Colleen Mae

Colleen Mae
Vinneyard Haven

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sailing Wilmington, NC

Left River Rat Yacht Club, Jordan Creek. Belhaven, NC on Colleen Mae, Thursday, Oct 1, at 11:30 am, with Mike McClure, and Roger Cote, a buddy of mine from NJ who coincidentally had planned a diving trip for the weekend out of Beaufort. I had picked Roger up in Moorehead City on Wed before the trip. Unfortunately, due to Sue's work schedule, she could not join me until the next week for the return trip.

Thursday was a sunny day but with little wind and on nose so we motored to Oriental arriving before Sunset. Trip to Oriental took about six hours. We anchored in the harbor off of the Yacht Club and rowed to the dingy dock for dinner at Broad St Cafe: Great food. The best in Oriental. They picked us up at the dingy dock and drove us to the cafe a about a mile out on Broad St.

10:00am departure for Beaufort--again no wind. Took about 4 hrs motoring, We had arranged ahead to use a mooring in Taylor creek, next to where Stan Corbet has a mooring. Went to the NC Seafood Feastival in Moorehead City Friday evening, but not worth the time. The predicted front came through Friday evening a bit ahead of schedule.

On Sat, Roger went on his weekend Dive trip on a couple of wrecks on Sat and on a sunken German Sub at 150 ft depth on Sunday. Mike and I shopped around Beaufort and visited the Maritime Museum.

Stan Corbet and Dave Groening joined us Sat eve for dinner on Colleen Mae. Not much sleep either Friday of Sat evening due to Live Band with a Sick Female Cow Bellowing until 3:00am from the decks of the Dock Side.

Weather forecast was uncertain first week of October for planned pre dawn departure from Beaufort, Sunday, Oct 4. However front managed to make it through Eastern NC Friday and Sat with winds backing from NW on Sunday, which was ideal for the sail Westerly from Beaufort to Masonboro Inlet near Wrightsville Beach.

We left Sunday at about 5:30am, thanks to safe navigation by Stan, who is quite familiar with the Bueafort waterway, and a bright full moon. By the time we were out to the Inlet entrance mark there was enough light to roll the jib out to motor sail for about an hour. Nothing like watching the sun come up over the horizon while at sea; however seas were a bit lumpy left from the front moving through earlier. Both Dave and I were feeling the chop a bit and settled out after taking in Bonine tablet. We then raised the Mizen and the Main, cut the engine and sailed a bit off the Rum Line from Beaufort to Masonboro Inlet. We were beating 40 to 60 degrees off the wind basically W. In any event we needed to get out a bit to pass the Restricted Area off of Onslow Beach.

Ocean sailing in light winds with some chop requires the golden touch to fall of and bring it back in sync with the waves to keep up the momentum. Kudos go to Stan who had the knack of keeping Collen Mae in the groove.

As the day progressed, seas abated and the wind clocked a bit toward NW. Winds held up through the morning and early afternoon 10 to 12 knots alowing us to sail 4.5 to 6.5 knots until about 2:00 pm when the winds droped to 6 to 8 knots whereupon we motor sailed at 6 to 7 knots. By 3:00 pm the seas really flattened and we motored through the Masonboro inlet like a lake at about 5:00 pm. We were welcomed at the inlet by Myra Sieve, a RRYC member who lives in Wilmington, waving on the beach. She also met us later about 5:30 at SeaPath Marina North of the Inlet where we docked for the night. Dave and Stan were met by there wives Trina and Rena and left for home. I'm sure it was a rather long day by the time they got back to Raliegh area.

Mike and I were joined for dinner by Myra and Wally, her significant other. Then Myra joined us at 6:30 the Monday morning for a 7:30 am departure on rising tide. Since we were past mid tide, the trip down the ICW through Snow's Cut to Cape Fear River up to Wilmington was safely made with guidance from Myra who lives in Wilmington and has had a 36ft sailboat in these waters for the past ten years. The trip up to Wilmington from Wrightsville Beach took a little over 4 hours with tide rising to high, but wind and light rain on the nose, so we had to motor all the way keeping a sharp eye for the marks and range lights.

We docked with some difficulty as there was still current which persists for more than an hour past high tide. Peak current really rips at about five knots so transient up and down the river needs to be synchronized with the tide. The floating wooden city docks are great, located off of Market St next to the vistitors booth---very convenient to all the activities in the heart of Wilmington. Mike was picked up by his daughter and Myra returned to her home in Wilmington. I spent the next several days wandering Wilmington and making some minor repairs. The stern bulb was blown and the Stbd Green was out from a corroded wire connection, which required a trip to West Marine for the bulb for which I thought I had a spare. Myra graciously gave me a lift and a quick tour around town past their lovely home in a most desired area which she had built shortly after moving to Wilmington. Furtunately, at sea, the Tri Color Mast light did it's job.

Stay tunned for Return trip via ICW after Sue joined me on Thursday in Wilmington

Pix on