Agree 100% with SVAuspicious
I'd recommend this book https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/09...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Its a little out of date but still quite an impressive work.
I'm sure you are aware that any inlet can be a handful at times. Even the mostly benign Beaufort Inlet can kick up some impressive breaking waves in wind against current situations. So use caution and common sense.
No reason *not* to round Cape Lookout and head north but watch the weather before you do. If you decide on this route, your next safe inlet will be the Chesapeake bay, that's a long haul for your first time venturing out. Are you singlehanding?
Here are some shorter options that get you out into the Ocean
- motor down to Wrightsville beach via ICW
- Leave Masonborro late in the day
- sail overnight to Cape Lookout.
- spend a day or more at Cape Lookout to enjoy it and rest up.
- back to Beaufort and back home.
This is a great coastal nighttime sail. If you leave from Masonboro Inlet you will be arriving at a familiar place (vs leaving out of Beaufort and entering Masonboro Inlet for the first time). You could probably do this in daylight but if you are stretching your legs you'll need experience at night anyway.
Other "leg stretching" sails could be:
- Beaufort to Little River Inlet (or vice versa)
- Beaufort to Charleston (or vice versa)