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  #1  
Old 02-28-2009
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Sailing around Oriental NC

My wife and I are picking up our Com-Pac Eclipse in a month in North Carolina. We'd like to sail it for a few days in the Neuse River region before heading back to Chicago. I'm looking for opinions about the various areas around Oriental in terms of safe sailing as we learn the ins and outs of the new boat. We're considering Oriental itself, the NW Creek marina area, and the Bay River area near Ball Creek. We've found nice accommodations in all these areas, but are more concerned about a good daylight sailing environment with our new boat. The Bay River area looks beautiful and peaceful, but is there enough room to get some good sailing in? Depths there seem pretty shallow based on the charts I saw. Oriental seems great. I've also heard good things about the New Bern/NW Creek area.

Thanks for any advice on this.
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Old 02-28-2009
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Sailing in Oriental

I am assuming from your questions that you have not been in the area before.

I wish I had more specific information to give you, but my sailing experience in that area is limited. However, we have a house in the area and we keep our new to us boat there and I expect to be doing a lot more sailing as soon as we can afford to stop working and move there!!!

That being said, the Neuse river is the widest river in the country at its mouth as it empty's into Pamilico Sound, it is 5 miles wide. Oriental is located in that area, New Bern is up river 20 miles or so. Still it is a large river at New Bern where it meets the Trent river. We came down the intercoastal out thru the Bay river and there is plenty of sailing room in all these areas, but you do need to look at the charts and be aware of where you are. There are shallows that extend out into the bay and the rivers. But in general there is plenty of sea way for sailing. I would definetly recommend having at least a hand held GPS to assure yourself of staying out of the shallow areas. And there are many creeks along the river and it can be confusing to find the one you are staying in without a GPS, there are not many large landmarks (it really is a beautiful natural area). Many of the creeks have private markings that can be confused with offical ones if you are not familiar in the area. Staying in the Oriental area will provide easy access to shopping, restaurants, marina's, fuel and supplies (there is a local West Marine in the town).

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-28-2009
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Oriental would be by far your best choice. Wind direction is not as big a factor there, as there is room to go up and down river, or shore to shore. The Bay River is not nearly as wide, and is usually full of crabpots.
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That was our biggest concern with the Bay River - too narrow, too many shoal areas, and now learning about all the crab pots. New Bern looks wonderful, but there too it's a bit more narrow. The Eclipse draws 5' with the board down, so we don't want any surprises.

We have leaned towards the Oriental area as well for overall flexibility. If we stay in Oriental, any recommendations about marinas for a 2-3 day slip rental? We're traveling with our dog (a Portuguese Water Dog who loves boating), but I assume most marinas are used to that.

Thanks for the portable GPS idea. We'll definitely take a look.
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Oriental is a great place to practise with your new boat.

You can motor out to the middle of the Neuse where you'll be miles away from either shore and probably miles away from any other boat. Put up your sails, go around in circles a few times until you get the hang of it- there's no one around to point and laugh.

The local tiki bar is an endless source of sailing information and advice- some good, some bad, but always entertaining. There are also several sources of parts and equipment in town in case you find out your new boat is not as fully equiped as you were led to believe.

You will also find lots of overnight destinations once you gain some confidence. Just anchoring out in the South river across from Oriental is a good way to start.

Oriental Marina is the place for a 2-3 day slip rental. The town dock has two slips that are free for 48 hours if you can find a vacancy, but they have no power or water.

If you get more ambitious there is a few hours sail to New Bern. Ocracoke is also just a few hours away. Beaufort, Morehead, Cape Lookout- all within easy reach, and Oriental is smack in the middle of it all.

I do recommend a GPS, however. The little bays and tributaries all look alike from the water, and you don't want to navigate by touch.

Last edited by kbyte; 02-28-2009 at 09:19 AM. Reason: add marina info
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Oriental Marina is the place for a 2-3 day slip rental. Town dock has two slips that are free for 48 hours if they're available, but they don't have water or power.
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My wife is the one with little sailing experience, so hopefully she'll pick it up quickly. I sailed a lot many years ago, so I'm hoping it comes back to me quickly. Based on everyone's great advice, it looks like Oriental is the place to be. Besides, I hear there are some great restaurants there!

Regarding GPS units, any recommendations for reasonably priced marine units? We'll be using this boat primarily around Lake Michigan and some larger inland lakes in the midwest.
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Garmin 535

I purchased this model Garmin 535,

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=148&pID=8108

I did not want a large chart plotter at the wheel, our boat is a 35, but I wanted the higher resolution and larger screen (old eyes).

But there certainly are handhelds you can get for less, but I don't know if they come with charts. This one comes with all the charts and you can add a sounder if you don't have one.

cheers,
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Old 03-03-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aae991 View Post
My wife and I are picking up our Com-Pac Eclipse in a month in North Carolina. We'd like to sail it for a few days in the Neuse River region before heading back to Chicago. I'm looking for opinions about the various areas around Oriental in terms of safe sailing as we learn the ins and outs of the new boat. We're considering Oriental itself, the NW Creek marina area, and the Bay River area near Ball Creek. We've found nice accommodations in all these areas, but are more concerned about a good daylight sailing environment with our new boat. The Bay River area looks beautiful and peaceful, but is there enough room to get some good sailing in? Depths there seem pretty shallow based on the charts I saw. Oriental seems great. I've also heard good things about the New Bern/NW Creek area.

Thanks for any advice on this.
Beautiful area

I bought my current boat from a place in Havelock, Matthews Point.

34°54'25.14"N - 76°45'47.82"W

It is a beautiful little marina with a great feel. From there you can get into the Neuse and be in Oriental in just over an hour (10 mins by power boat, lol)
and also west to New Bern or also, (if brave...) E to Ocracoke in about 8 hrs.
(watch the entrance), and S to atlantic beach if you want to go out in the big water..

Water is not too deep there, so read charts pretty carefully. However in 1 1/2 seasons, we only grounded once (very soft), and that was totally operator (me) error

My wife and I loved that area.
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Old 03-03-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aae991 View Post

We have leaned towards the Oriental area as well for overall flexibility. If we stay in Oriental, any recommendations about marinas for a 2-3 day slip rental? We're traveling with our dog (a Portuguese Water Dog who loves boating), but I assume most marinas are used to that.

Thanks for the portable GPS idea. We'll definitely take a look.
I sail this area all the time. You will be in a perfect area for learning, the river is very wide and you wont hit any weather you can not handle. The ground in this area is very soft (sand or black silty dirt) and will not harm your boat if you run aground (I speak from experience, haha)

Do not be scared about your 5' draft if you want to go to new bern. It is located where the neuse meets the trent and there is plenty of room. I draw 4'6 and have no problems. You can sail there from oriental in 4-6 hours and its a very nice beginner type trip. Ocracoke would be several more degrees of difficulty, but if you have experience and your boat is seaworthy you should be okay if you have nice weather.

If you go to new bern, I highly suggest you stay at the sheraton marina. (do NOT stay at the bridgepoint marina**) From the sheraton, within 10 minutes max walk, you'll have your choice of several very good restaurants, lots of shops, and historical attractions. (birthplace of pepsi, tryon palace) Great place to sail one day, stay the night on your boat, then sail back the next day. The sheraton has a bar and has live music frequently.

Feel free to message me if you want more information. I very much like this area.


**This is a fine and reputable establishment, but it is oppsite the sheraton on the trent river, and the trent bridge is closed till christmas for remodelling. You'd save $10 in docking charges, but you would not be able to walk anywhere!
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