Chesapeake to North Topsail, NC, coastal day-sailing in Atlantic?? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 01-12-2010
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Chesapeake to North Topsail, NC, coastal day-sailing in Atlantic??

Hi all,

First post to SailNet, so I hope I'm in the right forum.

My extended family is thinking about renting a large home on the beach in North Topsail, North Carolina. I wonder about the possibility/advisability of taking my sailboat (Hunter 28.5) down the Chesapeake, into the ICW, and keeping it at one of the local marinas on the New River. The idea is to have the boat for sailing on the New River or coastal day-sailing on the Atlantic in that area. I'm guessing at least 3 days Deale, MD to that part of the ICW and then back.

My questions for folks--either NC sailors or not--knowledgeable about that area:

(1) what is the sailing like in that area?
(2) does it matter that Camp Lejune is right there, any restrictions?
(3) Is it possible to sail on the ICW, even with lots of tacking back and forth?
(4) what's the weather like end of June?
(5) what else should I be thinking about??

Thanks, ChessieSailor
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Old 01-12-2010
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2. Any restrictions imposted by Camp LeJune should be visible on the appropriate navigation chart, and any updates will be available in the Notice to Mariners, which you'll use to update that chart.

1, 3 & 4 I can't help you with.

5. You mention a timeline of 3 days. I've read over and over on the forum, that a schedule is the first casualty on a sailboat. Just don't let yourself be pushed into wrong decisions because you feel that you "have" to be somewhere by a certain time.
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Old 01-12-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChessieSailor View Post
Hi all,

(1) what is the sailing like in that area?
(2) does it matter that Camp Lejune is right there, any restrictions?
(3) Is it possible to sail on the ICW, even with lots of tacking back and forth?
(4) what's the weather like end of June?
(5) what else should I be thinking about??

Thanks, ChessieSailor
Three days is pushing it down the Chesapeake to Topsail. My dad and I did it in the reverse direction when the weather was nice. It still took us about five days. No, we didn't travel at night, but I wouldn't want to go down that stretch at night anyway. We took The Dismal Canal, which is worth seeing, so that probably delayed us a day.

Not really sure it's worth bringing it all the way down in such a hurried manner since you're passing through some of the best sailing along the way. At Topsail itself, there ain't that much. The inlet can be gnarley, and certainly you can't tack in the ICW. You probably can on The New River.

End of June is very nice down there. There's usually a steady SW wind every day. One possibility is to bring it as far as Morehead City or Beaufort and sail out of there. The drive between Topsail an MC is only about 45 minutes. Or, you could even leave it near New Bern.

Alan
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Old 01-12-2010
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Alan,

Thanks for the advice. Do you have any idea what the sailing is like near-coastal in the Atlantic out of the Pamlico Sound and down to Topsail? Do people do day-sailing beyond the inlets, either out of New Bern or, farther south, out of the New River? When you say gnarly, what do you mean? Are there breaking waves across the entire mouth?

Thanks again!
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Old 01-12-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChessieSailor View Post
Alan,

Thanks for the advice. Do you have any idea what the sailing is like near-coastal in the Atlantic out of the Pamlico Sound and down to Topsail? Do people do day-sailing beyond the inlets, either out of New Bern or, farther south, out of the New River? When you say gnarly, what do you mean? Are there breaking waves across the entire mouth?

Thanks again!
I don't know any sailors who sail out of New River Inlet or around the southern end of Topsail. My buddies and I have windsurfed there on windy days and I can tell you, like 90% of the inlets around our barrier islands, it ain't worth taking a sailboat through for just a day sail. Sometimes the sandbar does break all the way across. Just depends on the day.

People sail out of Beaufort Inlet (Morehead City) all the time. It's beautiful and easy (it can get choppy right at the inlet). Once out of the inlet you can sail until your heart's content.

I keep my boat in the Pamlico Sound. No tides, very minimal currents, if any at all. Protected, and sandy, as opposed to rocks. Easy to gunkhole. You can sail out of New Bern into the sound of course.

Do a google search on their maps and view the satellite imagery of Topsail Island and New River Inlet. You'll see what I mean about sandbars.

Alan
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Old 01-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alannc44 View Post
Do a google search on their maps and view the satellite imagery of Topsail Island and New River Inlet. You'll see what I mean about sandbars.

Alan
No need for a google search... try this page for nautical charts and satellite imagery all in one...

NOAA
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Old 01-19-2010
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Chessie-
We keep our boat on the New River in one of the two marinas on board Camp Lejeune and have been there on and off for six years. There is good sailing in the upper part of the New River, above the Snead's Ferry bridge. Below the bridge the river is shallow except for the channel. We usually sail in the wide part of the river off the New River Air Station - good depths and winds. Most days we end up anchored in one of the creeks along with another boat or two. There's an on-again off-again sailing club at Lejeune - the Ragged Point Yacht Club - that hosts monthly races when there's enough interest.

Camp Lejeune will shut down the waterway when certain ranges are hot. There usually aren't any restrictions on New River itself and when training is going on in the river it's easy to avoid.

We motorsail in the waterway frequently. Wouldn't recommend sailing in it due to traffic and narrowness.

The weather at the end of June is usually good for sailing - the sticky heat isn't on full time yet and the daily afternoon thunderstorms don't show up until later in the summer.

I know two guys who've sailed out of New River Inlet. One only drew 3' and went during an abnormally high tide; the other lost his mast and keel when he went aground and got rolled.

We've made the run from New River to the Chesapeake four times; you'd be hard pressed to make it in less than five days.

If you make it down here stop by Gottschalk and look us up.

SF
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Old 01-20-2010
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Dear Alan and SF,

Thanks for the informative replies, very helpful. And Alan, let me know if you want to trade boats! Would it help your decision if I told you my Hunter is a good light-wind sailor and the fin keel means I have no trouble backing up??

Anyway, I think I've decided not to bring my boat down for the week but to try and crew or charter or find other ways to sail. I've learned that Wrightsville Beach has an active sailing scene, though chartering is limited. I understand the inlet there is very deep and Atlantic access is easy.

I also learned that Camp Lejeune rents two Compac 19s for something like 40/day. That would seem to be an ideal little boat for river sailing. So I'll try and sail in the New River (SF, let me know if you're sailing that week) and out of Wrightsville Beach while family and kids are happily ensconced on the beach at North Topsail.

Thanks again--ChessieSailor
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Old 01-20-2010
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There's also a company that rents out Hobie Cats at the Blockade Runner in Wrightsville Beach. The company that's now managing that is called Hook, Line & Paddle.
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Old 01-20-2010
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Chessie-

If I'm in town I'll be sailing every weekend in June, see you on the water!

SF
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