We did it! Sold our house, packed up all our belongings, and moved on to our boat. We then set sail for a summer cruising the Northeast Coast to escape hurricane worries.
In this post, there are 5 main journey sections.
- Our departure from Bohicket Marina – Seabrook Island SC – sailing to Beaufort NC.
- Cape Lookout, Shackleford Horses and Outer Banks Beaches – while waiting for weather window to sail to Chesapeake Bay.
- Sailing around Hatteras to Chesapeake and our first 6 anchorages in the Bay.
- Northern Chesapeake Bay including Annapolis MD.
- C & D Canal, Delaware Bay and Cape May NJ.
2 Nights & 1 Day on the High Seas
May 31, 2023 – The first leg of our adventure begins with a sail up the coast to Beaufort NC, part of the Outer Banks. Waiting for the weather to warm up north, we spent a week in Beaufort. Wild horses, endless beaches, and great sailing on this trip, in spite of a few storms!
Pilar set sail from Charleston, SC for Beaufort, NC. A gale had just blown through for the last (3) days with winds of 30 – 45 kts and sea offshore 14-25’. In fact, a cruise ship bound for Charleston had windows of the lower deck blown out. They took on lots of water and had substantial damage in the cabins and lower decks. No one was hurt in the incident.
Luckily, by the time we set sail in the evening of May 28 the seas were very comfortable in a following set with true wind speeds of 20 kts. We had a very comfortable sail through the night, but the winds began to subside in the early hours of the next day. Finally, with 70 some miles to go we had to crank one motor for forward assist and finally the second later in the day. By mid-day the seas were flat calm with winds of only 3-5 kts. So, we motored the rest of the way into Beaufort arriving by 5:00am about 36 hours from our departure from Charleston just as we had planned.
Not wanting to come in the inlet in the dark, and quite tired from our watched we decided to anchor just outside the inlet, rest and come in later in the morning. Within minutes we were surrounded by sport fishing boats leaving the harbor for the fish day. You’ll remember it was calm seas so apparently every boat in Beaufort fished that day. We couldn’t stay at anchor in the wakes of those boats, so we quickly pulled anchor and made our way to the Beaufort anchorage in Taylor Creek just across from town. We’ve spent a few days enjoying Beaufort, visiting my old friend Scott Hall from Islamorada, and doing some boat projects and repairs.
Repairs and Maintenance – Once anchored and reviewing the boat I found the topping lift had chaffed in (2) places and was done for duty. Just before we raised the mainsail had taken down the US flag that was flying on the topping lift and re-secured the topping lift in its cleat. Apparently, I left it too tight, and it seems the chaff came from the battens on the mainsail. I mistake from which I learned. I also upgraded our saltwater head pump in the starboard hull. (And cleaned out the raw water inlet clamshells). The pump was very slow and took forever to get enough water for a flush. I replaced the PAR 4, 3.8 gpm pump with a PAR 6, 6 gpm pump. The head filled in 1 minute, 46 seconds with the PAR 4, 20 seconds with the PAR 6. I later found the diaphragms in the PAR for were broken. So, I’ve ordered repair kits for the (3) Par 4’s on board and will do those repairs upon arrival of the kits. But we’re keeping the PAR 6 in the starboard hull.
Next week we plan to anchor in the Cape Lookout Bight for a few days while we await weather conducive to sail around Hatteras and into the Chesapeake Bay.
Outer Banks NC – Cape Lookout
June 5, 2023 – We visited CapeLookout Bight, part of Shackleford Banks/ OuterBanks and Harkers Island. We anchored and stayed in Cape Lookout Bight for the week. Partly to enjoy the area and to wait for the weather window for the trip around Cape Hatteras, The Outer Banks of NC and into Chesapeake Bay. The weather was great, but the wind would not be in our favor until Monday, June 11.
Cape Lookout bight is a unique and remote area. The Bight is a pond-like inlet in a break in Shackleford Banks. A hurricane made the break in Shackleford banks where the tidal waters go through from the Beaufort side to the bay side where Harker’s Island stands. The beaches are some of the most beautiful I have seen.
The Cape boast a beautiful lighthouse built in 1859. At 163 feet the Fresnel lens of this light house could project 18 miles out to sea warning mariners of the treacherous shoals of Cape Lookout. It was closed until 2024 while we visited.
The tip of Cape Lookout, past the Bight, can be accessed by ferry from Harker’s Island and Beaufort. Cars and Campers can be ferried to the Cape where people enjoy the beaches, fishing, camping and the remote atmosphere of the unique Cape.
We walked to the tip of the Cape – 7 miles! Beautiful ocean waves, beaches and shells were a highlight on the walk. There’s a long section where cars and camper are not permitted, and we saw no other people on our walk.
Repairs and Maintenance – I got the water maker de-pickled and working. We successfully made water and the unit runs fine. But it wasn’t long till the filters were contaminated and needed replacement. I have replaced them and will await clean blue water before we make water again.
Next week we’ll sail from Cape Lookout around Hatteras to the Chesapeake Bay.
Sailing Around Hatteras
The Best and Worst of 6 Chesapeake Anchorages
(video release on Aug 2)
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL SAILING AROUND HATTERAS? Just go way out around those reefs and enjoy the ride! We had downwind sailing, following seas and great weather for our trip.
CAPTAIN’S LOG – We sailed 34 hours from Cape Lookout to Hampton Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay. It was in the wind getting out of the Cape Lookout Bight and around the tip of the Cape. Once we made the turn we had good wind to get around Hatteras. When we turned from Hatteras to head to the Bay we were in the wind shadow from land and eventually had to motor sail through much of the night. Once daylight broke the wind came up and we hoisted full sails to sail into the Bay. Across the Bay and through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was a lot of freighter ship traffic. No problem staying out of the main channel and giving them plenty of berth.
WE ALSO REPORT ON SIX ANCHORAGES IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY.
Phoebus VA – Easy stop after entering the bay. Busy trafficked bridge nearby, but cute little town with easy access to town dinghy dock, groceries, hardware store and restaurants. We loved Fuller’s Raw Bar. We also were able to get an easy uber to Newport News for a museum visit and any retailer you would need. Classic boat collection rocks. 2013 America’s Cup Winner – Oracle Team USA Catamaran hydrofoil on display. Details on the first ironclad war ships during civil war was intense – North vs South in a boat technology sense as well. And the model ships gallery was mesmerizing. Highly recommend it. The Mariners’ Museum and Park
Matthews VA – Beautiful spot, but you can only take dinghy to town on low tide. We did not know this in advance and ended up getting a kind offer from a couple on the river to dock our dinghy there as well as borrow their car for a quick trip to town hardware and the Seafood Shack for the freshest catch around! Thanks to Tom, Ally and their kids, Helen, Sammy, and Charlotte – you were too kind! Also well known for it’s Zimmerman Marine boatyard. They pull the catamarans out of the water with a truck and trailer on a boat ramp. We visited the yard and there were at least 60 catamarans there from all manufacturers. Many are there for work, some for storage while their owners return home and come back later for another departure.
Reedville, VA – Cute town, but restaurant only open on weekends right now. Had to dinghy by the Medenhaden plant just to see it. The smell was a little overpowering. Menhaden have a long history in the Chesapeake Bay harvested for animal food, fertilizer, food additives and Omega fish oil. Extreme overfishing of menhaden effected the ecosystem of the bay. Today there remains only one Omega fish oil plant and it is this one.
Deltaville, VA – Fishing Bay anchorage was a pure joy. Fishing Bay Marina offers $25 daily passes to their facilities – pool, laundry, bikes, and sometimes a courtesy car. Yacht club nearby offers sailing camp lessons. Our friend Grace Parker made a visit for a day. We really enjoyed having her bubbly, positive personality on board.
Solomon Islands, MD – Crowded anchorage and no convenient dinghy docks – not a favoirte.
Kent Island, MD – Beautiful, full of nature but we didn’t stay long.
Annapolis MD and Northern Chesapeake Bay
(releasing August 15)
Highlights include Bacon Supply, Naval Academy, Gibson Island.
C&D Canal and Delaware Bay
(releasing August 31)
8 bridges, Green Heads and July4 weekend in Cape May NJ