Pamlico Sound, NC
Hi, I looking for information on sailing Pamlico Sound, NC. Best places, water depths, best guides, best seasons and so on. Any information would be appreciated.
It's a nice sailing area with interesting places to visit and mostly undeveloped shorelines. If you're looking for a lot of big marinas to visit with numerous restaurants and night life, this isn't it. But for gunkholing, beautiful quiet anchorages, visiting some interesting, small maritime towns, and fresh seafood, it's great.
It's a large body of water and relatively shallow, but there's plenty of water (10-20 feet) except for a couple of shoal areas that are easy to avoid. It can build a pretty steep chop when the wind builds.
Best stops and anchorages would include Ocracoke, Oriental, Rose Bay and Deep Bay (in a protected wildlife area/marsh, very isolated and pristine), and farther up the Pamlico River, Bath and Washington.
We run sailing charters in this area and consider it one of the best cruising grounds on the East Coast due to our mild climate, great sailing, undeveloped shorelines, soft bottom (sand and mud), and friendly people. Our charter season generally runs from late March/early April into the beginning of November, with a bit of a lull in August when it's more likely to be hot and still.
Hope that helps, and I'd be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have. What kind of boat would you be visiting with?
SecondwindNC is on the mark. If your looking for something to look over before you arrive I'd suggest the Cruising Guide to Coastal North Carolina by Claiborne S Young.
The only other advice I can give you about the Pamlico Sound is to pay close attention to the weather. While the sailing is GREAT in the sound, due to the long fetch and relatively shallow waters it can get very rough real quickly. When my father was in the USCG at Elizabeth City, NC they routinely did more rescues and assistance calls in the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds than in the ocean. You will have a fantastic time sailing in the Pamlico but definately want to be careful.
Is there a "Gunkholer's guide to Pamilico Sound"?
None shows up on a google search, but perhaps there are some sailing mag articles that someone is aware of?
Young's book is good, but seems targeted at the cruisers who draw 4' or so. We sail a Rhodes 22 that draws 20" with her centerboard up and may be able to make use of some of the anchorage opportunities that Young dismisses for the 4' crowd. Naturally his description of shore facilities remains very relevant.
I know this is a slightly stale thread (12/09), but I came up on it searching for gunkholing info on the Pamlico.
The reason for my inquiry is that we're hoping to spend about a week cruising in late July or early August in our Rhodes 22. We'll be starting and ending at Kitty Hawk. From there the Pamlico is one of the obvious cruising opportunities, as is the Albermarle.
One thing to take note of is that the Alligator River bridge is scheduled for closure from June 1 to July 31.
From Kitty Hawk, I'd go to Orcacoke and then on into the Pamlico Sound/Nuese River area. South River, across from Oriental is a good spot to anchor, then over to Oriental (if you anchor there, you can get showers at the Oriental Hotel for five bucks). From there, you could go up to Bath (free dock) and then make your way over to Manteo, where you can anchor or use the free dock (be sure to tell George that John sent you). Then back to Kitty Hawk.
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