Friday, May 31, 2013

a whozit whatzit now?

What do you know about GRIBs? Yeah, me too. Not a darn thing. 

Part of our deal in this upcoming journey is that Josh will manage the engine maintenance and I'll do all the weather forecasting. "Fine," I thought, "how hard can it be?" Apparently, harder than I anticipated. 

Some cruisers have Internet connectivity and simply log onto a website like, or Others pay a service and use the single-side band radio and call up a person somewhere back on land who is an expert weather enthusiast (for lack of an official term) through or similar and get the skinny on whether optimal conditions are heading their way. Still others, using email service (sailmail and saildocs, which I'll in a later post) send out an email request to NOAA for a specific area denoted with a series of coordinates, then download the file (called a GRIBGRIdded Binary or General Regularly-distributed Information in Binary form) they send you, open it with your reading/viewing software and interpret the file. We fall into the latter category. The files look like the above. It's a chart/series of charts that you can animate (much like the weatherman on the 6 o'clock news does) with markings to indicate wind, pressure, wave height, etc. that is from NOAA's satellite imaging with their best guess of what the weather is going to be based on past conditions and what is currently happening in the vicinity. This is why meteorology is not an exact science. There are certain weather patterns/behaviors that can be assumed based on generally accepted weather knowledge (for instance, high pressure usually equals sunny, fair conditions and low pressure air is rising and may bring precipitation) but it takes lots of practice to interpret. And that's my next order of business. Researching, reading, and gathering all the advice and information available to me now so I will feel confident when its time to test in real life. Even when we get out to sea, don't worry too much about us, as we will ALWAYS err on the side of caution. 

For now, I plan on starting a weekly if not daily exercise of doing the above described and checking weather conditions for the great lakes area. 

Also, quick update on Interlude: still not in the water. Yep. Not thrilled. Josh is traveling part of this month as it is, so we will not have her back in the water before the middle of the month. Still no resolution on the work that needs done and we are having difficulty contacting our surveyor. Will keep you updated!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

what do you do...

When no one seems to be in a big hurry but you?

As you may have guessed, the lack of posts around here has much to do with the fact that Interlude is not yet in the water. She went into the shop around the first of the year and up until mid-March, we were told she was being serviced. The purchase agreement had a laundry list of things to be fixed and we were told the service department would address them all and let us know when repairs were completed. Around the end of March, Josh received an email update complete with photos of the king plank and bowspirit being replaced, as well as the compression post being replaced. We assumed that all meant the boat was in tip top shape. Josh took a trip up one Saturday following that email to look over the work. Lo and behold, during his inspection he saw that the chain plates had not been cleaned, replaced, or in any way serviced. He also noted that the sea cocks hadn't been replaced (both issues are troublesome and need attention before being launched). He followed up in person by showing the head of the service department the lack of action on the issues. He subsequently sent an email with photos of said problems. No response. 

Fast forward to last Saturday. Our surveyor wanted to take a look at the work that had been done in order to get insurance all squared away and felt a boat in better condition would merit a lower insurance rate. Great. We like that idea. We still haven't heard any more from the service department but I think we both assume they'd seen the email and had taken action. Guess again. As of last Saturday, the boat's still not completely fixed. We are back to the drawing board and the next steps are to involve the salesman who sold us the boat and probably the owner of Larsen. It's a super big bummer because we were really hoping to have Interlude back in last week. Will keep you posted.