It is hot, for sure, but you can make it work
. How old are your kids
? mine are 15 and 19 now so this doesn't realy apply to them, but we had some great summertime cruises. After a while, I got good at planning them for the family
, and becasue it often involved an exciting singlehanded passage
for me - or with a mate - I would get my adveture in, then spend the rest of the time catering to ther needs. And the ships.
Be strategic in your planning, and break up the trip as you are mentioning. I'll give you an example of how I would do it, after some other sugestions as a general idea.
Everyone gets their own fan. That is an absolute. My power is basic, and handles all the ships needs, and can run the hell out of some fans. Clip-on and small box fans from Walmart through inverter
, and Hella and Caframo ships fans will keep the air moving. Spray bottles, containers for soaking feet, keeping up with tankage so everyone can use fresh water
to keep cool or to rinse salt water
off after a swim are good ideas. Shade for cockpit
, and awning for over decks makes a bog difference.
I have no idea what the kids
ages are or if your crowd gets seasick. But if you don't know I'd assume they do and preempt it. If they don't, all the better. There are excellent offshore jumps that while seemingly longer, can make for increadible summer passages with the kids. I have memories of sailing across Onslow Bay from Cape Lookout to Wrightsville Beach when the kids were 7 and 10. It was July/Aug, and there was a distant hurricane
causing a dreamy 6' swell that along with a steady breeze had us locked in to a beam reach. The kids were both plowing their way htrough Harry Potter books
, and I would look down and see the younger boy fiddling with the VHF
mic cable as he read, and rolled around with the boats motion. At the end of that ~14 hour hop, a cousin met us in his sportfishing boat
and we went off for a big seafood dinner at Dockside. My son has great memories of that trip. And they were all about the fried seafood at the end of an adventure
So, if it were me, I would take the dismal, but go whichever way you want. Then I like to take the sound. You can make stops in Manteo and Ocracoke
. Enterprise will pick you up in Manteo, and you can take the kids to a movie
(for me it is nap city. AC and flickering lights). Then a pancake joint in the AM, some beach time, jockeys ridge and hang gliding, Wrights Brothers memorial. It is not very far from Norfolk, but hey, you want them to be pumped about it, right?
is another day from Manteo. The sound is wide open, and you are more likely to get a steady breeze and get to sail, without the drone of that hot hunk of steel
. Silver lake is a decent anchorage, should be OK mid week, and the park docks are an option if you can plug
in and get AC. Wait, do they have power??? Can't remember. I dont really need it.
From there you head
down to Beaufort/Cape Lookout via Oriental. Stop at River Dunes and get a slip. Stay a couple nights, consider a guest house they rent. Pool, upscale feel with a relaxed and often desserted atmosphere, it'll be another little pick-me-up for the tender
Cape Lookout is a great place to hang out, and a good full day from River Dunes, and you can also stage in Beaufort
for the quick trip out the inlet. Beaufort
has the restaurants, ice cream and my favorite, the maritime museaum. With AC, and a nautical library, the museum is a great place to hang out. There's a coffee shop up the way. Eat lunch at Beaufort Grocery. I've spent countless summer nights at Cape Lookout, and there is often a nice SW wind
over 15 knots. In general, tight creeks and marsh can be windless and buggy. The wide open stuff is what you want, if conditions are conducive.
Afternoon thunderstorms are commonplace. Get up early and head
out at 5:30 and let the family
sleep while you make tracks. try and be settled in by 1500 or earlier even. Take this seriously, as you would on the chessie.
From Cape Lookout, you can cross offshore to Wrightsville Beach - Masonboro Inlet. About 70 nm from memory. Even if you have to motor
offshore, there is less traffic, no bridges, good breeze and good sailing, but I can't tell you what to do there. It helps, because the long days on the ICW can get hard. Down below, with a breeze and fans, it's not too bad.
Same stuff headed south, with attractions along the way, and opportunities to pull over and cool down. The enterprise thing is a good way to break up a trip, by renting
a car and tooling around town to places that are fun for the kids, while anchored out or tied up. Of course you can go to the chandlery
, grocery, fruit stands, or booze store too. You don't need one, but it can be a good option for $40 or so.
You get the idea. You can get lucky and get some cool weather
. I've been in foul weather gear
and shivering in July on the sounds or offshore, but more likely hot and wind
in SW quadrant. When it shifts to N, it can be nice.
Plan it out and it can be a ton of fun, with strategic misery management. It is a little long perhaps, but that's your call and I haven't a clue about your kids age of type of boat. One way car rentals or flights are an option too if you want them to join in. I guess you need a ride at Brunswick anyway, and I have rented a one way there to get back home in western NC. Not always possible though.
We've spent weeks during the winter at Cumberland Island. It is an easy sail out St Simons to St Marys, a great anchorage, and spectacular island.
I'll be the first to say that the heat doesn't really bother me unless full on heat exhaustion. I work
outside as a farmer, with no cab tractors, so it takes a lot to get me down. After some windless days in the Chessie a couple of years ago, droning north to Annapolis
, I can remember pulling in to Solomons, anchored way up the creek and stuck my feet in a cooler with some ice to cool down. Bare feet on the cockpit
sole, and temps in the 90's had me pretty beat down.
Good luck, hope this is helpful. Didn't want you to get discouraged, because it is completely doable if you keep the crew front and center in your planning. Sorry, no time to edit...