Saturday, May 28, 2016

Crossing The Goal Line

If you have been following along on our little journey, you know that we are moving north. You know the reason we are moving north now is due to an imaginary line drawn in the sand by our insurance company that says the boat won't be covered for damage by named storms unless we are north of Cape Hatteras.

While our insurance policy is significantly cheaper by having this restriction, it isn't the only reason we went with this policy.  Our original intention was to spend some time in the Chesapeake and further north anyway, so it did, and still does, align with our goals. While we do appreciate all the concern and suggestions regarding insurance, don't fret, the insurance restriction does align with our overall goals.

When we last left you, we had arrived in Southport, NC. We decided to stay at the one other marina in town that we had yet to visit.  South Harbor Village Marina sits along the Intracoastal Waterway just south of the town of Southport and I believe is actually part of the town of Oak Island. Overall the people and the facility was nice.  They have two restaurants on-site and that is convenient but my wife and I are not fans of the Dead End Saloon when we visited on a couple of prior occasions.  We didn't get a chance to try the Italian restaurant but it is reported to be good.  Given the marina isn't all that convenient to Southport, I think we still prefer the free laundry, pool, and slightly cheaper rates at Deep Point Marina.

Shortly after arriving in Southport, we met up with some new friends we had made back in Isle Of Palms marina. They were staying at the Southport marina near downtown.  We had a nice dinner at Provisions (a must stop in Southport) and then went with them to the weather briefing that is put on by Hank at Carolina Yacht Care (CYC - the same gentleman that runs the boaters shuttle service). If you are ever in the area, it is worthwhile to sit in on one of Hank's briefings. It was there we found out that a low pressure system in the Bahamas might become the first tropical storm of the season and was likely to bring about some lingering bad weather in a few days.  This accelerated our schedule to move north and we quickly made plans to get us north of the insurance goal line before the storms arrived and pinned us in place past our deadline.

Tropical Depression 2 - National Weather Service prediction,

Until the predicted storms arrival the weather was expected to be nice for an outside run up the coast. This could put us north of Cape Hatteras (35° 13' North latitude) in about a day and a half of travel. We found one of the marinas we have stayed at, Dowry Creek (35° 32'), is about 20 miles north of the line (no matter how the insurance company may try to draw it) and within the two day and one night travel window.

We departed the marina and made our way up the Cape Fear river.  With the incoming tide, we were going up river at over 8 knots.  High tide was right when we were making our way through Snow's cut and we again had favorable current for the trip to the Masonboro inlet.  From there, we jumped out, set sails, shut down motors, and had a nice overnight sail across Onslow Bay. Before we left cell phone range, I called the range master at Camp Lejeune and confirmed that their offshore firing range danger area was not active and we could cut through it without becoming a target of unwanted attention...or unwanted ammunition.

Camp Lejeune Firing Range area.
The seas were just as predicted at 1 to 2 feet on a relatively long 6 to 8 second period. The predicted 10 to 15 knots of wind were actually closer to 25 and this combination made for a nice brisk sail.  In fact, at one point it looked like we were going to arrive at the Beaufort inlet around 1 AM.  While I wanted to arrive at first light, this was a bit too early. I resisted the urge to slow the boat down for a while but I really didn't feel like heaving-to and waiting for first light just outside the inlet.

I finally gave in and further reduced our speed.  That, of course, was a mistake. Not too much later the winds started to die down and by first light we were about 4 nautical miles from the inlet going about 1.5 knots. Someday I'll learn you have to take what you can get when you get it.  We fired up the engines as the wind completely died and made our way in.

Going in the inlet was crazy.  No big cargo or cruise ships to contend with, but the onslaught of fishing boats headed out for the morning was incredible.  If I didn't know better I would have thought that someone was giving away free kegs of beer to the first 1000 boats to arrive at the fishing grounds. Fishing boats of all sizes were pouring out of he inlet as we were fighting our way in.  Unfortunately this isn't a no-wake zone and every one of them was going full throttle to be the first one out.  It was the roughest seas we have faced on the entire trip north, and it was all caused by the wakes of the high powered boats zipping around us on all sides.

A few stragglers after the onslaught.
Once we escaped the barrage of high powered boats at the inlet and turned north out of Morehead City, things calmed back down. We motored or motor-sailed the remainder of the trip. Other than a minor hiccup with an engine that had me down in the engine room with a wrench for an hour (note to self: never let that hungover marine mechanic in Palm Coast get near the engines again), the trip was uneventful.

We arrived at Dowry Creek (near Belhaven NC) about 5:30 in the evening. We are now officially across the goal line as far as insurance is concerned. Looks like we will be here for a week or so as we do a little maintenance and figure out what is next.

View off of our "porch" this morning.


  1. Hi Mike,
    I'm a long time follower of your blog and we are currently a short ways down the front dock at Dowery Creek on Ice Floe, a Seaward 32. As we were coming in today and saw the yellow sail cover on a catermaran And though it might be you.
    I don't know if we will meet in the morning we may leave early as our insurance goal line is 36N, about 5 miles north of the Alligator River Bridge. That's by June 1, weather permitting. We keep saying we could call the insurance company and tell them we were held up by an "almost hurricane" but then they'd probably make us come back in February next year.
    Your hard top looks great, all your time and hard work paid off!
    Maybe we'll see you in the morning, if not then somewhere down the line.
    George & Susan on Ice Floe

    1. Hi George & Susan,
      Sorry we were gone most of today, just got back around dark (and just got the marina internet to show me my mail/blog). I tend to get up earlier than my wife, but if you can find the time please feel free to swing by and say hi.

      Good luck getting across your goal line, not much farther to go but not much time to do it either...hope the weather holds out for you.

      Thanks for the compliment on the top, my wife and I are happy with the result...if not the amount of time spent making it. ;-)