The short days and cold wind out of the north is telling me that the sailing season (at least for me) is almost over. The water temperature is just about 61 degrees, in a few weeks it will be down in to the 50's. I would like to sail all through the winter, we do get some nice warm days in January and February. But the water will be cold enough that I really ought to wear a dry suit to be safe. And I can't quite afford one (yet).
So I find myself thinking about trips next year. We had been considering a spring trip on Chesapeake Bay and then heading back down to North Carolina in the fall. But I get the feeling that with our schedules we won't be able to do the spring trip until late spring - early to mid-June. I don't want sail up on Chesapeake Bay after Memorial Day when all the jet skiers and cigarette boats (do they still call them that?) are out on the water. So we'll switch the two, do Pamlico Sound in late spring and back up on Chesapeake Bay in the fall.
Above is a trip I roughed out for North Carolina. This is just the starting point. Bruce will take a look and have some input, then we'll have all winter to adjust, tweak or completely change our minds. Planning is a huge part of the fun for these trips. But at least this will give us a starting point for discussion.
We could start out at a marina on Broad Creek just east of Washington, NC. Follow the Pamlico River (hopefully it will be calmer than last spring) down to Goose Creek and the ICW. Take that south and come out on Pamlico Sound through either Jones Bay or the Bay River, heading southeast to West Bay and cut below Cedar Island (or we could even go above Cedar Island) to Core Sound. Sail south on Core Sound to Harkers Island and the Cape Lookout area. There we would have the interesting choice of sailing to Beaufort inside of Shackleford Banks or going to Cape Lookout Bight and sailing across Onslow Bay to Beafort Inlet. From Beaufort we could go north on the ICW to the Neuse River and Oriental (got to stop in Oriental anytime we have a chance), then back on the Neuse to New Bern. That sounds like a lot of distance to cover but straight line it measures out to about 150 miles. Certainly do-able. There would be some great places to anchor out overnight, and there would be a couple of places - Oriental, Beaufort - to tie up at a marina, stay in a hotel and have a nice dinner in a restaurant.
The map above is a possible fall trip on Chesapeake Bay. We would do it after Labor Day when most of the vacation crowd has gone home, the summer heat has left and the fish are starting to feed. But that trip is ten months away. Don't want to put too much effort on that. Got to think about the spring trip now.
Like I said, the sailing season here is nearly over. But we do have a little time left. There is a nice forecast for Sunday. Sunny and warm. The wind might be a little on the light side. If so that's ok, I'll anchor in Crawford Bay, read the NY Times, have a sandwich for lunch and take a nap. Sounds pretty good to me.