Neuse River Sailors
Sailing Southeastern Waters

Sailing Trips...

North Again

My friend Doug Sanderson, author of "Following the Dragon", has a mantra that every wannabe cruiser would do well to adopt - NRLA. That stands for "Not ready - leave anyway". So despite the fact that I still had work to do on my Alberg 35 Terry Ann, I proceeded with my plans to sail in late May 2017 for points north. "Plans" might be too strong a word - I just knew that I wanted to see new water, and my 2016 trip to the eastern Albemarle Sound had whetted my appetite for seeing more of the northeastern part of the state...more.

Story by Paul Clayton.

Salty Turtle Log

It was decided, or the way many times these things are decided for us, that if Vic and Gigi wanted to continue their live aboard and cruising lifestyle, that they were going to have to move from a sailboat to a power boat. The physical demands of dealing with sails and the relatively cramped living space was getting to be just too much for the two of them. This was not an easy decision...more.

Story by Mike Doster.

Ocrafolk 2016

Ocracoke. To some the name produces images of pirates, long stretches of undisturbed beaches and “high tiders”. To me it is the Ocrafolk Festival. I first learned of the festival shortly after acquiring the Annie Belle and decided to check it out. Dan from the Marian Claire and I were both fairly new to this boating thing, and he agreed to crew with me the first couple of trips over. We are both fans of live music and it seemed like a natural fit. Now, several years later it has become a yearly ritual...more.

Story by Mike Doster.

More Sailing Trips...


Matthews Point Marina

With all the good marinas lining both banks of the Neuse River, sailors can afford to be discriminating about where they keep their boats. Personally, I'd rather be in a sailboat marina for the quiet and low-wake character. I like a place with good sailing territory right out of the slip, and I like a high level of security so I can leave the boat for weeks at a time and know it is safe. In the ten years I have been on the Neuse, I have kept my boat at Matthews Point Marina because it provides all these things...


Review by Paul Clayton.

The Whortonsville Yacht and Tractor Club

On Brown Creek, a tributary of Lower Broad, you will find friendly little Ensign Marina. The owner, Nick Santoro, has written a book, which, while ostensibly a novel, reads like a lightly-fictionalized memoir of his time in Oriental. It tells the story of a man who leaves a big northern city for a simpler lifestyle, makes it through the culture shock of settling in Oriental, and goes on to integrate into the somewhat raffish Pamlico County society. Along the way he starts a successful business and marries a local girl...


Review by Paul Clayton.

Following the Dragon

Doug Sanderson is not out to achieve his personal best or cross something off his bucket list. He's just out for a fun sail in the Bahamas and up the East Coast. His book is more like a long, extended conversation with a good friend over a bottle of something, as he looks back through his log books and relates the story of a trip on a boat. This is a comparatively recent book, the voyaging taking place in the early 2000s, so it is probably a good description of cruising in the Bahamas and up the East Coast to Newfoundland today. The story starts in Seattle, aboard Doug's Westsail 28 home, with a desire to take a long voyage, somewhere, anywhere...more.

Review by Paul Clayton.

More Reviews...


Georgetown Wooden Boat Show 2016

Hurricane Matthew skirted the coast early October 2016 and briefly made landfall at McClellansville, but there was never any doubt that the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, scheduled for October 15th and 16th, would go on....more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

Making a Canvas Bucket

I have made a few of these and the best design I have found is Larry and Lin Pardey's from their "Cost Conscious Cruiser" book. This has been published in article form in numerous magazines and online publications. My version is a little different - rather than sewing in a double bottom, I use a second boltrope around the bottom and then pound in a round wooden piece to serve as a bottom....more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

Georgetown Wooden Boat Show 2015

Each year, on the third Saturday in October, the little town of Georgetown in the low country of South Carolina puts on the biggest and best wooden boat show in the southeast. Dozens of exhibitors bring their creations, restorations, or well-preserved classics to show off, either in the water along the Harborwalk or on Front Street, the main thoroughfare of downtown....more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

More Articles...

Know Your Boats...

Tartan 34

For the time, this boat was considered a high-performance cruiser, with a short fin keel, rudder on a skeg and big centerboard, and even now is capable of fast passages. With a fairly high freeboard, there is plenty of headroom in the narrow cabin, and the nine-foot cockpit can hold a party. The mainsail is high aspect, and most examples sheeted to a traveler in the cockpit...more.

Entry by Paul Clayton.

Niagara 35

Traditional appearance above the water line, long fin and spade rudder below. The boat has wide side decks and a big open foredeck to make sail handling safe and easy...more.

Entry by Paul Clayton.

Westsail 28

With only 78 built, you are much less likely to see one of these than big sister Westsail 32s, but they share many spotting characteristics - long bowsprit, cutaway bulwarks at the bow, external chainplates and transom-hung rudder, to name a few. The hull form is different, with more cutaway in the forward sections, and the rig is higher in aspect...more.

Entry by Paul Clayton.

More Know Your Boats...


Many photographs of boats and places from Maryland to Florida, but mostly from the Neuse. If you sail the waters of coastal North Carolina, you are sure to see places you've been, and maybe a picture of your boat...more.


Links to sailing websites, marinas and boatyards, museums, local restaurants, owners associations, and other sites of interest to sailors...more.

Terry Ann Refit...

Posts about refitting my Alberg 35...more.


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Copyright © 2016 Paul M. Clayton

News and Announcements

Contact List for Albemarle Sound Marine Facilities -- A short list of contact information for marinas and car rentals on the Albemarle.

New for July 19th, 2017 -- Photographs from a July 2017 trip to check on the boat in Edenton. More to come...

...And Maybe Good News for Elizabeth City Drinkers -- A proposed microbrewery around the corner from my favorite Elizabeth City bar and internet cafe Coasters. Read about it at the Daily Advance. The craft beer craze has finally penetrated the back of beyond.

Bad News for Morning Drinkers -- The New Bern Board of Aldermen failed to pass the so-called "brunch bill", allowing Sunday morning alcohol sales. Oh, well, another good reason to breakfast at the marina.

Update on Dismal Swamp Canal -- Donna Stewart, Director of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, sent me the following update on the Canal: "The Deep Creek Dredging has been completed and surveyed with the assistance of the Wilmington District. The Deep Creek Lock gates are scheduled to be reinstalled on Wed., July 19th. Dredging at the Feeder Ditch and Turner’s Cut will continue until work is completed". So at least we know that work is still going on and there is good reason to believe that the Canal will be open in time for the snowbirds heading south in the fall.

Cruise Ships Coming to Morehead City -- NC Ports sailing schedule for Morehead City lists two visits in October, Silver Explorer on October 1st, 2017 and Silver Muse on October 8th. Silver Muse was just commissioned earlier this year, and visits Morehead City as part of a 14 day trip from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale with layovers in several ports along the east coast.

New Island Forms off Cape Point -- A shell-collector's dream, a bar over a mile long and 300 yards wide has emerged just off Cape Point. The Park Rangers advise not trying to swim out to it, due to rip currents, five-foot sharks and enormous rays, but it is accessible by kayak or small boat. For more information and a great aerial photograph, see the article at Pilot Online.

Poet's Corner -- We all know that a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into, but Matthews Point sailor Eric Bigham has put this sentiment into less crass, more poetic terms with an ode to the financial realities of boat ownership.

The CCA NC Sportsman’s Conservation Legacy Shootout -- That was a mouthful. The Coastal Conservation Association will hold their annual sporting clays match at Drake Landing near Fuquay-Varina August 26th, 2017. As of June 30th, registration information has not been posted at their website, but it is promised soon. Update to follow.

Traditional Skiff Regatta -- August 5th, 2017 at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort. More information.

Looking for Music? -- Coming up in the next few days, Ocean City Jazz Festival, North Topsail, July 1st and 2nd, 2017, and Warped Tour, Wilmington, July 4th.

Change Coming to Oriental Harbor? -- The Town Dock reports on plans to develop a fishing trawler washing-sandblasting-painting operation at the roofless building just inside the harbor jetty.

Tour the Ferry Shipyard -- The NCDOT is offering tours of the Mann's Harbor Shipyard this summer in celebration of the 70th anniversary celebration of the ferry system. The tour scheduled for June 29th, 2017 may already be full, but there are still dates open in July, August and September. For more information, see the article NCDOT Ferry Shipyard Tours Available at the Ocracoke Current.

Not a Single One -- There is not a single TowboatUS franchise on the Albemarle Sound. The nearest ones are in Coinjock, Wanchese and Belhaven. Something to think about if you are planning to do the Albemarle Loop. In the next few days, I will be adding a lot of information to my article "North Again" about the logistics of sailing the Albemarle. Suffice it to say that sailors used to the high level of infrastructure along the ICW route may be surprised at how little there is on the Albemarle Sound.

Terry Ann is at Edenton Marina -- I motored up Pembroke Creek from the Edenton Town Docks the morning of June 15, 2017 and left the boat at Edenton Marina on a month-to-month lease. It wasn't easy, but I managed to arrange a car from Enterprise and drove home to Winston-Salem in the afternoon with plans to be home for two or three weeks. I hope to be back in Edenton in early July to use the marina as a base while I explore the western Albemarle.

On Columbia Municipal Dock -- It's June 11th, 2017, Sunday, hot, windless and I am docked in Columbia and enjoying coffee, air-conditioning and internet at the wine shop and cafe.

Northeast Winds Gusting into the Upper 20s -- mean I probably won't be leaving the Elizabeth City area until June 9th or 10th.

If I'm Posting from Elizabeth City -- it probably means I'm in Coasters on N. Poindexter Street, drinking a beer and enjoying the air conditioning.

In Belhaven -- As of June 1st, I'm in Belhaven. I had considered running up the Pamlico River to Washington, but the winds weren't blowing that way. I plan to spend a few days in Belhaven, then continue up the Alligator-Pungo Canal to the Albemarle.

Casting Off Shortly -- It's the morning of May 31st, 2017, and I'm about to cast off for points north. Tentative stops - Lower Broad Creek, Lower Pamlico River, Little Washington, Belhaven, Elizabeth City.

National Exposure -- Matthews Point Marina sailor Buck Buchanan wrote an article about sailing on the Pamlico Sound in the January/February issue of Small Craft Advisor. The digital edition is now available at the magazine website.

News Archives -- For older items, click here

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