November 2012 – Weather Delay!

November 20, 2012

Gary, Cookie, and Ruth

We planned to make a brief stop in Portsmouth but are still here, watching every day as gale warnings are posted for the Cape Hatteras area. The wind down there has been steadily in the 30 knot range with seas of 8-12 feet, so we will stay put until it looks a little more comfortable! The Portsmouth/Norfolk area is a fun place to be stuck. We had a chance to visit some great friends who moved here several years ago, Gary and Cookie and their brand new addition, little Ruth. I rented a car and did a quick trip up to DC, where I met up with several good friends, attended a breakfast event for the Northern Virginia Tech Council, and scheduled routine doctor and dentist appointments. I also got to visit another baby, this time my friend Christeen and little Sophie. In the meantime, Bradley and Taylor stayed on the boat doing some projects and having some service done on our main engines

Bradley and Taylor on the battleship USS Wisconsin

We’ve had a chance to do some exploring in the area. We attended the Norfolk Illumination Parade – this takes place after dark on the night they light up all the office buildings with holiday lights. It was a fun event and marked our second parade in two weeks! We also went to Nauticus, the Naval Museum in Norfolk where we enjoyed the exhibits and some short movies and went aboard the battleship USS Wisconsin. We also have plans to see the new movie Lincoln at a local dinner theater – an old style theater in Portsmouth that serves dinner while you watch a movie.

We are planning to depart to head south to Florida as soon as the weather allows. We have fueled up, taking on 2700 gallons of diesel. But we’ve had a solid week of gray skies and strong winds here in the marina and can’t wait to get back out where we belong! For those interested in technical details, scroll down below photos – there is a technical problem that YOU ALL can help me with!

Technical Details

WordPress – this is the site I use to host our blog and they have recently added the ability for you to REPLY to updates you receive via email and have a comment posted to the blog and emailed to me. This was working very well for the posts during Sandy and I heard from dozens of people. However, with my last post on Nov 13, it seems this function quit working. I received only two replies and when I tested it from my own email, the replies never showed up. WordPress tech support has not been able to determine what went wrong but is standing by for this post, so if are getting this update via email, please HIT REPLY, type in something (like “this is the best blog in the world and you are such a great writer”) and hit SEND. Hopefully this will help us track down the cause of the problem. Also, I’m sorry to say that if you replied to my last blog post, I most likely did not see your response.

Engines – the primary reason for stopping in Portsmouth was to have some routine work done on our main engines by the local diesel specialists. The work went smoothly, mostly replacing gaskets and seals and checking for leaks and potential problems. In order to access the engines, the valve covers had to be removed. When the starboard cover was put back on, some cracks appeared around the bolts that hold it in place. Unfortunately, this can be a big problem as it can allow oil to leak. There were definitely not cracks there when the work started. But in a classic case of customer service finger-pointing, the service guys say it is a product defect and not due to anything they did (even though the mechanic did not use a torque wrench or follow the exact instructions for replacing the cover). For now, we have removed the cover and replaced it with a loaner. I’m sure this situation will be resolved satisfactorily, but it will take cooperation between the service group and the manufacturer.

Chrome Valve Cover

Corner cracked during re-install

iPhone – this isn’t exactly a boat problem, but the speaker on my iPhone quit working. I took it to the new Apple store in Norfolk and they replaced the speaker in the store, so I was in and out in 30 minutes. Yea!

Sat phone/weather – We are starting to plan for our trip to the Bahamas for the winter, so I have been researching weather services that are effective using a satellite phone with limited bandwidth. I have tested several services but think I like Buoyweather. It allows me to create favorite locations anywhere and to have forecasts emailed on a preset time schedule. The emailed forecasts are text based and very small and can be requested in a variety of formats. I’m using it on a trial basis for now using our regular internet service since we do not currently have a satellite SIM card – we will get one when we get to Florida before we head out of the country.

Gulf stream – one consideration in planning a trip up or down the east coast of the US is the location of the Gulf Stream which runs from Florida all the way to Newfoundland. The Gulf Stream moves more water in one day than all the rivers in the world combined, so it is a force to be respected. It creates strong currents which help you if you are heading north or hinder you if you are going south. Knowing the location of the Gulf Stream is important in planning a trip. Many of the NOAA forecasts for Florida tell you the specific location of the Stream for various points along the Florida Coast, but there is no similar information available for the Carolina coasts. We are especially interested in the Cape Hatteras area as we need to stay inside the western edge of the Gulf Stream but far enough offshore to be safe (the Stream is not fixed, its location changes as it meanders). The easiest way to determine the location is by looking at the water temperature – water in the Stream is significantly warmer than water outside. When you are in or near the Stream, you can even see the difference. We have learned that the Stream is typically 25-40 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, so we will plan to stay between the shore and the western edge of the Stream. We’ll keep a close eye on boat speed and water temperature while staying as close to the coast as we think safe given the conditions and we are looking at the SST (Sea Surface Temperatures) on our daily weather forecasts.

  1. #1 by Kathy Clark on November 30, 2012 - 9:08 am

    Reply from Yahoo



  2. #2 by marie dufour on November 26, 2012 - 6:56 am

    Hi Kathy…. from Taboga Island, Panama (Pacific side) We’ve been using Buyoweather with delivery to our Iridium / X-gate email, no problem. Also, we have all the NOAA reports emailed to our Iridium/X-gate.



  3. #3 by Anonymous on November 23, 2012 - 4:27 pm

    Fair winds and following seas as you head south.


  4. #4 by Dennis Overby on November 22, 2012 - 10:58 pm

    I really do enjoy living vicariously through your updates, from the comfort of Sea Gate!




  5. #5 by Jim Evans on November 22, 2012 - 9:49 pm

    Great blog!


  6. #6 by Anonymous on November 22, 2012 - 8:46 am

    “this is the best blog in the world and you are such a great writer”….as you recommended! HA! Hi Kathy and Bradley – Thinking of you and wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving. You both are very friends for which I am grateful to have!! Bradley, I know I owe you an email. I am still “licking my wounds” from that very disappointing day but will recover. Please be careful out on the ocean blue. God Speed and Happy Thanksgiving! OX, Sandy


  7. #7 by Anonymous on November 22, 2012 - 6:09 am

    Hi! At least this last post of yours reached Sweden! Let’s see if the return path works ! /Rgds LeifJ


  8. #8 by Golf Girl on November 21, 2012 - 10:02 am

    Thanks for the update – love your blog!


  9. #9 by Brad Antle on November 21, 2012 - 4:46 am

    As a pilot, I use an application called ForeFlight that give me great weather products and near real-time Doppler radar. I use this product over the US mostly but believe it extends into the Caribbean. There is a modest annual subscription charge because they continuously update charts. It seems that with today’s technology, there would be a similar app for boaters.

    As a retired Navy ship driver and friend, I certainly enjoy your posts.


  10. #10 by Michael Cook on November 20, 2012 - 11:43 pm

    Great Blog

      Michael J Cook



  11. #11 by Anonymous on November 20, 2012 - 10:17 pm

    Giday Did you get this?



  12. #12 by Kathy Clark on November 20, 2012 - 10:09 pm

    Some comments are working, but my responses to most comments are not showing up.


  13. #13 by Bobbie Kilberg on November 20, 2012 - 8:17 pm

    You are a great blogger — and a great friend! Hope you receive this. Bobbie
    Sent from my Blackberry


  14. #14 by Cyndy Morreale on November 20, 2012 - 7:16 pm

    Hey you two … THIS IS THE BEST BLOG I EVER SAW 🙂 hope that fixes it … but seriously … I want you to know I am looking forward to seeing you in the Bahamas in February ish … Should I meet you in Nassau? or Eluethra? or do you have a preference. I will book a trip back to Fla soon … My friend Lisette and I drove back to Denver ast week from Sarasota and managed to avoid all the next bout of weather.

    Please let me know if you still plan to come our way .. I figured the wedding you were planning to attend in November probably couldn’t work out leaving with the weather you’ve been facing – but – know you are welcome any time !!

    I am looking forward to our rendezvous and am working out daily so I’ll be a fit crewmember~~ My friend Lisette has run 52 marathons in the last 10 years and will be looking for fitness training work here in Colorado for a spell, but in the meantime I’ve got a live in trainer 🙂 I’ve joined the gym and the world didn’t come to an end – tho it tried- I can’t hold myself responsible for Sandy … so glad you made it through that one unscathed.

    Hope the glitch gets fixed and just in case it doesn’t … I’m not going to write any more right now … Off to Pilates !


    • #15 by Kathy Clark on November 20, 2012 - 10:00 pm

      Cyndy – I’ll be in CO for a couple days next week. Will email you to see if you’ll be in town and also to schedule Bahamas rendezvous.


  15. #16 by Anonymous on November 20, 2012 - 5:34 pm

    I received your email. I get vicarious pleasure out of reading about your adventures. Thanks for sending these.



    • #17 by Kathy Clark on November 20, 2012 - 9:57 pm

      Hi Carolyn – thanks for the reply. Hope to see you again soon!


    • #18 by Kathy Clark on November 21, 2012 - 7:40 am

      I’m trying to figure out why some of my replies to comments are showing up but others are not.


  16. #19 by Richard Tupper on November 20, 2012 - 5:08 pm

    Got this Post and it was super informative as usual. However did not like to see the crack on the valve cover: so it’s the age old issue, “preventive maintenance” or “if it isn’t broke leave it alone’. Where was the Torque wench and the specifications for amount of Tongue. Those engines cost how much!!!




  17. #20 by hornshwangler on November 20, 2012 - 4:49 pm

    “this is the best blog in the world and you are such a great writer”


  18. #21 by Rick Johns on November 20, 2012 - 4:48 pm

    Hi Learning all I can by following several blogs. I live on Vancouver Island ,British Columbia, Canada Same weather as you are experiencing now. Are the Bahamas considered the States as Canadians are only allowed to be in the States for 6 months total a year ? Hope weather improves soon ! Take Care


    Rick’s IPad


  19. #22 by nancy hampton on November 20, 2012 - 4:27 pm

    This is the best blog in the world and you are a great writer… I am very obedient.


  20. #23 by Fred Kordalewski on November 20, 2012 - 4:18 pm

    This is one of the best blogs in the world. Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2012 20:02:38 +0000 To:


  21. #24 by Laust Sondergaard on November 20, 2012 - 4:17 pm


    Interesting concerns with the gulf stream. Pls keep focus on that subject. Here in London, UK, only current to care for is the direction of the rain… Bahamas soon sounds wonderful. 🙂

    Br. Laust Sent from my mobile


  22. #25 by Linda Green on November 20, 2012 - 4:10 pm

    Hi Kathy – I hope you get this! You are a great writer and I find your blogs very entertaining!


  23. #26 by Andrew Chapman on November 20, 2012 - 4:09 pm

    Kathy, this REALLY is the best blog in the world and you are such a great writer. 🙂

    Enjoying the updates!



  24. #27 by Daniel Bennett on November 20, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    Great post! Love the attention to detail.


  25. #28 by Tom Hennessey on November 20, 2012 - 3:44 pm

    Kathy, Received your blog via email. I continue to follow your grand adventures.



  26. #29 by rleanderjr on November 20, 2012 - 3:39 pm


    this is the best blog in the world and you are such a great writer!!!!!!   Love your stuff, I’m landlocked here in central NC and look forward to the day when I can write about my own experiences.  stay safe!   Cheers, Rick  


  27. #30 by Michael Martus on November 20, 2012 - 3:39 pm

    This is a test to see if the blog problem has been resolved.


  28. #32 by gabegold on November 20, 2012 - 3:31 pm

    Great blog, love tech details of keeping things shipshape, enjoy sailing vicariously…


  29. #33 by Michael McGettigan on November 20, 2012 - 3:30 pm

    Quality update. this is the best blog in the world and you are such a great writer


  30. #34 by Sue on November 20, 2012 - 3:23 pm

    Hi Kathy, best blog writer in the world! Hope you comment area is working! I have to say it seems that EVERYONE is headed south…I would hate to HAVE to lease berths down there in the winter! the cost must be extraordinary with so many wintering there. I’m headed to Florida in December to traipse over Migration and 6824 with Scott Cole, will keep an eye out for you! Take care in that stream! Sue McKenney


  31. #35 by Terry Tiernan on November 20, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    Kathy and Brad, I hope the winds calm down for you soon.


    Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2012 20:03:12 +0000 To:


  32. #36 by Henry Steinhauer on November 20, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    Comment entered by hitting the comment button that took me to wordpress site.

    Very interesting comments about the gulf stream and the need to be aware of it. I guess it would be possible then to actually go backwards even though you are making relative forward progress. I but that was very odd in the days of sailing.


  33. #37 by Anonymous on November 20, 2012 - 3:19 pm

    Have torque wrench and experience, will travel.


    • #38 by Bri Cianelli on November 26, 2012 - 12:08 pm

      This is the best blog in the world and you are a great writier! PS We do enjoy your story. Bri


  34. #39 by jackapp on November 20, 2012 - 3:19 pm

    I just know this is really a test to see how many followers you have…haha
    Your do the best!!


  35. #40 by Anonymous on November 20, 2012 - 3:16 pm

    this is the best blog in the world and you are such a great writer


  36. #41 by Simon Cash on November 20, 2012 - 3:16 pm

    Hi there Kathy,
    Am seeing if i can help out with your email issue by sending you a reply from way down here in Hobart town!!!
    All is good here, Ellie had just finished her year 11 exams, one more year and then off the university!!! Nick has just taken delivery of an iPhone, it is a hand me down from Clare who has upgraded to an iPhone5. Clare is at rowing training at the moment. Just loves it!! Me, well all good, getting ready for do a century bike ride in Saturday week, 160km or 100 miles around the Launceston area in northern Tas.
    Good to know you are all ok after Sandy. Thinking of you.


  37. #42 by Kathy Clark on November 20, 2012 - 3:14 pm

    I’m testing to comment reply. This is from my Outlook account.


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