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

Making a Boat List & Checking It Twice - The Smart Way to Hit The Water & Stay Out on It Longer Too

James Taylor goes through a long-distance boat check up with a customer before the crew starts work on it at AYB.  Copyright 2012- Atlantic Yacht Basin.  

We love spring.  EVERYONE says it is late in coming this year, but for all of us at AYB,  the good weather can't get here soon enough. With so many on the East Coast still getting smacked with what this March has had to offer, it is hard to believe -- but prime boating season is right around the corner.  

One way we know that Spring is here is that James Taylor, our VP of Operations has been on the phone and meeting in person with a lot of you lately.  And the Yard is hopping with interesting jobs and lots of friends coming in and out. 

That is why we decided to focus this quarter's newsletter on exactly what James and the other members of our crew do every day.  AYB helps boat owners and captains develop and check their boat lists and get the vital work done that keeps their boats out on the water safer and longer.  

To help you in putting together "your" boat list, AYB has developed this checklist with some help from Chesapeake Bay Magazine.  Download it, print it, laminate it  customize it -- you can even put it on a cord and one of us will wear it as a necklace!  No matter how you use it, we want to make sure that together, both you and AYB, are keeping track of what is going on with your boat.  Click here to download the checklist

There are lots of reasons to maintain and use a list like this.  It helps you stay on top of both the short and long range maintenance of your boat, catch and avoid costly surprise repairs or catastrophic breakdowns.  You will also be better able to anticipate things so that you and your boat can stay as safe as possible.  That way, you will be able to spend more time out on the water doing the things you love best rather than worrying about when you'll finally make it out of the shop.

To find 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 .  As always, we also invite you to discover 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.

Whether you are passing through or commissioning your boat for the season, all of us AYB can't wait to see you soon.

Always ready to rumble,  

Your Friends at AYB

Meet Ron Jackson of Just Won't Quit 

AYB continues this popular  feature -- an interview with the interesting people and their great boats that visit us.   We recently caught up with third-generation AYB customer and friend Ron Jackson to talk about his passion for boating and for life on the water.  Ron splits his time between DC and his native Virginia Beach and talks about what it is like to be an AYB "local."

Julie and Ron Jackson (third from right and far right) celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary with friends and family with a rafting trip on the New River Gorge in West Virginia. Copyright 2014 - Courtesy of Ron Jackson.

You're a local boy.  How did you get into boating?   My family is from the area from when it was Princess Anne County, before the City of Virginia Beach existed.   Boating is a long-time tradition in my family and I have been going out on boats for as long as I could remember.  My grandfather and father were both wooden boat men, so I was the first to go fiberglass in the Jackson line.  But boating is definitely in our blood.  I used to spend a lot of time doing deep sea fishing, even running weekend offshore charters out to Norfolk Canyon for a few years, These days, though, I am a pleasure boater by choice.  I'll go fishing occasionally, but for the most part, I am all about good times out on the water with friends and family.

Just Won't Quit docked in Virginia Beach and ready for a beautiful day out on the water. Copyright 2014 - Courtesy of Ron Jackson.

You split your time between the DC area and Tidewater What's the reasoning behind that?  I started working in and commuting to DC nearly 20 years ago for professional reasons.  I am a "fenestration engineer", which means I design windows and the glass elements of large building projects.  So I am one of those road warriors you see going up and down the highway to Washington and back.  I was doing it before it was "cool" (laughs).  I keep an apartment in SW DC down by the water, but my family lives in Virginia Beach and that is what I really consider home.  I travel up to DC on Sunday and come back on Thursday so I can be with my family and enjoy the boating life on Just Won't Quit.

Where did you get Just Won't Quit?  I bought Just Won't Quit at a DEA auction of seized assets in 2005.  She's a 1995 Ocean 48 Cockpit Motor Yacht.  I may have gotten a deal on her at auction (typically things sell for about 1/3 of their value), but I have poured a LOT of money into her over the years.   It's something I have been doing for a long time.  My uncle was an early agent with the DEA and he was the one who told me about the seizure auctions.  I bought about 4 or 5 boats that way and fixed them up for resale, but Just Won't Quit is my absolute favorite.  I usually put the proceeds of one of those sales into my "boat fund" and that finances whatever tinkering and upkeep I want to do.  My wife is a competitive ballroom dancer and she often laughs about the fact that she finally found something that costs us more to do than "that damn boat."

Julie and her longtime dance partner pose after a ballroom dance competition win in July 2013.  Copyright - 2013. Courtesy of Ron Jackson.

What does a typical year in your boating life look like? For me boating is a way of life, but it is all about the pleasure of other people's company and enjoying time out on the water.  I keep the boat docked at Cavalier Yacht Club in Virginia Beach from April through the end of November and then move her to storage at AYB for the winter season.  Most weekends you can find us out on the boat somewhere in the local area, although we occasionally take her farther away too.  The name kind of says is at all -- with so much water to choose from in Tidewater, you don't have to go very far away to find an interesting place to be out on your boat.  Ironically, I prefer having the boat at the Cavalier rather than living in a waterfront home and docking her on my home dock as I did before.  Waterfront property is really a maintenance hassle and I like seeing all the familiar faces down at the club docks. I'm a past Commodore and the only second-generation one in the club's history.  So that is part of the family tradition too.

What made your grandfather and father choose AYB?  What has the experience of going there for so long been like for you?  Both my grandfather and father trusted AYB and their craftsmen with the important jobs like deck replanking and custom cabinetry that their wooden boats demanded.That's how my grandfather first starting going there and then just like boating itself, AYB became part of our family tradition.  I'm good friends with James Taylor and many of the other guys on the crew, who have treated my boats with such skill and care over the years.  I have to laugh every year when someone at AYB asks if I will be bringing the boat back that winter for storage and maintenance. My response is always "where the hell else am I going to go?"   AYB is a unique yard, not only in terms of the Tidewater area, but in general -- and I really feel like you get what you pay for there.  Unbelievably experienced craftsmen, an honest interaction about what work you do and don't need, and a fun atmosphere are all part of the mix at AYB.  

Have you passed the boating tradition on to your kids?  All three of my kids, who are all adults now, have grown up on our boats and on the water.  The one that I see most likely to be consumed by the boating life is my youngest daughter, who is 26.  I can absolutely see her passing it on eventually to any future children she may have too.  We like going out with our family and even though our grandchildren are pretty young right now, I can imagine they might also "catch" the fever.  

So when you aren't stuck commuting between DC and Tidewater or out on your boat, what do you like to do?  Unlike a lot of my friends, I am not thinking about the golf course at all.  My other passion is for classic hot rods and I have a collection of 8 of them.   I just bought one from the 1930s, a 1938 Hudson model that was a favorite of Al Capone -- it's one I had been looking for for ages.  We also travel periodically for my wife's dancing competitions and then I tear myself away from both the boat and the cars.  I also travel for work and am always itchy to get back to the coast after spending time in land-locked places. I'm a coastal guy through and through.

Just Won't Quit docked at sunset at Bay Creek - another reason why Tidewater is such a great place to live and spend time on the water.  Copyright 2014 - Courtesy of Ron Jackson.


Meet Our Crew 
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 Spencer Hull, Treasurer.  Not only do we get to know him a little better, but he's also got the unique perspective of someone who sees all parts of the Yard's operation and is literally part of the family.

A 9-year old Spencer Hull shows off his groovy 70s style and impressive catch down at Sandbridge.  Copyright 1974 - Hull Family/Atlantic Yacht Basin.

Where are you from and how did you hear about AYB? 
I am a Norfolk native, but I have lived for a number of years in the Great Bridge section of Chesapeake with my wife Robin, and our kids, Henry, 17, Harrison, 15,  and Rachel, 11,  There really isn't a time that I can't remember AYB, because my grandfather, Mr. Atkinson, started the company. When I was growing up, my father, Mr. Hull, took over running the business.  Now, my brother-in-law, Jack Stumborg, is the President. So AYB is literally in my blood!

When and where did you start working at AYB? 
I started working here in the summers when I was in high school.  I apprenticed on a lot of jobs in the shops and around the Yard -- mostly keeping my mouth shut and my eyes open while I worked.  So many of the men I learned from during those summers, especially James, Bruce, Brett and Russell, are still here at AYB and are so incredibly experienced that it was like getting a master class every day. During and after college, I worked for AYB's dredging company (since sold) and a couple of others, which gave me an incredible appreciation for that side of the waterways business too.  I can't say that I hated being a young guy working on dredging projects down in Florida or out in Oregon in those years.  

When did you first learn about boats?  What was your first love?  Do your children like boating?  I can't really remember a time when boats were not around and I was not around boats.  I started sailing when I was fairly little in classes at NYCC like many of my childhood friends, but it was my grandfather's boat, the 1964 Egg Harbor (which is still around!) that was my first love.  My uncle is the one who took me out first on power boats and he said that when he first gave me the wheel that I would never let up on the throttle!  it has kind of been like that ever since.  My kids like boats, but they prefer power to sailboats.  I like both for entirely different reasons.  Some of my most treasured memories are of fishing with my mom down in Sandbridge in the summers so I try to tear my kids away from the electronics as much as I can and get them out and enjoying time on and around the water. 

Spencer and Robin Hull relax after a road race last Spring.  Copyright 2013 - Atlantic Yacht Basin/Spencer Hull.

Have you always worked in the boating business?  What is it like to work for a family-owned business when you are part of the family?   I did leave the boatyard and dredging business for a few years down in South Carolina for a sales job in a much more typical office environment.  While it was good for us as a family to strike out on our own and try something new, I missed being part of the boating business and AYB terribly.  Coming back to AYB made a lot of sense, not only because it was a return to the world I loved best, but also because I was ready to take a different kind of role in helping run and grow the business.  Working in a family-owned business is always challenging and always exciting. Plus, with a business like AYB that has been around such a long time and has such a great and loyal team, everyone here seems like family anyway.  

What does a typical day look like for you?  What is your favorite part?  My favorite thing about AYB is that there really isn't anything such as a typical day.  From the weather to the long-time and new friends coming in, to the often spectacular boats that pass through our docks and shops, every day is different.  Just seeing what passes by on the Waterway is really interesting too!  AYB is a unique place and I have a lot of affection for as well as pride in the people and work that goes on here.  I manage lots of daily operational stuff, both within the office, in the store and around the Yard, so I have a good bird's eye view of everything that is happening.  It is impossible for me to decide whether or not the people -- both our customers and the people that work here -- or the boats -- are my favorites.  So let me just say that I love them both.  I enjoy seeing old friends on a regular basis, turning a boat over to a satisfied customer after a job well done, and the excitement when an unique old beauty or powerful modern yacht comes in.  Knowing that my family and I have been part of this tradition so long is also very important to me.

What do you do in your free time? Is there anything else you would add?  I like hanging out with Robin, my lovely bride, and the kids.  Golf is always on the agenda and I enjoy playing with a group of longtime friends -- we probably heckle each other as much as we actually play -- which is always a big part of the fun. In the past couple of years though, I have broken a habit of inactivity and started running.  A longtime AYB customer and friend, Dayton Trubee, got me to get off my rear end and get moving and I will be forever grateful to him for it.  Now both Robin and I and our son Henry regularly participate in organized runs and races.  There is absolutely no question that Dayton can still beat me, despite being older than I am, but it has been great to add this to my life.  I was an avid surfer and skateboarder, tennis player and minor level wild man when I was a kid, so getting active again has been really, really motivating in a way that I didn't expect.  My knees might complain, but the rest of me is really happy that I am out there hitting the bricks on a regular basis.

Calendar of Events

Boating & Nautical Events 

2014 Rudee Paddle 
Saturday, April 19, 2014 (all day)
Rude Inlet, Virginia Beach, VA

The 1st Annual Rudee Paddle will celebrate the beauty of Rudee Inlet & Owls Creek through an entire day of hard charging sprint & medium distance SUP Races as well as a cool attempt to break the "most people to do yoga poses on Stand Up Paddle Boards in one place at one time" record.  The event funds two great causes which in turn will aid the families of local area Navy SEALs and the Rudee Inlet Foundation in protecting Owls Creek and Rudee Inlet.  Deadline for entry is April 1.

The 38th Annual Norfolk Harborfest Presented By AT&T

Friday, June 6 - Sunday, June 8, 2014
Downtown Norfolk Waterfront & Town Point Park 

Launch your summer with the area's biggest dock party!! The Festival continues through the weekend with a 3 full days of FREE, fresh, family-friendly fun as the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront transforms into an exciting playground for people of all ages.  You'll experience a weekend packed with activities on land and sea!  Harborfest includes tall ships and the Parade of Sail, the largest fireworks show on the East Coast, local, regional and national entertainment, family activities, unique and unusual performances, water activities and much more.  For more information, click here. 

Other Events 

Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon & Half Mile Children's Fun Run 
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Chesapeake, VA 
The 8th Annual Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon offers a flat 13.1 mile course that will take runners on a wilderness journey through lush, mysterious landscape and rich history. Stomp through forested wetlands on a peaceful paved path along the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Running parallel to the course is the Dismal Swamp Canal, part of the famed Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.  For more information, click here.  


6th Annual East Coast She Crab Soup Classic
Saturday, April 26, 2014
24th Street Park, Virginia Beach Oceanfront

An open competition among over 15 participating restaurants, the She Crab Soup Classic focuses on one of the region’s most-loved seafood delicacies.  The highly identifiable cuisine has been a staple of area menus for decades.Restaurants serve their individual recipes and compete for People’s Choice Awards, determined by ballots of those attending.  Critic’s Choice Awards also are given by a panel of six leading regional cuisine experts.A limited number of tickets are available for The East Coast She Crab Soup Classic. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here

8th Annual Spring AT&T Town Point Wine Festival 
Saturday & Sunday - May 3-4, 2014 
11AM-6PM daily 

Town Point Park, Norfolk, VA
Wine Enthusiast Magazine has named Virginia one of the 10 best wine travel destinations in the world!  Norfolk Festevents is bringing 25 of the best wineries from across the Commonwealth right to Hampton Roads' premier waterfront venue for 2 days of delicious wine and food and fun.  To purchase tickets or for more information click here

9th Annual Atlantic Coast Kite Festival
Saturday, May 3, 2014 (all day)
17th Street Park, Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Kite fliers and spectators of all ages will experience a visual feast at the 9th Annual Atlantic Coast Kite Festival.  This free event features a variety of activities appropriate for all ages and all levels of kite aficionados.  American Kite Association members from throughout the East Coast will present kite demonstrations, perform kite routines to music, and fly giant kites (up to 80 feet long) that include an octopus kite!  Kite vendors will be on site to sell various kinds of kites.  For more info, click here.  

13th Annual Virginia Beer Festival in Partnership with Virginia Arts Festival 
Saturday & Sunday, May 17-18, 2014
2pm-6pm Daily
Town Point Park, Norfolk, VA

Come to Town Point Park to enjoy one of the most popular Beer Festivals in the mid-Atlantic Region that promises to be a day full of good beer, good friends, and good fun.  Spend the afternoon sampling beer from all over the world.  International premium beers, hand-crafted domestics and local brews comprise a selection of over 125 tap handles.  For tickets or more information, please click here.
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