USA landfall - Beaufort, North Carolina

34:42.7N 76:38.95W

Saturday 28th May 2011

Distance run: 513 nmiles

We lifted the anchor around 1400 on Tuesday 24th, having given the tide a few hours to rise from low water - we didn't want a repeat performance of when we arrived!  The water in the Man of War channel was bubbly but not a problem and we were soon out of the Sea of Abaco and set a course towards the US coast.  Rather than follow the rhumb line to Beaufort, we had used Chris Parker to give us a routing which would maximise the Gulf Stream and its associated currents as well as the weather.  We hoped to have a fair  current the whole way and we were certainly not disappointed as we left the Bahamas behind us with 1-2 knots of fair current and 12-15 knots of wind on the beam - we stonked along!

This lasted until the following morning when the wind died down to 5-7 knots and we began motor-sailing to keep up a reasonable speed.  The weather forecast was good until Friday, but then an approaching cold front meant squally weather around the Beaufort area on Saturday, so we were keen to clock up the miles to avoid the squalls if possible.

We spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday alternating between sailing, motor-sailing and motoring, and had a favourable current for all but six hours of that time, so we made fairly good time, despite the lack of wind, but not good enough to arrive on Friday, and on Friday night the fun started.  We had squall after squall, with 30+ knot gusts, rain, lightning & thunder, which meant neither of us slept more than an hour all night.  As we left the Gulf  stream and headed towards Beaufort, it was invisible under a huge black cloud, so we altered course and went into the bay to the west to give it time to dissipate or move on.

Eventually it did and as the sun began to shine through we made our approach to Beaufort Inlet.  The wind by now had picked up to 13 knots on the beam, so we finally switched off the engine and were pleased to make our arrival in the US by sail.  The sun was shining gloriously as we sailed into the Inlet, and we have never seen so many small motor boats - it seemed the whole of the town was out on the water, zipping alongside, across the bow, round the stern - everywhere we looked there were small boats!  We were wondering if this was the norm, when Kenny from 'Loon', a US boat we had sailed in company with from Marsh Harbour, informed us we were arriving on Memorial Day weekend, which is a public holiday long weekend.

After negotiating a rather narrow and shallow channel we finally dropped the anchor in Taylor Creek,in a lovely spot with natural marshland on one side and large detached houses with private jetties on the other.  Kenny phoned the Coastguard and as they were very busy, we would have to wait to check in the next day.   No matter- we had achieved the next goal of the trip - to arrive in the USA,and we were really looking forward to the next few months cruising the east coast.

               

Approaching the US coast                                                                                Entering via the Beaufort inlet

A delightful anchorage in Taylor Creek.