Neuse River Sailors
Sailing Southeastern Waters
Even a day sail can be a passage, if you end up on a different dock from the one you started on. Not that moving from Edenton Marina to the Edenton Town Dock really counts, but anything much longer does, in my book...more.
Story by Paul Clayton.
A slow but worrisome below waterline leak took my attention on a recent trip to Edenton, and while I did manage to get it stopped (Gunk Radiator Repair), I hesitated to leave the boat while I returned to Winston. Since I had a number of things to do in the boatyard, I decided to sail to Belhaven and have Terry Ann hauled at TJ's. Taylor volunteered to come along, and I quickly took him up on it before he had time to change his mind...more.
Story by Paul Clayton.
The gentle breezes of May beckoned, and I arrived in Edenton prepared to run down the Albemarle, explore the upper reaches of the Pamlico and loop back up the Pungo and Alligator Rivers. But this is 2022, there have been no gentle breezes. With a forecast of 15-20 knot winds and gusts to 25 on the lower Albemarle, prudence led me to tie a reef in the main and leave the working jib on the furler...more.
Story by Paul Clayton.
My annual fall vacation this year (2021) was also the first one since moving our Stone Horse 23 Flying Beagle from Oriental to Potter’s Marine on the Pamlico River. I decided to explore some of the local bays and anchorages rather than head back south to Oriental, Beaufort, etc. Despite the (mostly) light winds, I managed to visit several new places and a few old ones, too...more.
Story by David Swanson.
Facilities are few and far between on the upper Albemarle, but boats that draw five feet or less should consider a visit to Mackeys Marina on the south shore of the sound...more.
Review by Paul Clayton.
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...more.
Review by Paul Clayton.
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...more.
Review by Paul Clayton.
The Alligator-Pungo Canal was completed in 1928. In later years it was brought out to a project depth of 12 feet and width of 90 feet. Over the years bank erosion has increased the width considerably, but the waters outside of the 90 foot width are infested with stumps. The depth of the canal has been reduced by soil deposited by bank erosion. Now the canal is probably on average 10 feet deep right down the center and 120 feet wide, with gradual shoaling on either side, and then stumps outside of 45 feet either side of the centerline...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
Take this for what it is, I don't think there's really a moral to it. The story has been lightly fictionalized to protect the guilty.
Wealthy retired professional man and his wife get the yen to cruise down to Florida. They have zero experience with boating of any kind, but it looks easy enough, so they buy a multi-hundred thousand dollar custom power cat. They have it thoroughly serviced at a Pungo River boatyard and proceed south. Within a day, they get an urgent message that they are needed at home, so they put in to a boatyard up the Bay River and get ready to fly home for what they think will be a couple of weeks. In fact, the issue takes six months to resolve...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
It's a whole lot easier to get on and off the boat at the marina if it is pulled up close to the finger pier. That's common practice, and when we leave the boat for more than few hours we line it out into the middle of the slip so that it can't contact the dock in any circumstance.
A friend at the boatyard recently prevented a sunken boat when a newcomer to boating left his boat griped up against the dock while he went home for a few days. Steve lives aboard his own boat, which is hauled out, and one Sunday evening, with no-one else around, water rising, saw the boat listing, with one gunwale hung under a bolt on a piling. Try as he might, he could not get the boat free. He called the owner, who exclaimed "there's an open through-hull just above the water line"...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
Murphy, NC boatbuilder Bruce Mierke, creator of Palmetto, a Sam Devlin designed trailerable ICW runner, and Arabella, a radical Dudley Dix gaff-rigged, lifting-keel racer, sent me an email: "A year ago I found a CD typhoon in very bad shape. I bought her and totally gutted her down to bare hull, then rebuilt as an open daysailer"...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
It was early October 2019 and the old, frail, decrepit Alligator River Bridge had marine traffic all tied up. The opening mechanism was broken, parts had to be fabricated, and nobody had a good handle on how long it would take. That meant the bridge was locked down in the "closed" position. To a sailor, that means open for highway traffic, closed for him. Alligator River Marina, just on the north side of the bridge, was doing a booming business, every slip taken and boats lining the fuel docks. The snowbirds were edging south from New England and the Chesapeake Bay, ready to sprint for Florida as soon as hurricane season ended, and they were all piling up at the marina...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
I've lost something overboard on occasion, and I'd guess most readers have done so as well. A useful piece of kit for any boat is a strong magnet on a lanyard...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
Clifford Ashley noted in his book "The Ashley Book of Knots" - "An old truck tire fender, unfortunately, is about the most practical fender there is. Fishermen use them naked and they are far from handsome. But if they are ringbolt hitched with rope or large strands from a rope, they become as handsome as any"...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
In a bad situation, all sorts of things can be stuffed into a hole in the boat to slow down the water - rags, a wad of tape, a monkey's fist, or even a potato or the shirt off your back. Anything that will start to fit and can be pounded in with a mallet (or a shoe, a frying pan, you get the idea). But the time-tested solution is a tapered plug made out of some kind of soft wood...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
Designed by noted Australian designer Lock Crowther, these boats are built of cored fiberglass and feature twin daggerboards for performance to windward. As built they incorporated twin Nanni 13 horsepower diesels, one in each hull, but the pictured boat has been converted to a center-mounted Honda 25 horsepower outboard...more.
Entry by Paul Clayton.
I saw this distinctive-looking boat at Manteo and again at Elizabeth City. Evidently this model can be trailered and hauled by a 3/4 ton truck with what a reviewer describes as "a standard over-wide transportation permit". It is powered by twin outboards in the 60-100hp range and features a 16" draft allowing it to enter almost any water...more.
Entry by Paul Clayton.
Massachusetts naval architect and builder Sam Crocker studied under John Alden and then set up his own shop, where he developed a reputation as one of America's finest designers. The Stone Horse was laid out to handle the rough waters of Buzzards Bay and provide shelter for occasional overnighting...more.
Entry by Paul Clayton.
These distinctive canoe stern boats were made in sloop or yawl configurations, with or without centerboards. The designer, Ted Brewer, was one of the greats, and purportedly owned one of these boats for a while...more.
Entry by Paul Clayton.
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.
Posts about refitting my Alberg 35...more.
You can contact this site by emailing email@example.com.
Copyright © 2017-2023 Paul M. Clayton
Don't Let Down Your Guard -- It's 9/5/23, and another storm with the potential to become a major hurricane is brewing in the central Atlantic. National Hurricane Center is issuing a tropical weather outlook for Tropical Depression 13, which they predict will become a full-fledged major hurricane by the weekend.
Wind and Rain -- As of 8/28/23, the National Hurricane Center predicts that tropical storm Idalia will pass 30-40nm southeast of Cape Lookout Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Potential for tropical storm force winds and six to ten inches of rain along the coast. The forecast is still far enough out that there could be a lot of variation, so anywhere along the sounds and coast should prepare for wind and rain.
Something's Brewing -- It's been a quiet few weeks, but as of 8/14/23 the National Hurricane Center has an eye on a disturbance far out in the Atlantic, southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.
Great Bridge Lock Closure -- The lock will be closed 24 hours a day from July 24th through July 28th, 2023, then from 0700 to 1700 Monday through Friday July 31st through August 18th. The Coast Guard is encouraging vessels that draw six feet or less to use the Dismal Swamp Canal. Expect congestion at the Elizabeth City docks, the locks, and the Visitors Center docks.
Windex Count -- In 2017 I walked the docks at Matthews Point, counting the Windexes at the tops of the masts. I found that, out of the 65 sailboats, 54 had Windexes and 11 did not. Now it's July 2023, and my Windex count in TJ's boatyard shows, of 39 sailboats, 12 have just Windexes, 9 have just electrical gauges, 10 have both, and 8 have neither.
The First Real Threat -- The afternoon of June 18th the National Hurricane Center/reports "...a broad area of low pressure located several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Environmental conditions appear conducive for additional development, and a tropical depression or tropical storm is expected to form over the next day or so."
'Tis the Season -- It's time to start checking in daily with the National Hurricane Center website. Hmmm, it's June 2nd and we're already on Tropical Depression 2.
Splash -- Taylor's Hunter Never Enough goes back into the water after bottom work, new mast step, new running rigging, engine work, and other things to get her ready for 2023.
Heavy Weather -- It's shaping up to being a rough Memorial Day weekend. Northeast winds gusting to around 40 mph are forecast, along with rain and thunderstorms. Some coastal flooding can be expected, along with ferry cancellations. Keep an eye on the National Weather Service for updates. If your weekend involves a ferry ride, the NC Ferry Website can keep you updated.
Mighty Sparrow -- In TJ's Boatyard in early May 2023 I found Westsail 32 Mighty Sparrow. The owner Jerome Rand did a single-handed circumnavigation in this boat in 2017-2018 and has since parlayed it into a podcast, writing and motivational speaking career.
Progress -- Terry Ann has most of the caprails replaced, topside cleaned and bottom painted in this recent picture from TJ's Boatyard.
Big Forest Fire in Croatan National Forest -- As of the evening of 4/1/23 35,000 acres have burned and the fire is only 10 percent contained. See the ABC New Bern affiliate WCTI News story.
Rodanthe in the News -- A story at the Washington Post looks at the collapse of several houses along the oceanfront, including one that was purchased for $550,000 in August 2021 and fell into the ocean nine month later.
Not Today -- Rocket Lab launch scheduled for this evening (3/11/23) scrubbed due to weather.
Watch for It! -- NASA's facility at Wallop's Island on the Eastern Penninsula, VA, will facilitate the launch of a Rocket Lab rocket this evening (3/11/23), weather permitting. The timing will be between 6:00 and 8:00 in the evening, and it should be visible over much of the eastern U.S. Of course, the closer you are to the launch point, the better the view. I saw the January 2023 launch from Edenton and it was spectacular! For more information, check out the article at this articleIsland Free Press.
Rough Weather -- Gale warning for the Pamlico Sound tonight and tomorrow, March 10-11, 2023. Small Craft Advisory on the Albemarle Sound and Alligator River. Northbound Island Girl and her tow are waiting it out under the U.S. 264 bridge at the south end of the Alligator-Pungo Canal.
New Article -- Read here about how a sailor in the boatyard saved a boat from sinking.
Diesel Fuel Fill Pads -- Take a large oil-absorbent pad and cut it in quarters. Then fold each quarter in quarters and cut off the folded corners. Now you have four small pads with the centers cut out. These can be placed over the fuel filler neck to soak up any splashes and small spills while refueling.
A Bit Unnerving -- 6:45 in the evening of February 17th, the front just came through with a 40 knot gust, and the rain poured. According to the NWS, it will all happen fast, and then it will settle down and get cold. That's ok with me, the way the boat is moving around on its stands is a bit unnerving.
In Belhaven -- It's February 17th, 2023, and I am in TJ's Boatyard. The last few days have been breezy and warm, good weather for laying up fiberglass, and I have one unnecessary through-hull glassed over and curing. I'm eyeing another - the one that holds the spinner for the Raymarine speedometer. These things only work for a short while after a haul-out before barnacles jam them, and at this point everyone, even me, has a chart plotter with gps that shows the boat speed, so who needs it? If you want to be traditional, stream a log. If anyone has a lead on a good salvage yard where I could get a set of aluminum spreaders, let me know.
I Should Have Called Them -- Finally, February 8th, 2023, the USCG has issued the notice on the destroyed Marker 1AS (LLNR 31485) that we noted as we sailed from Edenton to the upper Alligator River on January 28th. They also issued LNMs last week on Alligator River Lights 12 and 24 reported missing.
Jamestown -- I kid you not, I placed an order for bottom paint, fiberglass cloth and mat, and resin on February 6th and received it on February 8th! No special shipping, just standard UPS ground built into the prices - and the prices were good. Jamestown Distributors, Inc.
What's New -- This article about Bruce Mierke's rebuild of a Cape Dory Typhoon as an open-decked daysailor. Coming soon - Terry Ann to Belhaven in January.
Caution -- We passed from Edenton to Belhaven January 28-29 and found Marker 1AS at the corner of the danger zone along the south shore of Albemarle Sound broken off a few feet above the water. Anyone following a gps course through here at night should be cautious not to run onto this dangerous stub. On the Alligator River, Marker 37 at the south end of the spoil area is gone and has been replaced with a floating marker. It flashes, but not as bright as a standard marker, and is easily confused with a background light.
Batten Down the Hatches -- It's January 24th, 2023 and the weather in Edenton is fine. The sun is shining, it's 50 degrees, and a light wind is blowing. But tomorrow a fast-moving front is forecast to pass through eastern NC, bring a gale warning and 40 knot winds to the Pamlico Sound and rainy, gusty conditions to Edenton. By Thursday, it will all be past, and things will settle down for a pleasant few days.
Tropical Storm in January? -- The National Hurricane Center is tracking a disturbance off the Virginia coast but giving it a near zero chance of development.
Rogue Wave -- Watch this simulation created from data recorded by a buoy off Vancouver Island in 2020 of a 58 foot rogue wave.
New Channel? -- On January 5th, 2023, Island Free Press is reporting "New navigational channel now open in Oregon Inlet" but I have not been able to find the ATON and in fact the latest ATONs refering to the inlet suggest severe shoaling and several markers off station or missing. So perhaps the new channel has been established and now it needs to be dredged?
New Alligator River Bridge? -- The sometimes balky swing-span has been a headache for sailors and motorists alike. As part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, supported by NC Senator Tillis and signed by President Biden, $110 million has been set aside to help pay for a new high-level bridge that will be aligned close to the existing bridge. Construction is expected to start in 2025. For more information - Island Free Press.
Deal With It -- Outer Banks drivers are getting used to driving on submerged roads. The next stage in their education is learning to deal with black ice and slush. It's all part of life during the climate change end days, as the barrier islands come apart at the seams and vanish Atlantis-like beneath the sea. Won't it be strange when the only features separating the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean are the two new bridges to nowhere, the Basnight over Oregon Inlet and the Jug Handle at Mirlo Beach, jutting up out of the open sea?
It's 12/23/22 -- and all NC Ferry routes are suspended due to weather.
Anybody Use Discord? -- If you want to join me in trying to get a Neuse River Sailors Discord server going, email me.
Cherry Point Marker -- is reported "destroyed" USCG ATON 12/13/22 and "extinguished" in USCG ATON 12/15/22. This is the Neuse River channel marker "9" at the mouth of the ferry channel at Cherry Point. Mariners use caution. Thanks, David, for bringing this to our attention.
Heat Exchanger Zinc -- I completed a 100 hour service and winterization of the Beta on Terry Ann a few days ago and replaced this zinc that protects the heat exchanger core.
New Ferry Coming to the Neuse River -- The latest addition to the NC Ferry fleet, M.V. Salvo, will start her service on the Cherry Point-Minnesott crossing, in a few weeks. Story at Island Free Press.
Time to Winterize -- Parts of the NC coast have already seen several nights of temperatures well down into the 20s.
Ferry Suspensions -- Ocracoke has been cut off most of the day of 11/8/22 with all ferry routes suspended due to rough weather on the sound. Tomorrow doesn't look much better. Knotts Island, Aurora and Cherry Point ferries are also suspended. For the latest information, go to the NC Ferry System website.
Possible Threat -- As of 11/6/22 a low pressure system located approximately 200 miles north of Puerto Rico is generating gale warnings. That far north and east, the first inclination is to discount the chances that it would affect the southeast coast, but the NHC predicts that it may take a westerly or even southwesterly course. The NHC is giving this system over a 60% chance of becoming a tropical or subtropical storm in the next few days. Per the NHC Tropical Weather Discussion of 11/7/22 0005 UTC, "...there is an increasing risk of coastal flooding, tropical-storm-force winds, heavy rainfall, rough surf, and beach erosion along much of the southeastern United States coast, the Florida east coast, and portions of the central and northwestern Bahamas beginning in the early to middle part of this week".
Duckweed Inconvenience -- Charlie reports recent southbounders say the duckweed horror is broken up, so back to normal levels of inconvenience.
Hurricane Ian Effects? -- Recent ATONs: 10/5/22 BARNEY SLOUGH CHANNEL LIGHTED WRECK BUOY 8 (LLNR 28722.5) AID RPTD MISSING. 10/6/22 BAY RIVER LIGHT 3 (LLNR 33405) RPTD EXT. 10/6/22 HARKERS ISLAND STRAITS LT 17 (LLNR 29386) IS EXT. 10/8/22 NAVY AIR COMBAT MANEUVERING RANGE TOWER LIGHT C (LLNR 580) RPTD EXT.10/13/22 BOGUE SOUND LT 21 (LLNR 38925) RPTD DESTROYED. 10/14/22 CAPE LOOKOUT LT (LLNR 670) RPTD EXT. (That last one is the Cape Lookout Light). Thanks David for bringing this to my attention.
Duckweed Horror -- My friend Charlie Langworthy passed through the Dismal Swamp Canal in early October and ran into a real duckweed horror show at South Mills Lock. All snowbirds considering the Dismal Swamp route should read, and consider, Charlie's post at his blog site, The Horror at South Mills Lock. Everyone else, read the post for the sheer shock value of a 2-foot thick layer of duckweed, or, in Charlie's words, "a literal wall, a sort of miasma...a stinking, fetid mass, of duckweed, pine needles, branches, and trash".
Suspended -- As of 8:00 AM 9/30/22 all NC Ferry routes are suspended as hurricane Ian approaches the South Carolina coast.
Intrepid Mariners -- intent on exploring Juniper Bay on the north shore of Pamlico Sound - note this USCG Notice to Mariners dated 9/23/22 - JUNIPER BAY LT 2 (LLNR 32445), TRLB MARKED "WR2" WITH 5NFR, 30' OF 1/2" CHAIN AND A 135LB DOR-MOR 10 YARDS CHANNELWARD OF WRECKAGE. My interpretation - flashing red "2" at the mouth of Juniper bay is destroyed and has been temporarily replaced by (TRLB) a 5NFR-type buoy 10 yards channelward of the wreckage of the old marker.
Keep a Weather Eye -- on tropical depression nine.
Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree -- will be held October 28th and 29th in Ocracoke.
Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- is coming up the weekend of October 15th and 16th, 2022. For more information, click here.
Earl is Spooling Up -- but will probably recurve toward, or east of, Bermuda and follow Danielle for the coasts of Europe. Here is the National Hurricane Center track prediction as of September 3rd, 2022. Just a reminder to keep an eye on things.
Celebrating 82 Years -- The USCG Station in Elizabeth City was opened in August of 1940 and now is the largest employer in northeastern North Carolina. Coastal Review has a nice article looking back at the history of the facility.
Incoming! US Coast Guard warns "SAFETY/NC – CHERRY POINT OPERATING AREA (CPOA) – HAZOPS - FIREX WEEK OF 18 – 24 JUL 22, CHANGE FOUR/HAZ OPS/CCGD5 BNM 0367-22. FIRING EXERCISES HAZARDOUS TO SURFACE VESSELS WILL BE CONDUCTED DURING THE FOLLOWING TIMES AND LOCATIONS IN THE CPOA". Rather than try to interpret Coast Guard lingo, I'll just refer you to this link.
Pop-Up Storm. As of the morning of 7/2/22 the National Hurricane Center is warning of tropical storm Colin proceeding up the South Carolina coast, potentially crossing the Pamlico sound by late this afternoon. NHC home page.
Looking Good for Now. The NC Ferry Division reports that Bigfoot Slough has been restored to adequate depth for the large Sound ferries to transit. So, as of 7/21/22, the full cross-sound summer schedules have been resumed. See the NCDOT press release: Pamlico Sound Ferry Routes to Resume Full Summer Schedules.
Time to Get Back in the Habit of checking the National Hurricane Center site every day. The current five day outlook shows a disturbance far out in the Atlantic, heading for the Windward Islands, with a 40-60% chance of development.
30th Annual WoodenBoat Show is this weekend, June 24-26, 2022, in Mystic, CT. Click here for details.
Prinses Mia is on the Mariners Wharf in Elizabeth City. I first made acquaintance with this remarkable boat and no less remarkable captain, Martijn, and crew, seven-year old Mia, in Oriental in 2019. Today in June of 2022 I found the boat closed up, so perhaps Martijn is away traveling by land, so I didn't get to speak to this person who I consider to be the finest seaman I know, as well as one of the most cordial and generous sailors I have met. It was a thrill to see the 50 foot Colin Archer on the dock. If you want to read more about Prinses Mia, Martjn and Mia, see my article Edenton to Oriental and Return, June 2019.
New Delivery Method -- You know the "Broadcast Notices to Mariners" that sometimes break in on VHF Channel 16? Now you can get them via email. To subscribe to the USCG North Carolina Sector, click on this link. All you have to provide is an email address. I checked out the supplier, govdelivery.com, and found them to be a private service that many government agencies contract with to provide push email services.
Passable with Moderate Draft -- A Neuse River sailor who attended Ocrafolk emailed me that he transited Nine Foot Shoal Channel going and returning and found depths of six feet between markers 4 and 5, and also around 8. This was at mid-tide. He reported the bottom profile as "very rough". Big Foot Slough is still accomodating the older Sound class ferries that draw 6 1/2 feet, but the two new boats that draw 7 1/2 feet can't make it. I'd suggest anyone wanting to go to Ocracoke might want to follow a ferry in. The captains probably know the deepest part of the channel.
113 Degrees? -- It's the evening of 6/12/22 and the National Weather Service is predicting a possible heat index of 113 Tuesday for the New Bern area.
Sorry - More OBX News -- I have to admit a degree of morbid fascination, watching the Outer Banks transportation infrastructure crumble. The latest is this long article by Catherine Kozak at Island Free Press, Worsening conditions challenge Ocracoke ferry operations. The article ranges from the Rollinson Channel leading out of Hatteras to Sloop Channel at the north end of Ocracoke Island, Big Foot Slough leading in to Ocracoke, potential dredging of Nine Foot Slough as an alternate route to the sound, and relocating the north Ocracoke landing to a point near the Pony Pens.
Racing on Taylors Creek -- Traditional sailing craft will gather for a rally and race on July 7th, 2022. For more information, click here.
Cancellations -- June 5th, 2022. NC Ferry is reporting numerous cancellations of ferries in and out of Ocracoke, both to the mainland and to Hatteras. Evidently some of the deep-draft boats are having difficulties with shoaling in the channel leading into Ocracoke. With today being the last day of Ocrafolk, I wonder if all attendees will be able to get home. Of course, no better place to be stranded. I hope one of my readers who attended the Festival will send a first-hand report of the condition of the channel.
Getting a 404 -- The article at Island Free Press regarding shoaling in Oregon Inlet has been taken down. Essentially the same article is available at Outer Banks Voice Oregon Inlet currently unnavigable to vessels. A followup has been posted on May 27th, 2022 - New navigational channel at Oregon Inlet. This temporary channel provides a vertical clearance of only 37 feet over mean high water. Thanks contributor Mike Doster for the links.
Cooperage Dock, Belhaven -- Regular contributor David Swanson reports that the Cooperage Docks (the free dock) "are in really bad shape. One section of the main dock has buckled & the cross member is gone. I would not say it is safe to use." Belhaven shoots itself in the foot again. They got grant money to build the dock and now they won't keep it up. This town could be another Oriental for cruisers, if they made an effort.
Back in Edenton -- Motor-sailed up the sound May 23rd in front of an east wind. Back to Winston on the 26th.
Bottled Up -- As of May 21st I am on the MACU dock in Elizabeth City, with southerly to southwesterly winds predicted for the next several days.
Ramifications -- The recent storm system that pounded the Outer Banks last week completely shoaled Oregon Inlet to the extent that the Coast Guard will remove the channel markers. See report at Island Free Press.
Ferry Cancellations -- due to mechanical issues and Covid among crew members. Updates on the status of all routes can be found at the NC Ferry System Website.
Plan Accordingly -- Cruisersnet reports that Norfolk Southern has requested a deviation allowing them to perform maintenance on the railroad bridge just to the south of the Gilmerton Lift Bridge, Mile 5.8 on the ICW. Quoting from the USCG RFC, The proposed maintenance requires a work barge to occupy most of the navigational channel and the bridge to be maintained in the closed-to-navigation position for several hours each morning and each afternoon for 5 weeks of Monday-Friday closures. The work will occur between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on each of the following proposed dates in June - July:
Monday, June 6th through Friday, June 10th.
Monday, June 13th through Friday, June 17th.
Monday, June 20th through Friday, June 24th.
Monday, June 27th through Friday, July 1st.
Monday, July 4th through Friday, July 8th.
During each weekdays’ closure period, there will be a 1.5 hour scheduled opening, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., where the work barge will be removed from the navigational channel to allow for marine traffic to proceed without any reduction in horizontal clearance and the bridge will be maintained in the open-to-navigation position.
Cruisersnet reports that these deviation requests by the railroad are almost always granted, so traffic to and from the Chesapeake should plan accordingly.
Roads and Ferries Closed -- On 5/10/22 Island Free Press reports NC 12 closed between Rodanthe and Oregon Inlet with sand and standing water on the road. Overwash is also reported at Buxton and Avon. Two houses collapsed into the sea in Rodanthe. The NC Ferry Twitter feed reports Cedar Island, Swan Quarter,Hatteras, Knotts Island and Cherry Branch ferries all suspended. Hodges Street in Oriental is flooded, the Bean is closed.
Sea History -- The National Maritime Historical Society's magazine Sea History is available to read or download free of charge here.
BBQ Fest on the Neuse -- will be held May 5th-6th in Kinston.
Ocrafolk 2022 -- There is usually a contingent of Matthews Point people at Ocrafolk, how about this year? June 3rd-5th, 2022.
46th Annual -- Wooden Boat Show at the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort is scheduled for May 7th, 2022.
Well, That Was A Mess -- I plead guilty, I really hadn't given the Links section of this website much attention lately. So it wasn't a surprise when I started poking around and determined that approximately 50% of the links were dead. I sentenced myself to putting things to rights, and spent the morning updating, deleting and adding <a href=address> statements. No guarantees that there aren't a few dead links still there, but it should be much better.
Let's Get This Straight -- The ferry reported aground April 18th actually ran aground on Saturday the 16th, in Sloop Channel at the north end of Ocracoke Island, close to a grounded dredge. Aboard the ferry, a passenger began suffering severe abdominal pains. The Coast Guard offloaded her from the ferry and transferred her to EMS at the Hatteras Coast Guard Station. Later in the day, the ferry got free and proceeded to the Hatteras Ferry Landing. That's the best I understand it, see the article at Island Free Press to see if you read it that way. I'm sure everyone at the USCG, the NC Ferry Division, and the island of Ocracoke are looking forward to balmy, gentle days of April to finally kick in and give them some relief from the constant drama.
Back at the "Ancestral Home" -- Dale and Cori are home at Matthews Point for a little while. Check out their blog, hiflite.blogspot.com.
Long Detour -- High winds and shoaling have caused the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route to be suspended. Monday, April 18th started with a ferry aground for several hours close by a grounded barge near the Silver Lake channel. By mid-day, the whole schedule was suspended, and morning April 19th the boats are still not running. Island Free Press is reporting on this. A photograph shows critical supply trucks waiting at the Hatteras landing, including Sysco, U.S. Foods and Lays rigs plus a garbage truck. The Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries are still running, but this involves a long detour and even longer ferry trip.
Dismal Swamp Canal Closure -- Deep Creek Lock will be closed April 19th through April 22nd, 2022 for diving operations. Thanks CruisersNet for linking this.
Horrifying Pontoon Boat Incident -- The Miami Herald reports that a pontoon boat tied up under the counterweight of the Cato Bridge in Jupiter FL and was crushed when the operator opened the bridge. The occupants leapt to safety, nobody was hurt. There is a link to video.
New Coast Guard Fire Extinguisher Regulations -- New regs go into effect April 20th, 2022. See the article at BoatU.S. for a concise description of what you need to do to stay in compliance.
Edenton Town Dock Closed -- As of April 9th, 2022, the Edenton Town Dock is closed. I spoke to the park attendant who said he expected it would reopen in about a month. Perhaps some much-needed improvements are in store.
Easy Money -- Long ago someone gave me a small, used jib thinking it might fit my Cape Dory. It was too small, but I kept it in a back room for many years, thinking someday it might be useful. Recently I decided the time had come to dispose of it. I measured it, hoping it would fit a friend's Hobie 16, but it was too big. I thought about cutting it up to make bags, but it was in too good condition. Finally, I went online and found Second Wind Sails in Fort Lauderdale. The website stated that they bought and sold used sails, and to email them if you had something to sell. So I did, and quickly got a reply. If I wanted to sell the sail, I should ship it by UPS or Fedex ground, and they would inspect it, either pay me for it on the spot or consign it for me. I packed it up, took it to the UPS store and shipped it at the punishingly high current rate of $29.63. A few days later I got an email from Second Hand Sails offering me $60 on the spot, or they would consign it and in time I might get as much as $90 for it. I jumped at the $60 offer and promised to squander my $30 profit like a drunken sailor. Maybe a handle of rum, or a night out with a cheap date. Whatever I do with the money, I'm happy the sail will be drawing wind somewhere and not end up in a landfill. And now I know what to do with extra sails - send them to Second Wind. They are super-easy and pleasant to work with, and very quick to make an offer.
You Know It Floods, Right? -- Regular contributor David Swanson sent this picture of a banner at the old hospital site in Belhaven advertising "charming single family cottages" to be erected at the location. I'm sure the developers know what they are doing - I hope the purchasers do. Beware the rain and south wind.
Corporatized -- Giant marina conglomerate Safe Harbor has purchased Jarrett Bay. Safe Harbor also owns South Harbour Marina in Southport and Safe Harbor Outer Banks, formerly OBX Marina, in Wanchese.
Buying and Selling -- I found this listing for Matthews Point Marina. A source tells me that the sale closed recently and the slip owners have been notified. No word yet on the new owner's plans. River Forest Manor and Marina was purchased by local interests in 2014 and refurbished, now is back on the market. Cotton Patch Landing at Chocowinity is for sale at an improbable $3.5 million. Potter's Marine near Bath is also on the market. Zimmerman Marine, which owns boatyards on the Chesapeake, is expanding into the Carolinas. They recently bought Deaton Yachts in Oriental. They already owned locations in Holden Beach, Southport and Charleston.
Is There No End to This? -- South Ferry Channel at Hatteras was dredged for the umpteenth time last November and has already shoaled to the point of being almost impassible. During the recent search efforts following the crash of a private airplane off New Drum Inlet, the Coast Guard "...was forced to attempt to go through Ocracoke Inlet in the 47-foot rescue boat...". That inlet is only marginally better, and returning from the fruitless effort to find survivors of the crash "ripped the lower unit off the 29". Catherine Kozak, veteran reporter at Island Free Press, tells the story. Historically, inlets opened and closed along the Banks, but with the stabilization needed to maintain Highway 12 unbroken, new ones are not allowed to open. With Oregon, Hatteras and Ocracoke Inlets all needing frequent dredging to stay navigable, will we see no passage between the Atlantic and inland waterways for the whole 249 miles between Norfolk and Morehead City?
On the Beach -- Several vessels have grounded on Outer Banks shoals and beaches this winter. Two sport fishermen are on the beach north of Oregon Inlet as of February 2nd, and a 55 foot Novatec recreational trawler has been grounded at the south end of Ocracoke Island for a week. A 37 foot sailboat went aground in Avon during December. And a commercial trawler grounded at Frisco in November.
All Tied Up -- Work on the I-64 bridge in Norfolk and closure of the Great Bridge Lock will have the ICW tied up for a few days in mid-February. See cruisersnet.net for details.
Cruise Ship Can't Pay for Bunkers -- so it's been diverted from Miami to Bimini to avoid seizure by the U.S. Marshall. Passengers are left to reschedule their flights home. Some twenty years ago a friend booked round-trip passage across the Atlantic aboard container ship Cast Husky, planning to spend the few days port time in Antwerp touring around the low countries. Halfway across, the Cast Line filed for bankruptcy and the ship was diverted to Ijmuiden where it was hidden on a wharf in a steel mill to avoid seizure by European authorities. My friend was told not to leave the ship for more than an hour as it could depart on short notice. So he got to spend his European vacation on board a container ship docked in a steel mill. After about a week the ship crossed back to New York where it was surrendered to the authorities. Back to the original topic, the cruise ship story can be found at bloomberg.com.
Not Enough Crew -- With Covid ripping through the state, the NC Ferry Division has put Hatteras-Ocracoke on short schedule for January 9-10, 2021. Too many crew and support staff are out with Covid to operate all the trips. It is always wise to check the NC Ferry twitter feed before planning a trip, as the schedules can get spotty this time of year. Sickness and bad weather cause many cancelations.
Nimble Wanderer Trawler -- for sale in, of all places, Winston-Salem. This would be a great little boat for exploring the rivers, creeks, coves and bays of the North Carolina coast. Here is the Craigslist listing. **Update** - Questions have been raised concerning this Craigslist listing. Anyone interested in the boat might wish to contact Curtis Stokes & Associates, the broker with the listing. It appears the boat is in Reedville VA.
Back in Operation -- As of the morning of 1/4/22, all NC Ferry routes are back in operation. NC 12 is closed between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe due to overwash. NC Ferry twitter feed. *Update* - As of 1/5/22 Highway 12 is open.
Only One Route Running -- As of 10:30am the morning of 1/3/22, all NC Ferry routes are suspended (or, in the case of Aurora-Bayview, down due to mechanical failure) due to weather, except Cherry Branch - Minnesott. NC Ferry twitter feed. *Update* - As of 1:30pm Cherry Branch is suspended as well.
North Atlantic Gale -- The front passing through North Carolina on 1/3/22 and bringing us rain, snow and wind will develop into a full-blown low with gale-force winds off the southwest coast of Iceland by the 5th, according to windy.com.
Valuable Resource -- James H. Newsome has posted an accurate, concise listing of free docks along the ICW at his aptly-named website ICW Free Docks.
Sailing to Alaska? -- PK Connor has compiled a nice little cruising guide to the Kodiak Islands and put it up as a free pdf. If you want paper, it is available for $4.98 at Amazon.
Morehead City Railroad Bridge -- Due to scheduled maintenance, the bridge will remain closed to navigation from 7:00AM 2022-01-04 through 7:00PM 2022-01-06 with the possibility of the time being extended through the 9th. Transients should use the Gallants Channel route. Local Notice to Mariners District 5 Week 51/21.
Who's in Fla? -- Looks like I will be in the Sunshine State for a few days around December 18th. Any friends who would like to get together for lunch, email me and we'll make plans.
Sheltering -- in the bight behind Nunjack Cay. Thats where Hiflite is anchored the night of 11/29/21.
Last Step -- Any time I put on a whipping or seizing, I finish it off by daubing on a coat of spar varnish. It helps protect the twine from UV.
Atomic Sailors -- I came across some old issues of The Atomic Sailor, Universal Motor's newsletter for Atomic 4 users, and here they are for the A4 fans out there (the first issue appears to be missing pages 1 and 2): Volume 1, Number 1; Volume 1, Number 2; Volume 2, Number 1; and Volume 2, Number 3
Winterization -- I ran two gallons of pink antifreeze into the raw water side of the new Beta to protect against winter freezing. We have already had two nights of low 20s.
Low Water -- It has been a cold fall, with one Canadian high after another bringing frigid air and northerly winds. In Edenton to winterize the boat, I attempted to turn Terry Ann in her slip to get a better angle of the sun for the solar panel, but found the bottom within a few feet. North winds blow the water out of the Albemarle, just the opposite of the Pamlico.
Dismal Swamp Canal Locking Schedule -- December 6-10, 2021, the locks will operate only at 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM, due to maintenance. Reported by Cruisersnet.
Final Update 11/09/21 -- All ferries running on regular schedules except Cherry Branch, which is on a one-boat schedule due to a mechanical issue. NCDOT is confident they can get NC 12 reopened by this afternoon. As always, Island Free Press is a great source of information, as are the NCDOT twitter feeds, ferry and road.
Ferries and Roads, 11/08/21 -- Cherry Branch-Minnesott resumed normal operations at 9:30 Monday morning. Hatteras ferries running a reduced schedule. Currituck-Knotts Island all runs cancelled. No word yet on the sound ferries. Bayview-Aurora running on regular schedule. Highway 12 is closed from Pea Island to Rodanthe. UPDATE: Sound ferries back on regular schedule starting 4:30 Monday afternoon.
Storm Update -- As of the evening of Sunday, 11/07/21, Highway 12 is closed between Rodanthe and Oregon Inlet, there is overwash in Hatteras Village, all ferries to Ocracoke are cancelled. The worst may be yet to come, with the high tide at 9:30 tonight. Winds and waves may moderate tomorrow. See reporting at Island Free Press. As of Sunday evening, the NC Ferry Twitter feed reports the Currituck-Knotts Island and Cherry Branch-Minnesott ferries to be suspended as well.
Cherry Branch - Minnesott -- ferry suspended as of 2:00 pm 11/6/21. The cross-sound ferries have been suspended as well. As of Saturday afternoon, Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries still running.
Conditions Expected to Deteriorate -- along the Outer Banks and in the Pamlico Sound the afternoon of Saturday, 11/6/21, as a major storm tracks along the coast. Winds to 60 mph, major coastal flooding and overwash are expected through Monday and possible Tuesday. Expect Highway 12 to close and ferry routes to be cancelled. More information at Island Free Press.
Don't Forget -- to renew your boat's documentation. You may have received a letter that looks suspiciously like a government document that is actually an offer to handle the renewal process for a fee. I'm sure it is a good, legitimate service, but doing it yourself is so easy there is really no reason to use it. Just go to the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Portal, choose "Order Products Online", then "Renewal", and follow the prompts. All you need are your boat's official number and a credit card. Takes about 2 minutes.
On the Elizabeth City Dock -- It's 10/27/21 and I am posting from the public library, which has good free wifi. The snowbirds are coming down the Dismal Swamp Canal, plus some local sailors who spent the summer on the Chesapeake. Mike sails an Alberg 30 and keeps the boat near Belhaven when he is not out cruising. Jeff, a Neuse River Sailors reader, is heading home to New Bern aboard his Ericson 32 Ardea. For a shot of Terry Ann on the dock, click here.
"Always Use Sta-bil" -- That's the advice my friend Pilot Dan, a certified FAA inspector and master at maintaining gasoline engines, gave me, and I religiously mixed it in with every tank of no-ethanol gasoline when I had the Atomic 4. Now that I have the Beta, I need some advice - should I run a diesel additive, and if so, what? Readers, what's your experience? Do you run an additive? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tricky Entrance... -- to Clubfoot Creek is a little trickier now that Marker 5 is missing its dayboard.
Dismal Swamp Canal Reopened -- After a short closure in late September due to an electrical issue at South Mills Lock, the canal reopened September 30th, 2021.
Must Be Getting Cold in New England -- Lately I am bombarded with email ads from West Marine urging me to buy winterizing products.
Tiller Versus Wheel -- "The strongest justification for a wheel is that it creates a prominent and authoritative-looking position for the fat bastard who pays the bills". I'm not going to reference this quote because it has been said so many times.
NOAA Weather Radio Coverage -- "You are listening to WNG537, broadcasting from Wakefield, VA, transmitting from a tower in Windsor, NC on frequency 162.525". For reference, here is a list of NWR stations, in order from Norfolk to Key West. Since more than one station can usually be picked up, this will help you zoom in on the one ahead, not the one behind. Anyone who has listened to the interminable tide listings and buoy reports only to find that the frequency provides local coverage for an area you passed through yesterday will understand.
Anybody Using Steel Rings -- for standing or running rigging? I'm thinking of seizing or shackling these to the stanchion bases of Terry Ann as fairleads for the jib furling line.
What's the Difference? -- Samson Trophy Braid is sold by Defender, West Marine, and other boating supply houses. From Samson's web site, "Trophy Braid is excellent for cruising sailors who want a rope with a soft hand. This line has a soft, fuzzy cover that is easy on the hands. This double braid construction has a spun polyester cover and a polyester core." In 3/8ths inch, the average strength is 3,000 pounds. Samson Stable Braid is sold by Gap Arborist Supply, Rigging Warehouse, Sheldon Hill and other supply houses catering to arborists, foresters and engineers. From Samson's web site, "Stable Braid has a braided core and cover, both contributing to its strength and firm hand, while remaining fully spliceable. It works very well on winch drums and has the non-rotational flexibility to be flaked on deck. Stable Braid is a proven, tough rope with excellent controlled working elongation." The minimum strength is 4,800 pounds. So the main advantage of Trophy Braid is the soft, fuzzy cover and the main advantage of the Stable Braid is the substantially greater strength. The other difference is that Trophy Braid is sold by boating supply houses to wealthy yachtsmen like you and me, while Stable Braid is sold to people doing hard manual labor to make a buck. Trophy Braid 3/8 inch line from Defender is $.89/foot, or $133.50 for 150 feet - plus Defender's hefty shipping fees. Stable Braid 3/8 inch from Gap Arborist is $85.49 for 150 feet, no shipping because it's over $49. Guess which one I bought? A hint - I have tough hands.
This is No Drill -- To our friends in Connecticut - we're thinking of you and sending energy. We know you are putting out your best bower anchor on plenty of rode, getting all the canvas off the masts, and doing everything you can to prepare. Hang on tight!
2021 Oriental Boat Show -- Cancelled last year due to Covid, the show is back, September 24-26, 2021. The organizers expect aroung 100 exhibitors at what they bill as the biggest in-water show between Annapolis and Savannah. For more information, click here.
New Boatyard in Belhaven -- My sailing partner Taylor turned up this new well-equipped yard recently and I drove down a few days ago for a look. The friendly owner explained that while they are not officially open yet, they are hauling boats for DIY and contract work. He added that they intend to add a marina adjacent to the yard.
A Self-Aware Fisherman -- owns this boat.
Hobie Cat on Lake Norman -- My friend Mark sent a shot of his Hobie 16 on a perfect day for sailing.
View From Mast Height -- Taylor took this picture looking out over Edenton Marina from the bucket lift while doing masthead work on his Hunter Never Enough..
A Lazy Afternoon... -- sailing a Sunfish in Pembroke Creek, Edenton.
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