Night Passage

Nov. 10, Southport, NC  N33 55.0, W078 01.7

It’s raining again and will probably continue to until Ida passes through Florida.  We took a slip in a marina for a night or two to rest and wait for clearer weather.  It’s hard to sail or motor down the ICW in the rain.  So how did we get here?

We left the Bay River and by about noon the next day we were in Oriental, NC.  About the time we were taking down the sails our friends Mark and Michelle on Reach were heading out of Beaufort, NC into the ocean.  The good news is they caught a big weather window and sailed all the way to northern Florida.  The bad news is now they are scurring south to get out of the way of the remanents of hurricane Ida.  They had only been a day ahead of us and we thought we might catch up if the weather slowed them down.  It was not to be, but at least we are not dodging Ida.

Oriental is a very boater friendly town in general, but even more so if you know any of the locals like we do.  Our friends Don and D of the Dickerson 41 Southern Cross live in Oriental between cruises. They arranged for a dock at a friend’s house and scrounged some bicycles so we could get around town.  It turns out they had found docking space for at least three other boats, so we had lots of other cruisers to meet and boats to tour.


Our free dock in Oriental

Oriental was a whirlwind of boat work, gathering last minute supplies, visiting other boaters, and enjoying biking around a quaint little town. 


Jackie and Beth sew lee cloths

We had a great time, but we were also looking ahead to the next part of our trip. The big-picture plan was to do the half day run to Beaufort/Moorehead City, catch a good weather forecast – a “weather window” – and head into the ocean and down the coast.  We originally talked about sailing to Charleston, SC, but the weather didn’t look like it would cooperate.  We looked at a lot of info and talked to people, but in the end we subscribed to Chris Parker’s weather service.  He is a weather router – provides sailors with weather information to plan and carry out their trips. 

We signed up with Chris on Sunday and the next morning we tuned into his broadcast.  He gives some weather forecast information and then talks to individuals about their trip plans.  We told him that we wanted to do a day trip to the Masonboro inlet – we already knew the weather wouldn’t hold long enough to go farther.  He thought the weather would work out, but then he suggested we leave Beaufort that afternoon so we would sail overnight and arrive after sunrise.

This would be the first time Jackie or I took our boat into the ocean and now we were contemplating an overnight trip.  We were up for it and so were our crew.  We got the boat ready, said goodbye to our friends in Oriental, and headed for Beaufort.  We motorsailed part of the trip, but mostly it was just another day motoring down the ditch. 


Are you sure you are going the right way?

Then just before Beaufort we finally saw one of the things all cruisers talk about – dolphins!  There they were, playing in the ICW.  Very Cool!

We arrived earlier than planned, but decided to continue into the ocean.  It was a gorgous day and we were all ready to do some sailing after all the motoring we had done on the trip.  Besides, we thought we could slow down a little if it looked like we would arrive at Masonboro in the dark.


Entering the ocean

The conditions on the ocean were much what we expected.  Winds were about 10 kts and the sea was rolling 2-4 feet.  Pretty easy conditions except that the wind was blowing directly where we wanted to go.  This may sound like a good thing, but most sailboats don’t do well with the wind right behind them and Little Rosie is no exception.  We ended up sailing about 40 degrees off our preferred couse for the first few hours.  We planned to gybe back later and sail the other side of our course.  We needed to kill time so we wouldn’t arrive at Masonboro while it was still dark, so it should work out.

Somewhere in this first part of the trip we were visited by more Dolphins.  These didn’t just swim by, they came and played with Little Rosie.  They swam along in her bow wave almost under the boat.  We had all heard of it – we had all seen pictures of it – but when it’s magical when you are right there watching it happen.

Our sailing plan worked.  The wind wobbled around a little and they waves got a little bigger at times, but we sailed along quite well.  We split into teams of two and did four hour shifts through the night.  By dawn we were just up the coast from Masonboro.  We were in the ICW by about nine.  We had put about 100 miles behind us and passed a few big milestones.  The only downside was that the direction of the waves rolled the boat around a lot.  We knew there would be things we overlooked that would end up on the floor and a lot did.  The waves caused less ease and more quese than we would have liked, but everyone was able to sleep well despite the occassional lurhces and bangs from big waves that caught us off guard.

So what do we think of weather routers?  It began raining about noon and kept up well into the afternoon.  Had we gone with our original plan we would have been entering a well marked, but tricky inlet in the rain under limited visibility.  Not a very pleasant thought.  As it turned out we did the rainy stretch in the ICW where the worst problem would likely be running aground.

We made use of the time and got a few miles down the ditch.   We may be pinned down for a few days by the weather – even motoring in the ICW in the rain gets exciting because you can’t see the channel markers and other boats.  Nothing like a barge appearing out of the mist!  Hopefully we will find some interesting things to do in the little town here.

The next step? Depends on the weather!

6 Responses to “Night Passage”

  1. Barry & Nancy Says:


    Did you use an entire roll of duct tape yet? and how much di you have to use on Beth?


  2. Fay (little sis) Says:

    Hi Guys,
    I am really enjoying the blog. I thought I would have my whole class follow the adventures of Little Rosie.
    We will be tracking you as you make your journey.
    Be Safe


  3. katie Says:

    I have been wondering how you all were doing with Ida in town. So exciting to hear about your first ocean going experience. Another beautiful dock picture. take care Kt

  4. nana and pappa Says:

    Irish blessing There are goodships, and there are wood ships, The ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.

  5. Chris & Bill Says:

    Great to see you in Oriental. Glad that your 1st night offshore went well. Hope that Ida has cleared out so that you can keep moving south.

    Will be on the lookout for your next update.

    Chris & Bill

  6. Dennis L. Says:

    Great pictures and good narrative. I’m enjoying the trip!
    Fairwinds, smooth seas. We are getting hammered up here in the great NW.


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