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Southbound 5

Discussion in 'Cruising Sailors' started by Chris Gordon, Nov 14, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Chris Gordon

    Chris Gordon

    Joined Feb 28, 2013
    66 posts, 36 likes
    Pacific Seacraft 40
    US Belfast
    Along the way to Beaufort the weather forecasts kept changing dramatically. On Wednesday it looked like Friday was the best day for going offshore with north winds at 10-15. By Thursday morning that forecast had changed to 35 knot gusts and 11 foot seas, not the least bit appealing, and it wasn't much better for Saturday. So we left from Cedar Creek, went out the Beaufort Inlet at 10:00 and headed for Wrightsville Beach in rain and light winds. We don’t much mind rain when offshore as the autopilot can do all the steering while we stay below, warm and dry, poking a head up every few minutes to look around. The bigger issue was coming back in Masonboro Inlet in the dark. Most of the buoys there are uncharted and some are unlit. We’ve been through there enough times to feel confident about it and had no trouble. By 8:30 pm we were comfortably anchored and having a cozy candlelight dinner while rain peppered the cabin top.

    Wrightsville Beach is a good stop, especially on a week day. (Lots of small boats buzz around on weekends.) There’s a fairly large anchorage with a free dinghy dock. Robert’s is a small grocery store two blocks from the dock. An excellent Harris Teeter supermarket is a bike or cab ride away. There’s a West Marine near the supermarket. On Friday morning we reanchored near the dinghy dock, after the daily exodus, then launched the dinghy and went ashore for a few groceries from Roberts. After lunch we left, rode the ebb current down the Cape Fear River then anchored near Southport in Tina’s Pocket.

    The big north blow that had been moving around in the forecasts finally arrived after dark and it was a blockbuster. We would have needed ear plugs to sleep in all that noise. And man was it cold. We stayed at anchor all morning waiting for the day to warm up then headed down the river and out the inlet at Bald Head. It was a cool, sunny, beam reach to Little River where we came back inside and anchored behind Bird Island.

    At Little River we always face the Myrtle Waccamaw Dilemma. The Waccamaw River is one of our two favorites, both through lightly developed cypress forests. (The other is the Pasquotank.) Winding through the quiet wilderness where turtles sun themselves on fallen logs is food for the soul. It’s something we would hate to miss. However, to get to the Waccamaw you have to endure the soul crushing ugliness that is the back side of Myrtle Beach. The alternative is to run offshore to Winyah Bay or Charleston. Neither or both? That’s the Myrtle Waccamaw Dilemma.

    Sunday morning was cool, with a NE wind, convincing us to take the offshore route. That meant another three bridges that didn’t have to open for us, seven of them since Beaufort. For most of the 48 miles I dragged a fishing lure behind the boat. After hours of no bites a big one got himself hooked. I reeled him almost all the way in until the leader broke. I never found out what he was. We sailed into Winyah Bay mid-afternoon. The swells had been slightly annoying so we decided to stay inside the next day, just for a change, and anchored near the ICW intersection.

    Nearby Georgetown used to be a must stop for us until last year. We were extremely fond of the Kudzu Market and Bakery there and would come away with bags full of goodies. It was a pleasant walk, either along the wide main street or the boardwalk along the river, from any of the three free day docks. Last spring we discovered that Kudzu had moved out - a tragedy for us and for Georgetown. There’s little there now to warrant going out of our way to visit.

    We had a good run from Georgetown to Charleston with favorable current nearly all the way and flat water for a nice change. There’s some shallow muck just south of McClellanville that we have to plow through at low tide, barely slowing at all. Along the way we saw a couple of boats still up in the bushes and many busted up docks. The few docks that are used have been replaced. The two opening bridges in Charleston have some of the most complicated schedule restrictions of any in the ICW. We managed to hit them both at the right time. We rarely stop in Charleston, preferring the smaller towns like Georgetown or Beaufort. (Yes, I know there’s a Kudzu market in Charleston but I don’t know how to get to it.)

    After a night in the Stono River we stayed inside sampling a half dozen of South Carolina’s rivers. After a nice sail up the Coosaw River we stopped in Beaufort, where we are now. That’s Byoofuht. Boefort is in North Carolina. We’ll spend the day tied to the free day dock, running errands and indulging pleasures.

  2. nat55


    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    125 posts, 108 likes
    Gulfstar 1979 Gulfstar 37
    Chris, thanks very much for the travelogue.

  3. dLj


    Joined Mar 23, 2017
    265 posts, 74 likes
    Hunter 30
    US Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
    What happened with your steering? Fixed?


  4. Chris Gordon

    Chris Gordon

    Joined Feb 28, 2013
    66 posts, 36 likes
    Pacific Seacraft 40
    US Belfast
    It will get fixed in Florida. At least that's the plan.

  5. gettinthere


    Joined Nov 26, 2008
    1,832 posts, 139 likes
    Endeavour 42
    US Cruisin
    Tina's Pocket? do tell...

  6. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    3,154 posts, 1,417 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    I really enjoyed reading your post. Nice writing, great trip. Nice to see you are talking the time to enjoy the trip instead of racing from point A to point B. So many people I know, ignore the side trips to try and keep some arbitrary schedule. Bravo for actually living. I hope to one day take a similar trip with my wife aboard Dragonfly.
    - Will (Dragonfly)

  7. Chris Gordon

    Chris Gordon

    Joined Feb 28, 2013
    66 posts, 36 likes
    Pacific Seacraft 40
    US Belfast
    Here's the Beaufort SC mooring field and day dock.

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