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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We completed leg 1 of our voyage from Block Island, RI to Norfolk, VA with a good weather window and northerly wind last week. We return to boat end of October for leg 2 to Brunswick, GA. Our mast height is 76’ so must sail offshore. My wife and I are making the voyage and try to find anchorage’s every 24-36 hours so looking for words of wisdom on getting around Cape Hatteras and North Carolina and any safe anchor spots for some rest.
 

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Calm weather is best. No wind out of the north. Interim stops from there are Beaufort/Morehead City NC and Charleston SC.

Where did you hole up in Norfolk? Looking for recommendations for similar staging effort in future.
 

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All my Southbound journeys were done via Bermuda. I did one delivery from Antiqua West through the Bahamas to FL and then to Wrightsville Beach, switched boats and then direct to LIS. I don't think I would visit FL... been there and no interest. ICW has no appeal either. Try some ocean sailing. You might like it.
 

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With a 76' mast, I think he is doing all ocean sailing. Like said, no north wind around Hatteras, otherwise north wind past that is great. This time of year should be presenting lots of lighter, non-North wind opportunities. After Hatteras, there are many inlets to stop in. Personally, I find going in and out of inlets to add so much time and distance that it is less hassle to just go straight through. It is 10-15nm in to Charleston, for example, and the tidal currents in the inlets are brutal in the SE US and anchoring in Charleston is terrible. Winyah Bay is an easier stop for anchoring, but still extra distance and current. Beaufort to Brunswick is ~300nm, so about 2 days - a nice sail if you catch a easy N or NE wind out of Beaufort.

Mark
 

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Norfolk to Morehead City.

The way I conceptualize that leg is like a narrow alley, with two walls.

The western wall is danger, and I stay as far away as I can, really do not want to find out how far the shoals extend out to sea.

The eastern wall is my friend, on light southern winds or calm, just perfect, light southwest could be ok.

My logic is, if trouble like an escape route or plan B, that is Offshore, and crossing the current under those conditions is better.

Any other wind with a Northern component, no good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Calm weather is best. No wind out of the north. Interim stops from there are Beaufort/Morehead City NC and Charleston SC.

Where did you hole up in Norfolk? Looking for recommendations for similar staging effort in future.
We like Tidewater Yacht Marina, Portsmouth, VA, about 5 miles down the Elizabeth River Tidewater Yacht Marina, Crawford Bay, Portsmouth, VA | A Suntex Marina. It's well protected and their are plenty of spots along river to drop an anchor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All my Southbound journeys were done via Bermuda. I did one delivery from Antiqua West through the Bahamas to FL and then to Wrightsville Beach, switched boats and then direct to LIS. I don't think I would visit FL... been there and no interest. ICW has no appeal either. Try some ocean sailing. You might like it.
Bermuda is a nice stop. Completed a few Marion to Bermuda races, and sailed from Nova Scotia to Bermuda, and Bermuda to the Bahamas. Experimenting with different locations.
Just how big of a boat is it? One concern is that a lot of anchorages are rather small or shallow.
Looks like Oregon Inlet, NC is too risky to pull into with constant shoaling, but wondering about Hatteras Inlet, Ocracoke Inlet, and Lookout Bight for a night's rest on anchor.
 

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The western wall is danger, and I stay as far away as I can, really do not want to find out how far the shoals extend out to sea.
This is a very well charted area. As long as one isn't being stupid in cutting the shoal areas, it isn't risky using the charted depths appropriately.

Mark
 

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Bermuda is a nice stop. Completed a few Marion to Bermuda races, and sailed from Nova Scotia to Bermuda, and Bermuda to the Bahamas. Experimenting with different locations.

Looks like Oregon Inlet, NC is too risky to pull into with constant shoaling, but wondering about Hatteras Inlet, Ocracoke Inlet, and Lookout Bight for a night's rest on anchor.
Lookout bight is easy in/out, 25’ depths, can get quite crowded on weekends, no way would I do the other inlets without local knowledge.
 

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Looks like Oregon Inlet, NC is too risky to pull into with constant shoaling, but wondering about Hatteras Inlet, Ocracoke Inlet, and Lookout Bight for a night's rest on anchor.
We only draw 4' and are very maneuverable with 2 engines 20' apart - but there is no way we'd do any of those inlets. Besides, once inside the inlet, you have a long way to go in skinny channels to get anywhere to anchor.

Lookout Bight is fine for anchoring.

Mark

Edit: I see TJ said the same thing before me, but I didn't see that when posting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lookout bight is easy in/out, 25’ depths, can get quite crowded on weekends, no way would I do the other inlets without local knowledge.
We only draw 4' and are very maneuverable with 2 engines 20' apart - but there is no way we'd do any of those inlets. Besides, once inside the inlet, you have a long way to go in skinny channels to get anywhere to anchor.

Lookout Bight is fine for anchoring.

Mark

Edit: I see TJ said the same thing before me, but I didn't see that when posting.
Thank you both for the local knowledge. What should I expect to encounter with the Gulf Stream rounding Cape Hatteras to Lookout Bight and Cape Fear?

Dave
 

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Thank you both for the local knowledge. What should I expect to encounter with the Gulf Stream rounding Cape Hatteras to Lookout Bight and Cape Fear?

Dave
Right now the GS is close to Hatteras, as it does every summer, but it will move off in the coming weeks and months. Stay close to Hatteras and you will be out of the Gulf Stream, although you will still have ~1.5kt of current or so against you right at Hatteras, and less as you round it. After that, current won't be much down to Brunswick.

Mark
 

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To complicate matters, a south passage is motoring, that means life and safety depends entirely on your engine performance, personally do not like the odds, if the engine dies, there is not much room for errors, I prefer to have my plan B and that requires sea room, outside the alley.
Now, going north I normally wait for the weather and go, the odds and the current are on my favor, do not recall on many passages having problems, that has always been my experience as well as most others in my area.
But, your boat, your life.
 

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Yes, that is a good point about the engine - going S is almost always motoring to some extent because of conditions one wants in that area for the trip, so making sure one's engine is in good shape is prudent. We carry a spare engine! :D

Going outside the GS means 45nm out, and another 45nm back in just to avoid that 15-20nm point - and you need to cross the stream twice.

Diamond Shoal point is often bumpy, but it is only 20nm of bumpy. If one picks a good window to round it, it can be a non-event.

Mark
 

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The beauty of our forum is that we share opinions and experience as trying to be helpful, now granted that if 10 sailors are involved, more likely you get 12 different opinions.
At the end, is like I say,

your boat, your life.

On my thread on comfort was chastised on the basis "Is a sailboat, we sail"
Lucky you have two engines.
Used to live in Morro Bay California, in order to cruise the Channel Islands and Catalina Island have to round Point Arguello, that is the OTHER Graveyard.
Mi initial passage from Ventura to home, with my "new" Tartan 34 almost ends in disaster, before departure have the boat surveyed, then serviced by a reputable mechanic (for safety).
At midnight in the middle of the shipping lane right south of Point Conception the engine died, still remember the shouting and cursing of the freighters for me to get out of their way!
Yes sh...t happen and at the worst possible moment.
Obviously made it back to Ventura and solved the problem.
So you can see why my distrust and lack of faith on any engine if my life depends on it.
Mahalo plenty
 

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On my thread on comfort was chastised on the basis "Is a sailboat, we sail"
Not by me! We spent 3 months cruising a Nordhavn trawler from FL to Bermuda to Nova Scotia. There are many things about cruising this way that are better than on a sailboat. There are also many things worse than that on a sailboat.

I learned to really appreciate the better aspects of trawler cruising, while gaining a better appreciation why we aren't doing so at this stage of our lives.

It's just two different ways of passagemaking to share the same destinations.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yes, that is a good point about the engine - going S is almost always motoring to some extent because of conditions one wants in that area for the trip, so making sure one's engine is in good shape is prudent. We carry a spare engine! :D

Going outside the GS means 45nm out, and another 45nm back in just to avoid that 15-20nm point - and you need to cross the stream twice.

Diamond Shoal point is often bumpy, but it is only 20nm of bumpy. If one picks a good window to round it, it can be a non-event.

Mark
All good stuff, thank you. We have an 110hp Yanmar diesel engine that is in great shape and with low hours so I'll take the odds she won't fail us. Should she do, then assume we'll sail NE out to see and back to port for repair as needed. What is typical wind direction and strength around Cape Hatteras during late October - early November?

Dave

P.S. Trawler cruising is looking more appealing as we age and possibly on the horizon in a few years.
 

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Winds are about 50/50 in N component vs non-N component now, but this will probably shift to lots of N by December. Wind strength will vary a lot as the weather changes, but be from 10-20 most of the time. There will be fewer calm days, and you might want to jump on those when they occur. Once around Hatteras, things become easier because N winds are great and you no longer have current.

Mark
 
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