Four days offshore, Beaufort to Fernandina Beach

Beaufort was a terribly tight anchorage, which is what we’d heard and why we’d chosen the dubious charms of Morehead City each and every other time we’ve come through the area. We watched the weather carefully and, along with a whole bunch of other cruisers, decided that the weather looked good for leaving on Wednesday, November 16. We were going to aim at Florida and, by sticking close to the coast, have multiple options for inlets once the weather started getting ugly or we just felt like stopping. Unlike most of the others, we waited for the seas to lay down a bit and took the beginning of the afternoon ebb instead of the last of the morning one. We finished the engine exiting the bar from Beaufort and the boat rose to the occasion. We were full sail for most of that night but as we approached the northern reaches of a cape called Fear we started shedding sail area like it was female laundry in rebooted Star Trek movie. That was probably for the best, since we still had uncomfortably choppy seas…steep, quick, no fun…as we approached the southern end of the Frying Pan Shoals off Cape Fear. It was demoralizing so early in the trip and had us remembering our original plan, which was to go inside at Wrightsville Beach and take the ICW to Cape Fear’s south side. Oh well! We were sailing and the boat was driving herself. We could take a bit of a beating as long as we didn’t have to start that fucking engine…and we didn’t. Things got better on the lee side of the shoals, but we were spooked enough that we didn’t take the straight-line course to the Florida coast. We swooped toward the South Carolina coastline, coming within ten[…]

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