2015 – 2016

We will use this page to give a flavor of what we are currently up to.


Toby, Betsy and I left Rock Hall on December 4th.  We will start a new page for 2016-2017, here are the last updates for our pre-departure.

When we put on the new prop the line cutter no longer fit, to move the prop back I added a Drive Saver this not only moved the prop back so the line cutter could continue to work but also serves as an emergency circuit breaker for the drive train.  Should we catch a line, crab pot etc. and the engine suddenly comes to a stop the drive saver would shear saving the engine and transmission.

Drive Saver installed between the prop shaft and engine.
Line cutter with 1/2 inch clearance from cutlass bearing.

New prop installed and ready to work.

20 inch Campbell Sailor prop easily handles the power of new 80 hp engine.

Nomad relaunched, had to wait a week for enough water to get her back in.  Sitting on the bottom of slip when we left  – had to ‘plow’ our way out.


Hoping to head south in the next week!

Here are some updates . . .

First off the new 80hp  Yanmar is in and running!

Tight fit but it is in and running.

The new engine needed a new prop to match the increased horse power.  We decided on a Canadian design called the Campbell Sailer.


Prop being prepared to be treated with PropGold, a special coating that prevents barnacles from sticking.

All the electronics were replaced (wind instruments, depth sounder, radar, chart plotter etc.).  To replace the radar the mast had to be pulled from the boat in order to run a new radar cable.

No easy task removing a 60 foot piece of aluminum
No easy task removing a 60 foot piece of aluminum


Once the mast was down we run a number of new wires. This took a whole day.
Once the mast was down we run a number of new wires. This took a whole day.
New radar attached.
Wires tucked in so mast can go back in boat (re-stepped).
Wires tucked in so mast can go back in boat (re-stepped).
We cut all the old wires before removing the mast, shortened them before reinstalling.
We cut all the old wires before removing the mast, shortened them before reinstalling.

Pictures of the Nav station as we prepared to run the wiring for the new electronics and removed 20 lbs of old wiring from 23 plus year old equipment.




The chain was over 20 years old and rusting away, we replaced it with 300 feet of new chain.

Old rusty chain.
Old rusty chain.

We marked the new chain every 25 feet so we can see how much chain we are putting down when anchoring.

New chain laid out in 25 foot loops for marking.
New chain laid out in 25 foot loops for marking.

The chain locker probably had 3 lbs of rust on the bottom after the old chain was removed.

Betsy did a great job repainting the locker before the new chain went in . . will take a picture next time we are on the boat.

Every year we repaint the bottom with new anti-fouling paint, this usually takes 3 days.



After the bottom is finished we then replace all the zincs.








Here we go again – another engine (3 different engines in less than 10 months!

After 3 months of home confinement the ships cat is allowed outdoors
He was very nervous at first, only staying out for a few minutes before wanting to get back in, now he stands by the door waiting for it to open.
New never been started, 80 horsepower Yanmar (hope it fits)
Old engine and new engine together
Goodbye oil burning 75 horse Yanmar
Out the large overhead hatch next to the mast
Another round with the A-Frames
Everything disconnected and ready to go.
Out with the old . . . although not really that old – rebuilt at 300 hours


It has been awhile since we have updated the website so here is an attempt to quickly bring things up to date.

Sunsets in Rock Hall



The big picture  – the rebuilt engine still uses over a quart of oil every ten hours.  We have just contracted with Haven Harbour to install a new 80 horse power Yanmar 4JH80.  We lost our electronics in the Bahamas and came home with a phone app Navionics.  We are in the process of replacing our radar and chart plotter with new equipment from Raymarine.  Our main sail in mast furling system also broke in the Bahamas – this has now been fixed and we have a new mainsail that we have yet to install.

Yanmar 4JH80

Nomad back in her slip – we got back to Rock Hall the third week of June (much later than planned).

Nomad in need of many repairs.

Once we were back in our slip at Swan Creek we broke out the Nassau Royale with Captain Randy.

You can only find Nassau Royale in the Bahamas – We promised Captain Randy to bring back a bottle.

Ships anchored just below the Annapolis bridge waiting their turn to head into Baltimore Harbor.


Once we got to Norfolk we ran nonstop to Rock Hall

Heading North from the bottom of the Chesapeake
Ships cat now very comfortable on deck


As soon as the engine was back in we headed up the ICW towards Norfolk and the Naval Station.  Since we were in the ICW and could not move at night this took two days.

Norfolk Navel Station:

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The ship’s cat all grown up.


Rebuilt engine goes back in.

Betsy refurbished the engine bay (again!).

Engine returns –



We spent six weeks in Beaufort rebuilding our engine.  That is a long time to spend in a small town, we got to know all the nooks and crannies riding our bicycles around.  Beaufort has a farmers market near the center of town on the weekends with live music.  We got some great local shrimp which we cooked up for dinner for a few days.


Surprising how much you can carry on a bicycle


Great maritime museum in Beaufort

Nice display of antique outboard motors.

Betsy’s favorite Beaufort grocery store, the Piggly Wiggly



We are in Beaufort NC at Town Creek Marina getting our engine sorted out.  We made the trip in two jumps from Charleston.

The first jump was from Charleston to Cape Fear and then went up the ICW for 25 miles to Wrightsville Beach.  This was the first section of the ICW we took all the way up from the Bahamas.  The ICW is not sailboat friendly if you draw more than 6 1/2 feet.  The nastiest section of this run was Snows Cut.

Charleston to Southport

We followed the Spanish tall ship El Galeon from Charleston to Cape Fear, passing her as we entered Southport.


We were going to take the ICW all the way to Beaufort but after our 25 mile introduction we decided to to go back offshore exiting at the Masonboro Inlet and reentering at the Beaufort Inlet.

Anchorage at Wrightsville Beach.


There is a significant presence of the U.S. Navy offshore, we have received VHF warnings of live fire practices, and on this leg passed by an aircraft carrier on a practice mission.

Masonboro Inlet to the Beaufort Inlet.


Shrimp boats coming into Beaufort Inlet


Last November we re-powered with a new engine, the new engine has been burning about a quart of oil every 10 hours, we pulled the engine out and are having her completely rebuilt.

Engine with with valve cover removed.
Engine with head removed and pistons exposed.
Engine out of engine bay and ready to be lifted out of hatch.
Empty engine bay – Betsy has volunteered to try and sort it out.
Engine out of boat and disassembled all the way to crankshaft.

On a positive note a nice couple stopped by who had just picked fresh strawberries and gave us a quart!


The next day we had strawberry pancakes and strawberry shortcake.


The ship’s cat does not appear to be too concerned about sitting with no engine.


In Charleston we stayed at the Megadock, in the picture below you can see how it got its name.

This boat was taking on 32,000 gallons of fuel – the pump was running at a gallon a second.


We left Fernandina FL for Charleston SC, skipping the ICW and Georgia where the ICW can get shallow.

Fernandina to Charleston

Coming in the inlet at Charleston we had a tug towing a fuel barge in front of us and container ship behind us that wanted to pass just as we were coming into the jetty.

20160501_095252 Tug

Everyday there is a new lesson to be learned.

Once we passed the jetty we came to Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

Fort 1

There was incredible wealth created here on the back of slavery.  The homes are still unbelievable and sell for millions of dollars.  There are statutes of Confederate War figures and streets named for them everywhere, and little visible recognition of the slaves who built the city.


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The City with all its contradictions, is full of history and a great place to visit.  We had a great time here and plan on returning.

We hope to reach Beaufort NC next week to have our ‘new’ engine pulled and worked on.  We are burning about one quart of oil every 10 hours of engine run time.


To test how our engine was doing we made a ‘short’ run out of Lake Worth inlet to Ft. Pierce.  The engine looked OK so the next day we left for Fernandina Fl.


When we got to Fernandina we could see that the engine is still using a lot of oil, so we are now heading back to Town Creek Marina in Beaufort NC for repairs.  Taking the ICW would take a few weeks so we are going to hop up the coast for awhile weather permitting.

Sunset Florida Atlantic
Sunset off the coast of Florida

One nice thing about being in Lake Park Florida was that Don’s dad lives nearby and was able to drive over for dinner on Nomad.

Don's dad over for dinner on Nomad
Don’s dad over for dinner on Nomad

* * * * Coast guard / Homeland Security Update

We ran into an off-duty Coast Guard officer who was involved with the ‘inspection’ of our boat.  He was able to share with us that our boat was not ‘randomly selected’, but that there is a known drug smuggling boat that runs between the Bahamas and Florida that is named Nomad, and needless to day they assumed we were that boat – – mystery solved.


Left Bimini for Lake Worth Florida on Thursday April 7th.  A weather window opened unexpectedly the day after we returned to Bimini and we quickly took off at 9:30AM.  Bimini turned out to be one of our favorite places in the Bahamas, it has a nice small town feel to it, especially when compared to Nassau.

We sailed to the middle of the Gulf Stream and then turned north to get the speed boost of the Stream’s south to north flow.  We turned west again as we neared Lake Worth.

Lake Worth

We tend to cruise around 6 to 6.5 knots, the Gulf Stream boosted our speed to over 10 knots.


Sunset over West Palm Beach as we neared Lake Worth


After entering Lake Worth Inlet we anchored just outside the Port of Palm Beach – The bright triangles are AIS targets.



We came in after dark, and there was dredging going on, it was a real challenge to navigate our way to an anchoring spot.

The next morning we called Customs to report our return to the US.  Before leaving last winter we applied for eligibility under the Small Vessel Reporting System.  This program gives you the opportunity to call in after returning to US waters instead of making a personal appearance at a local Customs Office.   In less than five minutes we were cleared in, Betsy and I were quite proud of ourselves for working this out before leaving.

One hour later we got a call back from Customs asking where exactly we were anchored, we were then informed that we had been ‘randomly’ selected for an ‘inspection’.  Shortly thereafter we were visited by five different levels of the law enforcement community.

The Sheriff from the Palm Beach County Marine Unit was the first to arrive with Jack the drug sniffing dog.  Interesting that an inspection from the Coast Guard starts with a visit form the local sheriff.


In short order we had five boats rafted up to Nomad.



We had around ten seriously armed officers on and off Nomad for the next two hours.

Jack the drug sniffing dog posed some issues for Toby the ships cat.  The Sheriff from the Palm Beach County Marine Unit wanted Betsy and I, including the cat off the boat while Jack did his thing.  Betsy was able to get the cat into a canvas cage which we carried to another officers boat as we waited for Jack to clear our good names.

Customs and Immigration decided that Jack’s word was not good enough and decided to churn through every nook and cranny of Nomad, while the Coast Guard carried out a full inspection of Nomads compliance with all current Coast Guard regulations.

Homeland Security seemed very interested in Nomad’s battery compartment.  For awhile they seemed to want to get under the floor supporting the batteries.  This would have been a destructive investigation, finally they decided to bring Jack back on board and let him have another sniff around the compartment.  Jack gave the all clear and things started to relax a little.

Nomad’s forward battery compartment – located under the forward bunk.

Needless to say, it took a day or so to ‘recover’ from our random inspection.

Part of the aftermath of our inspection.

Eventually all good things must come to an end and we were given the all clear.


Nomad was also given a perfect score for her Coast Guard inspection.

We are now at Lake Park Harbor Marina waiting for another mechanic to have a look at our engine . . . we continued to loose around a quart of oil every 10 or so hours of engine run time.  We met a couple in the Bahamas who highly recommended a mechanic in Lake Worth.  This was our reason for reentering the US here as opposed to somewhere else in Florida.

The view of the ICW form Lake Park Marina
The view of the ICW from Lake Park Marina


Left Nassau for Bimini at 10:00AM on the 4th, arrived on Tuesday morning at 8:30AM, a 22 hour run – had to slow down so that we did not arrive in the dark.  There were squalls to almost 40 knots between Nassau and the Channel Light, but after dark the winds dropped to below 10.

Nassau to Bimini

Sun coming up as we arrive in Bimini

Sunrise over Bimini
Sunrise over Bimini

The reward for enduring all the squalls – rainbow (much better than it looks in the picture).


Mail Boat delivering the goods to Nassau as we left for Bimini.


One of the best things about this trip is all the great people we have met.  Ed and Pamela (on the right) from Pamalynn are two folks who we hope to see again in the future.


Sailing with Pamalynn to Great Harbour


Betsy immediately found the Nassau Starbucks

yes Starbucks Nasau

Cruise ships Nasau
Cruise ships docked in Nassau Harbour

Nasau Harbour Entrance

Nassau Harbour Entrance

We made it to Nassau Harbour around 2:00.

Yes Squals

Dodging the weather

The weather was shaky on this jump . . . the wind ended blowing directly at us at over 25 knots – the ocean got lumpy and Nomad took a lot of water over the bow.  Nomad was happy and in her element.  The risky part was the prediction of cluster squalls gusting to 50 knots, fortunately we dodged them all.


From Little Harbour Cay we sailed directly to Nassau, the largest city, capital, and commercial center of the Bahamas.

From Great Stirrup Cay we sailed to Little Harbour which is inhabited by one family.  The family runs a would famous restaurant named Flo’s Conch Bar.  Part of the reason for its fame is that there is only on way to get there and that is by a small boat that is willing to sail over a hundred miles to the middle of nowhere.

Flo's Conch Bar
Flo’s Conch Bar
Flo conch shells
There are mountains of conch shells at the bottom of the hill leading up to Flo’s. Yes Betsy has one of them.

From Great Harbour we sailed north to the Stirrup Cays. here is the Harbour entrance to Great Stirrup Cay.

Sturrup Harbour Entrance

It gets pretty hot in the Bahamas – not unusual to hit the high 80s on any given day . . .

Yes Swim
Betsy takes a dip in the ocean behind Nomad

Many islands do not have a dock.  On Great Harbour (population 700) the supply ships grounds itself onshore by accelerating to full power as it approaches.

yes supply ship

The front of the ship drops down making a ramp for loading and unloading.  If you click on the picture you can see Nomad anchored between the pallets and the ship.

Yes Supplies

Celebrating our arrival at Great Harbour

Great Harbour Clelebration
Local Bahamian rum – about eight dollars a bottle.

The ship’s cat standing watch while sailing to Great Harbour

Yes Cat

Flying the Bahamian flag while sailing to Great Harbour

Yes Flag

Between the Great Bahama Bank and Great Harbour a small bird which was flying beside the boat for half an hour landed on the boat.  The bird must have been blown off course and was lost at sea.  They stayed on board all day.  We tried to put water out for it but they just seamed to be looking for a comfortable place to sit.  The next morning Betsy found that the bird had passed away on deck.

Yes Bird

We anchored on the Great Bahama Bank one night on the way to Great Harbour (anchoring in the ocean is not something you do every day).

To head to the Berry Islands, the Abacos or Nassau you usually go north across the Great Bahama Bank, the turning point for heading east is North Rock . . . you will see it on all the navigation charts . . . here is a picture.

Yes North Rock
North Rock, the Bahamas

Planning our next jump, will be to the Berry islands – somewhere between Great Harbour and Chub Cay.  Leaving Friday March 24th.


Here are some more pics from Bimini

Before we left we rode our bikes the length of the island and checked out all the side streets – – about 20 miles total.

Yes Bike


Betsy applying for another job


Our favorite Take-Away – the cruise ships are not stopping here . . .

Best Bahamian Bread - and great lunches
Best Bahamian Bread – and great lunches

Cars and trucks are moved between islands on WWII landing craft


French toast made from Bahamian bread


There is one main road running south to north, no stop signs, no red lights, no speed limits, and sometimes two vehicles can pass – the major form of transportation is the golf cart.

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March 2016

We are in the Bahamas!

We decided that we would buy a lot of oil and take our chances on crossing over to Bimini.  The engine used about 1/2  a quart crossing, so this will limit our adventure – but we are here.  Time to catch up.

We left Dinner Key Mooring field at 4:30 AM on March 17th.

Navigation equipment ready to go
Navigation equipment programmed and ready to go

We watched for a weather window for a few weeks and finally one opened up – – we were rewarded for waiting,  many folks we have run into in Bimini who crossed at the same time said they have never seen the Gulf Stream so calm.

Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
Hard to believe there is over 2,000 feet of water below us.
Hard to believe there is over 2,000 feet of water below us.

Clouds can tell you a lot when you are on the ocean.  You can spot the Gulf Stream from cloud patterns – it is like a highway that runs south to north off the Florida east coast.


Clouds also tend to sit on top of islands during the day.  We first spotted Bimini from cloud patterns.

Bimini from Nomad
Bimini from Nomad

Betsy at the helm on the way over.

Everything under control
Everything under control

Sunset from Bimini beach


Betsy testing the water


We are at Browns Marina in Alice Town


The ships cat checking out his new location

Is this what they mean by 'blue' water sailing?
Is this what they mean by blue water sailing?

The Dolphin House in Bimini – made from all recycled materials

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There must be 20 bars within a half mile of where we are docked

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OK some selfies

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Nomad in Bimini

Browns Marina
Browns Marina

Much effort went into getting ready to head out . . . too many details to mention (fuel, water, outboard repairs, oil changes, charts, weather, food, drink, laundry, money, haircuts, goodbyes, etc.)   – here are one or two items . . .

The ships cat was required by the Bahamian government to be certified by a vet as disease free in order to enter the Country.  This required a dinghy ride and three mile walk carrying the cat through Coconut Grove.

Folding cat carrier - required equipment
Folding cat carrier – required equipment

Everything is more expensive in the Bahamas so you need to stock up on the important stuff

What would Homer say?
What would Homer say?

Betsy saying goodbye to one of her new friends


Before we left Don rented a car and made a trip up to West Palm Beach to hang out with his 91 year old Dad

Hope I got some of those genes
Hope I got some of those genes

It never snows in South Florida so they have to bring in special snow globes for the kids



February 2016

Our new engine is still using large amounts of oil with the new turbo installed.  We now think the problem has to do with the rings.  Town Creek Marina has offered to pull the engine and replace the rings and if this does not fix things to replace the engine with a new one.  You will not  find a more reputable dealer.  The downside is that we have to get back to Beaufort, North Carolina to get the work done, as a result our plans have changed.  We do not want to leave the country with a shakey motor.  Our plan now is to head down to the Keys for the rest of the winter and then head back to Beaufort in the spring.  We will most likely head to Marathon first.


We worked out a way to keep the barnacles off of Bernice,  we raise her out of the water each night, folks say this is also a good practice to keep your engine and dinghy safe when you leave the country.


One of the pleasant surprises of our trip has been the great folks you meet while cruising.  This boat belonged to our mooring neighbor Cornel who was a great resource for the ins and outs of the Bahamas, maybe next year we can be a buddy boat when he makes the jump to Nassau.


Betsy making friends with the locals


Toby the sea cat is adjusting well to the cruising life.  He is no longer a kitten.


While we are ‘stuck’ in South Florida we continue to explore the local bar scene.  After walking by Lokal for weeks we finally decided to go in.  This bar/restaurant sources everything on the menu locally (beer, tomatoes, chicken, etc.).  We both agree that is was some of the best beer and bar food we have had anywhere.  Two Stones should check out this local Florida brewery – Cigar City Brewery.  Check out the cool bar decorations.


January 2016

The Bahamas was the plan, but engine concerns have changed things for this year.


Our dinghy Bernice was left in the water for a month and became covered in barnacles, we had to take her to a nearby island and scrape them off.  We are trying to figure out a way to lift her out of the water each night.  Bernice also has a leak which we are trying to fix.



Middletown Delaware has the Hummers but Coconut Grove has been hosting the King Mango Strut for over 35 years.  One has to wonder if someone in Middletown made a visit to Coconut Grove at some point.  This year’s Grand Marshall was Kim Davis, but all the presidential candidates also made an appearance as did Fidel Castro and his brother Raul.


Kkm Davis

Bill and Hil


End of December -2015

The Turbo returned and we installed it on December 26th.  The engine started right up so we must have done something right.  Hopefully this will fix the oil consumption.

The Re-built Turbo
The Re-built Turbo

Betsy finally decided to buy a new car, and immediately drove it to Starbucks.

Life in the fast lane.

What does Christmas in Miami look like?

Christmas in Miami
Christmas in Miami

Christmas Dinner – fresh shrimp barbecued on Nomad (yes Nomad has a BBQ grill).



Still checking out the local watering holes – this is an outdoor bar called The Grove.


The Ship’s cat is getting quite comfy on Nomad


Starting to stay up on deck more and more:


The cat is really smart  -when is gets hot he sleeps on top of the refrigerator.


Okay we took a selfie.


Dinner Key where Nomad is moored.




Still waiting on turbo for engine – early word from repair shop is this may be the reason for high oil consumption.  In the meantime we have started to explore Coconut Grove while doing our errands.

We already have a favorite bar – the Barracuda Grill known to the locals as the ‘Cuda’.  They have the best selection of porters and stouts (Betsy’s fav) that we have seen anywhere – over 50 beers on tap (look out Two Stones).

The Cuda
The Cuda
50 Beers on Tap!
50 Beers on Tap!
Pops Porter on left - both beers local to Miami.
Pops Porter on left – both beers local to Miami.

We also have a favorite restaurant – Havana Harry’s – – we both love Cuban food so when we learned that one of the best Cuban restaurants was nearby we were there!

Havana Harrys

The best flan we have ever had
Pork Chunks to die for – – – the sauce!

Another great thing about Coconut Grove is the 25 cent 249 bus – this bus will get you to the West Marine – Advanced Auto and Havana Harry’s – and most places downtown, but downtown is an easy walk.


On Saturday’s the local organic farmers come into town and host a huge organic market (and you have to walk past the Cuda to get back to the boat).


Our offshore travels took a toll on our canvas.  The bimini holding up our solar panels started ripping and soon would not support the weight of the panels.  The dodger also started to rip apart.  We found a local canvas shop run by former Olympic sailors.

Coconut Grove Sails and Canvas
Coconut Grove Sails and Canvas

Both are being repaired and hopefully will last until we get back to the Chesapeake Bay.

The Dinghy has also developed a leak that we found using soap and water – we will repair it in the coming week.

The mooring anchorage is unprotected and really gets bouncy when the wind kicks up.  In south Florida it rains most everyday if only for a few minutes – the plus side is that there are lots of rainbows.


It seems that every other car in South Miami is a Porsche – we walked by this dealer in our travels.

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Don has been able to keep his unlimited data plan and turns his phone into a hotspot so everyone can get out on the internet.  He has also been recording and uploading his radio shows under the close supervision of Toby the cat.  20151206_123549

Although like all supervisors he sometimes needs a nap.


Miami does have a great Latin Jazz radio station the we have been listening to . . . WDNA.

November  – December

Left Rockhouse Creek and headed to Fort Pierce where we headed offshore around 3:00PM  to avoid the many bridges in South Florida.

The wind was predicted to drop off and come out of the east -did not happen, wind picked up to around 15-20 and came at us from the south – made for a lumpy ride.  Toby the sea cat found his sea legs on this offshore passage and insisted on coming into the cockpit even when the boat was being thrown around – he developed this neat way of crawling on his belly  – sorry no pictures.  The wind did not back down until we were near Miami.  We came off the ocean at Government Cut and entered Biscayne Bay.  We are now on a mooring at the Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove Florida.

The new engine has been using a quart a day of oil.  Randy diagnosed the probable cause as the turbo charger.  We contacted Town Creek Marina and they agreed that the turbo was the likely problem.  Randy removed the turbo and Betsy walked into town and mailed it back to Town Creek to be rebuilt.  This means we are now sitting on a mooring with no engine.  The good news is that Bernice our dingy is up and running.

The Turbo


Bernice (with red straps) at the dingy dock


Bernice bringing us home


Tob - cockpit


4th week November

November 28th  – below Daytona anchored in Rockhouse Creek.



To make up for lost time we headed offshore for two days.  Sailed out the Cape Fear River in NC – calm when we left – 2nd day 20 foot seas with a confused wave pattern – broke more gear . . . mostly original 20 year old lines, cleats, etc.  The highlight of the first day was being escorted by a pod of 25 dolphins for half an hour – also  saw a sea turtle.


Came in to the Amelia River at Fernandina Beach Florida at 3:30AM with 20 foot waves pushing us around the entrance channel (and it was raining).  Made some repairs today (Thanksgiving) and motored up the Amelia River 10 miles and anchored.

Sunset on the Amelia River

Sunset North Atlantic off of North Carolina



French toast made with homemade bread



3rd week of November

If you stay inside on the ICW you will have to go through a lot of bridges . . . some only open once an hour.

Wrightsville Bascule Bridge NC opens between 7AM and 7PM on the hour.
Kitten starting to get comfy on the boat.

Fresh baked bread!


On Sunday the 22nd we got back underway leaving at sunrise in the rain.

Nomad preparing to throw her lines.

With the increase in horse power we needed to increase the pitch in the prop . . . which meant having a diver remove the prop and sending it to a prop shop .

If you are in Beaufort NC and need prop work we highly recommend Big Rock Propellers.


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We are in the process of re-pitching the prop for the increase in horse power – – our hope is to have the prop on and underway by Sunday the 22nd.

New engine installation pictures

Forklift bringing new engine


New engine being lowered through large hatch in front of mast



Captian Randy guiding engine down


New engine in boat


Betsy re-finished the engine bay


New engine back in place





Technical details – – – we have a Sea Frost compressor that allows the engine to cool the freezer and it takes the place of one engine mount.  To run the new engine’s cooling hose we needed to cut a hole for the hose to pass through the Sea Frost mounting plate and drill another hole for an engine bolt to pass through.


Cooling hose passing through front and rear of Sea Frost mounting plate.



2nd week of November

We were in the Alligator River on November 8th heading towards Belhaven and the temperature was rising on the engine gauges. We added water and continued at low RPM. We then noticed a drop in oil pressure, at which time we shut the engine down and checked the oil level, it was low. When we checked the engine oil level in the morning before we left it was normal.   We added oil and noticed some milky sludge around the fill cap and also found the coolant level was low again, at which time we decided to stop running the engine and call for a tow from Boat US. Belhaven Tow Boat US towed us to Hobucken and left us at the fish dock for the night (great service). The next morning Oriental Tow Boat US indicated that they could not tow us to the next district due to weather conditions but could tow us to the Neuse River where we could sail to Adams Creek where the Beaufort Tow Boat US could pick us up. The wind was blowing 25 mph and we cannot say enough positive things about the Oriental tow service. In Adams Creek the Beaufort Tow Boat service picked us up and brought us to Town Creek Marina which is s certified Yanmar dealer. Looking on the internet for Yanmar engine service we thought this was our best option.

Sailing to Adams Creek
Sailing to Adams Creek

We looked for obvious signs of leakage at the marina but could not find any, so we removed the head and heat exchanger (you can see a milky substance on head where water was mixing with oil.  Both the heat exchanger and head looked OK once removed.  This left us with two possibilities – cracked head or cracked block.  If we sent the head out for repair and everything looked OK then we would have to put the engine back together to to check for a cracked block.  If it turned out the block was cracked then we would have spent thousands of dollars on a trashed engine.

This is where things get interesting.  Sitting in the marina store was an exact replacement engine that would almost drop in Nomad with little modification.  The engine was ‘nearly new’ with only 300 hours on it.  Rather than continue to drop thousands of dollars on  a twenty plus year old motor with 4,500 hours on it we decided to bite the bullet and replace the engine.  Today we successfully removed the old engine.

The corpse
The corpse

A-Frame used to lift old engine above floor boards

A Frame used to hoist engine
A Frame used to hoist engine

Engine coming out



Dead motor waiting to be lifted out through hatch

Engine lifted out of engine bay
Engine lifted out of engine bay

Empty engine bay


New engine Betsy found sitting at marina store – as fate would have it, and exact match for our deceased one.

New Engine sitting in marina store
New Engine sitting in marina store

At least there is good food  – thanks to Betsy




More kitten pictures

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November 7th,

Left Portsmouth at 5:30 (Betsy pointed out that we got up at 4:30) and followed the Elizabeth River to the Virgina Cut and through the lock at Great Bridge (Betsy liked the lock tenders – one said he was living the dream).  After the lock made it through the two restricted bridges, Betsy then took the helm and successfully brought us to the Currituck Sound.   All the restricted bridges opened with no problem.  Squalls and a frontal passage then came through and we all put on our ‘foulies’ and  dealt with wind and rain until we dropped anchor at the Buck Island South Anchorage.

Buck Island Anchorage

Ship’s cat adjusting to life on board





We left Rock Hall at 11:00 am on Thursday November 5th and ran nonstop to Norfolk Virginia  – arrived at 5:00pm Friday.  The bay was fogged in most of the trip – running mostly on instruments!

Dropped anchor in Portsmouth Virgina – off Hospital Point


The red marker (nun) on the right is mile marker 0 of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)


Norfolk Virgina

Naval base at Norfolk – lots of traffic.

Ship’s cat adjusting to life on  board – stray kitty 3 weeks ago  – now sea going feline.


Extra fuel capacity for crusiing – folding bikes in between dingy and fuel.


New anchors – replace CQR plow with Manson Supreme and Manson Ray.



Have to get dingy and outboard on the boat













Outboard on


Dingy on




Starting to fill freezer for trip


Ship’s cat post surgery (still have not decided on a name)


Trouble shooting windlass


Nomad waiting to be hauled out for bottom and prop cleaning for trip


Bottom and prop were in good shape and cleaned up quickly

Bottom Cleaning

Elliot 6 person life raft now secured to the boat on new cradle.


Two Solbian CP 140 watt solar panels installed on the bimini.  A discussion of Solbian solar panels can be found here.


Two BlueSolar Controllers installed  (MPPT 75/15) one controller for each panel, otherwise if one panel was shaded total output would be reduced to the shaded one.


Fall Sunset Rock Hall


A stray kitten wondered into the yard – we are thinking about making her the ship’s cat . . . if so she will need a few visits to the vet very quickly.

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Added stainless tie down rails for jerry jugs (we will carry extra fuel and water on deck).


Installed a ‘Watt Wizard’ to monitor the power supplied by the new solar panels.


Installed an overflow tank for the generator


Betsy had a great idea on how to add a spice ‘rack’ in an area that would not have been used otherwise.


Helped deliver a Saber 40 from Long Island to Rock Hall Maryland



East River NYC
East River NYC

East River NYC

June to September –

Next project is adding 280 watts of solar power on top of the bimini


If you sail an offshore sailboat you need a life-raft.  Here is the cradle we added to hold the raft.


We had to remove the ceiling and drill through the cabin top to secure the cradle.  The picture below is one of the backing plates we made.



Maybe the most important change since spring is the addition20150827_183423 of a working soda machine at the marina .

As you modify and update the boat there is the need for some wood working  – here are a few things we have made . . .

When we got the boat there was a vent in the aft cabin that was missing the metal cover . . . after searching for weeks for a replacement we realized that they were unattainable.  The answer was to make a wooden one that looks much better than the original.



When we replaced the aft A/C unit we found that the new controller was much smaller than the old analog one.  To cover the hole cut into the wall for the old one we made this cover plate.


The radio had an ugly homemade plastic plate – so we decided to make a new one for it as well.



To gain some more working space in the galley we made a teak cutting board inlay for the stove.


The cutting board is in two pieces


The pieces can be flipped upside down for cutting on the stove or sink and back over to increase working space




Sunset from Nomad’s cockpit


New fan for the galley



Commissioned the stove and oven and started cooking on the boat



Betsy cleans slime from the waterline


Replaced fresh water foot pump


Installed new starters and water pumps for both the generator and main engine (rebuilt the old ones for spares)


Installed a new pump for the forward A/C unit (put in a completely new aft A/C unit last year)


Installed a Balmar serpentine pulley kit


In order for the refrigerator to work with the new pulley and belt we had to machine the old Seafrost pulley so that it would mate with the new water pump pulley.



Seafrost mated to new Balmar pulley


Installed a new 150 amp alternator and rebuilt the old one as a spare.  The serpentine belt kit was required to spin the new alternator.


Rebuilt 125 amp alternator – now backup spare


Back in the water!

End of May –

Nomad goes back in the water

Travel Lift
Travel Lift
Had to wait for high tide because of Nomad's draft (6 1/2 feet)
Had to wait for high tide because of Nomad’s draft (6 1/2 feet)

Last sunset in boat yard

Sun Set Boat yard

2nd week of May –

We spent 3 days nonstop working on projects like changing the antifreeze in the main engine and generator.  Reading Practical Sailor we decided to switch to Detroit Diesel Power Cool Plus a common premium factory-fill coolant for heavy-duty diesel trucks.  With this switch we will only have to change the coolant every five years instead of every spring.  We had to drive to Baltimore to a Detroit Diesel dealer to buy six quarts.


The only way to flush the cooling systems was to empty them into the bilge, which meant we also had to do our annual bilge cleaning routine.  This took a half day.  However this year Betsy invented a special tool which helped to speed things up.

The 'Bilge Sucker' - Pat. Pending
The ‘Bilge Sucker’ – Pat. Pending

The plan was to drop Nomad back in the water on Friday, but late Thursday we found a blister leaking onto the rudder.


Fortunately Ricky dropped by the boatyard later that day and arranged a quick repair for Friday.

Blister repaired
Blister repaired

The blister repair delayed our prop preparation for applying PropGold, a silicone coating that helps keep barnacles from growing on your prop.  After PropGold is applied you have to wait a day before it can go into the water – this pushed our launch date back to next week.  Barnacles the enemy of sailors.  Barnacles the inspiration of sailors.  Popeye even had his troubles.

PropGold applied and Nomad ready to go back in the water.
PropGold applied and Nomad ready to go back in the water.


1st week of May –

We finished painting, polishing and waxing Nomad and started the final preparations for putting her back in the water.  The first task was putting the prop back on.

Prop goes back on
Prop goes back on

The next step will be coating the prop so barnacles will not grow on it.

Prop back on.
Prop back on.

During the first week of May Rock Hall Fire Company sponsors a bike fest.  We had never been, so decided to drop by with the BSA and enter it into the vintage bike contest.  The primary benefit of entering is that you get a prime parking spot.  Over 99% of the bikes were Harleys.  Most of the riders had no idea what a BSA was.

Rock Hall Bike Fest
Rock Hall Bike Fest

The next day while we were making another pass on polishing Nomad, Randy was one boat over replacing a cutlass bearing.

Randy put the BSA through its paces
Randy put the BSA through its paces
4th week of April –

The forward hatch had cracks and needed to be replaced.  This hatch is the most likely to be covered by water.  We sent the hatch to Connecticut to be rebuilt by Select Plastics.  There is a six week turnaround time so we covered the hatch with a piece of plywood wrapped in a garbage bag, happy to say that it did not leak.

Seems like an easy enough job to replace, but the hardware is spring loaded to be able to hold hatch open with no supports.  Took about three hours to install (not counting the lost snap clip).

Rebuilt hatch with plywood placeholder
Rebuilt hatch with plywood placeholder
No holes allowed in boats
No holes allowed in boats
The details
The details
Job done with hatch able to hold itself open
Job done with hatch able to hold itself open


We also started the multiday task of compounding, polishing, and waxing the boat.

The boat yard is covered with dust so before you begin you need to wash the boat (and you thought washing your car is a pain)


It takes one full day to make a pass on polishing the hull.

Better to do on a cool day
Better to do on a cool day
Sunset in the boatyard
Sunset in the boatyard


3rd week of April –

Sand and paint the bottom.  The bottom paint is specially formulated to reduce marine growth which loves to attach itself to anything under water.  Two coats applied, this was a two day job.  Barnacles the enemy of sailors.

Sanding Bottom
Sanding Bottom
Job completed
Job completed

The reward . . .

Lot 3s at Two Stones Pub in Newark
Lot 3s at Two Stones Pub in Newark
2nd week of April –

Winter cover removed, can still see frame in third picture.

Winter Cover 2014-2015
It’s spring!

Half Coverd


Cover off - frame still on
Cover off – frame still on

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Mason 44 – Don & Betsy