Friday, October 29, 2021

Around Cape Hatteras - October 2021

It was a cool Fall morning of  Saturday, October 23.  We departed from the anchorage at Old Port Comfort, just in the bay off Hampton, VA.  After studying the various weather forecasts, it looked like we had a good 2-day window to get around Cape Hatteras to Beaufort, North  Carolina.  So we left the anchorage before sun up at 4am.

Sunrise, North Atlantic
With a combination of motoring and motor-sailing we had a comfortable and uneventful 2-day (one overnight) trip headed south and around Cape Hatteras.  We had all discussed this previously and decided that an uneventful motor-sail around this notorious Cape was far preferable to sporty weather.  And it was looking like a week of sporty weather if we missed this weather window.  As it happened a strong Nor-Easter was forming off the eat coast and we were watching it carefully.  Thankfully we were already south of the worst of it, but even so - not a time to be tempting fate with the weather Gods! 

As I said the trip was uneventful and pleasant.  As dark came, the moon rose - and Janet was happy.  She prefers what we have come to call "light night sailing" to "dark night sailing".  As it happened, many other boats had seen the window and decided to head south.  We were seeing about 20 boats within AIS range.  Some slower and some faster than us; but the pack was definitely headed south with many going to the same place as us.  

S/V Kaizen - Beaufort Docks

Arrival Beaufort, NC

As we made the turn around Cape Lookout to head in towards Beaufort, the wind picked up and we had a wonderful sail for the last 15 miles of so of this leg.  Once inside we called Beaufort Docks for a slip assignment.  It was easy to find when the directions are "come to the 160 ft. sailboat and await instructions".  And sure enough, there was a 160 ft sailboat, S/V Kaizen tied to the face dock.  Just look at the neighboring yacht mast heights in comparison - and these were typically 40 ft + boats!  Kaizen had a mast height of over 200 ft. and was a landmark that we could see well offshore.  As Larry said, "you know you have a big boat when your masthead light is an aircraft warning light!"

When we got ashore, I couldn't help but take a closer look at this monster.  Apparently owned by the owner of a local Lexus dealership - Johnson Lexus.  Now don't believe those salesmen when they tell you the price is just 5% over invoice!

Beaufort, NC is a great little town.  We stayed 4 nights while the wind blew in an unfavorable direction for us, but the location was great providing good protection for the boat, and the town had a great restaurants, a good wine bar, a small boat museum, free courtesy car from the marina to make the trip to the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store..........who could ask for more!  We were at the same dock, sharing the same hospitality as Kaizen...........and a bargain at the price! ($1.50/ft I think).

Boat Museum

Front Street

The town also had a nicely equipped laundry at the General Store.  So we were able to bet re-stocked, clean clothes and sheets ready for the next leg of the trip.  All was good!  A couple of highly recommended spots are: CRU  wine-bar; Beaufort Grocery (restaurant); and Aqua (restaurant).  Also, the staff at the docks bar are a hoot - and you get a free drink there just for docking.

Our next destination would be Wrightsville Beach, about a 65 mile leg.

Wrightsville Beach

We left fairly early on Wednesday October 27.  Winds were brisk......and well got brisker.  We thought wind would be behind the beam, but of course it was ahead of the beam popping up in the low 20s and since it had been blowing all night, seas were "disturbed".  So the morning was not a pleasant sail.  We were reefed and beating at times.  The wind strength and direction was quite variable making it a challenge to keep fair speed and a somewhat comfortable ride.  Thankfully, things improved as the day progressed, and just to keep us "hooked on sailing", the last couple of hours turned into a pleasant ride.

Anchorage - Wrightsville Beach

We pulled into the anchorage at Wrightsville just after sunset - which was Ok since Larry and Tracy had stayed here on their way north in July.  We had a delicious dinner on the boat of Chilli, fell asleep watching TV, then an early night.

The following morning, we went ashore to explore a little before then next round of weather hit us.  It a nice little seaside resort town; great anchorage that is well protected; with a nearby dinghy dock with good access to the main street.  After lunch and a drink,  we returned to the boat for the evening as the rain and wind set in.  Overnight it got quite windy - so sleep was on and off......but I am here, ready for another day - having my coffee and writing this blog update.
Beach - Wrightsville

It looks like we may be here for another day or more until this weather system passes - but that's OK, we have no immediate schedule!  Just as an aside - what's the most dangerous thing you can have on a boat?  Answer - a calendar/schedule!

Larry and Tracy - Our hosts and Owners of S/V TraSea

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