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

Tackling Winter Projects - Make the Most of Your Off-Season Storage Time at AYB 

It's early December and we are definitely in the holiday spirit here at AYB.  Lots of our old friends have been stopping by or bringing their boats in for storage

We enjoy seeing each and every one of them no matter how long they stay -- and we would love to see you!

With so much going on at this time of year, lots of people wait until spring commissioning time to punch out their boat list.  Some of the jobs that they need done take more time though and even cost more the longer they wait.   Ultimately, there really is no reason for them to hold off on getting that work they are going to get done anyway underway.

Our long-time customers know that off-season storage time is a great time to get those needed projects done - big or small.  And the very smartest are already talking to us about it or getting the work done. 

Given AYB's relatively temperate winters, climate controlled work building and covered storage sheds, we keep rolling on all work year-round.

With all trades represented in-house and the ability to haul out on either our railway or travel lift, AYB is able to marshal all kinds of projects simultaneously on your boat with minimal hassle and maximum satisfaction with the results. 

Whether you are just passing through, are located elsewhere, or your boat is already staying with AYB for the whole off-season, please stop in or get in touch to get a free quote on any work you need.  

You can reach us toll-free at (800) 992-2489 or local at  (757) 482-2141 or drop us a line at to talk about the projects you need to get done on your boat. We'll give you a free quote on the work or help you figure out how you can take advantage of our comprehensive range of marine services and storage options. 

If you are outside of the area, we can also help arrange transport to our facility or recommend a licensed captain to bring the boat in for you via the Waterway.

And as always, we also invite you to find out more about AYB on our website at or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for interesting updates, tips, and specials going on at the Yard.  We are also still matching every like on Facebook with a $1 donation to help victims of Superstorm Sandy  so please don't forget to pass the word!

Wishing you a calm and peaceful winter and a happy holiday season - no matter where you may be! 

Your Friends At AYB

Meet TRADE WIND & The Brenners 

graphic courtesy of

AYB introduces a new feature with this newsletter -- an interview with the interesting people and their great boats that visit us here at AYB.  (For a full-length version of this interview, complete with pictures and video, please click here.)

Photo courtesy of Michael and Marcy Brenner - Copyright 2011.

Recently, AYB had the pleasure of hosting a one-of-a-kind, 62' Alden-designed, restored 1938 motorsailer, TRADE WINDand her owners Marcy and Michael Brenner.

The Brenners made what they expected to be a brief stop at AYB while en route south to the Islands for the season.  
As is often the case in full-time boating life, nature intervened and turned a single night's visit into a more than 2-week stay, complete with work on the Yard.  We sat down and talked to Michael Brenner about TRADE WIND and his life with Marcy on their spectacular boat. 

What brought you to AYB?

Like many people who know boats, we had heard about Atlantic Yacht Basin. Then we became friends with Roxy Darling, skipper of the ANNIE CAIE, who winters here.  So we wanted to come by and see the Yard in person on our way south. 

Of course, we didn't know we were going to end up staying like we did.  But after seeing what AYB could do, we decided to get some needed work done.  Commercial yards often can't handle a boat like ours properly, so we were especially glad to see the railway, as well as the friendly and experienced people on site.

The atmosphere of the Yard has been great.  And we have been like kids in a candy store walking through the sheds to see all the boats that are staying here.  For classic boats lovers like us, this place is truly unbelievable. 

What is TRADE WIND's story?  
TRADE WIND was originally custom built in 1938 by Robert Jacob at CIty Island, New York as a support vessel for yacht racing. She had a massive double galley for preparing and serving meals to the crew and comfortable captain's quarters for her owner, but no space for the team to bunk.

She was designed by the John Alden Company, true masters with a flair for open water motorsailers. Her classic lines plus incredible stability and functionality reflect that.  Over time, she was a racing support vessel, a research boat for oceanographic expeditions, and a professional test boat for marine systems.  

TRADE WIND always had these incredible lines and amazing core structure, plus her fascinating history.  But we took her
 down to bare bones to create the vessel you see today. This is especially true of the interior and all of the appointments and features.  Most of those were custom-designed for maximum live-aboard comfort, while keeping an eye for period detail as well as our personal history.

How did TRADE WIND come into your lives?  
TRADE WIND was kind of a happy accident for us.  We stumbled on her while looking through yacht listings as we always do.  One look at that beautiful pilot house and both of us were hooked - we saw her potential even though she was in her rawest state in a lot of ways at that point.   Following a painstaking three-year restoration at Rockport Marine, she became the boat that you see today. 

We knew we wanted to live on our boat for most of the year, so we designed TRADE WIND's features to make it possible to host visiting friends and family (I have two daughters, 11 and 14, and Marcy has a son, 22, from our previous marriages).  The mirror-image crew quarters and bath, as well as open-plan galley and living room area, make it possible for us to share TRADE WIND with the people we love.  Another key thing is the heating stove -- one thing I learned spending time living on boats in Scandinavia is you can't overestimate the importance of having a way to get warm and dry quickly onboard. 

What does a "typical" year look like for you?  
One of the best things about life on the water is that there is no such thing as typical.  The element of surprise is very much alive and well in our lives - our time spent at AYB is a great example of that.  We were waylaid on our annual southern sojourn from New England -- first by Superstorm Sandy, then by the snowstorm and finally by the situation with unusually low water levels on the ICW.  

So while we generally follow the pattern of summers up North (Maine, Nova Scotia, etc.) and winters in the Islands, with many stops in between, there really is no such thing as a "typical" year for us.  We do have a quiet riverfront property up in Rhode Island with a little cottage and a great deep-water dock where we spend a month or two each year.  We were based in Newport for a number of years after moving to the States.  After selling our house in the historic downtown, we found this great place that could accommodate a boat like TRADE WIND
 and we love coming back to that home port from time to time.  

How did you and Marcy meet?
Both Marcy and I love music and the open water. I was born and raised in Austria and trained as a classical violinist.  I even did a teenage stint as a Mozart re-enactor in Salzburg, complete with instrument, wig and period costume.  But mostly I am a yachtsman and life on the water is my calling. 

American-born Marcy had made her way to Austria and settled into life as a professional musician.  She eventually played viola da gamba in the same orchestra I did over 25 years before we would actually meet.  Mutual friends brought us together.  The timing was finally right for us to discover how much we had in common and eventually marry. 

How did you both come to love life on the water?
My parents were avid sailors.  And with five children who came along in a short window of time, they decided that the best way to survive that was to pack us up and take us along.  Most of my early time on boats was spent on large lakes in Austria, but later in life I spent time living on classic boats in Scandinavia and other places around the world.   Marcy is a long-time boat lover too and is as excited about the things we see along the way as I am.   In fact, you are just as likely to find her as you would me, strolling the docks wherever we are excitedly looking at other boats.  It is a true mutual passion.

What brought you to the United States?  
After so many years living in Europe, we thought that might be where we would end up.  We also have a 50 foot schooner based over there and even considered shipping her over here to the United States at one point.   Our original decision to come to the U.S. was based on the desire to take care of Marcy's ailing parents before they died.  Ultimately, we decided to make this our home.   We do still head over to Europe from time to time though.  It offers us the best of both worlds to do that.  TRADE WIND is seaworthy enough for an ocean crossing, but we like to spend time in both places with both boats.  

What do you like best about living aboard TRADE WIND?  
Being able to live and travel on TRADE WIND is an amazing experience for both of us and for our families.  Last winter, we went down to the Bahamas with my daughters to see the swimming pigs on Big Major Cay (Pig Island) - an indelible experience for all of us!  And Marcy's son, who is a champion competitive kiteboarder in Europe, hit some of the prime beaches in the world for his sport while spending time with us too.

But it is the continual sense of adventure that makes us happiest in this life.  Living aboard you have to constantly stay on your toes and things are constantly changing.  Particularly on open ocean, you always have to be aware of the elements and your surroundings.  It keeps things interesting and we feel lucky to be living this life together.  

To see an extended version of this interview including more photos, video and details on TRADE WIND's features and restoration, click here.

Meet Our Crew

Every e-newsletter, we highlight one of the interesting and highly experienced people who make Atlantic Yacht Basin so unique.  This time it's Bruce Cates, our Foreman of the Paint and Refinishing Shop, who has been with AYB for over three decades. 

From left to right, Bruce, Steve (Rasta) and Ray in front of FLYING LADY.

Where are you from?
I am a Tidewater native and a serious local.  I was born and raised in Norfolk in the Five Points area and am one of the only guys here who doesn't live in Chesapeake.  I also spent a lot of time down in the Outer Banks (Hatteras) fishing as a kid, because my grandmother had a place down there.  We used to pass by Atlantic Yacht Basin on the way down and I didn't even know it was there until I came to work there. 

When did you first start working at Atlantic Yacht Basin?  Why and where did you start?  
I started on January 23, 1981 and I will have been at AYB for 32 years in just a few weeks.  My wife knew someone who had a connection at AYB and I came in for a job interview on a Friday and started the following Monday.  I have been painting professionally for over 4 decades, but AYB is where I got my start on boats and I took to this kind of work right away. 

What do you like about painting and refinishing boats at AYB? 
I like balancing a lot of different jobs and making sure that the entire team is busy on a variety of different kinds of projects.  I would also rather figure out how we are going to get boats in and out of here on time than not have enough to do.  Fortunately, that is rarely an issue here. We get a lot of people who like to come back when they see what we are able to do with their boats. 

Most of all, I love returning boats to a better-than-factory condition.   When we get a boat that frankly looks like crap -- is chalky, lackluster and has a distressed exterior -- it is so great to see the owner or captain's face when they take delivery from us and it is unrecognizably improved.  It's a real pride of workmanship and satisfaction for our entire team.  It is really fun to watch people fall in love with their boats all over again.

What is your Painting and Refinishing team like? 
Our crew is a great group of guys who have been here for a while.  We may squabble and tease one another from time to time, but I know I can trust each and every one of them to do a high-quality job on every boat they touch.  Many of the guys on the crew have been here for a long time and really experienced. Some like Ray, Bob and Allen have been here for over two decades each, Billy nearly as long and Steve (Rasta) has been here for 5.   Even our newest guys, Chris and Levi, have prior experience and are doing a great job.

We all like having direct contact with our customers throughout the course of their projects. We're a really hands-on yard, so I like having fun with people and getting to know them and joking around with them too.  But we all take the work we do seriously.  It's fun to see people's pleasure in-person and to know that they are so positively and directly affected by what the team and each one of us as individuals did on their project.  

What is different about AYB now from when you started?
A lot of the senior guys that worked at AYB in the beginning were pretty strict in keeping with the times.  l had long hair when I came in for my interview and almost didn't get the job because of that.  Fortunately, I got word about it and was able to get it cut right away. What I like though is that the same standards for quality are in place as when I started. AYB is old-school in the good way in that way.  Boats are bigger and made out of a wider variety of materials, but in the end the best parts are the same - and one of those best parts is that things are always changing.

What are your favorite boats to work on?  What are the hardest? 
I like working on all kinds of boats and surfaces.  Aluminum is probably the hardest surface on which to get good results because aluminum and salt water don't like each other at all.  It blisters easily and is harder to restore back to prime look and condition.   Fiberglass and wood are both great surfaces to work with - although very different from one another.  I like the speed of the newer boats and the history of the classic boats -- I enjoy working with both for entirely different reasons.  If I could have any boat though, it would be a Buddy Davis sport fishing boat.  There was one boat in particular, a 48' Buddy Davis, that had the greatest lines. While it was here at AYB everything about it was saying "untie me, I'm raring to go."  I would love to have a boat like that - especially since they are not making them anymore.

How do you spend your time away from AYB? 
I really like spending time with my wife  We've been married 38 years.  She works on weekends a lot of the time so when she isn't working, we take advantage of the opportunity to do things together.  We have two grown children, a son and a daughter, who are in their thirties but no grandchildren yet -- we're always telling them they have to get moving on that project soon!   In the warmer months, I like to garden and work in my yard.  And one of my true loves is my '64 Pontiac.  I've had her almost as long as my daughter has been alive.  I've done all of the major jobs restoring her inside and out.  It is really relaxing for me to get out in the garage and work on her regularly - it's a great way for me to escape.

You and Brett (Foreman of the Carpentry Shop) are friends outside of work too - how much time do you think you have spent teasing one another over all of these years?  
Brett is my best friend and we do like to give one another a hard time.  During the workday, we don't see that much of one another in person, because we'll be tied up with our respective projects in different parts of the Yard.  But believe it or not,  most days we stand talking for at least a half an hour at our trucks before we head home after work.  We talk about jobs that are underway, things that happened and maybe what we have planned for one of our weekends doing Civil War reenactments.  We have a big one coming up this weekend in Fredericksburg, VA.  But yeah, there is definitely some teasing in the mix.  It keeps things interesting.

Calendar of Events

Boating/Nautical Events

Giving Back Their Names - The Effort to Identify the Lost Boys of the USS MONITOR
December 11, 2012, 7:00 p.m. 
Mariner's Museum, Newport News Virginia 

Lecture series dedicated to efforts to identify the remains of 2 crewmen who were among the 16 aboard the U.S.S. MONITOR who perished when it sank off the coast of Cape Hatteras in the wee hours of December 31, 1862.  The recent discovery of the remains of these 2 crew members led to facial reconstructions as well as historical and archaeological efforts to identify them.  These facial reconstructions are now on display in the USS MONITOR Center at The Mariners’ Museum. The Museum will host a special panel discussion about these reconstructions, as well as historical and archaeological information about the Monitor’s final moments. Panelists will include Dr. James Delgado, director of NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program, David Alberg, Superintendant of NOAA’s MONITOR National Marine Sanctuary, Dr. John Broadwater, former Chief Archaeologist at the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and David Krop, Director of the USS MONITOR Center. The session will be moderated by Dr. Anna Holloway, Vice President of Museum Collections and Programs at The Mariners’ Museum and Curator of the USS MONITOR Center. Click here for more information.

Other Local Events

Illuminate Your Holidays - Enjoy the Season in Colonial WIlliamsburg
Williamsburg, VA
December 1, 2012 - January 1, 2013

Enjoy the holiday season in the Revolutionary City filled with special holiday events, classic decorations, shopping and festive dining.  Click here to find out more. 

Season of the Super Hero! 
December 27 & 28, 2012 - Varied times. 
Nauticus, Norfolk

Come down and meet Marvel favorites SpiderMan and Captain America.  SpiderMan will appear from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. each day.  Captain America will appear from 2-4 p.m. each day . Make sure to bring cameras! Event included in regular Nauticus admission.  Click here for details.

New Year's Eve Gala at Sheraton Waterside
December 31, 2012 - January 1, 2013
Sheraton Waterside, Norfolk

Live music by the popular beach music ban Bill Deal & Ammon Tharp & the Original Rhondels. Price includes a guest room for one night (1 p.m. check-in and 2 p.m. check out); cocktail reception, dinner buffet and beverages, party favors, midnight champagne toast, drawing for a 4-night stay at Westin Resort in St. John, US Virgin Islands, 1 a.m. breakfast buffet in the ballroom and deluxe New Year's Day brunch from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Prices are $499 for a city view room and $519 for a harbor view room - double occupancy rooms only.  Contact Sheraton at (757) 622-6664.  777 Waterside Drive, Norfolk. Click here for more details.

Paddle for the Border - Registration for Annual Event Begins February 1
10th Annual Dismal Swamp Paddle  
May 4, 2013

Click here for details. 

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