Alexi and Bob Sail Away

12 January 2022
20 October 2021 | Moving South
23 September 2021
02 August 2021
02 June 2021
08 April 2021
08 April 2021
15 February 2021
19 January 2021 | Marathon
02 January 2021
19 November 2020
17 November 2020
31 August 2020 | Deltaville
13 July 2020
20 June 2020 | Portsmouth, VA
15 June 2020 | Wilmington, NC

Made it to Florida!

12 January 2022
Robert Malkin
After a nearly perfect run from Hampton, VA, we have made it to Florida!

We've already enjoyed Elliot Key, Islamorada (Upper Matecumbe Key) and Marathon (Vaca Key). The water is super clear. You can see the sea grass and coral 10 feet below!

We found a really well priced slip in Marathon and the weather has been pretty rough. So, we're going to spend a few more weeks here before hopefully, hoping over the Bahamas.

Heading South (again)

20 October 2021 | Moving South
Robert Malkin
As the temperatures turn cold our thoughts, and boat, turn south. LAMANTIN is heading towards the Bahamas!

We had a wonderful summer in Lankford Bay getting some boat work done and enjoying the upper Chesapeake. There are so many nice places to anchor out and enjoy a tranquil sunset. There are also great small towns with interesting history to explore.
On the way down south we spent time in St Michaels, a historical, coastal town on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake in Maryland. There is a great maritime museum there where we got to watch them building a replica of an old shipping schooner. St Michaels also has nice places to eat and shops to enjoy. Continuing south on the Chesapeake, we stopped in the Little Choptank River for a quiet overnight stay on a small tributary creek.

Weather seems to dictate nearly everything in our lives these days. Expecting some heavy weather, we decided to make a long, fast run down nearly the entire Chesapeake from The Little Choptank to Hampton. Unfortunately, we blew out our distributor cap on the starboard engine when it overheated. We think a loose belt caused the overheat that caused the coolant to spray out of the overflow bottle onto the distributor cap causing it to short. Luckily, we were able to find a mechanic who could (more or less) quickly fix the problem and confirm that the overheat did not cause any other problems.

From Hampton, we were able to enter the Dismal Swamp Canal. This canal is the oldest continuously operating canal in the US with a pedigree dating back to George Washington. It is remarkable peaceful with glassy water reflecting the long straight stretches of ditch dug 100’s of years ago.

The canal played an important role in the civil war as the Union thought the south would use the canal to move boats like the ironclads. In fact, the canal has always been too shallow and narrow for that type of boat. (And, nearly too shallow for our type of boat. We ended up hitting several underwater objects. We never saw them since the water is caramel colored owing to the pine tannins.) The Dismal Swamp runs between two locks, South Mills and Deep Creek. The current locks date from the 1940’s but at Deep Creek you can still see the original lock from the 1800’s. Commercial boats were so narrow then that you can nearly jump across the old lock.

If you want to see what the modern locks look like, check out our YouTube channel with time lapse photos of us going through the locks at Deep Creek, South Mills and Great Bridge (the larger lock on a parallel canal).

Great Bridge Lock and Bridge:


Deep Creek Lock and Bridge


South Mills Lock and Bridge:


The dismal swamp canal ends in North Carolina, where we’ll be spending the next couple of weeks visiting with friends before continuing our journey south towards our ultimate destination for 2021: Bimini in the Bahamas.

Northern Chesapeake

23 September 2021
Robert Malkin
We’ve been lucky to have the entire summer to explore the northern Chesapeake Bay. It is really a boater’s world here. There are so many coves and small cities to explore.

On the east cost of the bay, where we are located, there are small towns from the inlet to the bay up to the C&D canal near us. We’ve visited Chestertown, Odessa, Tilghman’s Island, Rock Hall and Harmon Plantation. Each town has its own charm and things to do or see. We enjoyed the Saturday farmer’s market in Chestertown with fresh mushrooms and quail eggs for sale. Tilghman’s Island is remote and a bit shallow to get into but we had a wonderful meal with friends on the water. Odessa and Harmon’s Plantation were founded during colonial times and have enjoyed recent renovations, thanks to the DuPont family.

Rock Hall is the nearest small town to our marina. I can get there on my electric scooter or we can use a car (when we have it). While not a metropolis, Rock Hall has lots of boats and a few shops, including a grocery store and a hardware store.

The hardware store has helped us complete 98 projects on the boat this summer from pretty minor (trimming some loose carpet bits) to huge (replacing the port fuel tank). Thanks to all that work, there are just a few more items left to fix from the original inspection (survey).

We also had plenty of time for fishing and sailing. Unfortunately, neither were very successful. We did catch some nice size fish but they were not the kinds we could eat. And, Bob’s wing foiling got better but still not up on the foils (at least for very long).

Now, the summer is nearly finished and we are making plans to head south. Our daughter will visit next weekend, then we will make our way to the Bahamas!

The Summer of Tanks

02 August 2021
Robert Malkin
We've been running on one fuel tank nearly since we purchased LAMANTIN. The port tank was disintegrating and the particles it was shedding caused the fuel filter to clog, triggering a fuel pump overcurrent, shutting down one engine. After this left us stranded, towed and frustrated, we ran on only one gas tank for the trip from the west coast of Florida to the upper Chesapeake. Running on one tank solved that problem but after running out of gas for the second or third time, Alexi and I decided it was time to stop and get the port fuel tank replaced.

We were half way up the Chesapeake Bay when we made the decision. So, we continued for that day and stopped near Rock Hall, Maryland, in the upper Chesapeake. I started calling marinas in the area to see who might do the repair. Every marina I called was fully booked. I was told over and over again "We can probably get to you this winter." The idea of waiting until it was too uncomfortable to boat to start boating just didn't make sense to us.

Luckily, a friend recommended calling someone who knew the area well. He was a rigger but he might just know of a marina with some capacity. That was truly serendipity. I called the rigger on the day he was buying a boat yard - Lankford Bay Marina. He purchased the yard on Wednesday and we moved in on Thursday. Because the yard had been neglected, there were very few boats here. It was a perfect coincidence: he needed the work and we needed someone to do it.

While the work is getting done, we've been able to take advantage of the area. Lankford Bay Marina is on a quiet cove off the eastern shore of the Chesapeake, on a point overlooking a bucolic Chesapeake waterway. The cove is well protected and the weather is great (most of the time). There is a nice small town nearby and it is easy to order boat parts so that we can catch up on all the repairs.

We expect to spend the rest of the summer here while both old tanks are being removed, new custom tanks are being made and installed. We are also getting some other boat work done at the yard. Meanwhile we are fishing, sailing, kayaking, visiting friends, making new friends and enjoying the small towns around us. Check out the photo gallery for pictures of the tank work!

A Day on the Water

02 June 2021
Robert Malkin
If you have not visited our YouTube channel in a while, check out this time-lapse video of a day on the water with LAMANTIN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYsaV900cNE


Bob

My First Time Being Towed

19 May 2021
Robert Malkin
We had been cruising our new to us Silverton 372, LAMANTIN, for less than a week. We had a first day with a hired captain to show us the ropes (except there aren’t any on a motor yacht). And, we ran aground. The somewhat embarrassed, hired captain -- since he had advised the course that led through the shoal -- told me later that he had never run aground during a training day. It is nice to be the first at something. We also took the boat out to refill the gas tanks. We ran aground again. Now, we were on the third day of actual cruising to make miles and we needed a tow!

On the first day of cruising, we had had a great day crossing Tampa Bay. The boat was new to us so we cruised at different speeds to get a feel for the boat in maneuvering, displacement and planning modes. At the end of that first day, we felt pretty good about the boat. The second cruising day had us nicely tucked into a spot in the heart of Sarasota, where we found a great Asian fusion restaurant. Feeling pretty good, we headed into day three with an expectation to make it to Savannah, GA in about a week.

After an uneventful few hours crossing near Port Charlotte and passing Captiva and Sanibel, we headed up the Caloosahatchee river towards Fort Myers, where we intended to spend the night. Just as we passed through a narrow, crowded area with shallows on both sides (isn’t it always like that), the helm appeared to go hard over and we were heading towards another boat and another grounding. Fortunately, I was able to reduce the throttle and gain control quickly, avoiding a certain disaster.

Alexi took over so that I could try to figure out what was going on. Limping along on one engine, using a combination of throttle and helm, Alexi guided us towards deeper water where we dropped the anchor.

Many attempts to start the engine led to good cranking but not firing. I changed fuel filters and verified what I could but was not able to quickly diagnose the problem. We could have sat at anchor comfortably for a while but I couldn’t fix the problem and Fort Myers has lots of good mechanics. So, we decided to get towed.

Fortunately, we have TowBoatUS insurance that offers free towing within 50 miles of shore. After answering a few questions on an app - which forwarded to phone number where I had to answer the same questions with a human – a tow boat was dispatched. In a small RIB with 300 HP of outboard power, Billy and his young son deftly maneuvered us into a slip at the nearest marina.

Then, I spent more than one hour calling over 20 mechanics in the Fort Myers area. Some were booked 2-4 weeks out! Some no longer worked on inboard gasoline engines. Most never responded to my messages. It seemed like I was going to be the mechanic-du-jour.

After some desperate posts on the Silverton forums, I was able to obtain the manuals that I needed to start diagnosing the problem. I spent most of that day and all the next morning tracking down the problem. The engine was cranking but no fuel was reaching the throttle body. The fuel pump worked but was not getting a signal. Even when I overrode the control on the fuel pump, the fuel injectors were not squirting fuel onto the butterfly valves (this engine is a hybrid of electronic fuel injection and carburation). After deducing that the problem as an electrical problem, I suspected a blown relay. It took me 30 minutes just to find the relay, buried in a housing that I thought only contained fuses. But a quick test confirmed my suspicion. The ignition relay was blown.

A great advantage of having car engines in your boat is that some parts are cheap and easy to obtain. AutoZone had three of these in stock at $8 each. A quick Uber and a quick job of replacing the part and the engines ran perfectly again.

All in all, we got very lucky. Without the manuals and some experience working on car engines, I probably could not have fixed the problem. And if I didn’t fix the problem, we could have been stuck in Fort Myers for weeks or even months waiting for a mechanic.
It turns out that the easiest part of the entire experience was the part I feared the most; the tow. The tow boat arrived on time and was super professional and skilled. And, with our insurance it was free. I don’t think I want to do that again. But, it is nice knowing that I can, without worries.
Vessel Name: Lamantin
Vessel Make/Model: Silverton 372
Hailing Port: Wilmington, NC
Crew: Alexi and Bob
About: We are taking a few years to live aboard our boat and visit some amazing places.
Extra: Let us know if you want to come visit!
Lamantin's Photos - Main
Our time in Florida in the winter of 2021-22
8 Photos
Created 12 January 2022
Sights of us moving from the upper Chesapeake to FL in the fall of 2021
4 Photos
Created 20 October 2021
Summer 2021 spent in the Chesapeake
8 Photos
Created 23 September 2021
It is a huge job to replace the fuel tanks on a boat. Fortunately, they last about 20-25 years. So, we are not likely to ever do this again.
6 Photos
Created 2 August 2021
Photos from our trip from Florida to Rhode Island in the spring of 2021
2 Photos
Created 19 May 2021
We spent Dec/Jan 20/21 in the Florida Keys
23 Photos
Created 21 December 2020
Sights of the east coast of the US in the fall of 2020
4 Photos
Created 19 November 2020
Photos from our week in Utah
5 Photos
Created 16 October 2020
We spent a few summer months sailing around the southern Chesapeake
12 Photos
Created 20 June 2020
We sailed from West Palm Beach to Portsmouth VA in early 2020
20 Photos
Created 6 June 2020
We had two great weeks of friends and family visiting us on the boat on Great Exuma Island
18 Photos
Created 8 March 2020
The Exumas is a long chain of islands with many remote and beautiful spots to drop an anchor
39 Photos
Created 19 January 2020
We had a great New Year's vacation with our children and friends in the Bahamas
27 Photos
Created 10 January 2020
Photos of the trip from Georgia to The Bahamas
13 Photos
Created 15 December 2019
It was a lot of work and a lot of good byes ...
6 Photos
Created 6 December 2019
Trip down the ICW from Georgetown, SC to Brunswick, GA
10 Photos
Created 19 June 2019
Photos to get you oriented to the boat
11 Photos
Created 10 June 2019