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Old 27-06-2015, 16:25   #1
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Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

I am thinking of bringing my Brigantine schooner up from Florida to Pamlico Sound in August.
We will stay for the rest of the summer/fall, and maybe the winter provided it’s not too chilly?
I would like to contact any CF members who have a boat in that area, for advice about—well, everything.
A little background.
My boat is British registered and we have green cards, not American citizens.
I actually have a house in NC, so I could class as a NC resident if it was beneficial.
We will be living aboard from time to time, but we can manage this as needed, to meet any local ordinances.
I’m looking for a good base from where we can sail and explore the area.
The boat draws 6’3” so I know we have limitations, but not as much as where we are at the moment on The Florida ICW.
Thanks in advance JR
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Old 27-06-2015, 18:50   #2
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

Drawing 6'3" will not be a major problem in Pamlico sound as.eor the Neuse River for sailing, but it might be a bit limiting for docking in many areas. This will be too deep for many marinas. You will be limited to to the southern part of the sound. The area near Manteo only has about 5 feet of dependable water. You'll be able to get into Ocracoke from the sound side at mid tide or higher. You will probably not be able to go through Ocracoke inlet, but depths change there often and you should check with the locals for the latest depths. The Pamlico river will be tough and you will probably be limited to the channel. There is plenty of water in New Bern and a couple of marinas there that can handle your draft. There is a section of the upper Neuse on the way to New Bern where you'll need to follow the marked channel for a couple of miles but you should have no problems. Oriental is a great place to visit and is the sailing capitol of NC.
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Old 27-06-2015, 19:01   #3
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

Jolly, sorry so hard to PM me. I think I let my membership lapse and that eliminated the generous storage I once had...

Do you need an airport nearby? Other services? Your house in NC won't help you, you will pay local tax regardless who you are if you stay long enough.

New Bern is a bigger town with more amenities than a place like oriental, and I've never had a boat with that kind of draft, so my assumption that it's kind of deep for oriental harbor area or adjacent creeks may be off. New Bern has several marinas though. River Dunes is a really nice marina in the oriental area. Check it out for sure.

Just south of Pamlico is Beaufort/morehead city. This is of course a short day from oriental or New Bern, but an option for a marina. It's right at Beaufort inlet, and it's a cool town to spend some time. Cape lookout is a place you're going to want to drop the hook and hang out some. It's a huge anchorage with nice beaches, and well protected from most directions.

Washington NC is another option, but I haven't spent much time there, upstream of Bath, anyway.

Oriental saves some time coming down river, but I wonder if your draft will cause problems when the water blows out... When the wind is from the SW in the summer,, the water level goes down in the southern Pamlico. Since I have a 4' draft, I really don't know, and didn't even have a depth sounder for years, because it didn't really matter. Others can chime in or you can call the marinas in Oriental and find out what the situation is,, besides charted depths.

River Dunes is pretty sweet, really protected, and your wife - and you for that matter - may really like it there. Nice pool, restaurant and premium facilities. But it's a short drive to oriental, and a half hour to new Bern.

Across the sound in the outer banks, there is ocracoke, hatteras, and manteo. It's a long way to an airport there, and much more of a drive from the NC mountains, where I currently live. Most of these places aren't going to mind you staying on board.

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Old 27-06-2015, 20:36   #4
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

Regarding Oriental Even 6'3" might be troublesome I just tried to go in last week and after talking to a few marinas on the phone we opted to stay away. We are drawing 6'11" but they were telling me anything over 6 feet would be problematic. Just something to check.
If you are flexible on the location Beufort/Morehead City is great place to be anytime of the of the year. I have been there with my boat Winter and Summer and I love the area. Marina prices are reasonable. I agree with other comments I'd rule out Manteo area.
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Old 28-06-2015, 03:04   #5
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

Thanks for these replies chaps. Duly noted.

The draft issue can’t be any more frustrating than the ICW down here, and at least we will be able to actually ‘sail’ in different directions, even if only for a short distance.
I also like the marina fees, which appear to be about half, or less, what we are presently paying. Even River Dunes is the same as we are paying now, and the facilities are—to say the least—somewhat better.
I’ve been told there can be an ‘bugs’ problem in some areas. Can anyone expand on this please?
What are the winters like, temperature, etc.
I like Bath marina, and flying the Jolly Roger from our (little) square rigger might be appropriate, what with Edward Teach’s involvement in the town.
I have completely rebuilt BRITANNIA over the past four years, including some pretty drastic alterations, like converting it from a ketch to a schooner. We haven’t been very far in it during this time, so our plan is to cautiously re-learn the ropes in a comparatively sheltered area. Then next year take her cruising proper.
Cheoah: Where in the mountains? Our place is a rental cabin in Valle Crusis near Boone. see Rental cabins Blue Ridge Mountains
We don’t anticipate needing an airport nearby.
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Old 28-06-2015, 05:09   #6
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

I went from from Morehead City to Norfolk last week and made one stop near Belhaven. The bugs were horrible but most distressing was the condition of the boat when I woke up. There were literally a million black bugs on the deck and sides of the boat they all left little black spots before flying away. I have never seen that before. Regarding protected...the Albemarle and Pamlico can get extremely rough when the wind blows the wrong way. Short bumpy seas that slap the boat from every direction.
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Old 28-06-2015, 05:31   #7
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentOption View Post
I went from from Morehead City to Norfolk last week and made one stop near Belhaven. The bugs were horrible but most distressing was the condition of the boat when I woke up. There were literally a million black bugs on the deck and sides of the boat they all left little black spots before flying away. I have never seen that before. -----
Sounds like you probably ran into a swarm of midges, aka "blind mosquitoes". They don't bite but they will drive you crazy just by being there in large numbers.
I've seen them on the St. Johns river in Florida, didn't know they were in the Carolinas but it's not surprising.
PITA cleaning up all the spots, don't let them bake on to the boat.
Normal bugs like mosquitoes, gnats, etc., are there also. Screens are good.
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Old 28-06-2015, 10:11   #8
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

I used sail a 6' plus draft Alden on the Pamlico river and sound. There is plenty of room to sail with this draft in both places, just watch your chart plotter and avoid the shoal areas. Running aground in the river is pretty much a non event. The bottom is like jello so the first indication is that the boat speed drops. I have plowed the keel through more than a foot of this jello in Chocowinity Bay heading back home when the wind had blown the water down. If you are hoping to escape the heat in NC for the summer you will probably be disappointed. The water on the Neuse used to be sometimes very polluted from the pig farm runoff. I have found better water quality on the Pamlico but it's brown water..same as the mud. You might enjoy a stay in Washington NC, plenty of water to get there and deep alongside the wharves. Puts you right in town. Minimal biting bugs normally but the blind mosquitos are so thick sometimes that it is hard to breath..used to call them fuzzy bills. If you want pretty scenery and to get away from the heat and rat race, Nova Scotia or Maine in that order, mainly due to the lobster pots in the latter. Best of luck. James
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Old 28-06-2015, 15:52   #9
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

Beaufort, NC has good depth into anchorage and the town docks. 10' to 15' Lots of dockage available within walking distance of town that can be had at long term rates. Town docks are great, but pricey during the summer months, winter rates are quite reasonable. Check 'Active Captain' for marinas and rates.
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Old 29-06-2015, 08:22   #10
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

Morehead City probably best bet if you need to stay in NC. Otherwise, Little Creek in Norfolk might be something to think about. You might be okay in outer marinas in Oriental. Would steer clear of Ocracoke and Outer Banks. Nice problem to have.
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Old 29-06-2015, 08:27   #11
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

I am by no means an expert on Pamlco Sound, however I just returned from sailing there and back to Houston, Texas. The place is beautiful, and a great place to sail, however plenty of shallow water. We stayed at Whitaker Creek, in Oriental, very nice and quite, however the channel entry is very misleading. If the wind is blowing out of the south, Pamlico sound, and especially the surrounding inlets experience very low tides! Make sure that either your US Boat tow or Sea tow is paid for! US boat tow makes a great living pulling people through the Whitaker Creek channel, i.e. Deaton Ship Yard!

Also, being a resident of NC and a property owner, within 90 days, you will have to pay a property tax on your boat!

Good luck, and have a great sail.
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Old 29-06-2015, 08:39   #12
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

River Dunes best bet for this draw and area. 15 mins from Town. Deep all the way in and harbor very deep. We have hit several times going into Whittaker Creek with a 5' draw on a Bristol 47.
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Old 29-06-2015, 09:58   #13
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

+1 on River Dunes. I've left my 55' boat here for extended periods. Very good rates. High quality floating docks. Great protection. Lots of large boats. It's a little isolated with a 15 minute drive into Oriental but they have free loaner cars. You'll have no draft problem. About a 45 minute drive or Taxi to New Bern airport that has regular service to Atlanta.

I don't particularly like Oriental for a larger boat. It's tight, shallow, and not that pretty. But nice people.

If you want a bit more civilization, I would consider New Bern or Beaufort. New Bern would be a fine winter home if you have some heat. No draft problem at either place (use the tide in Beaufort). Beaufort is an especially pretty and historic town with several extremely good restaurants (that aren't cheap but worth it). I like to stay at Beaufort Docks right in the middle of town. Ask to not have a slip right in front of the bar - music runs late on weekends.

For sailing trips, Cape Lookout off Beaufort is among my favorite anchorages on the East Coast. A national park. Rarely more than five boats in an anchorage that could hold 300. Sea turtles swim around your boat.

Ocrakote is another well protected option. It's where Lietenant Maynard commander of the HMS Pearl caught up with Blackbeard. They hung Blackbeard's head from the Pearl's bowsprit. Today it's a great music town home of a well known folk group that may include descendents of Blackbeard's crew that swam ashore. Your boat would fit right in. No depth problem there or on the journey.

Going to Manteo would also be fun. The depth would be challenging but only for a few 100 yards. Lots of water inside and another very pretty town. Fun to rent a car and drive over to Kittyhawk and see the Wright Brothers museum.
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Old 29-06-2015, 13:39   #14
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

HCOLANKI wrote:
Also, being a resident of NC and a property owner, within 90 days, you will have to pay a property tax on your boat!
Would this still apply to a British registered boat and British owner? Do you have a link to the exact ordinance please?
CARLF: Thanks for the interesting details. I’ve talked to River Dunes and it looks very nice indeed. My boat would be about $530.00 a month, including use of the clubhouse and pool, (which we don’t need). Not counting electricity, which we do use tons of—having two AC’s and a hot tub! If they would waive $160.00 for the clubhouse it might be feasible, but they won’t, so it’s not for us. Anyway, we might be gone two weeks out of four.
New Bern looks like a days sail into The Sound, so that might not be suitable for daily or short exploration.
I’m looking for an inexpensive marina/dock which we can use as a base to explore the different locations, like HCOLANKI suggests.

Bath looks interesting. I could claim to be a descendent of Teach—I have the boat, and the accent, and we could stage weekend hangings from my yard, for the tourists.
Is there a newspaper which covers the area? I thought I might advertise to see if anyone has a private dock they aren’t using, and rent to a clean living couple with a unique boat?
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Old 29-06-2015, 17:58   #15
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Re: Advice about Pamlico Sound sailing.

Check out towndock.com


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