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Atlantic Yacht Basin, Inc. is a full service yacht repair and storage facility strategically located on the A&C Canal of the Intracoastal Waterway in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Atlantic Yacht Basin

AYB Fall 2014 Newsletter - The "Ideal" Season to Visit and to Haul Out at AYB Plus The Voyage of A "Somewhat Different Boat"




















A longtime customer hauls out for some bottom work on the Yard. Copyright 2014 - Atlantic Yacht Basin.

We had September weather in August, so why not a little August in September?  Seriously though, this chunk of time after Labor Day might be a little warm, but we are expecting a beautiful fall season here at AYB - particularly with so many people passing through. People come to AYB when they are looking for a quick stop, a home base, or a trusted place to get work done.  

Right now is a great time to come by for the Fall Bottom Painting Special.  Book your job to take place between September 15 and December 1, 2014 and you will get $40/ft power wash, light sanding, 1 coat of paint plus $5.00 a foot haul in and out.  Excessive scraping or additional work may incur an additional charge.  It's also a great time to check out what is happening with all of your underwater equipment and surfaces (see below for more tips).  

Remember that AYB is accessible by land, sea, and air, plus we're a unique and friendly place offering most everything you need in one convenient spot.  This includes thousands of feet of covered storage and outdoor dock space, a fully-stocked marine store, and 24/7 fuel dock, staffed by Dockmasters who can assist you anytime you need.  

Every vessel, classic or modern, that passes through our shops gets AYB's renowned combination of skill and care.  Our talented crew can deliver on any repair, restoration or refit job from routine maintenance to complex custom work.  Plus our climate-controlled work sheds make it possible for us to work all year long.  

AYB's protected, non-tidal basin creates ideal conditions, either under cover or not, for safe, in-water storage for any kind of boat.  So let us help you design and service and storage plan that works for your lifestyle - whether your "off-season" is winter, summer, or sometime in between. We also can provide space to store your car.  And don't forget our hurricane storage program either since the season is still going strong for that too.

So whether you are an old friend or are passing through for the very first time, take some time to see what is going on AYB.   Also, don't forget you can always use this checklist to stay on top of what is going on with your boat.  

As always, to find out more about our facility or comprehensive range of marine service and storage options or to get a free quote on work you need to get done, please call AYB toll-free at (800) 992-2489 or local at  (757) 482-2141 or drop us a line at info@atlanticyachtbasin.com .  As always, we also invite you to discover more about AYB on our website at www.atlanticyachtbasin.com or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for interesting updates, tips, and specials going on at the Yard.

Looking forward to seeing you in person soon,  

Your Friends at AYB
 

Seeing the World On A Somewhat Different Boat - Meet Armin & Uschi Birkle

AYB continues this popular  feature -- an interview with the interesting people and their great boats that visit us.   This time we caught up Armin Birkle, who designed the amazing vessel, AUBI, that he and his wife, Uschi, are using to travel the world.  This one-of-a-kind catamaran has been a fixture at AYB these past few months as they get some important work done and spend time with Armin's daughter and her family, who live in Virginia Beach.

Armin and Uschi Birkle pause at AYB on their round-the-world journey on board their custom built catamaran, AUBI.  Copyright 2014 - Armin & Ursula Birkle/Atlantic Yacht Basin.


How did AUBI and this incredible life of yours come about?   AUBI and our life on the water are both rewards for the decades of plus years of work that came before them.  I had always spent time around boats and the water, particularly on the Rhine, whether it was on a dinghy or a pleasure craft.  I also served as a navigator in the German Navy, with lots of hours spent cruising around England, the Baltic and the North Seas.  While I had always dreamed of going around the world on a boat of my own design, that dream was delayed by the usual responsibilities to work, family, etc.  Uschi had also spent a lot of time on boats, particularly on the Riviera, and this was something we both really wanted to do.

How did you and Uschi meet and how did you decide on this adventure?   Uschi and I met about five years ago. We were both divorced, with grown children.  Both of us had worked very hard and been very successful in our professional lives (she in real estate and I with my own construction materials and lumber company).  But in the end, you can only eat one steak a day and you can't take any of it with you. So we decided to change our lives in this radical and wonderful way.  We both love new challenges and the possibility of meeting new friends along the way too.

What kind of boat is AUBI and how did you design and build her?  Simply put, AUBI is a custom built, aluminum hulled catamaran. AUBI is unique by design - there isn't another boat out there like her.  That's why we call her "the somewhat different boat." I spent a lot of time studying design possibilities in books and magazines.  It became pretty clear, though, that there wasn't a boat that fit my ideal specifications out there already, so I began working on a plan in earnest by 2002.   Construction on her began in 2009 at a specialty marine construction firm in Niederrhein and she was christened in 2011, 18 months later, in time for us to start off on our voyage.  Anyone who wants more information about her specifications and the design/build process should check out our website www.katamaranaubi.com.   Ironically, I looked all over the world for a possible builder and ended up choosing one in Germany anyway!


The dream becomes a reality - AUBI during her construction process in Germany. Copyright 2014 - Armin & Ursula Birkle
 
What is the route you are taking on your voyage and what brought you to AYB in specific?  Our route thus far is spelled out on the map image that follows.  We started off in 2011, in Germany where AUBI was built,  and then headed to Norway down through Gibraltar and to the Cape Verde islands before sailing to the Caribbean and Colombia and then up to the United States, by way of many interesting places.  My daughter lives in Virginia Beach with her family so we chose AYB for that reason, but also because of their stellar reputation.  We've been here for a few months getting some important work done, but we will be setting off again sometime in October.  AYB has been a nice spot for us to be - such friendly people all around and such an interesting selection of boats passing through. 

Their onboard route map shows the trajectory of the Birkle's voyage on AUBI thus far.  Copyright 2014 - Armin & Ursula Bridle

What are some of AUBI's most unique features?   A trip on a catamaran one November under high winds sold us on that kind of boat - no yaw, no seasickness, not even a cup of coffee spilled. So the fact that she is a catamaran is somewhat unusual, but it's the way she is designed inside and out that is unique.  The first thing we wanted to accomplish with AUBI was to make a sure that everything was on one floor.  We were trying to eliminate a lot of the cramped and awkward gangways, ladders and living spaces  that are found in so many boats.  Not only was that a good idea for us living aboard full-time, but it will also be easier and more comfortable for us as we age.  We also wanted to use as many eco-friendly or sustainable materials as possible as well as be cost-effective in production time and energy-efficient long term -- all while using a high-quality, long-lasting, salt water resistant metal for the hull.  Ultimately, aluminum became our core material of choice.  There are lots of other elements of her design that are meant to blend comfort and practicality into her form and her function.  She's sea-worthy for open ocean voyaging, but also great for smaller inlets and rivers too.  

How do you stay in touch while underway? We keep in touch mostly by email, but also sometimes by telephone. I have a son in Germany and the daughter and granddaughters here in Virginia.  Uschi has one son in Germany and a daughter in Zurich, who also has 2 daughters. We have satellite internet on board, so we can stay in contact while underway on open ocean. We also have the katamaranaubi.com website to keep people up-to-date on our whereabouts and experiences as we go.

How do you decide where you will go next and when?  We do not travel by schedule per se. We travel by weather forecast. If there is a weather window we go, if not we stay. The boat does handle all weather conditions very well, much better than the crew for certain!  Stormy winds and high waves are no fun though. Ultimately, we prefer cruising from country to country, not from marina to marina, and we like staying for months to get acquainted with the locals. 


Where are you headed after this?   Do you plan to return to the same places from time to time or go to as many new ones as possible?  We will go south to Key West and then on to Cuba and Mexico. The long term plan is to sail around  South America, including Cape Horn. Uschi and I prefer to keep moving forward rather than retracing our steps in any way.  There is just too much out there to be seen and we have a tremendous thirst to see as much of it as we can.  

A full view dock shot of AUBI shows off her unique construction and profile.  Copyright 2014 - Armin & Ursula Birkle.
 

Meet Our Crew & Tips From AYB

Every e-newsletter, we highlight the interesting and highly experienced people who make Atlantic Yacht Basin the unique place that it is.  This time we're talking to Bobby Janzen, Foreman in our Machine Shop.  Born in Brooklyn, Bobby spent most of the last 30 plus years down in Florida working in boat production for larger scale sport fishing vessels and yachts.  He recently moved to Tidewater to take the job at AYB and focus on the hands-on technical work that he loves.   He also shares some tips about things to look out for on the sometimes-forgotten underwater gear on your boat. 
Bobby in a rare moment of quiet in the storage shed. Copyright 2014 - Atlantic Yacht Basin.



Bobby gets down to mechanical business on a haul-out at AYB.  Copyright 2014 - Atlantic Yacht Basin

Where are you from and what got you into boating and boatbuilding?    I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and then moved down to Florida in my late teens. For the last thirty years or so, I lived in Florida, mainly on the Gulf Coast.  Growing up, although we lived in the city, my uncle lived out on Long Island and we spent a lot of time out on the Sound.  What really got me interested in boats was building my own in my basement with my father when I was about 12. The design was based on the plans from a hardback Popular Mechanics book.  It was a wooden 15 footer with a little outboard.  But when we finished, we couldn't get it out the basement door and we had to split it in half and put it back together to use it.  That experience sparked the whole thing with me and I went from there to model boats and tinkering with larger ones to full-scale marine construction in a boatyard.   Ironically, my cousins and I ended up sinking that first boat by putting too big a motor on it.  A classic rookie mistake!

You know boats from the bottom up and the inside out.  What can you tell people about what to look for with their underwater gear in specific during their annual haul-outs?  It's easy for people to think out of sight, out of mind.  But on a boat that can lead to disaster. You definitely want to catch these kinds of issues early on, not when they lead to something dangerous or expensive to deal with. During your annual haul-out, make sure you check the following things:
  • Check condition of all zincs
  • Inspect propellers for dings and/or pitting
  • Check condition of cutlass bearing for excessive play
  • Check condition of rudders for corrosion and wear.
  • Check bearings and zincs of line cutters
  • Check condition of shaft(s
What made you choose AYB and this area?  Believe it or not, we were sick of the weather in Florida.  I had started looking around for a job in the hands-on side of the boat business in a different climate.  I knew the boat building trade cold -- started at Wellcraft as a laminator grinder and moved on to production manager and head mechanic at other yards.  I went from building 18 to 40 foot boats to 60 to 80 foot custom sport fishing vessels and 80 plus foot mega yachts at two other companies. But I was looking to get back to my roots in a way and had started investigating around for other opportunities.  I knew AYB by reputation already, but on closer examination was really impressed by the fact that it is a family-run business and that so many of the crew members have been with the company for so long.  The opportunity to play a bigger role in a smaller operation was also appealing - so was the idea of having 4 seasons and more time with my family.

What do you like best about living up here? Working at AYB?  For me the appeal of working so closely with customers is a huge part of it.  Although I had many great experiences with the owners of the boats we built at the different yards in Florida, there is something that is very special about the atmosphere and the clientele at AYB.  For the first time in my life, I am also not working 6 days a week. The fact that I get paid to do something that I love so much is pretty incredible.  I love a lot of the boats that pass through, particularly some of the old wooden classics.  It is also a lot of fun to work on such a wide range of projects and to be presented with lots of different kinds of challenges on a daily basis.  It keeps things interesting!  It also says something about a yard that so many of its craftsmen are this talented and are able to handle everything from the latest and greatest to the rarest and most classic.  I really feel like I am part of an incredible tradition here.  Being in this business as long as I have been, that means something.

Bobby securing the propeller on a large motor yacht in Sarasota, Florida 25 years ago -- just another example of the decades of experience and craftsmanship at AYB.  Copyright 2014 - Bobby Janzen.

What's your life outside of AYB like?  My wife and I have been married for 32 years and raised three daughters in Florida (the oldest is 30)  Now we are raising our ten-year old son and two of our granddaughters, who are 7 and 8.  It's a second shot at what I missed in some ways the first time around and they are all keeping me on my toes.  We live in Norfolk within walking distance of the Chesapeake Bay in Ocean View.  I am much more of an open salt-water person than a river person when it comes down to it.  We spend a lot of time on the beach or doing kid things like flying kites or going to parks, etc.   We also have two dogs and my idea of a great time is just being out on the beach with them - it's pretty much labrador paradise up here!  

Do you have any other hobbies or things you like to do in your spare time?  In Florida, I spent time building stock cars and racing.  Up here though, I am into designing and racing remote control boats.  It's an outlet for creativity and takes me back to something that I have been doing for a long time.  It's also a great thing to share with the kids.   I like tinkering and coming up with interesting ideas and then making them happen.  Sometimes it helps me with bigger boats and sometimes it doesn't, but it all goes back to my love of working on boats. 

Building and racing remote control boats are favorite family activities in Bobby's household.  Cpyright

If you could have any boat, what would it be?  I admire the scale and construction of many of the bigger, newer boats that I have been part of making over the years and that also come through AYB regularly.  But I would have to say that my true loves are the wooden classics, especially those manufactured from the 1930s to the 1960s.  They require a special kind of attention and care and they are like living, breathing things.  Their timeless lines and features are really appealing to me too and always have been.  My uncle's boat when I was growing up was a classic wooden boat.  If I could have any boat, it would be a 1938 Owens for all of these reasons.

And if you could travel anywhere, what would you like to see? I have never been to the Grand Canyon, believe it or not.  I've been all over Florida and a lot of places down in the Gulf and the Tropics that people consider paradise.  Obviously the desert is a stark contrast from that and the Grand Canyon is such a unique and awe-inspiring thing.  My kids, though, have just been thrilled about the snow we are getting now that we live up here.  First of their lives!


Calendar of Events
This is just a sampling of all the great events going on this summer in the Tidewater area. Click through and you might also find something else that interests you too when you do.  In the meantime, we hope you have a great time!

MARITIME/HISTORY EVENTS 

5th Annual Waterways Heritage Event
October 11, 2014 from 10 to 5 
October 12, 2014 from Noon to 5
Great Bridge Locks and Battlefield Parks, Chesapeake, VA

Right near AYB, enjoy the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Foundations 5th Annual Waterway Heritage Festival -- a free, family-oriented event featuring two days of cultural heritage, fine arts, music, and more.  Enjoy boat tours through the Locks, guided tours of the Battlefield Historic Park, demonstrations on Chesapeake Fire Department Fire Engine and Fire Boat, beekeeping, sheep shearing, quilting, spinning, soap making, candle-rolling, doll making, pottery, glassblowing, wood-carving, jewelry, jams, basketry and so much more.  New this year: The Civil War 150 History Mobile -- an interactive "museum on wheels'."  For more information, click here


OTHER EVENTS
Sandman Triathlon
September 21, 2014
Virginia Beach Oceanfront (24th Street) 
Virginia Beach, VA

Push yourself beyond the normal road race or bike-a-thon or just come out to see talent from all over compete from the water through the streets of Virginia Beach.  This grueling test of physical conditioning includes a 750 meter open ocean swim, 14-mile bike ride and 5k (3.1 mile) run. Click here for more information.

41st Annual Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend
September 26 through 28, 2014
Friday - 12:00 p.m - 11:00 p.m 
Saturday - 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. 
Sunday - 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. 
Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Virginia Beach, VA

2014 marks the 41st anniversary for the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival!  Every year, hundreds of thousands of people celebrate at the festival's many offerings!  Daily concerts at festival stages are scattered along 32 blocks of the Boardwalk and feature a variety of live music and performers.  Ignite your taste buds and satisfy your shopping savvy at this year's outdoor shopping and dining experience -- from crab cakes to Italian ice, stained glass to pottery, there is sure to be something to delight young and old festival goers alike.  To find out more, click here.  

International Sandsculpting Championship
September 26 through October 5, 2014
Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Virginia Beach, VA 
I
t's been the signature event of the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival since its inception.  Now it becomes the signature event of an entire region as the International Sandsculpting Championship expands to ten days.  With an international field of sculptors representing countries from around the world and a cash prize, this is one of the most distinctive events of its kind in the world.  Click here for more information. 


Savage Ancient Seas: Dinosaurs of the Deep 
Now through January 2015
Mariner's Museum

Newport News, VA

This exciting new exhibition features more than 20 large-scale, magnificent skeletons and replicas of ancient marine reptiles, including the 45-foot long Tylosaur and the largest sea turtle ever found. For more information about the exhibition which runs from May 2014 to January 2015, click here.  
 

Food Truck Hump Days at the Great Bridge Waterways
1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, April 16-October 15, 2014

4:00 p.m. 
Battlefield Historical Park, Chesapeake, VA (across the ICW from AYB)

Join Eat the Streets 757 at Battlefield Historic Park on the first and third Wednesday of the month starting April 16 and ending October 15.  A huge variety of food truck gourmet dishes will be offered along with children's activities and live entertainment by the Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation, the City of Chesapeake and friends!  All food trucks accept cash and credit although a minimum may apply for using credit.  10% of all sales will benefit the Great Bridge and Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation. 

Freedom Run
September 13, 2014
Dismal Swamp Canal Run Trail
Chesapeake, VA

The Freedom Run is held in memory of those who lost their lives in the events of September 11, 2011.  It also honors members of the United States Military and public safety who made the ultimate sacrifice that day, as well as those who have served or are currently serving in the military and public safety profession.  Proceeds benefit local charities. To participate or find out more, please click here. 

3rd Annual ETC Festival 
September 13, 2014 
12-10 p.m. 
Town Point Park, Downtown Norfolk, Virginia
Town Point Park transforms into an organic platform for artists, comedians, authors and musicians to flourish.  Embrace the Culture and see what is going on.  Free and open to the public.  For more information, click here


2nd Annual Ribtoberfest Presented by AT&T
September 20, 2014 
Noon to 8 p.m. 
Downtown Norfolk Waterfront, Town Point Park, Norfolk, VA 

The Annual RIbtoberFest will have the best of both worlds as Beer & BBQ collide in one deliciously mouth-watering food for all, featuring finger-lickin' good BBQ, fabulously frosty craft brews in the beer garden, live music, restaurant competitions and great family fun.  For more information, click here. 

26th Annual Virginia Children's Festival
October 4, 2014
Downtown Norfolk Waterfront, Town Point Park, Norfolk, VA

Hampton Road's most beloved family festival is filled with more than 100 creative and interactive activities, storytelling, hands-on workshops and educational displays, cultural experiences, arts and crafts, costumed characters an more.  Designed for kids 10 and under plus their families, this is a great event that brings the whole family and community together.  For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. 

Chesapeake Wine Festival
October 11, 2014
Noon to 6 PM,
Chesapeake City Park, Greenbrier Parkway
Chesapeake, VA 

If you ware not able to fit that vineyard tour in this year, don't fret!  Premier wines from around the world are available for tasting at the 4th Annual Chesapeake Virginia Wine Festival.  The event, presented by Towne Bank, will benefit a variety of important local charities as well as give you a chance to enjoy fabulous wines from all over Virginia and all over the world plus foods from the region's finest restaurants.  For more information, click here. 

27th Annual Town Point Virginia Wine Festival
October 18 and 19, 2014
11:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. both days
Downtown Norfolk Waterfront, Town Point Park, Norfolk, VA 

Festival guests enjoy the company of friends and family for a weekend-long harvest of Virginia wines in Town Point park.  Each day offers premier wine vintages and live musical performances in addition to gourmet foods and specialty wares.  All wines presented during the festival are available for purchase by the bottle or the case until 5 p.m.  Wine sampling ends at 4:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. 
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