Neuse River Sailors
Sailing Southeastern Waters

Sailing Trips...

Elizabeth City, October 2021

On Edenton Town Dock

With plans to sail to Elizabeth City on Monday, 10/25/21, I decided to stage off the town dock Sunday evening and save a half hour. Off Edenton Marina dock 17:10, on town dock 17:40...more.

Story by Paul Clayton.
Posted 11/12/21.

Hobie Recovery - Part II

rescue boat

"Had to abandon the boat. Going to get it tomorrow mid morning. Hope you got pictures. Was it you that sent the Sherrills Ford fire and rescue to help? They were great!"...more.

Story by Paul Clayton.
Posted 11/01/21.

Hobie Recovery - Part I

Hobie 16 leaving dock

It all started with an email from my Hobie-sailing friend Mark. "Looks like I have a boat almost ready. Just tying up some battens this evening and planning to leave by 8:00..."more.

Story by Paul Clayton.
Posted 10/18/21.

Columbia, September 2021

Columbia Waterfront

Late September. What better time could there be for sailing? The brutal hot days of summer are over, the freezing rains of winter are yet to come. Of course, there are the equinoctal storms. While meteorologists and statisticians deny their existence, any old sailor will tell you to watch out around the equinox...more.

Story by Paul Clayton.

To Belhaven

Alligator River Bridge

When Taylor went to the masthead> of his Hunter 31 Never Enough by way of bucket lift, he found more work than he could do on the spot. In fact, on consideration, he decided that it would be best to yard the boat and have the mast out. Last winter he had the boat at Mackey's, but he decided this time to give the new yard in Belhaven, TJ's, a try...more.

Story by Paul Clayton.

By Way of Manteo

OpenCPN Track

With a new Beta 20 replacement for the Atomic 4, it was time to go back to Edenton on the Albemarle. Taylor Ward, who crewed for me on the trip to Oriental, had stayed in touch and assured me of his interest in making the return trip. David Swanson, sometime writer for Neuse River Sailor, also expressed an interest. It was to my great benefit that I was able to make arrangements so both of them could come ...more.

Story by Paul Clayton.

More Sailing Trips...


Mackeys Marina

Facilities are few and far between on the upper Albemarle, but boats that draw five feet or less should consider a visit to Mackeys Marina on the south shore of the sound...


Review by Paul Clayton.

Matthews Point Marina

With all the good marinas lining both banks of the Neuse River, sailors can afford to be discriminating about where they keep their boats. Personally, I'd rather be in a sailboat marina for the quiet and low-wake character. I like a place with good sailing territory right out of the slip, and I like a high level of security so I can leave the boat for weeks at a time and know it is safe. In the ten years I have been on the Neuse, I have kept my boat at Matthews Point Marina because it provides all these things...


Review by Paul Clayton.

The Whortonsville Yacht and Tractor Club

On Brown Creek, a tributary of Lower Broad, you will find friendly little Ensign Marina. The owner, Nick Santoro, has written a book, which, while ostensibly a novel, reads like a lightly-fictionalized memoir of his time in Oriental. It tells the story of a man who leaves a big northern city for a simpler lifestyle, makes it through the culture shock of settling in Oriental, and goes on to integrate into the somewhat raffish Pamlico County society. Along the way he starts a successful business and marries a local girl...


Review by Paul Clayton.

More Reviews...


Three Ways South

It was early October 2019 and the old, frail, decrepit Alligator River Bridge had marine traffic all tied up. The opening mechanism was broken, parts had to be fabricated, and nobody had a good handle on how long it would take. That meant the bridge was locked down in the "closed" position. To a sailor, that means open for highway traffic, closed for him. Alligator River Marina, just on the north side of the bridge, was doing a booming business, every slip taken and boats lining the fuel docks. The snowbirds were edging south from New England and the Chesapeake Bay, ready to sprint for Florida as soon as hurricane season ended, and they were all piling up at the marina...more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

I Visited Ocracoke as Soon as They Would Let Me In

It looked like a short window of opportunity - Ocracoke Island would reopen to visitors on December 2nd, 2019, and Highway 12 would reopen between Ocracoke Village and South Dock Ferry Landing (so named because it is on the south side of Hatteras Inlet) at the north end of the island later in the week. In the meantime, the temporary ferry route between Hatteras and Silver Lake would continue to run. As soon as the highway reopened, it would be discontinued. If I wanted to add this route to my collection, I had just a few days to do it. And just as important, I wanted to visit Ocracoke and see for myself just how the island was faring...more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

ICW Cruisers - Here's Your Place to Resupply

Every spring, hundreds of overloaded, down on their lines cruising boats leave Florida and head north up the ICW. As the miles pass, they rise up. Boot stripes become visible. Crews resort to eating things that they wonder why they ever bought, like canned beets, or spam and yams...more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

More Articles...

How To...

Tire Fender

Clifford Ashley noted in his book "The Ashley Book of Knots" - "An old truck tire fender, unfortunately, is about the most practical fender there is. Fishermen use them naked and they are far from handsome. But if they are ringbolt hitched with rope or large strands from a rope, they become as handsome as any"...more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

Emergency Plugs

In a bad situation, all sorts of things can be stuffed into a hole in the boat to slow down the water - rags, a wad of tape, a monkey's fist, or even a potato or the shirt off your back. Anything that will start to fit and can be pounded in with a mallet (or a shoe, a frying pan, you get the idea). But the time-tested solution is a tapered plug made out of some kind of soft wood...more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

Hobie Tramp

An avid Hobie sailor friend came home from a recent trip with the trampoline starting to pull out of the port extrusion. We had a look at it and determined that the stitching was giving way and the material was pulling away from the bolt rope. Since the starboard hull was leaking badly where the prior owner had patched it, this boat is out of commission for a while. In other words, a good time to pull the tramp off and restitch it....more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

Installing a New Corner Ring on a Jib

Shallow Albemarle Sound has a reputation for developing a rough chop in bad weather, and bad weather is none too infrequent in northeastern North Carolina. On a hot day, air over the land warms and rises, sucking in cool, moist ocean air below it. This leads to atmospheric instability...more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

Installing a Composting Head

What's wrong with a conventional holding tank retention head aboard a sailboat?

It requires at least one, generally two, through hulls below the waterline, with their attendant seacocks and hoses. Through hulls are holes in the bottom of your boat. Seacocks should be maintained, or at least examined, annually, though few people do it. The seacocks and hoses leading from them are all that is holding the water back from flooding in and sinking your boat....more.

Article by Paul Clayton.

More How To...

Know Your Boats...

Mainship 34 Diesel Cruiser Mk 1

In 1978 the Luhrs family boat-building conglomerate that included Hunter, Luhrs and Silverton set up a new company, Mainship, to produce a John Cherubini designed 34 foot trawler. Eventually the family sold out, but the Mainship Corporation builds boat to this day...more.

Entry by Paul Clayton.

Bay Hen 21

A boat that you can sail around the Oriental inner harbor. Designer Reuben Trane drew a whole line of small, shallow-draft boats that were built by a series of companies that drifted into existence, lived for a while and then passed into bankruptcy. The last known owner of the molds was Nimble Boat Works, maker of the celebrated Nimble Nomad trailerable cruiser...more.

Entry by Paul Clayton.

CSY 37

These idiosyncratic boats are easy to identify, once you see the first one. The clipper bow, raised deck and numerous portholes in the cabin and the hull, boomed staysail and general appearance of solidity make it hard to mistake this boat for any other. The long, sturdy rubrails, akin to those on Pacific Seacrafts, are a feature that I greatly admire....more.

Entry by Paul Clayton.

More Know Your Boats...


Many photographs of boats and places from Maryland to Florida, but mostly from the Neuse. If you sail the waters of coastal North Carolina, you are sure to see places you've been, and maybe a picture of your boat...more.


Links to sailing websites, marinas and boatyards, museums, local restaurants, owners associations, and other sites of interest to sailors...more.

Terry Ann Refit...

Posts about refitting my Alberg 35...more.


You can contact this site by emailing


Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Paul M. Clayton

News and Announcements

Not Enough Crew -- With Covid ripping through the state, the NC Ferry Division has put Hatteras-Ocracoke on short schedule for January 9-10, 2021. Too many crew and support staff are out with Covid to operate all the trips. It is always wise to check the NC Ferry twitter feed before planning a trip, as the schedules can get spotty this time of year. Sickness and bad weather cause many cancelations.

Nimble Wanderer Trawler -- for sale in, of all places, Winston-Salem. This would be a great little boat for exploring the rivers, creeks, coves and bays of the North Carolina coast. Here is the Craigslist listing. **Update** - Questions have been raised concerning this Craigslist listing. Anyone interested in the boat might wish to contact Curtis Stokes & Associates, the broker with the listing. It appears the boat is in Reedville VA.

Back in Operation -- As of the morning of 1/4/22, all NC Ferry routes are back in operation. NC 12 is closed between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe due to overwash. NC Ferry twitter feed. *Update* - As of 1/5/22 Highway 12 is open.

Only One Route Running -- As of 10:30am the morning of 1/3/22, all NC Ferry routes are suspended (or, in the case of Aurora-Bayview, down due to mechanical failure) due to weather, except Cherry Branch - Minnesott. NC Ferry twitter feed. *Update* - As of 1:30pm Cherry Branch is suspended as well.

North Atlantic Gale -- The front passing through North Carolina on 1/3/22 and bringing us rain, snow and wind will develop into a full-blown low with gale-force winds off the southwest coast of Iceland by the 5th, according to

Valuable Resource -- James H. Newsome has posted an accurate, concise listing of free docks along the ICW at his aptly-named website ICW Free Docks.

Sailing to Alaska? -- PK Connor has compiled a nice little cruising guide to the Kodiak Islands and put it up as a free pdf. If you want paper, it is available for $4.98 at Amazon.

Morehead City Railroad Bridge -- Due to scheduled maintenance, the bridge will remain closed to navigation from 7:00AM 2022-01-04 through 7:00PM 2022-01-06 with the possibility of the time being extended through the 9th. Transients should use the Gallants Channel route. Local Notice to Mariners District 5 Week 51/21.

Who's in Fla? -- Looks like I will be in the Sunshine State for a few days around December 18th. Any friends who would like to get together for lunch, email me and we'll make plans.

Sheltering -- in the bight behind Nunjack Cay. Thats where Hiflite is anchored the night of 11/29/21.

Last Step -- Any time I put on a whipping or seizing, I finish it off by daubing on a coat of spar varnish. It helps protect the twine from UV.

Atomic Sailors -- I came across some old issues of The Atomic Sailor, Universal Motor's newsletter for Atomic 4 users, and here they are for the A4 fans out there (the first issue appears to be missing pages 1 and 2): Volume 1, Number 1; Volume 1, Number 2; Volume 2, Number 1; and Volume 2, Number 3

Winterization -- I ran two gallons of pink antifreeze into the raw water side of the new Beta to protect against winter freezing. We have already had two nights of low 20s.

Low Water -- It has been a cold fall, with one Canadian high after another bringing frigid air and northerly winds. In Edenton to winterize the boat, I attempted to turn Terry Ann in her slip to get a better angle of the sun for the solar panel, but found the bottom within a few feet. North winds blow the water out of the Albemarle, just the opposite of the Pamlico.

Dismal Swamp Canal Locking Schedule -- December 6-10, 2021, the locks will operate only at 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM, due to maintenance. Reported by Cruisersnet.

Final Update 11/09/21 -- All ferries running on regular schedules except Cherry Branch, which is on a one-boat schedule due to a mechanical issue. NCDOT is confident they can get NC 12 reopened by this afternoon. As always, Island Free Press is a great source of information, as are the NCDOT twitter feeds, ferry and road.

Ferries and Roads, 11/08/21 -- Cherry Branch-Minnesott resumed normal operations at 9:30 Monday morning. Hatteras ferries running a reduced schedule. Currituck-Knotts Island all runs cancelled. No word yet on the sound ferries. Bayview-Aurora running on regular schedule. Highway 12 is closed from Pea Island to Rodanthe. UPDATE: Sound ferries back on regular schedule starting 4:30 Monday afternoon.

Storm Update -- As of the evening of Sunday, 11/07/21, Highway 12 is closed between Rodanthe and Oregon Inlet, there is overwash in Hatteras Village, all ferries to Ocracoke are cancelled. The worst may be yet to come, with the high tide at 9:30 tonight. Winds and waves may moderate tomorrow. See reporting at Island Free Press. As of Sunday evening, the NC Ferry Twitter feed reports the Currituck-Knotts Island and Cherry Branch-Minnesott ferries to be suspended as well.

Cherry Branch - Minnesott -- ferry suspended as of 2:00 pm 11/6/21. The cross-sound ferries have been suspended as well. As of Saturday afternoon, Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries still running.

Conditions Expected to Deteriorate -- along the Outer Banks and in the Pamlico Sound the afternoon of Saturday, 11/6/21, as a major storm tracks along the coast. Winds to 60 mph, major coastal flooding and overwash are expected through Monday and possible Tuesday. Expect Highway 12 to close and ferry routes to be cancelled. More information at Island Free Press.

Don't Forget -- to renew your boat's documentation. You may have received a letter that looks suspiciously like a government document that is actually an offer to handle the renewal process for a fee. I'm sure it is a good, legitimate service, but doing it yourself is so easy there is really no reason to use it. Just go to the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Portal, choose "Order Products Online", then "Renewal", and follow the prompts. All you need are your boat's official number and a credit card. Takes about 2 minutes.

On the Elizabeth City Dock -- It's 10/27/21 and I am posting from the public library, which has good free wifi. The snowbirds are coming down the Dismal Swamp Canal, plus some local sailors who spent the summer on the Chesapeake. Mike sails an Alberg 30 and keeps the boat near Belhaven when he is not out cruising. Jeff, a Neuse River Sailors reader, is heading home to New Bern aboard his Ericson 32 Ardea. For a shot of Terry Ann on the dock, click here.

"Always Use Sta-bil" -- That's the advice my friend Pilot Dan, a certified FAA inspector and master at maintaining gasoline engines, gave me, and I religiously mixed it in with every tank of no-ethanol gasoline when I had the Atomic 4. Now that I have the Beta, I need some advice - should I run a diesel additive, and if so, what? Readers, what's your experience? Do you run an additive? Let me know at

Tricky Entrance... -- to Clubfoot Creek is a little trickier now that Marker 5 is missing its dayboard.

Dismal Swamp Canal Reopened -- After a short closure in late September due to an electrical issue at South Mills Lock, the canal reopened September 30th, 2021.

Must Be Getting Cold in New England -- Lately I am bombarded with email ads from West Marine urging me to buy winterizing products.

Tiller Versus Wheel -- "The strongest justification for a wheel is that it creates a prominent and authoritative-looking position for the fat bastard who pays the bills". I'm not going to reference this quote because it has been said so many times.

NOAA Weather Radio Coverage -- "You are listening to WNG537, broadcasting from Wakefield, VA, transmitting from a tower in Windsor, NC on frequency 162.525". For reference, here is a list of NWR stations, in order from Norfolk to Key West. Since more than one station can usually be picked up, this will help you zoom in on the one ahead, not the one behind. Anyone who has listened to the interminable tide listings and buoy reports only to find that the frequency provides local coverage for an area you passed through yesterday will understand.

Mast Comes Out of Never Enough -- Taylor sent me these pictures of the yard pulling the mast from his Hunter. Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3

Anybody Using Steel Rings -- for standing or running rigging? I'm thinking of seizing or shackling these to the stanchion bases of Terry Ann as fairleads for the jib furling line.

What's the Difference? -- Samson Trophy Braid is sold by Defender, West Marine, and other boating supply houses. From Samson's web site, "Trophy Braid is excellent for cruising sailors who want a rope with a soft hand. This line has a soft, fuzzy cover that is easy on the hands. This double braid construction has a spun polyester cover and a polyester core." In 3/8ths inch, the average strength is 3,000 pounds. Samson Stable Braid is sold by Gap Arborist Supply, Rigging Warehouse, Sheldon Hill and other supply houses catering to arborists, foresters and engineers. From Samson's web site, "Stable Braid has a braided core and cover, both contributing to its strength and firm hand, while remaining fully spliceable. It works very well on winch drums and has the non-rotational flexibility to be flaked on deck. Stable Braid is a proven, tough rope with excellent controlled working elongation." The minimum strength is 4,800 pounds. So the main advantage of Trophy Braid is the soft, fuzzy cover and the main advantage of the Stable Braid is the substantially greater strength. The other difference is that Trophy Braid is sold by boating supply houses to wealthy yachtsmen like you and me, while Stable Braid is sold to people doing hard manual labor to make a buck. Trophy Braid 3/8 inch line from Defender is $.89/foot, or $133.50 for 150 feet - plus Defender's hefty shipping fees. Stable Braid 3/8 inch from Gap Arborist is $85.49 for 150 feet, no shipping because it's over $49. Guess which one I bought? A hint - I have tough hands.

This is No Drill -- To our friends in Connecticut - we're thinking of you and sending energy. We know you are putting out your best bower anchor on plenty of rode, getting all the canvas off the masts, and doing everything you can to prepare. Hang on tight!

2021 Oriental Boat Show -- Cancelled last year due to Covid, the show is back, September 24-26, 2021. The organizers expect aroung 100 exhibitors at what they bill as the biggest in-water show between Annapolis and Savannah. For more information, click here.

New Boatyard in Belhaven -- My sailing partner Taylor turned up this new well-equipped yard recently and I drove down a few days ago for a look. The friendly owner explained that while they are not officially open yet, they are hauling boats for DIY and contract work. He added that they intend to add a marina adjacent to the yard.

A Self-Aware Fisherman -- owns this boat.

Hobie Cat on Lake Norman -- My friend Mark sent a shot of his Hobie 16 on a perfect day for sailing.

View From Mast Height -- Taylor took this picture looking out over Edenton Marina from the bucket lift while doing masthead work on his Hunter Never Enough..

A Lazy Afternoon... -- sailing a Sunfish in Pembroke Creek, Edenton.

You Can't Order from Paxton... -- so find somebody who can. Paxton Company is a distributor of marine supplies and carries just about every brand you could think of. Best, their trucks run up and down the southeast coast from Virginia to Florida, offering next day delivery on almost everything in their catalog. The only catch - they only sell to companies that can give them thousands of dollars worth of business in a year. But that includes practically all boatyards, many marinas and a good selection of marine supply stores. In the Edenton area I have ordered from Paxton through Mackey's and gotten great service, but it is an hour plus round trip across the river. Last time I visited Dixie Auto & Truck Parts in Edenton I noticed they had a sign stating they could order from Paxton. I checked with the clerk and he confirmed that they had a Paxton account and were glad to place orders. That will make it a lot easier getting boat parts in Chowan County.

By Way of Manteo -- We sailed Terry Ann from Oriental to Edenton by way of Manteo. The notorious Old House Channel and Roanoke Sound proved not troublesome on a day of good visibility and light easterly airs. On the other hand, the Albemarle Sound lived up to its reputation. We suffered a knockdown in a line squall and had to motor on to Edenton with a broken spreader. Story to come.

Ocrafolk 2021 -- I'm sure there will be a big contingent from Matthews Point for the annual festival June 4th through 6th. For information and tickets, click here.

Manteo Improvements -- Coastal Review reports that dredging in Shallowbag Bay and the adjoining channel has been completed, allowing the replica ship Elizabeth II to be moved from its permanent dock on the Manteo waterfront to Wanchese for haul-out. This bodes well for our plans to sail Terry Ann home from Oriental to Edenton by way of Manteo.

Alternate Route -- Cruisers Net reports April 21st, 2021 that the Dismal Swamp Canal is open, all bridges and locks operating on schedule, and no duckweed. I must add that there was an unfortunate police shooting in Elizabeth City recently and transients might want to avoid the town until things settle down. Sorry to have to report that about one of my favorite cruising towns and I wish nothing but the best for the people of the area.

It Finally Happened -- For years, every time I crossed the Bonner Bridge across Oregon Inlet, I hoped it was for the last time. The rickety old bridge always seemed in eminent danger of collapsing into the sea. Fortunately, the State, after years of procrastination, built a replacement that opened in 2019. Yesterday, April 14th, 2021, a section of the old bridge that was being dismantled collapsed, falling 110 feet and killing one worker. It is sobering to think that this old bridge remained in operation so many years after it should have been replaced, and tragic that a man lost his life in the last stage of tearing the old structure down.

Retrenchment? -- Back in October 2019 I mentioned that NCDOT was exploring the possibility of building a new ferry dock on Ocracoke near the pony pens and abandoning the current dock at the north end of the island. That idea has resurfaced periodically. An article dated 4/7/21 at Island Free Press has this to say: "The proposed new ferry terminal...would be located 6 miles north of the village and one mile south of the Pony Pens...Under the proposal, if the old terminal is decommissioned, all N.C. 12 pavement and structures between the new and old terminals would be removed".

Cedar Island and Swan Quarter -- ferries are suspended until April 12th due to shoaling in the channel just outside Siver Lake. The Corps of Engineers is still dredging, but things are just getting worse. The Ferry Division will re-assess Monday and try to project when service can resume.

Maybe by Summer -- The Bath State Dock (the free dock) just below the fixed bridge on Bath Creek was damaged by hurricane Isaias and has been closed since. Neuse River sailor David Swanson inquired with the operator recently and got this in reply: "We are awaiting materials for repairs and anticipate reopening the dock by this summer. Please check back with us in May for an update!"

Anyone with a Boat to Rent? -- A Neuse River Sailors contributor sent me this email: "I am looking to rent a small (approximately 25-30') cabin cruiser or houseboat for a couple of weeks May and/or June, to go from the Beaufort area up to the Albemarle and back. If you know of anyone with a dormant craft who might be interested in such an arrangement, I would be grateful to learning about him or her or them . . ." If anyone has an interest, email me at the address at the bottom of this page and I will put you in contact.

New Life for Pamlico -- Built in 1965 at the New Bern Shipyard, Pamlico served the NC Ferry Division until 2015, when she was sold to Cross Sound Ferry Services of Connecticut. There she saw a thorough renovation, was renamed the Jennifer C, and currently runs between New London, CT and Orient Point on Long Island.

Not Enough Water in Bigfoot Slough...-- for the Swan Quarter and Sea Level, which draw 7 1/2 feet, so for at least the week of March 26-30 the cross-sound routes between Cedar Island, Swan Quarter and Ocracoke are on short schedules of one boat in each direction. A dredge is working in the Slough.

Beta Red -- I'm having a new Beta 20 installed in Terry Ann. The engine is in the boat but not hooked up yet. Here's a picture.

A Hard Reckoning -- The New York Times published an article on March 14th, 2021 entitled "Tiny Town, Big Decision: What Are We Willing to Pay to Fight the Rising Sea?" about the town of Avon on the Outer Banks.

Pilot Dan -- Edenton sailor, OBX pilot and friend Dan White died February 18th, 2021 after a short illness. He loved his boat Moriah and lived aboard almost to the end. He was generous to a fault. One of his greatest pleasures was to welcome fellow sailors at the Edenton Marina aboard his boat for five o'clock libations and conversation. We'll miss him.

Another Option -- If nobody wants the marine head, friend and fellow Neuse River sailor David Swanson sent this proposal for reuse. I'm thinking a local sculpture garden might like to have it to pair with a Mannekin Pis statue. Send your ideas and I will post them here. The best one gets a prize - a lightly-used marine head.

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