How did it go? We have had some rough weather here.
I have internet for the first time on my trip and thought I'd take a moment to share my experience. I'll post pics when I get back home later this weekend.
The good news: It. Was. Awesome.
The bad news: I have discovered a new addiction and I'll need to feed it.
First I want to say thanks to everyone for their kind words and excellent, thoughtful advice. I know this was a short hop for most, trivial even, but it was a huge leap for me. Sailnet is a truly amazing community of amazing individuals. Thank you all!
My weather window was Sunday thru Tuesday, those days were predicted with S to SW winds 10-15, and small chance of thunderstorms. Things were predicted to get nasty after that so I wanted to arrive no later than Tuesday afternoon.
I pushed hard to make it to Wrightsville beach by Sunday. I decided on a Monday departure and wanted a good nights rest before leaving. The ICW was long and tedious, often beautiful but not a high point of the trip.
I arrived at Wrightsville beach on Sunday, anchored by 4:30pm.
On Monday I was rested and made my final preparation. I decided on a conservative sail plan, I went with the 100% jib. I stopped at Seapath marina to fill up the diesel tank and empty the holding tank. I got some ice and they even loaned me the car to get some sea sick meds! Great place, and great folks over there.
(I occasionally get seasick. I decided to get some Bonine, which has worked for me in the past)
It was 5:00pm and time to leave. Conditions were sunny, 74 degrees, S wind 15 gusting to 20. I put in a reef, and raised the main before entering masonboro inlet. I motor saIled through the inlet.
Everyone was right, masonboro inlet is as straight forward as can be.
Ok, I'll admit it, as I was approaching the inlet I was nervous! The Atlantic is big! And unpredictable! Deadly even! And me and my little boat were heading out into it. An hr ago I was sitting at anchor, comfy, why am I doing this?
As I cleared the jettys I turned off the engine, unfurled the jib, and the sea welcomed us with a slow powerful swell. My anxiety drained away and I knew at once this was where I was supposed to be.
By the time I reached the sea buoy winds were much lighter. I continued about 2 miles out and turned toward the north east. We were lumbering along on a beam reach at 4 knts, dominated a bit by the swell. I shook out the reef and we were moving better. The winds freshened and soon we were galloping along at over 6 knts. This pace continued for an exhilarating 9 hrs until winds mellowed a bit.
Now, on this trip I was trying out an ipad as a chart plotter. But I had discovered that the ipad charger was interfering with my VHF. When charging the ipad VHF range was drastically diminished. So I decided to use the gps only once an hr to check position.
This hourly GPS check had the additional benefit of giving structure to the trip. Every hr check position and update the log. Something to look forward to, and something to break up the time.
As FirstCandC mentioned, There was a lot of unsettled weather in the region. This included thunderstorm warnings and even a number of tornado warnings. Thankfully they were all passing well north of me. I could see a lot of electrical activity in the distance, it was a great show, but nothing threatening.
I had a thermos of hot coffee, sandwiches, and cookies. For dinner I had a hot meal, chili. It was cool at night so that coffee and hot meal was luxurious. It was tricky to heat up though. We had a fairly significant roll on this point of sail. I'm lucky that my stove is gimbaled, but the cook is not, so it was a challenge. In the end I didn't spill a drop.
I passed about 3 mi east of the charted "danger zone" near camp lejune. I saw no military activity at all, and heard no warnings or notices on VHF.
Speeding along at 6+ knts I was going too fast and would arrive at cape lookout before sunrise. But I just could not slow down, it felt too good! I'm familiar with cape lookout enough that I can arrive at night without worry so I decided to press on.
Winds mellowed a bit by Beaufort and here was the first commercial shipping that I encountered. I kept a sharp lookout, and monitored VHF through this section. No close encounters, and I enjoyed listening to the real pros on the VHF.
I arrived at cape lookout at 6:00 am, still dark but the sky was lightening.
I furled the jib, and sailed into cape lookout bight (seemed like the proper thing to do!). I set the anchor under sail as well. Then dropped the main and backed down on the hook with the engine. Then, SLEEP.
I arrived tired! But happy, well fed, and quite frankly, inclined to just keep going.
Since then I have been dodging the weather and pretty successful so far. Things are more settled for the rest of the week so I think I'm in the clear. I'm in familiar waters now, I'll head home this weekend.