After a few weeks of staying in Wrightsville Beach, it was time to make our way further south. The weather wasn’t favorable enough to sail down the ocean from there, so we remained in the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) until we got fair winds.
**We were also new to sailing and wanted to make sure we were as safe as possible.
I’m not sure why or how we worked it out, but it just so happened that Cape Fear was our first inlet we departed to head down the East Coast. Just the fact that is was Cape Fear did scare me a bit, especially being new at this. (Video)
Our first day of sailing down the coast went great! We made it over 39 nautical miles and crossed into South Carolina to the Little River Inlet. We were proud of ourselves for reaching this milestone and excited to be experiencing something so amazing.
One of my favorite sailing stories was of Bernard Moitessier, a French sailor, who was in to win the Golden Globe Race of 1968. He would’ve been the first man to circumnavigate the world solo, non-stop. He had no radio, so he had to slingshot messages to other boats for them to radio for him, and, shortly before he was to win the race, he abandoned it, sending this message:
“My intention is to continue the voyage, still nonstop toward the Pacific Islands where there is plenty of sun and more peace than in Europe. Please do not think that I am trying to break a record. Record is a very stupid word at sea. I am continuing non-stop because I am happy at sea, and perhaps because I want to save my soul.” He later went on to write “I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth. A nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.”
I finally understood this peace. The peace I had felt so many times as a child, sitting on the beach, looking out into the ocean. I was exactly where I belong.
Sailing in the ocean was so different than any of the sailing we had experienced. Once you sail far enough from the shore you no longer have to worry about running aground or staying inside the channel markers. The charts (Navionics) show any shoalings to avoid and are constantly in our hands.
Our second day of ocean sailing we pulled anchor from Little River and headed to Merrells Inlet in with around 31 nautical miles behind us. We had another perfect day of sailing. The sea has so much beauty and energy that simply cannot be described. The experience of Bluewater sailing is everything and much more than I had expected.
I keep sailing on in this middle passage. I am sailing into the wind and the dark. But I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full.~Arthur Ashe