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

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.

A Sight to Behold -- Jim and Sherri flew Old Glory from the masthead of their Catalina Beltrane to remember our veterans who gave all, Memorial Day 2017.

Mark Eichinger's Pennsylvania Bike Trip -- Mark, Matthews Point yacht broker and sometime dockmaster recently did a 150 mile bike tour of the mountains of Pennsylvania. Attached is his write-up of the experience.

Something new at the Terry Ann Refit section -- For anyone following the refit, I tagged on new information about recent work, with pictures.

Windex - Not the Kind You Buy at the Grocery Store -- When I had the mast out of Terry Ann, I fabricated an aluminum bracket so I could mount a Windex. Terry Ann has a masthead-mounted Raymarine electronic wind speed and direction gauge, but I still find a Windex to be a better indicator, especially in ticklish situations like running wing-and-wing in fluky winds. Evidently sailors agree with me. On a recent evening, I walked the Matthews Point docks and counted 54 sailboats with Windexes and 11 without. Around half had both an electronic gauge and a Windex.

Ms. Wanda is Retiring -- After many years as proprietress of the Alligator River Marina, Ms. Wanda has sold out and gone into well-earned retirement. Let's hope the new owners have studied at her feet and learned how to run a top-knotch operation, just as she did. Thanks to Cruisers Net for the news. Cruisers Net had to go through their own succession process after founder Claiborne Young died too young a few years ago, and they have done a great job.

Ships are Disappearing from the Bottom of the Java Sea -- Fascinating article from Outside Online about surreptitious salvage operations that are removing sunken WWII warships from the Java Sea. How Does an Entire Shipwreck Disappear, Bolts and All?

Maybe by Summer -- The Waterway Guide reports May 8th 2017 that the Dismal Swamp Canal is still closed and the Corps of Engineers is declining to give a date as to when it will re-open. They project that dredging in the vicinity of the Feeder Ditch will take until at least late June. Full report here.

Do You Like Blues? -- Then mark your calendar for the 22nd Annual Cape Fear Blues Festival, to be held June 23rd through 25th, 2017 in Wilmington. Shows are scheduled for several venues in the downtown. The website has all the details.

Watch the Mud Fly -- at the National Truck and Tractor Pull in Newport, June 23rd and 24th at the Flea Mall Event Grounds. I've only been to one tractor pull, but it was a hoot! I bet if we listen close we can hear it from Matthews Point. Details here.

Niña and Pinta Replicas -- will be in Wilmington at Port City Marina from May 11th through the 20th. More information here.

26th Annual WoodenBoat Show -- sponsored by WoodenBoat Magazine, will be held at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, June 30th through July 2nd, 2017. Website here.

What's New 05/08/17 -- Lots of new pictures in the Photographs section .

How Bad Was Matthew? -- This story at the News and Observer suggests that many small towns in southeastern North Carolina will never recover. The town of Fair Bluff, population 526, lost 109 homes and saw it's citizen scattered to the winds. To this day, power has not been restored to parts of downtown. Windsor, Seven Springs and Kinston were also hard hit. Certainly Kinston will recover - Seven Springs, maybe not.

Ocrafolk Festival June 2-4, 2017 -- See the website here.

Ocrafolk-bound Sailors Should Keep a Weather Eye on Bigfoot Slough -- The NC Ferry Division reports 4/21/17 critically low water levels in Bigfoot Slough, especially at low tide. The cross-sound ferry schedules have been curtailed as one of the boats, Sea Level, draws too much to negotiate the slough. Emergency dredging is to begin 4/24/17. Sailors planning to head for Ocracoke should monitor the situation.

Oriental Gets a Second Chance -- After foolishly allowing corporate America to come in and destroy their local grocery store, the people of Oriental are getting another chance with the new Piggly Wiggly, a.k.a. "the Piglet", a small but well-stocked, full service store within walking distance of the Whittaker Creek yards and marinas. It's a bit of a hike from the town dock and old harbor, though.

Can't walk to the Silos any more. -- It's nice to be home at Matthews Point, but I miss having the Silos just corner, which was the case when I had the boat at Sailcraft Service. Tuesday night meant a free cheese pizza with every pizza ordered, Wednesday was open mike night, and Thursday was dollar beers. See why the Silos is Oriental's favorite joint.

One of the Last of the Harkers Island Wooden Boat Builders -- is close to completing 21 foot workboat Florence Mae. Heber Guthrie is building the boat for the NC Coastal Heritage Association. For more information, click here.

2017 Oriental In-Water Boat Show -- will be held the weekend of April 21-23 at Oriental Harbor Marina. See the flyer here.

12 Degrees North -- Dale and Cori are in Grenada, the far southeastern corner of the Caribbean, just 12 degrees north of the equator. For those who like to sail, we salute you.

Gojo Goes Upscale -- Gojo Hand Cleaner is now made with fine Italian pumice. The boatyard features this distinctive product in its washroom. It's part of a general upgrading that features yard workers in fine Italian leather boat shoes and silken cravats. The old Bunn-O-Matic in the break room has been replaced with an espresso machine. I have taken to wearing a blue blazer as I labor on the Terry Ann refit.

43rd Annual Wooden Boat Show -- The Beaufort NC show will be held on May 6th, 2017 at the Maritime Museum. Click here for details.

Time is Running Out -- The 17th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists jointly hosted at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland and the Academy Art Museum in Easton, will close March 31st, 2017.

Do Your Love Jet Noise? -- If you do, check out the Wings Over Wayne Airshow the weekend of May 20-21, 2017, at Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro. I'm looking forward to taking my grandson to this show in a few years, when he is a little older.

Spam and Yams? -- No, Dan, it's the 2017 Smithfield Ham and Yam Festival in, if you can call it that, "downtown" Smithfield NC. May 6th, 2017.

It will soon be that time of year -- Yes, festival season in eastern North Carolina will soon be upon us. For 35 years, Kinston has made an early move on the tourist wallet, and this year is no different. The 36th Annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse will be held the weekend of May 5-6, 2017. Personally, I stop at King's on the east side of town whenever I get a chance because to my taste, they make some of the best eastern-style bbq around.

Greensboro Wooden Boat Restorer -- Lowell Boats specializes in restoration and refinishing of classic wooden boat. I met Gary Lowell at Sailcraft Service last month and am itching to get over to Greensboro and see his shop. In addition to his main business, Gary also surveys boats and teaches classes at the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine. Check out his website for more information.

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