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Discussion Starter #1
I'd love to get some advice on what inlets you guys feel ok with and what inlets you avoid using. If anyone has any resources like webpages that discuss this exact topic I'd be much appreciative.

I'm ready to stretch my legs and go beyond the Pamlico Sound. I sail out of Oriental, NC on a Morgan 321 shoal keel that draws 4'. I've been to Cape Lookout via Beaufort Inlet of course but I'm looking for opinions on what other inlets on the coast of NC are generally ok and the ones to be avoided. In addition, any opinions on rounding Cape Lookout, and Cape Hatteras (I know) I'd also be very interested in. For example: How far do you suggest going out to round Lookout? That sort of thing.


I'm looking specifically for NC coastal inlets that lead out to sea. example: Bogue, Oregon, Beaufort, etc...

Thanks.
 

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Agree 100% with SVAuspicious

I'd recommend this book https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0932265774/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?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Its a little out of date but still quite an impressive work.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)
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the response. This is great advice. Thanks guys. Exactly what I'm looking for. SVAuspicious, you reinforced my hesitation on the smaller inlets. I'm relieved to hear it's a good idea to stay away from them. I did Beaufort inlet last weekend when the tide was going out and it was no joke. I've been looking at Mansonboro to Cape Lookout. That's a great idea to ICW down then return.

I don't see myself singlehanding in the ocean any time soon. I have a couple highly skilled crew that would go with me although their knowledge of the inlets and ICW is limited.

Any concerns on depth going around Cape Lookout? Play it safe and give it plenty of respect and distance south I suppose?
 

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CG reports shoaling around Bogue Sound Inlet. Excellent anchorage inside Cape Lookout bite for those coming in late from an off shore or attempting an off shore passage..
 

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When the weather is good and your boat has less than 4' draft, local inlets can be done without much problem. Just go slow, watch the locals, and keep an eye on the tides and depth.
 

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Oregon Inlet is nothing more than a slot through the surf and not at all suitable for sailboats - even during slack tide. Hatteras Inlet, though a bit better, is still quite dangerous and I would avoid it like the plague. Both are difficult to navigate in a powerboat.

Good luck,

Gary :cool:
 
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