Neuse River Sailors
Sailing Southeastern Waters

Sailing Trips...

264 Cruise

Marker at mouth of North Creek

One of my goals when I take my boat vacation each year is to have some sort of theme. Sometimes it may be to see a new area, or to circumnavigate some body of water or peninsula. This trip ended up being shorter than normal due to work, weddings, and weather, and less structured than normal. By the end of the trip an unusual theme had emerged: This was the US-264 cruise....more.

Story by David Swanson.
Posted 05/21/24.

Overnight to Bath

Storm clouds over Washington

The winter of 2023-2024 featured one stormy, rainy, windy front after another along the North Carolina coast, and my Alberg 35 Terry Ann stayed tied to the dock from September to May...more.

Story by Paul Clayton.
Posted 05/11/24.

Passage to Washington

Terry Ann in Travelift well

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.
Posted 08/07/23.

More Sailing Trips...

Reviews...

Mackeys Marina

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.

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...more.

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...more.

Review by Paul Clayton.

More Reviews...

Articles...

Cautionary Tale IV

This is closely based on a tragic accident that happened on the Pamlico River last fall. All the details have not been confirmed, and some are based on rumor and speculation, but the core circumstances are documented and reported in the local media and in the Medical Examiner's report. Anyone wishing to find these sources should be able to easily do so. Take this account as fiction, but understand the truth...more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

Apollonia

Singleminded boatbuilder Gene Castellano of Center Moriches, Long Island, spent 25 years building his dreamboat Apollonia to an astounding level of craftsmanship. An avid sailor, he enjoyed this and previous boats on the Sound and Peconic Bay, but never had the opportunity to do the long distance sailing that the boat was built for...more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

Cautionary Tale III

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.

Cautionary Tale II

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.

Cautionary Tale

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.

Awesome Typhoon Conversion

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.

Three Ways South

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.

More Articles...

How To...

Fishing Tackle

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.

Tire Fender

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.

Emergency Plugs

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.

More How To...

Know Your Boats...

Dana 24

Bill Crealock's design for a pocket bluewater cruiser, the boat features heavy fiberglass construction and a full keel with substantial cutaway at the bow...more.

Entry by Paul Clayton.

Witness 35

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.

TT35

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.

Stone Horse

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.

Nimble 30

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.

More Know Your Boats...

Photographs...

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...

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.

Contact...

You can contact this site by emailing paul@neuseriversailors.com.

Copyright...

Copyright © 2012-2024 Paul M. Clayton

News and Announcements

More New Pictures -- Rusty sent more photographs of his sail north, including waiting for wind in Delaware Bay and seeing the sights of New York Harbor.

A Response -- Cautionary Tale IV hit a nerve with one reader, who sent me the following anecdote -
Paul -
Many, many years ago when I sailed out of Wrightsville Beach, some friends bought a new power cruiser. They took 3 of us including one with a Master's license (not sure which one) down to Southport for dinner, and there was a lot of drinking. The wife and I did not drink. This was pre-GPS era. Coming back up the Cape Fear River in the dark they were steering between the red & green lights. About the time they figured out that the lights were moving we got the 5 blast danger signal from the out-bound container ship. If it had hailed us on VHF we didn't hear it over the music. Things got a lot slower and more cautious after that.
Be safe.

Preparing for Offshore -- Apollonia is anchored at Beaufort as Rusty makes last preparations for heading offshore - whether north or south, he didn't say. He sent a few pictures which are posted at the Photographs section. I promised him I would ask everyone to remember his awareness-raising environmental group, Blue Mama.

Preliminary Work -- Island Free Press reports that NCDOT contractors will soon start work at driving concrete piles into the bed of the Alligator River to test for environmental issues and determine the best way to build the new bridge.

Ocrafolk 2024 -- June 7th through 9th, more info here.

What's New -- Neuse River Sailor David Swanson sent a couple of amusing pictures that I posted over at the Photographs section.

Back in Service -- The Oriental Town Docks - old and new - are back in service as of March 30th, 2024. Towndock.com.

Dismal Swamp Canal Closed to Through Traffic -- Deep Creek Lock is undergoing maintenance, expected to reopen April 9th, 2024. Through traffic should use the Albemarle & Chesapeake. USCG MSIB 173-24.

Ready in Time -- Town Dock reports that work is proceeding apace at the Oriental town docks, and they both should be open for the In-Water Boat Show April 12-14.

That's Ugly... -- USCG BNM 0148-24 - "THE NCDOT HAS IDENTIFIED 3 BENTS OF CONCRETE PILES FRM THE OLD BONNER BRIDGE ON THE NORTH SIDE OF OREGON INLET THAT ARE NOW IN 8 TO 12 FT OF WATER ACCESSIBLE BY RECREATIONAL BOATS. THE TOP OF THE PILES ARE 2 TO 4 FT BELOW MHW." These bents, once buried in the sand along the edge of the inlet, are now submerged in 8 to 12 feet of water, waiting to stave in the bottom of a fisherman's boat. This particular incidence is probably not of great concern to most Neuse River sailors, but it does emphasize that "new" deep water, scoured out by storms or shifting currents, may contain uncharted dangers.

Upcoming Event -- The 2024 Oriental In-Water Boat Show is scheduled for April 12-14. Check out their website for details.

Not a Long-Term Solution -- With seawater slopping over Highway 12 on the north end of the island, NCDOT awards contract for Ocracoke sandbag replacement, Island Free Press reports on February 28th, 2024.

Just in Case You Were Wondering -- Some of us on the Washington Dock have been pondering on the little sloop that was berthed behind the Estuarium for a while and now is anchored out in the harbor. A long-time local finally clued me in - it is a Rhodes Ranger. Whether it is a Rhodes Ranger Seafarer 28 or a Rhodes Ranger 29, I still don't know. But one thing is for sure, it is not a Ranger 29 - that is a completely different boat, designed not by Philip Rhodes but by Gary Mull, and built not by De Visser in Holland, but by Ranger Yachts in the U.S. No relation to Ranger Tugs.

Devastation -- The winter weather system that blasted through northeastern North Carolina on February 13th flooded roads from Ocracoke to Pea Island. N.C. Highway 12 on northern Ocracoke Island closes due to flooding; Soundside flooding reported in multiple areas of Hatteras Island. See also Soundside flooding reported from Hatteras Village to Pea Island. A death in a car accident on a flooded section of Highway 12 - Ocracoke man dies in Tuesday morning accident on northern Ocracoke Island. Ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke is suspended - Ocracoke-mainland ferry operations resume; Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry service remains suspended. All stories from Island Free Press.

Dredging to Benefit Cape Lookout Ferry -- David brought to my attention this article at Carolina Coast Online regarding dredging of the channel from the Harker's Island Visitors Center to the ferry landing at the base of the Lighthouse at Cape Lookout. The article was not too clear on exactly what, if anything, will be dredged other than the ferry channel. I suppose the markers that were lifted in 2019 may be replaced. Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Emily Winget is quoted as saying "Once dredging is complete, the channel will be open to commercial boats and deep draft vessels." That begs the question as to how the deep draft vessels will get to the ferry channel to begin with. Recent hydrographic surveys show the channel through the western reaches of Back Sound to be shoaled to 4 feet or less in many areas.

Up-to-Date Depths -- Here is a link to the Army Corp of Engineers hydrographic surveys for the Wilmington District that provide recent depths for many of the channels and inlets along the NC coast. They can be used in conjunction with nautical charts to "find the water" and navigate some of the channels that give sailors fits because of their changeability. For example, look at this survey of Bigfoot Slough and notice how shoal the water is directly around in front of Marker 10A, but there is adequate water across to the opposite side of the channel. Notice that this survey was taken January 17-18, 2024, so this is about as current as you are going to get.

Looking for Local Knowledge -- Anybody navigate Ocracoke Inlet lately, between the Pamlico and the Atlantic? I have been asked regarding a 52 foot boat with 6 foot draft and mast too tall to fit under the bridges that would like to get into the Pamlico Sound for a visit. My impression is that the waters between the town of Ocracoke and the ocean are challenging, to say the least. If you have done that passage please contact me, paul@neuseriversailors.com.

What's New -- In the Articles section - Apollonia - a beautiful custom-built wooden boat.

Hodges Street Dock Closed -- Neuse River Sailor David Swanson sent me notice that the Oriental Town Dock on Hodges Street - in front of the Bean - is closed due to structural issues.

Winterize or Worry About It -- The winter of 2023-2024 is shaping up as an uncommonly hard one, with fronts blasting through one after another. The latest one has pulled in frigid arctic air in its passing. Here in Little Washington, the prediction is that temperatures will fall to well below 20 degrees in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday and Monday, January 21st-22nd. So if you keep a boat in the water anywhere along the NC coast, make sure it is winterized, or spend the weekend worrying about it.

Again -- As of Wednesday, 1/10/24, Ocracoke is cut off, with Highway 12 on the north part of the island flooded and all ferry service cancelled. NCDOT hopes to have the road open Thursday so that Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry service can resume. Sound ferries are suspended for Wednesday but my guess is that they also will resume Thursday. Highway 12 from Hatteras north is open but sketchy. See Island Free Press for more. Another storm bringing rain, wind and coastal flooding is expected Friday night and Saturday.

A Sight to See -- and aboard a boat on the Neuse River will give you a front row seat. The Blue Angels will be at Cherry Point MCAS May 11th and 12th, 2024. For their complete 2024 schedule, click here.

A Young Sailor -- sent me this link, A Nautical Glossary of Yachting and Sailing Terms. Thanks, Brandon!

Hard to Find -- Bronze bolts are not something you are going to find at Home Depot, Lowe's, or your corner hardware store. West Marine has a very limited selection. I suppose there are suppliers in the big port cities - Norfolk, Wilmington, or the like - but for me they are a mail-order item. Most online sources want you to buy in bulk and pay for Fedex or UPS shipping, but Bolt Depot will sell small quantities and ship economy USPS. I ordered from them recently and was pleased with the quality, selection, price and quick fullfilment. If you need a handful of specialty bolts, or a case for that matter, check them out.

Winter Storm -- A fast-moving winter storm walloped the NC Coast December 18th and 19th. In Washington, we saw water over the docks and into the street and parking lot, torrential rain and winds gusting to around 35 knots. No reports of damage to boats, though a woman preparing her trawler ahead of the storm fell off the dock and got scraped up. A sailor reported from Beaufort that they saw gusts over 50 knots and widespread power outages. Ferry service to Ocracoke was suspended and Highway 12 closed in several locations. As the storm headed northeast, it drew in windy, clear and frigid conditions that should moderate around mid-week. I hope friends on the lower Pamlico and Neuse Rivers came through ok.

Even Longer -- Island Free Press reports that Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries to adopt longer route starting Dec. 7. Barney Slough, itself a longer alternative to the completely shoaled channel straight across the mouth of Hatteras Inlet, has itself now shoaled to the point that it is not navigable by the ferries. They will now follow a route out Rollinson Channel which will add approximately twenty minutes to the trip. Fortunately it is not high tourist season so the boats should be able to handle the traffic, even if they can't meet all the departures on the schedule. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to begin emergency dredging efforts in an effort to re-establish depth in Barney Slough.

Documentation -- Renew your documentation at the U.S. Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Center. You may have gotten come-ons from private companies that will do this for you for a fee, but you can do it yourself.

Whittaker Creek Update -- The vital channel into the boatyards and marinas of Oriental has long been prone to shoaling. Three years after a major dredging project, it still poses a tricky bit of piloting. Towndock.net recently published a letter from Friends of Whittaker Creek, the organization coordinating dredging efforts. They propose a slight realignment of the channel and additional dredging to alleviate some of the problems.

Will it Still Be Tammy? -- It's 10/27/23. The remnants of hurricane Tammy have a better than 60% chance of reforming into a tropical storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. If if does, will it still be Tammy, or will it be Vince? Or, for that matter, maybe Whitney?

One More? -- As Tammy curves out toward the central Atlantic, as of 10/23/23 another disturbance with potential to develop into a tropical storm has popped up in the southwestern Caribbean. As always, monitor the National Hurricane Center Website.

Watch Out for Swimmers -- USCG BNM 0469-23 states "Mariners are advised that the swimming portion of the Ironman Triathlon will be held on October 21, 2023 from 6:30 AM to 9:30 AM. Approximately 2500 swimmers will compete in a 1.2 mile swim race within Banks Channel and Motts Channel in Wrightsville Beach, NC" and adds that the Wrightsville Beach bridge will be closed from 5:15 AM to 10:00 AM that day. The Isabel S. Holmes bridge in Wilmington will be closed 7:30 AM to 3:00 PM, I'm guessing to accomodate runners. For my readers, "closed" means the bridge won't swing or lift to allow marine traffic. I don't know what the situation will be for automotive traffic. For boats transiting the area on 10/21/23, you should read the notice linked to above in order to understand all the restrictions.

It's Not Over Yet -- A low pressure system well out in the Atlantic will likely become tropical storm Tammy in the next few days. As always, monitor the National Hurricane Center Website.

What's New? -- Section for the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 in Know Your Boats.

Potter's? -- David reports from Potter's Marine on North Creek near Bath - "No real damage... The parking lot flooded, that was about it. Most of the boats were still prepped from the near miss a few weeks before, that may have helped".

Wind and High Water -- We got steady 30 knot winds and a few gusts close to 50 from Ophelia at the dock in downtown Washington, NC. The water came in with a rush Saturday morning, covering the docks and adjacent streets and parking lots, and just as quickly flowed back out as the storm center passed 8 miles to the west at 11:00AM. No boats on the town docks suffered any damage worth mentioning. The docks lost a few deck boards and received other minor damage. No reports of damage at McCotters or the other marinas. We drove down through Bath to Belhaven two days later, no damage evident at either location. The yardmaster at TJ's reported that the yard didn't flood but all the land around it did, and they were cut off for a few hours. Taylor reports that the water came up about 18 inches in Edenton but caused no problems. Click here for a photographs taken from aboard Terry Ann after the water had come down a couple of feet.

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.

Gam with Charlie -- My friend Charlie Langworthy passed through Belhaven on his way home to Vermont from his latest trip to the Bahamas and rowed in for a gam.

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.

News Archives -- For older items, click here

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