nordhavn Dreamers group who lives nearby and drove over to meet us. Hopefully in a few years Chris will have a Nordhavn of his own.


Welcome aboard Taylor!

We have welcomed aboard a new crew member, Taylor Hall, who joins us from Camden, Maine where he has worked as an assistant harbormaster and bartender. Taylor is 21 years old, a graduate of the Chapman School of Seamanship, and soon to be the holder of a US Coast Guard 50-ton Master (Captain) license. Taylor is already learning the various systems on board and helping with the care and maintenance of the boat. Taylor is with us for the month of November and assuming he is still enjoying himself will be joining us as a full-time member of the Shear Madness Team.


It is an OYSTER festival! (from the parade)

We had a great time attending the Urbanna (VA) Oyster Festival, a local event in a small town that attracts over 75,000 people! There are dozens of food vendors including all kinds of seafood (we had crabcakes, seafood chowder and oyster stew), other foods (we had turkey legs and Taylor just had to get a Deep Fried Twinkie to share – it was amazingly good!), arts and crafts, and a wonderful parade. We met our friends Patti and Gary there and had a really fun day. Before departing we also caught up with Mike and Maxine from Mathews for a nice dinner out and tour of Mathews. We have met them on our previous visit to Deltaville. We also met Bill and Mary who joined us for drinks onboard and Geoff and Kathy from Shenandoah, a Hatteras motor yacht. We also had drinks with Nick and Karen, who are aboard a classic 1936 sailboat – a real beauty!


Jim F working on the anchor roller

We have completed all the projects we were working on at the Deltaville Boatyard, including work on the anchors, anchor chain, and anchor lockers, replacing engine exhaust fans, replacing various hoses and fittings for our air conditioning system, re-wiring some components of our autopilot system, fixing a leak in a guest cabin, fixing the refrigerator in the flybridge (which had to be removed from the boat to service), servicing both generators, changing the engine oil, and some others. More details are included in the technical section below the photos.

We departed Deltaville and headed out to anchor in the Poquoson River. Gary and Patti came down the Piankatank River in their Grady White to see us off. We anchored just outside the house of our friends Bob and Becky who came out in their Boston Whaler for a boat tour and drinks. After a peaceful night we raised the anchor and headed on to Portsmouth, VA where we will have some routine service done on our main engines before heading south to North Carolina and Florida. We saw three aircraft carriers at dock, including the Enterprise as well as our old friend Warship 55 (we had encountered them on the water back in 2011).

You can watch a 14-minute video of our preparations for Sandy and our time at anchor during the storm. Check out updated book reviews and recommendations and new Shenandoah photos. Click on any photo to enlarge and don’t forget to leave a comment (which you can now do by replying to the email update you get).

We’ve been working on various projects at Deltaville (VA) Boatyard.

Autopilot – in the October 11th post, I reported some problems with the Autopilot Follow Up steering units (FU25’s). We had diagnosed the problem to be a failure of the FU25 located in the Flybridge and had disconnected it from the system, resulting in no further problems. However, it had turned up a flaw in that all the wiring to connect the FU’s was located in a cabinet beneath the pilot house bridge and was accessible only after removing the wheel. So we have now re-wired the five FU’s to two switches located on the dashboard. This allows three FU’s to be disconnected with the push of one button, or two to be disconnected with the other. We’ve ordered two new FU25’s, one to replace the bad unit in the Flybridge and one to keep as a spare.

However, we are still battling the issue with the AP having intermittent problems when steering to a route in NAV mode. We’ve done several sea trials to test various theories, but have no resolution yet. On our trip to Portsmouth, we worked with Brian, our electronics specialist, to reconfigure some of the data being sent to the AP by Navnet. The following sea trial did not result in any more failures but was too short to be conclusive as much of our trip was in a high traffic area where we could not be in NAV mode. More testing to be done on our next trip.

Leak in Guest Cabin – we’ve had an annoying leak in the port guest cabin since we bought the boat and the heavy rains of Sandy made us glad nobody was sleeping in that bunk! Bradley worked with Jim F from Deltaville Boatyard and they were able to find the source of the leak – an errant screw which had been poorly placed during the build process in the port side dorade. The offending screw was finally removed and the hole sealed, hopefully stopping this leak once and for all! This was the second repair to the port dorade, as the first one involved re-drilling the drain hole that had not been correctly drilled during the build and simply went into the deck and not the dorade. We thought we had found the reason for the leak that time too!

Anchors and anchor lockers – we installed a new Ultra Quickline Swivel on our starboard anchor to replace our old worn swivel. Yes, I know there are those who favor no swivels and won’t embark on that discussion here! We installed one and also end-for-ended our starboard chain. We then installed 200 feet of ¾ braided line to the end of the chain, giving us plenty of extra cushion for deep water anchorages. We also did some work in both anchor lockers, which had some small drainage issues, resulting in water getting into the forward bow machinery space. The drains were improved and the port anchor locker hatch had to be re-seated. During the build, the hole cut out had been so large that they had attempted to fill over 1″ with caulk. This resulted in a very leaky anchor locker with water getting into the bow space below. This was a flaw since the boat was built and in both cases nobody previously had the tenacity or resources required to find and fix the leaks.

Generators – both generators were serviced. This was the 2500 hour standard maintenance but did turn up some parts that needed to be replaced; most notably an exhaust elbow and the heat exchanger on our 20kw generator. In addition we discovered some lightning damage to one of the electrical boards that controls the generator.

Air Conditioning – another Nordhavn owner, as result of finding saltwater in his lazarette had been kind enough to post a warning on the owners site that all A/C hoses and fittings be inspected. In his raw water intake for the A/C he found non-marine grade plumbing connectors below the water line, which in less than 5 years had failed. Had he not been on the boat, this could have been a serious issue. Upon inspecting our system, we found the same below standard fittings had been used in the build. In addition we found the raw water hoses were of such poor quality, they were beginning to fail. We replaced all the raw water hoses (almost 50 feet) for the A/C system – not an easy job as they run through some very tight spaces.

Exhaust Fans were damaged by the lightning and we had to have them rebuilt instead of replaced. Why rebuilt? Because the model we have has been replaced by one where the frame was increased by less than an inch and would not into the space. So we had to buy all the parts and assemble them into our existing housing that fits the space. This was the most cost effective approach.

Refrigerator in Flybridge – we have a small U-line refrigerator/ice maker in the Flybridge which quit cooling. Fortunately Jim R at Deltaville Boatyard is well versed in refrigeration, but needed to have the unit taken to his workshop for diagnostics. This of course involves dis-assembling the cabinet it resides in, attaching it to a harness, and removing it using the crane and several people! Turns out it was a $27 part – a thermal control switch, that was most likely damaged by the lightning. Soon repaired, back on board, and back in operation.

We also has some screens designed for our two pilot house doors and the starboard side mid-ships door. Often we have been at anchorages where we want to open the doors for ventilation, but flies or mosquitoes make that undesirable. We worked with the Ship’s Tailor in Deltaville to design screens which fasten with Velcro and will enjoy our first chance to use them!

  1. #1 by captain@nordhavn72.com on November 18, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Test reply from GoDaddy webmail


  2. #2 by Kathy Clark on November 18, 2012 - 11:00 am

    Comment test



  3. #3 by Roger Philips on November 15, 2012 - 9:08 pm

    Thanks much for the video, guys. Please tell me why you made a couple of 360s in the Chesapeake just after departing Fisherman’s Bay.


    • #4 by Kathy Clark on November 17, 2012 - 8:24 am

      We were doing some sea trials to test auto pilot.



  4. #5 by Michael Cook on November 13, 2012 - 5:37 pm

    Hi Brad and Kathy, Thanks for the update and glad to hear that all is well after Sandy. I had an auto pilot problem some time ago and it turned out to be RF interference from the HF radio. A few feriods on the auto pilot wiring fixed the problem. The wire from the auto pilot to its fluxgate compass was not as well shielded as necessary when we used the HF radio. In your situation other types of RF interference may be a contributing factor. All the very best. Michael


  5. #6 by Kathy Clark on November 13, 2012 - 2:53 pm

    Testing reply to email update.



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