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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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· 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.
 

· Wandering Aimlessly
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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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· Wandering Aimlessly
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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:

 

· Wandering Aimlessly
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Please let me know if this is a stupid move on my part!
My first time making that passage, I had no idea I would encounter military vessels. Just as I had no idea I'd be coming in St Marys Inlet when a nuke sub would be going out. Neither put me in any danger, and there was sufficient and courteous communication in both instances. In other words, it's not so much to worry about what they are doing, as simply being aware of them, if they are in the area. And I would guess, if you top off fuel in Wrightsville, the marina will probably be aware of any restrictions that might be in place.

In sum, I don't think you need to worry about doing the trip unless the weather turns against you. We're just trying to make you aware of what you might encounter. Worst part of the trip will be Beaufort to your first stop, especially the Bogue Sound.
 
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· Wandering Aimlessly
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Well done ... now ya probably wish you'd gone to Wrightsville outside :)
 
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