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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Let me add to the discussion based on my experience; Someone noted that the inlets are well charted. DO NOT BELIEVE THE CHARTS!

I headed south with new-to-me crew last year. On the first day out of Savannah my crew was barfing over the side. Because I did not know the inlets, I was entirely dependent on the charts. I learned something that day; THE CHARTS ARE WRONG! Below is my writeup from another thread on the subject.

"In the hope that someone else can learn from my error, I am posting the detailed track of where we ran aground, damaging the rudderpost, below. The chart below was downloaded from the NOAA website about a week before we transited the area.
View attachment 140677

You will see that we had been following the marked channel from east to west, and favoring where the soundings were deepest (north of the G C "5" and what was charted as deeper water to the west of R N "6"). We continued north of the "channel" because we found that there was very little water where the chart said there should be >20-feet!

What was actually there was a finger that came out where the chart indicates the deepest water, just past R N "6" and almost reached G C "5". We were trapped on the wrong side of this finger as we kept looking for deeper water. I believe that we hit bottom where the 15 foot sounding is, and were pushed along the shoal until we were within 70' of R N "6". I deployed the entire Genoa to get us heeled over and free of the shoal.

I went down below and left the crew at the helm (which was unresponsive) for a time to issue a Pan-Pan, as my primary concern was to get help to ensure the safety of the crew. My crew member initially said that the boat freed herself, then he said that he was able to turn the boat around. I honestly don't know which statement is accurate. When I came back on deck we had tacked, but the sheets were flogging. I cranked in on the Genoa sheet, and we got underway! You can see where our track turns eastward off the shoal, and we were able to navigate past R N "6" without further incident.

The bottom line lesson here is that you cannot trust the soundings on a chart!

My advice to the OP in this thread is to enter ONLY at inlets that are also used by commercial shipping.
You should consider posting this information on Waterways Guide at that location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
That was me, and I did not say the inlets were well-charted. I said the ocean area rounding Hatteras is well-charted, and it is.

I've been advocating going straight to Brunswick, and not stopping in inlets along the way.

Sapelo Sound is notorious for shifting shoals, as is Ossabaw further North.

Mark
I'm listening. The only anchorage I would consider in NC is Lookout Bight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
how long idd the BI to VA leg take and how long did did you sail per day?
Just under 48 hours. We sailed 36 hours, anchored off the coast for a night, and headed into Norfolk by sunset the next day. Other boats on the horizon headed west to Delaware Bay which would have been about a 24 hour trip from BI. We realized that with just the two of us, we'd like to stop every 24 to 36 hours and rest. Not as young as we used to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Sailed from Norfolk VA to Brunswick GA with one overnight stop in Wyanah Bay in about 4 days. If stopping there, head up river a few miles to avoid anchoring in opposing tidal swells, currents and winds. We had NW winds the whole way of steady 15-25 knots. Pulled into Brunswick on the pre-dawn of the Nor’easter that hit the south coast late October. Entrance to harbor is about 5 miles, well marked, but with 3’ depths on either side of channel. Shoals knocked down swells making coming in on a beam reach with swells and 25 knot winds doable.

We sailed straight lines from tip to tip of shoals around the Carolina’s putting us 10-20 miles out to sea with 6-12’ swells and gusts up to 30 knots. It was exhausting with just my wife and I. Realized if we hugged the coast and sailed up and down shoals under the Lee of the land we would have had smaller 2-3’ swells and lesser winds.

Heading to St. Augustine FL for the winter with return trip to Northeast in Spring. We break down voyage into weekly legs of one per month. Looking for recommendations on low cost monthly docks and moorings in the Chesapeake Bay.
 
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