Detroit couple riding out storm on sailboat in Virginia

(WXYZ) - Jeff Pernick and his wife Mary are living aboard a 47 foot sailboat.

They left the Detroit area this summer and have sailed around to the East Coast where they're riding out the storm in Portsmouth, Virginia.

"We've had several days to get ready for this thing," said Pernick. "We're in a downtown area and have got buildings around us, and our best protection with buildings is from the north, so as the wind cranks around to the west, we lose the building protection."

The Pernicks and four other boats are battened down at a municipal dock.

"At this point we have vertical pilings that are around the basin and the five of us have lines strung all around the pilings all around the basin like a spider web,"said Pernick. 

But the problem is pilings that used to stand 6 feet out of the water have now disappeared.

"So, the thing we have to worry about is twofold. One is our lines pulling up off the pilings, because they're now under water. And the second thing is where normally we would have fenders on the side of our boat and be fending off the pilings if we go that way; with the pilings under water, we can't use fenders," said Pernick.

Jeff learned to sail on the Great Lakes where he says you'd get 8 hours warning on a storm that would last half an hour. He's seen hurricane sandy coming for a week and it will probably last three days.

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