If you have been following along on my Facebook page, you already know we have made it far enough north to satisfy our insurance. Unfortunately, we've been too busy and Internet access has been too sparse to get blog posts done, so I'm going to catch up here as time and wifi signals allow.
We finally departed Southport around 11 AM on Memorial day to make our way up the Cape Fear river and ICW to the Masonboro inlet for an overnight passage. We left at 11 in order to use the tide to our advantage and to time our arrival at the Beaufort inlet the following morning. As you might expect, the waterways were crowded with boaters enjoying the holiday weekend. We encountered a lot of small boats and water skis and I'm not sure all of them were what I would call...sober. But, we ran the gauntlet and made it out the inlet and back into the Atlantic.
|Sailing in the Atlantic|
We had an Ok nighttime sail with seas that weren't quite as rough as when we left St. Augustine and made good time as we arrived at Beaufort around 3am. We hove to and waited for daylight before making our way in and beginning our ICW bypass of Cape Hattaras. Just past Beaufort we encountered another catamaran and it turned out to be Dragonfly, who we had met in Southport a couple days earlier. We chatted with them on the radio a bit while motoring up the canal.
|Dragonfly motor sailing with us.|
When the canal opened up into the Neuse river, we were both able to turn our motor boats back into sailboats again. Having more sailing experience (OK, we simply made some mistakes in anticipating proper sail configuration and when to make a turn), Dragonfly left us behind. But we were able to sail most of the river without burning any diesel...and that is a good thing anytime you are on the ICW.
Of course, the river narrowed and we were once again required to engage the old Iron Genny to get us to the next spot where we could sail again. By the time we got to the Pamlico river we were seeing 30 knot winds at our backs. We sailed under reefed genoa alone up through the Pungo river. At that point it was getting late and we were exhausted so we decided to spend the night at a marina in Bellhaven.
As we passed the breakwater in Bellhaven (which was not doing it's job, by the way), we found Dragonfly anchored in the bay. We made our way to the marina and, despite the strong winds, made it safely to the dock. Having not had much sleep in the 36 hours that elapsed since we left Southport, we got the dogs off the boat for a bit and then collapsed in our berth for the night without even having dinner.