Wrightsville Beach, NC GPS: 34 12.4N 77 48.0W
Well what a productive week, our initial departure plan got delayed as the rain revealed a leak between the forward hatch and the deck, necessitating full removal and reinstallation which took most of the weekend by the time the sealant had dried.
So finally on Monday morning we were off. We motored/sailed down the Chesapeake in company with Merlin stopping at Solomons and Deltaville before arriving at Old Point Comfort on Wednesday evening, just in time for the weather window to get round Hatteras, we were joined by Bella so we had a convoy of three for the long run outside.
It proved to be a superb sail, we left on Thursday morning and had a cracking sail down the Virginia coast, reaching in a westerly on flat water under warm sunshine. What a change from 3 years ago when we tucked in sleeping bags and shivering. Much of the change is due to leaving a couple of weeks earlier, but also the cockpit enclosure Linda has made since then helps to keep the wind off us.
We had a full moon for the night sail and the temperatures remained high, even when the forecast northerly change came through around midnight. The wind shifted NE at 20-25 knots and the seas began to build a bit, but nothing more than 4-5 feet so comfortable fast downwind sailing. We rounded the shoals at Hatteras around 0430 by which time it was a bit rougher, but once round we had a comfortable ail as the seas flattened out again.
Sunrise was gorgeous and the rest of the trip uneventful sailing downwind in sunshine and flat water. We sailed the whole 200 miles to the Lookout shoals buoy averaging 6.6 knots and with no incidents at all to report. We were joined by a pod of dolphins for the motor into the anchorage at Cape Lookout arriving tired but very happy in time for a sunset beer and an early night.
Saturday dawned sunny and warm and we had a great walk down the ocean beach at Lookout in the sunshine. It reminded us of Australia with four wheel drives and surf fishermen on the white sand, the waves rolling in and sun warm on our backs.
Sunday was our last chance to get south for a few days so we upped anchor in the dark and motored out bound for Wrightsville Beach. The wind filled in once the sun was up and we had another superb sail in calm seas, bright sunshine and at good speeds – it wasn’t like this 3 years ago, we almost don’t trust out luck!
We hadn’t been in here before, but Masonboro Inlet was wide, deep and easy and we are now tucked up in the anchorage riding out 3 days of 20 knot southerlies before the next leg down to Charleston. We hope to leave Friday on the next cold front getting in 24 hours later to probably our favourite city on the east coast.