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Mile 0 to Beaufort, NC

Discussion in 'Roger Long - Cruising on Strider' started by Roger Long, Mar 24, 2014. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Roger Long

    Roger Long

    Joined Nov 22, 2008
    3,563 posts, 8 likes
    Endeavour 32
    US Portland, Maine
    Cruising with a beautiful woman and the love of your life certainly does play havoc with the serious business of being a roving correspondent of the cruising life. I’m sure you all understand.

    This is the view out the companionway today:


    It certainly feels like we are finally south even if the temperature was only 36 degrees when the photo was taken. It’s warmer now but the wind is howling cold out of the north and we are lazing around the cabin in Beaufort catching up on our contacts with the outside world.

    The universe does work in mysterious ways. What are the chances that my good friend, Michael Thurston, would be arriving in Portsmouth (singlehanded from the Dominican Republic) on the same day Dreameagle arrived in Hampton? We ran down to Portsmouth the next morning to meet him and the weather promptly turned mostly nasty so we were glad to spend six days there hanging out with him, joined several times by forumite Buck420 and once by his better half. Mike is on his second circumnavigation, which he intends to do via the northwest passage, and has cruised just about everywhere so there were a lot of great sea stories.


    This is Michael’s vessel Drina:


    The weather was so nasty that we never thought to get a picture of the two vessels together.

    One of the many impressive things about Mike is the quality of the people that he attracts as crew when he isn't singlehanding. Here are links to the blogs of a couple of his once and (possibly) future crew:

    We finally left Portsmouth and headed south via the Virginia Cut since I wanted to do the alternate routes in reverse order from my previous trips. Besides, the Dismal Swamp canal was still closed by a bridge hydraulic failure.

    We passed through the Great Bridge, to my designer’s eye, one of the most elegant drawbridges in the world.


    We spent the first night anchored just outside the channel in North Landing River and then went on to South Lake at the mouth of the Alligator River just across Albemarle Sound. The sun set in a cove where a distant radio tower and a crab pot were the only signs of human life outside our rails. We fell asleep to absolute dead flat calm.


    I woke up at 0230 with the dinghy crashing against the side of the boat and waves pounding under the stern. I looked out and the stern was dead into a strong wind and cold north wind that had come up in the night. The boat felt strange and dead with no anchor line visible off the bow so it was clear that we had dragged up onto the mud. Nothing else could explain how the stern was being held into the wind and waves.

    I dressed quickly went on deck dreading the thought of laying out anchors with the dinghy in such cold water and dark windy conditions. We needed to get secure though before the strong wind worked us farther into the mud.

    I turned on the GPS and went to the bow to find the anchor line stretched tightly along the hull and astern. I went back to the GPS and was surprised find us still in the “deep” water and the depth sounder showing 6.5 feet. Just then, the boat suddenly swung around head to wind! All was well.

    Evidently, the boat had drifted to a southerly heading and, when the wind suddenly came up, she went straight ahead and the anchor, which was set well, fetched her up in a position where she was perfectly positioned not to swing around. It was sort of like a pencil balanced on its point so she soon swung but not before giving me a good scare. It took a while to get back to sleep.

    The next morning, we ran up the river and through the canal to anchor at its southern end for the night. I like the Pongo more every time I transit it as the shores are even wilder and more visually interesting than the Dismal Swamp.


    We stopped for fuel and water at Downy Creek Marina the next morning and then had a grand, double reefed, sail down the Pongo River and across the Pamlico River.

    Video of Dreameagle steering here:

    A splashy one mile power leg to windward then brought us up to Goose Creek and through the cut to R. F. Mayo. This is one of my favorite stops, a commercial fishing boat base that lets cruisers tie up for .42 a foot. I adjusted the furling gear line here:


    I told Dreameagle that this funky place might be as close to cruising Cuba as you could find in the U.S. Sure enough, when she returned from the “Ladies Room” she reported that it was a hole in the ground outhouse with no toilet seat and no paper.

    (Correction: We learned on our return trip that they have real restrooms inside, thus the condition of the outhouses.)

    The next day, we set out into what looked like a baby nor’easter that couldn’t quite grow up. We had a great sail under jib alone down to Oriental and encountered a large pod of dolphins, the first that Dreameagle has ever seen.

    We stopped in Oriental but the town dock was filled with two Canadian sailboats. We didn’t know about the new free town dock and none of the marinas answered their phones so we decided to carry on to Beaufort, a good decision as it turned out.

    We are now secure in the slip that forumite Jibes138 has graciously let us use since his boat is on the hard. We are awaiting the arrival of friends and plan to spend a few days exploring Beaufort which will probably be our turn around point for this cruise.

    Some additional photos of Strider’s crew:




  2. Jimm


    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    363 posts, 6 likes
    Catalina 30MkII Tall rig
    US Eastport , Md
    heading your way

    Roger...At Osprey Marina (mi373) waiting out the rain and freeze warning. Should be in Beaufort by Sunday. Plan to take the Dismal route home....

  3. Scott T-Bird

    Scott T-Bird

    Joined Oct 26, 2008
    3,340 posts, 455 likes
    Starwind 27
    US Barnegat, NJ
    Palm trees in the background ...

    that's much better, Roger! Keep your girl warm. ;)

  4. Buck420


    Joined Apr 22, 2001
    497 posts, 2 likes
    Hunter 420
    US Norfolk, VA
    Good to see that Rodger and Dreameagle are having a great time cruising NC's ICW, despite nasty March weather. They are both "hardy cruisers" !
    Leslie and I enjoyed meeting Rodger, Dreameagle and Mike Thurston last week, and all agree that Rodger has found a great "Admiral" to steer him in the right direction. Mike, by the way, is a walking library on offshore sailing and cruising around the world.

    After Rodger and Dreameagle left last week, I took Mike to a Sat morning course given by one of the local yacht clubs ( OPCYC in Hampton ), which just happened to be on "offshore preparedness" ( :) ) !
    Mike enjoyed it, and actually picked up a few helpful tips. We wish him well on his Northwest Passage later this Summer.

    Rodger, Dreameagle, Leslie and I talked of possibly cruising a little in the lower Chesapeake Bay in a few weeks as Strider comes back North. Perhaps Jimm and others? might all be able to join if weather, dates, etc. make such an outing feasible.

  5. Jimm


    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    363 posts, 6 likes
    Catalina 30MkII Tall rig
    US Eastport , Md
    Working north...

    If weather cooperates I should be in Hampton about April 5th, then working up Bay to Annapolis.......sitting out the cold near Myrtle Beach today :-(

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