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Morehead to Oak Wilmington

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Old 04-16-2018, 11:41 AM
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Default Morehead to Oak Wilmington

I have never been offshore. I have been up and down the ICW, boated for years in the Chesapeake Bay but have never taken a boat out of the inlet and back in on my own. I was figuring maybe Morehead to Wilmington would be a fun trip to run outside on and up the ditch on the way back to New Bern. Both inlets appear to be in great shape as they both have a fair amount of commercial traffic. Besides for studying the charts is there anything I need to know? I don't know when we are going to do this but when we do I would like to know as much as I can.

As for the frying pan shoals, how far off of bald head heading south would one have to be to not be in the danger zone? Im almost thinking of staying about 15 miles out to just avoid them all together.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:49 AM
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There is a marked "slough" cutting through FPS. It's on the charts. I think about 10-15nm off the Bald Head beach.

Cape Fear River and Beaufort inlets are full on shipping channel inlets. Well marked and plenty deep. Beware that both can get "stood up" rough with an outgoing tide and a southerly breeze. You could also use Masonboro inlet just S of Wrightsville beach, instead of going all around frying pan. It too is a good inlet.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:58 AM
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With favorable winds that's an easy trip, in summertime probably doing the outside leg heading north would be much more comfortable (tailwind and seas). Even from Morehead it's a full two day journey but spending the night at the Bridge Tender in Wrightsville Beach is always fun! All three inlets (Masonboro, Cape Fear River and Beaufort) are no issues, downtown Wilmington is mainly a commercial port, most go to Wrightsville Beach (MAsonboro Inlet) instead. If you do decide to south past Frying Pan Shoals as long as you stay offshore of the Old Position Bouy (OP), you're fine. There are places closer in but more of a local knowledge kind of thing and much more dependent on sea conditions as they're shallower.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:00 PM
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I would second Corndog's recommendations. With a south wind, Masonboro is a more predictable inlet than the Cape Fear. And if you follow the ICW south from Masonboro you will pop out in the Cape Fear River about 10 miles upstream from the mouth of the river so you'll be that much closer to Wilmington. Wilmington has some city run docks right on the downtown waterfront with lots of great restaurants nearby.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:41 PM
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Great fishing out of there
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bills106 View Post
With favorable winds that's an easy trip, in summertime probably doing the outside leg heading north would be much more comfortable (tailwind and seas). Even from Morehead it's a full two day journey but spending the night at the Bridge Tender in Wrightsville Beach is always fun! All three inlets (Masonboro, Cape Fear River and Beaufort) are no issues, downtown Wilmington is mainly a commercial port, most go to Wrightsville Beach (MAsonboro Inlet) instead. If you do decide to south past Frying Pan Shoals as long as you stay offshore of the Old Position Bouy (OP), you're fine. There are places closer in but more of a local knowledge kind of thing and much more dependent on sea conditions as they're shallower.
it’s a full two day trip from New Bern to Wilmington? I have never done it but I have done Wilmington to Swansboro and new Bern to Sansboro.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Lorne Greene View Post

it’s a full two day trip from New Bern to Wilmington? I have never done it but I have done Wilmington to Swansboro and new Bern to Sansboro.
It's 80 statute mile Wrightsville bch to Beaufort in the ditch. 30sm WB to Wilm up the river. Not sure how far from BFT to New Bern.

In the ditch it takes me about 5hrs from WB to BFT due to no wake zones and bridges. Uninhibited I run the 38' between 18-22kts depending on the hurry up factor.

Offshore I can make BFT to Mason Inlet (my back door) in about 3hrs.

What kind of boat and speed?

Last edited by Corndog38; 04-16-2018 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Lorne Greene View Post

it’s a full two day trip from New Bern to Wilmington? I have never done it but I have done Wilmington to Swansboro and new Bern to Sansboro.
no, I was suggesting a two day round trip at what I imagined you'd be cruising at LG.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:04 AM
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<div style="text-align:left;">
Originally Posted by bills106 View Post
no, I was suggesting a two day round trip at what I imagined you'd be cruising at LG.
<br />Ah, that is what I was thinking too. One down and one back. </div>
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:25 AM
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I picked up my boat from Fort Macon Marina in Atlantic Beach, and brought it down the ICW to about 3/4 west on Oak Island. It was the week after Thanksgiving, so pretty much zero traffic the whole way, but I was breaking in new motors, so was cycling through different speeds back-and-forth, with no extended time at WOT. 6.5 hours slip-to-lift, nonstop.

If you can tolerate the wind and seas outside, I would agree that Masonboro is a better inlet than the Cape Fear. Flow from inland rain, tides, and wind make the CF "interesting" at times.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by raybark View Post
I picked up my boat from Fort Macon Marina in Atlantic Beach, and brought it down the ICW to about 3/4 west on Oak Island. It was the week after Thanksgiving, so pretty much zero traffic the whole way, but I was breaking in new motors, so was cycling through different speeds back-and-forth, with no extended time at WOT. 6.5 hours slip-to-lift, nonstop.

If you can tolerate the wind and seas outside, I would agree that Masonboro is a better inlet than the Cape Fear. Flow from inland rain, tides, and wind make the CF "interesting" at times.
Yeah, we kept our boat for a few years by the South Port Marina and the CF was interesting. The last boat was a 25-foot pocket cruiser. The boat we are taking delivery on is a 42 foot Ocean Alexander with a 14.5 beam clocking in at 24K so im a bit less worried about getting knocked around in this boat than the last. To boot it has a lower helm inside if I don't want to be outside in the weather.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:56 AM
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Another vote for Masonboro. If you want to go to downtown Wilmington, coming in at Masonboro and then out Snow's Cut to the Cape Fear may actually be faster than going around Frying Pan and coming in the Cape Fear, especially if it's sporty out there. I see going through the Slough as more of a solution if you're headed to Little River or Georgetown or Charleston.

Be aware that there is a restricted zone off New River for occasional live fire exercises, marked on the charts. Instructions on determining whether you can cut through or not are in the LNMs. It's not all that big a detour around it, but nice if you don't have to.
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