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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've made plenty of overnight trips but never offshore. This will be my first overnight offshore trip. I'll be single handing and I'm looking for any advice!

I plan to take the ICW down to Beaufort then continue inside to Wrightsville Beach. That should be 2 or 3 days. In Wrighstville I'll wait at anchor for a good forecast. I'll leave through the Masonboro Inlet and sail offshore to Cape Lookout. It's about 70 nm.

I plan to leave around noon, sail overnight, arrive at Cape Lookout in the afternoon the following day.

I'm familiar with Beaufort inlet and Cape Lookout, but I have never been through Masonboro Inlet. I've read up, and checked charts and google maps, and it seems pretty straightforward. (It seems the ICW near the inlet is more of a concern than the inlet itself.)

I plan to go out to the RW "A" buoy (about 1 mile out) and then turn ENE towards Cape Lookout. the coast drops away quickly here.

- Any concerns with Masonboro inlet?
- I plan to set my course for south of Cape lookout ( like R "8" or so) to account for the set towards shore.
- should I go further out before making my turn?

thanks!
 

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I dont know about the specifics of those areas, but i can tell you a bit about solo sailing off shore at night.

You can do it in one big non sleeping stint.... But the chances are you will be too excited to get good sleep the night before so its best to get sleep on your overnighter. I have a couple of kitchen digital timers. I set one at 20 minutes and one at 30 incase i miss the first. And a big alarm clock if i sleep through both!

Get plenty of sleep! Its better to arrived refreshed than being tired.

The next most important thing is to relax and enjoy it.

Darkness makes everything seem weird... But its just the same as daytime. In somethings even better... You can see ships light much further off than seeing a ship in daytime.
As Colregs say, if you are the stand on boat stand on! I dont take an assessment till i can see the nav lights in the binoculars... That the red and green. If you cant see them the ship is too far away to worry about.

Ships do normal shippy things. Fishing boats do strange things only fishermen understand. Just be cool are it will come off well.

I prefer sailing at night than during the day. Its fun, interesting and kinda nice. So just relax and see if you can find that enjoyment. And sleep!


Mark
 

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Hi, I can't speak to Masonboro as I haven't been through there in years. I'm sure someone will chime in with up to date local knowledge. You can also check active captain.

I think you might want to evaluate your departure timing though. Leaving at noon using a conservative 4 knot avg you could arrive @ 5 a.m. the next morning. Which would be OK But, If you make better time, and you probably could, you could arrive in the middle of the night. @ 5 kn avg. you'd arrive @ 2 a.m.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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You can easily make Wrightsville in 2 days inside. I regularly make it in daylight outside. As a singlehander myself, I much prefer going outside over staying at the wheel all day inside. Especially for stretches like that where the autopilot can only be used sparingly.

If you're wanting to make the return trip overnight, then I would leave late in the afternoon, or you're liable to find yourself getting to Cape Lookout in the dark. And while not a major shipping port, you are likely to encounter shipping or even naval traffic the closer you get to Lookout.

Almost forgot, Masonboro is about as simple and straightforward as an inlet can be.
 
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PBzeer is right, Masonboro is a piece of cake...

I'd only have one concern, if you're thinking of doing this anytime soon...

Usually right around this time of the year, the Navy and Marines play war games/maneuvers in the waters off Camp Lejeune. Usually one carrier milling about, and a host of other ships, and amphibious hovercraft racing back and forth to the beach... It can get pretty busy out there, and they definitely want you to keep clear...

As long as you're not inshore of the rhumb line from Masonboro to Beaufort, you should be OK... But on occasion, I've been told to divert a bit further off. They're always polite, and aren't trying to make life hard for recreational boaters, but dealing with such maneuvers at night could definitely be a hassle...

2 years ago I was coming into Beaufort in the middle of the night after a passage up from Lauderdale. There were 2 large Navy ships about 15 miles out zig-zagging all over the place between me and the inlet, of course not transmitting AIS, and my repeated attempts to raise them on VHF went unanswered... They eventually high-tailed it out of there, but it was still enough of a PITA to deal with, that I was seriously considering just parking it, and waiting for daylight to proceed.

So, I'd suggest you try to find out whether such maneuvers will be held this spring, and what the timing of them might be. It could be well worth trying to schedule your trip to avoid such timing...

Good luck, that should be a beautiful sail, one of my favorite short hops outside anywhere along the East coast... As Tempest suggested, I'd think about leaving a bit closer to evening, one other thing you want to try to avoid is arriving at the approaches to Beaufort Inlet early in the AM, when you're likely to be tired, and the sportfishing fleet will all be blasting out of there...
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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Another thing, in reference to what Mark said about catnaps. While I do take 20 min catnaps offshore, that's not an area where I would do so. Especially the closer you get to Lookout.

Also, like Jon, I've encountered naval vessels around Onslow Bay (a baby carrier and three support vessels). And while it didn't create a problem, it was none-the-less something you had to stay aware of.
 

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The last time I fished out of Masonboro Inlet and went out in the dark, the only concern I had was the artificial reef markers, that are unlit and not always exactly on station. Hopefully, you have radar on the boat, which will show them up very well. The inlet itself is a piece of cake.

Gary :cool:
 

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I\
.....I have a couple of kitchen digital timers. I set one at 20 minutes and one at 30 incase i miss the first. And a big alarm clock if i sleep through both!

Get plenty of sleep! Its better to arrived refreshed than being tired.
......

Mark
I find the Watch Commander from SailSafely really useful for setting sleep/nap alarms while underway. Set the interval and reset it within interval time and no alarm sounds. Quiet alarm sounds if the reset is not hit within the interval. Louder and louder alarms then sound until the timer is reset.

Marc Hall
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
great info all!

Mark: you are right about being too excited to sleep!
Tempest: whoops thanks for double checking my math. i had the timing all wrong.
Jon: Plan is to leave this weekend, make the offshore leg monday night.
Gary: I dont have radar or AIS, but that is why I wanted to transit Masonboro (a new to me inlet) in daylight. I'm familiar enough with Beaufort and Lookout, I'm ok doing those at night if I had to.

so a few more questions if I may:
- how can I find out about military maneuvers that might be scheduled in the area?
- change my departure to 5 or 6 in the evening, does that seem about right? to avoid the early morning hub-bub of the Beaufort/Lookout area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
BristolBob,
When are you going? Is your purpose to do it singlehanded? If not there may be people here in Oriental that would go along for the fun of it.

Ron
Capn, leaving this weekend; yes the purpose was to do this solo, just a personal growth kind of thing.

However I'd be happy to do this trip again with company. I assume you are in the oriental vicinity? PM me, I'd be glad to meet up and go sailing anytime.
 

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For info on possible Marine activity you could try calling one of the numbers here. Or by checking with the Coast Guard.

Once you hit Wrightsville, right after you go under the bridge, there'll be a marina on your left where you can top off your fuel before taking a slip, or moving on down to the anchorage area. (There's also another marina w/fuel between the ICW and the anchorage area.)

I would time the departure for between an hour and an hour and a half before dark. So if you anchor, unless you have a dink, you'll be sitting on your butt all day, just itching to get going. You can use some of that time to make a thermos of coffee (if you drink it) and some sandwiches or snacks for the trip. And have some layers of outerwear laid out, as it can get chilly overnight this time of year.

I don't know wifi availability in the anchorage area, so if you're planning on Internet for weather, etc. you might keep that in mind. If you use some type of cellphone connection, then no problem.

Alternatively, you could leave earlier in the day, head S to SE for a while, before heading for Lookout. Be a good opportunity to just sail in open water.
 
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One lesson I've learned on overnight passages, is to try and time them, when possible on a full or nearly full moon. Makes all the difference in the world to me when I do it, to be able to see, at least pretty good, in the direction of the moon. I've sailed on pitch black all nighters, and I really just don't like it, even on vessels I have been on with radar.
 

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I prefer no moon, myself.. Each to their own :)

I was about 100 nm east of Norfolk last year and the VHF16 went berserk with navy warnings about gunnery practice. So if they are out there blowing things up you WILL hear about it :)


It was quite fun to listen to :)
 

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I prefer no moon, myself.. Each to their own :)

I was about 100 nm east of Norfolk last year and the VHF16 went berserk with navy warnings about gunnery practice. So if they are out there blowing things up you WILL hear about it :)

It was quite fun to listen to :)
I got a spectacular private Air Show in about the same location ( about 100 miles east of Norfolk) from the USS enterprise one year. Probably landing qualifications. It was the 1st dry day in four at sea .. So every cushion and article of clothing was on deck and hanging from the lifelines drying out. I was embarrassed by our appearance when their rescue chopper flew by.

No full moon this weekend...
 

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A full moon at sea can be a wondrous sight. Granted, this is a movie, but it's still rather iconic:

 

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First off it sounds like a great trip and you are not that far off shore, looks like less than 12nm. that's a rum line from Masonboro to the beaufort racor 60nm. The fishing fleet can get busy just outside Beaufort.
As for finding out about any marine manuvers off shore you can probably call/ check in with Camp Lejeune. You might have to do that as you transit down the ICW, you go right thru there. They sometimes have manuvers in the ICW and also their artillery range goes over the ICW. There are signs and contact info before you pass thru. One trip I made coming North thru there the marines were practicing high speed water pickups very cool to see in action. God bless those men and women.
You should be able to make Wrightsville easy in 1 day from Beaufort.
Have a safe trip, Enjoy
Peter
 
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