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Old 22-01-2009, 15:16   #1
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Any tips for Cape Fear River?

I've never seen it but I have to go down it tomorrow and its supposed to be SW 10-20 which should be almost blowing straight up the river. Anyone familiar with this area know what I'll be dealing with?
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Old 22-01-2009, 17:48   #2
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The big boats have the right of way. Seriously, I have been on the CF only on small motorboats and that was a long time ago. It is a big channel, though. Iron Genny time!
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Old 22-01-2009, 17:54   #3
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When running down the Cape Fear on an ebb tide the combined ebb and river current will give you a good ride south. However, with an opposing SW wind expect some short, steep chop. If the tide is flooding, then it pretty much counteracts the current and you will have less chop and a smoother ride. There is plenty of depth along the edge of the ship channels if you need to stay clear of traffic.
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Old 22-01-2009, 18:03   #4
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That doesn't sound too bad. What's the story of the stigma surrounding this place.
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Old 22-01-2009, 18:31   #5
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I once made a trip up the Cape Fear from Southport after heavy rains had built up a strong current. The tide was ebbing and even with the iron jenny it was SLOOOOOW - about 2-3 kts over the ground! Maybe its stuff like that that hassles sailboaters so much.

The city marina in Southport has been rebuilt and I hear it is nice. Haven't stayed there. We have stopped further west along the ICW at a nice marina just west of town (forget the name). There is also an anchorage just before that marina; turn to the north to go up the cooling water canal for the nuclear plant. The anchorage is in a wide area to port. Stay close to the south end of the anchorage for decent water of 7 feet or more. Room enough for 3-4 boats. Dinghy to the boat launch ramp and it is about a mile walk to stores, grocery, etc.
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Old 22-01-2009, 18:34   #6
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Dunno? Only went out once through the CF .... We layed over in a little marina at Carolina Beach State Park for a few hours while waiting for a fair tide/current....
Our exit went smoothly.

I can see where an opposing wind/current could be challenging...
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Old 22-01-2009, 19:31   #7
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Make sure that your time your trip down the river so that your have an outgoing current. Going with the current is a fast fun ride ..... fighting the current is pure hell and slow as molassas!
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Old 23-01-2009, 12:13   #8
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Don't know what any fuss is about. Good inlet, well marked, no problems except when wind and current oppose as in any inlet with a strong outflow.
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Old 23-01-2009, 14:01   #9
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I believe that the issue about Cape Fear is associated with Frying Pan Shoals once you get out of the river. It can be a difficult area if you are approaching from the north.
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Old 23-01-2009, 17:25   #10
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Well, that was interesting. I was going 10.5 mph straight into a 20 mph wind. Big sloppy seas, I buried the bow a couple of times. It was like riding a 31' jet ski. I can't believe my dinghy didn't flip over. It was trying. Luckily, I did it on an ebb tide because in the cut I was only doing 4.5 mph and I wouldn't have wanted to more than double the time I spent out there. Once again, the dog wasn't happy. Oh well, it's behind me now. Thanks to all for the tips.
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Old 24-01-2009, 12:51   #11
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Though I am unfamiliar with Cape fear River I can only assume the current down there is like it is hear, extremely strong, especially if you were doing 10.5 into the wind. Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon I was on the beach when the wind came up and it clouded over, did you get out before that?

I have done the exact thing you did here on Topsail trying to get in before a thunderstorm, it wasn't pretty, nor was it anyway near graceful. But I got in, before the storm with being nothing more than a little more wetter than I would have liked. Glad to hear you made it. Hit me up when you get back this way.
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Old 24-01-2009, 13:24   #12
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Good goin' Aqua! Any time the current bucks the wind, your dog ain't gonna be happy!
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Old 24-01-2009, 15:44   #13
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This link to the "Salty Southeast" could help, if you don't already have it:
Cruisers Net your best source for up to date information on the Waterway - Home
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Old 25-01-2009, 09:33   #14
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You went to sea dragging a dinghy behind you in an inlet?? Did I understand that right?
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Old 26-01-2009, 17:56   #15
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
You went to sea dragging a dinghy behind you in an inlet?? Did I understand that right?
Well, not exactly, but I might as well have. It was the cape fear river down to Southport. It was far rougher than I expected.

I do, however plan to go to sea tomorrow pulling my dinghy. Down to Little River Inlet. The wind is suppose to be light though so I expect it to be an easy 30 mile ride.

To pull my dinghy up and stow on the foredeck is a real PITA but if I knew I was heading into something as rough as the river was, I'd suck it up and do it.
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