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SailVicEC 05-13-2004 03:44 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
Hello all:

I am relocating to the East Coast and can''t wait to start sailing again. I have two options, one is Richmond VA and the other is near Raleigh NC.

Obviously the Richmond opportunity would offer better access to the Cheasapeak Bay (though Norfolk VA is within 2.5 hrs drive from where I would be in N Carolina). What about sailing the Pamlico Sound? I took a feery across it to Oakracoke and it looked like a wonderful sailing area but i didn''t even see one boat out (this was on the 9th), lots of dolphins though). Infact I drove all the way up the outer banks to Corolla and saw very few sailing boats in any of the marinas? I was told that the sound is very shallow and full of uncharted sand banks. I assume this is the reason? Is there more sailing going on further south near Atlantic beach and new bern (only an hour and a half from where I would be in NC)?

I should mention that I would be sailing a Catamaran with no more than a 24inch draw.

From purely a sailing standpoint is there a compelling arguement to be made for Richmond over Raleigh(my schedule is not a M-F 9-5 but pretty much completely flexible)?

Is there much sailing to speak of down in NC?

What about using the area off shore of the outer banks as a training ground for future ocean sailing?


SailVicEC 05-14-2004 05:27 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
The question is now mute (the richmond vs N carolina) as we turned down the Richmond position.

So has anyone here sailed in the NC waters?

Would it be worth the extra hour commute to berth the boat in Norfolk vs. NC waters?


rleslie 05-14-2004 06:00 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
Look into New Bern & Oriental. The Pamlico is still pretty laid-back and alot of areas still undeveloped, although that is slowly changing. Tons of sailing and not a bad drive from Raleigh.

A few links:

Welcome to North Carolina!!

SailorMitch 05-14-2004 06:53 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
Also do some research on water pollution in NC. Lots of pig farms upstream of the Pamlico, leading to large fish kills when big rains wash the pig manure into the creeks and rivers.

kokopelli9 05-16-2004 12:37 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
Just like wherever a person goes you can choose to look for the good or the bad...the sailing in NC will be different from in VA and further North but we have some wonderful sailing here...and some wonderful people doing that sailing. New Bern and Oriental are great areas to start with...and if you''re going to be close to Raleigh there is a great group of people in the Triangle Sailing Association that you might want to look into. There are many more sailors here and sailboats than it appears at first look.


S/V Kokopelli

SailVicEC 05-16-2004 10:12 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
Thanks for all the replies and the links. I am so excited at the prospect of doing some real cruising around the sound and the outer banks and eventually further afield. I appreciate the info about the fish kills as it prompted me to do some research into the matter and it seems that what kills the fish is not pollution per se but low levels of dissolved oxygen (caused by algae growth rather than by toxic chemicals, in fact from what I read it seems the Chesapeake is far more polluted than the NC sounds) and fresh water run off after hurricanes and other high rainfall events.

I have been to Washington and saw that there was a marina there and but I have yet to drive down to New Bern or Oriental, I was just surprised to see NO sail boats in the crossing from Swan to Oakracoke.

No fog, no current, and light commercial traffic sounds like a good place to learn to sail and I am far more in to quiet beautiful anchorages than the cocktail at the dock scene, though it would be very cool to socialize with people who enjoy cruising.

I will contact those of you in NC when I am settled if that is OK.

kokopelli9 05-17-2004 01:58 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
I have a feeling that you just hit a bad day when you didn''t see any sailboats in the is shallow but I have made that trip many times with "fleets" going over to Ocracoke (note spelling if you''re going be a fellow No. Carolinian...LOL) is a fun trip over and a great place to spend a few days. Welcome to North Carolina...hope you find us to be the great state and warm, friendly people that we usually are.


S/V Kokopelli

SailVicEC 05-18-2004 10:00 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
Thanks Bobbi, it was a bit windy but I was on the ferry so I couldn''t tell how windy. Everyone I met during my time there was very nice and I am excited to be moving there. The outer banks were better than I had even imagined and at some point I look forward to going west and doing som ehiking in the mountains which I have heard are also rather spectacular!

Yes, sorry, Ocracoke ;-)

NBsailor 05-25-2004 11:49 PM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?

If you haven''t been there already give New Bern a try, on a nice weekend you the sound will be throbbing with sailboats. Unlike further out on the Pamlico sound, the depth is ample and uniform. It is once you make it out past Oriental and the intercoastal that you have to be mindful of the sandbars.

I keep my boat in New Bern - there are 3-4 marinas right in town and many more in the vicinity. Between New Bern and Oriental there should be plenty of sailing activity to keep you content. From New Bern, Oriental is a nice day sail. Once there the slip at the town wharf is quite nice and there are 2-3 good restaurants in town.


SailVicEC 05-26-2004 11:15 AM

Why are there so few sailboats in the Pamlico sound?
Thanks A. Sounds great. Do you think that the sandbars would give a cat any problems, or just fewer problems?

I was reading this crusing mag article (sept 03 In search of the Lost colony of Roanoke) about a couple who took a cruise down the ICW from Norfolk and then sailed over to Ocracoke and then tried to head up to Roanoke. Sounds like a great crusing ground though they did mention that with the fetch and the shallow depth when any kind of wind kicks up conditions get rather choppy.

Today I got my Crusing Guide to Coastal N Carolina along with the Chart book by Clairboirne S Young, and my free NC Coastal Bopating Guide is on its way from the NCDOT 877-368-4968. Can''t wait to get stuck in to them and see what awaits.

Looking forward to bumping in to you, all figuratively speaking ofcourse;-), out there when I get settled.

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