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Sailing the Neuse, the Pamlico and Beyond

News and Announcements

First Pictures from Georgetown Show, -- are going up in the Photographs section now.

Blackbeard's Pirate Jamboree, -- scheduled for October 28th-30th 2016, has been cancelled. These people can't catch a break. The first two years, 2011-2012 were cancelled due to hurricanes. Like I asked earlier, just how bad are things at Ocracoke? Not much coming out except occasional Hyde County press releases and a story or two from Ocracoke Current.

All Ferry Routes -- running at least limited schedules as of 10/12/16, but note - no visitors allowed on any of the boats to Ocracoke - property owners, residents and contractors only.

Just How Bad Is It? -- Hyde County published an Emergency Public Notice today, 10/12/16. Visitor restrictions are still in place for Ocracoke. "Hyde County has not yet established a date for releasing the visitor restriction, however it will not be this weekend."

NC Ferries -- slowly coming back on line. All ferries except for Cherry Branch-Minnesott, Bayview-Aurora and Hatteras-Ocracoke are at least running partial schedules as of the evening of 10/10/16 - however Ocracoke is still under embargo and visitors are not allowed to cross on the Sound ferries - only residents, property owners and contractors. Town Dock is of the opinion that heavy upstream flooding of the Neuse River in combination with continuing north and northeast winds may keep the Cherry Branch ferry offline for the rest of the week. High water makes it impossible to get the boats under the ramps.

Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- still on for this Saturday, October 15th, according to the official web site.

Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry -- Running a limited schedule on the morning of 10/10/16 - all other routes still suspended.

Navigational Hazard? -- Two barges have broken loose from the New Bonner Bridge construction site and are adrift in the Pamlico Sound, 10/9/16. Here is a short video clip, courtesy of the Outer Banks Voice. **Update 10/10/16 - One of the barges has fetched up in Avon - photo here, Island Free Press.

Highway 12 Closed -- As of 10/9/16 Highway 12 is closed from Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe. All ferry routes remain suspended.

Eastern NC Highway Closures -- As of 10/8/16 the NCDOT reported multiple closures in both directions of Interstates 95 and 40 in North Carolina, as well as 95 through most of southern South Carolina. If it's bad enough to close the Interstates, don't even think about trying the back roads.

Ferry Closures for Matthew -- My best sources show that all NC Ferry service is suspended as of 8:30 AM October 8th due to effects of hurricane Matthew.

SC31 a No-Go -- We surveyed the boat I was considering buying in Cambridge, MD, and the results were not good. It happened to be pouring rain and water streamed in the portlights and through the deck fittings. You have to wonder, just how long has this been going on? This was just the beginning of the issues. Someday I'll write about it, for now, I'm getting ready to go to the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show next weekend - assuming Georgetown is still there after Matthew does his damage. In the meantime, I've posted a few pictures from the last couple of weeks in the Photographs section.

Rain -- Rain bands from hurricane Matthew are already affecting Winston-Salem - and the eye is still off the Florida-Georgia state line!

All Ferry Routes Back on Schedule -- 9:15 Sunday morning, 9/4/16 - NCDOT Ferry Divisions reports all routes back in operation, running normal schedules. Evacuation status lifted for Ocracoke, visitors welcome.

Eastern NC All in a Tangle -- Mid-day Saturday 9/3/16 - Alligator River Bridge is not opening for marine traffic due to wind conditions, and also is closed to vehicular traffic due to a truck wreck (hoping to reopen in afternoon). All statewide ferry routes still not operating except for Fort Fisher - Southport which is running regular schedule. There is standing water and sand on the length of Higway 12 on the Banks, and NCDOT is asking people to stay off the roads to allow repair crews to work. Ocracoke is still isolated and under evacuation status.NCDOT Highway 12 Twitter feed.

All NC Ferry Routes Suspended -- As of the morning of 9/3/16, all ferry routes statewide remain suspended. NCDOT reports sand and standing water on Highway 12 on the banks, but no breaks, asks for everyone to stay off road if possible to allow repair crews to work. Ocracoke is still under evacuation status, no-one allowed to enter except residents, property owners, emergency personnel. Keep up with ferry schedules at Ferry Division Twitter feed.

Hermine is Coming -- Category 1 hurricane Hermine crossed the coast of the Florida panhandle early in the morning of Friday, 9/2/16, and is expected to track up the east coast and through eastern North Carolina as a tropical storm by Saturday, 9/3/16. The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rain and wind gusts to 55 mph for Havelock.

91L Bears Watching -- As of Saturday, 8/27/16, tropical wave 91L is about 500 miles off South Carolina coast and headed northwest. It's not likely to develop into a tropical storm, but will probably bring sloppy, wet weather to the coast by Monday. Weather Underground.

New Novel About Oriental -- Nick Santoro, proprietor of Ensign Marina on Brown's Creek, has written a fictionalized account of life in and around Oriental over the last 20 years. The book has been published in a limited edition of 200 copies, and you can get one at the Whortonsville Yacht and Tractor Club website.

2016 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- is scheduled for Saturday, October 15th. Here is the event schedule.

HiFlite in Acadia -- Her 8/23/16 spot puts her in Valley Cove, just south of Mt. Desert.

Large Waterspout in Pamlico Sound -- Great pictures and reporting about a waterspout in the northern sound, near Oregon Inlet, at Weather Underground.

International Sailing Foundation Document -- "Offshore Special Regulations 2016-2017" is available online. This document is in outline form and could be used as a checklist for anyone fitting out for offshore sailing. It is worth looking at just to see what is considered "best practices" in the racing community.

Wasting No Time -- As of 8/16/16, Hiflite is in Gloucester, MA.

Anybody Run Old Canal Lately? -- Old Canal connects Turnagain Bay and West Bay. Have any readers run the canal recently? I got a report from David Swanson of Oriental that a correspondent ran through the canal earlier this year and had no problems. Sounds like he was sailing a dinghy or small craft as he stated that he ran with his board down to sound the bottom (3.5 ft). Anyone with recent experience please send me an email -

Out to Sea -- Hi-Flite's latest spot shows them to be well off the coast, on the latitude of the Maryland-New Jersey line.

Valor is Sold -- My Cape Dory 25 Valor has been sold to a local Cape Dory aficionado who plans to restore her as a father-son project over the upcoming winter. I can't think of a better place for my boat to be.

Valor is for Sale -- My Cape Dory 25 Valor is for sale to make room for a bigger boat that I could take long-distance cruising. She's been a fine day-sailor and I've taken a number of longer trips on her as well, but she's not the ticket for weeks or months-long trips, which I hope to take once I retire. So, anybody looking for a good sailable CD25? Asking price $1,500. Details here. Email me at

Maine Coon Hears for New Zealand Sailor -- Deaf sailor Paul J. Thompson and his cat Skatty sail the world on Thompson's junk-rigged schooner La Chica. Skatty alerts Thompson when people come alongside and when his phone rings. Skatty is polydactal, just like was common for ship's cats in the days of sail - old sailors said the extra toes helped the cat keep a better grip on the deck. Thanks Marie for sending me the link to this story.

Earl Just Blew Up -- It's the evening of August 2nd and the little 30 knot tropical wave we've been watching roll across the Atlantic has blown up into 60 knot tropical storm Earl in the course of a day. My guess is it will be a hurricane tomorrow. Not a threat to our part of the world but interests in the Yucatan, Mexican mainland and south Texas need to keep an eye open.

Future Shock Now? -- The New Bern Sun Journal reports on early season fish kills on the Neuse in this article from July 13th, 2016.

Talented Writer and Photographer -- Mike Doster makes another appearance on the pages of Neuse River Sailors. Check out his article at Ocrafolk 2016.

Coming Up at the Beaufort Maritime Museum -- August 6th, Traditional Skiff Regatta. August 13th - Pirate Invasion. See the Museum website for more information.

Any News? -- It's been quiet - too quiet. If you run across a news item that might interest Neuse River sailors, send me a link at If I post it, I'll give you credit.

2016 Hancock Regatta -- Coming up fast, the weekend of July 8th through 10th. Here is an email notice the organizers have sent out - "Good Morning All- Just wanted to shoot you a note about our upcoming Regatta. We hope you will be able to join us! Everyone is welcome regardless of skill level and we do have a cruising class. Dinner and beer Friday free, Dockage Free, Easy access to base if you are not coming by boat. Skippers receive a T Shirt and two dinner tickets for Saturday night. We hope to see you!" For more information, check out their website, Hancock Yacht Club.

Friends on the Internet -- Waiting for weather in Belhaven last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Pete and Kourtney aboard their Danish-built wooden boat Norna. Pete is a boatbuilder and accomplished musician, and Kourtney is the well-known author and blogger "Accidental Sailor Girl". They are wonderful, gentle people, devoted to sailing and living on the water. Pete has a cd of his music available, and Kourtney has her book, at Paper Sailor Inc. I have listened to the cd a couple times through and enjoyed it, and just started reading the book. Check it out, and if you see them on a dock somewhere, stop and introduce yourself - tell them the Neuse River Sailor sent you.

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