That 72 foot mast
will present you with a few problems, the biggest being how you get into Pamlico sound. You will have to come through either Ocracoke
or Hatteras inlets. If the weather
is decent you should not have any issues. My recommendation is Ocracoke and you can start exploring there. It's a nice little town, but most stuff closes up after November and reopens in March. Once your in the Pamlico you can visit a number of towns that are quite nice. Oriental is the sailing capital of NC and easily accessed. Washington
, Bath, and Belhaven up the Pamlico river are also quite nice. You can go as far north as Manteo but will have to stay south of the highway 64 bridges. You will not be able to go all the way to New Bern as there is a 65 foot bridge just south of the city. There is an active sailing community on upper broad creek and Fairfield harbor. There are places on the upper Neuse where you'll want to be careful with your draft
and stick to the marked channel if the wind
has been blowing strongly from the SW for a few days. The Pamlico basin does not have much in the way of tides away from the inlets but is strongly affected by wind
SW winds tend to empty the Neuse and NE winds tend to fill it. 25 knots for a few days can make a 4-6 foot difference in water
levels. This is +-2-3 feet from mean water
levels, not 4-6 feet from mean water levels, but winds often change from SW to N and NE with cold front passages.
I'm not terribly familiar with the Marinas
In Belhaven, but there should be a few that can accomodate you. We looked at Dowry Creek Marina and if they're not full the have a couple of long Docks that might work
for you. They do cater to transients on the annual ICW
migration which is in full swing in Oct-Nov. River Dunes Marina off of Broad creek is very well protected and serves an upscale community that is still largely under construction. It is extremely well protected, and has a large turning basin. It's fuel/pumpout dock
has to be one of the easiest approaches I have ever made, even in high winds. They don't have any cat slips so you would have to take a T-dock but it's so well protected you should have no issues. Whittaker Point Marina has Cat slips but I measures the depth
in there with the thought of putting my cat in there and found only 4 feet of water on a windless day. My boat draws 4 feet so I opted for another marina up in broad creek. Northwest Creek Marina in Fairfield harbor has a couple of T-dock arrangements for Cats and may be able to accomodate you. It is also very well protected. Unfortunately for you most of the Marinas near town are barred by 65 foot or less bridges. Oriental Harbor cannot accomodate cats more than 42 feet and the water depth
is a bit marginal as well
Most of the anchorages
that are available to you are located some distance from the significant towns, Depending on wind direction you can probably find a nice anchorage near Belhaven and Washington
. For out of the way anchorages I recommend South River, Broad Creek, Upper Broad Creek, and some of the areas of the Bay River. Captain
Bob's ICW guide gives pretty good instructions on these anchorages. You can go up the Bay River all the way to Bayboro, though while deep enough you'll need to be prepared to pivot to turn around as it gets pretty narrow up near town.
One rather interesting anchorage is in Turnagain Bay. Once you're inside you can safely anchor
in 8-9 feet of water. This anchorage is located just outside of the restricted area around the USMC bombing range and one can get some pretty spectacular fireworks shows when they're practicing.
As for temperatures, below freezing near the coast is pretty rare if at all in Oct-Nov. Near freezing, yes but not below until one gets further inland. Water temps just aren't low enough yet for that to happen. I usually don't make freeze preparations until mid December, and even then that is mostly precautionary. Our lowest tems tend to come in January and February when temps in the low 20s happen occsionally. This last year was the coldest in a long time and we did have some thin ice along the shore in late January and February. In Oct-Nov you probably will have some days with lows in the 30's highs tend to be in the 50s and 60s though occasionaly after the passage
of a strong cold front you might not make it out of the 40s in late Nov.
Hope this helps.