The next North Carolina Challenge is
Friday, October 14, 2016. There are two concurrent events, the roughly 300 mile BlackBeard Challenge (BBC) and the roughly
90 mile Challenge (NCC). Both events finish at the same time, but they start at
different times. Be sure you check the schedule for the correct event! There is a mandatory
equipment inspection and captains meeting the day before on Thursday, October 13, 2016. Refer to the schedule
for time/date specifics.
NCC cost is $195.00
for the captain and $195.00 for
a crew member if any.
Monday, August 01, 2016.
Monday, September 05, 2016
Payment deadline is
Monday, September 05, 2016
Due to the exteme commitment for this challenge late registration and/or late payments
will not be allowed. We recommend that you commit to this race early so you have
plenty of time for planning, training, and preparation. Pay early in the payment
cycle. You can get a full refund up until
Monday, September 05, 2016
at noon. No refunds after that date and time.
All WaterTribe events are dangerous events as defined by law and common sense. You
are responsible for your own safety. You must read and understand
Rules and Warnings
before you register for this event. Although the warnings read
specific to Florida, they all apply to the NC environment and must be read and understood
for this event.
The NCC distance is roughly 90-100 miles depending on your course selection. The course for this challenge has been changed
a bit from last year. We are going back to our original starting location on Cedar Island. But due to lessons learned in previous years we are going to provide very flexible launching options as follows:
Launch from the north facing beach near the ferry landing. This is very weather dependant and is up to you. It is OK to get all setup on inspection day and then change your mind on launch day when you see huge waves crashing on the beach.
Launch from the boat ramp near the ferry landing. You will have to wait your turn just like any other boat ramp. You cannot launch if a ferry is coming in or going out. You must have a boat that could launch off the beach. You will receive a minimum half hour penalty on your starting time. In other words, we will subtract 30 minutes from the official start time and you could also have to wait for others (even non WaterTribers) to launch.
Launch from the docks near the house near the convenience store. A one hour penalty will be applied to your start time.
Launch from the boat ramp near the house near the convenience store. You still have to have a boat the could launch off the beach. No penalty will be assessed. Your start time will be adjusted to the time you get to use the ramp. Ramp access will be determined by random selection. If your name is called and you are not immediately ready to launch, you will go to the back of the list.
This will turn out to be a lot less complicated than it sounds and we will be able to adapt to a wide range of weather conditions. If the weather is good and forecasted to be good for the launch, the first option is preferred. But no matter what, you can choose any of the four options.
Please take a special look at the deadlines for this event. There is an overall maximum time limit of approximately 2 days. The North Carolina Challenge is intended to
be done at an Ultra Marathon pace. The deadlines are tougher than for the BBC which is a much longer challenge.
At an average speed of 3.5 knots it will take about 16 hours to get to CP1. The deadline gives you 26.5 hours
so there is some cushion, but not much especially if you encounter conditions that reduce your speed. As always, we
will make allowances for foul weather. Just remember, it's intended to be an Ultra Marathon pace.
NCC2016 Tracking Map
The link above will take you to the tracking map which is the best way to view the course.
Note: The table includes waypoints for both the BlackBeard Challenge (BBC) and
the North Carolina Challenge (NCC).
The only route requirements are that the race be run counter-clockwise, through
the Harlowe Canal and the Thorofare, with a stop at the checkpoint at Beaufort. All
other navigational decisions are up to each challenger. The course will have participants
experiencing parts of North Carolina’s Neuse River, Newport River, Taylor’s Creek,
Back Sound, Core Sound, Pamlico Sound and many of the Bays in “down eastern” North
When waypoints are shown on the tracking map, you must follow that course as shown. Typically they are there to force a filter. The waypoints are shown as general guidelines for the course. They are not intended for navigation.
The Harlowe canal is required. Options will be discussed at the captains meeting if there are blockages in the canal.
The Thorofare is required.
Be careful with your course selection.
There are restricted areas along the route. You must mark these areas on your charts and be well aware of their location and rules. Some of these areas are used for bombing, shelling, and strafing practice. Be sure to chart a course that leaves plenty of room for these areas.
The NCC and BBC are run as an unsupported, expedition-style adventure races for
kayaks, canoes and small boats. Your safety and well being are completely up to
you. You should be an expert kayaker and/or sailor before you
consider this challenge. Although this event is not an open ocean race, the
location is coastal, subject to the same weather patterns and conditions one finds
beyond the narrow barrier islands and impacting the shallow sounds.
Unsupported means that there are no safety boats or support crews to help you during
the race. You are not allowed to have a support crew follow you or meet you during
the race. It is okay to have family or friends meet you at the official checkpoint,
but they cannot provide anything other than emotional support. See the official
WaterTribe Rules for more details.
Expedition-style means that you should carry the same type of equipment and supplies
that you would carry on a major expedition. Camping equipment, food, water, safety,
communication means, etc. is required. Please read the WaterTribe Challenge Equipment
List (in the Rules PDF), which details required equipment for a Challenge. Please choose your equipment needs carefully. Everyone must also carry all safety
equipment as specified by the Coast Guard, local regulations and common sense.
In addition, all boats in this challenge are also required to carry a SPOT device
with or without the tracking feature. Please read the instructions for Spot Setup and Usage
for WaterTribe events.
Although this is a race, many participants are more interested in cruising and adventure.
Whether you are a cruiser or racer is up to you; time allows for both. Just getting
to the starting line is a major accomplishment, and many starters will not finish.
2009 NCC finishers made up only 53% of the starters.
A banquet lunch and award ceremony will take place Sunday at 10:30
at the Don Lee Dining Hall.
You basically have four choices for accommodations during these NC events:
Weather and sea conditions including current and historical data can be found at
Registration, Waivers, Float Plans -
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Is Mandatory .
Gear Inspection -
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Is Mandatory .
NCC Race -
Friday, October 14, 2016 to
Sunday, October 16, 2016.
Both the BlackBeard Challenge (BBC) and the NC Challenge (NCC) start and finish at Cedar Island.
Please Note: Although these events start and finish at the same location,
the start dates are different. The finish dates are the same.
Inspection day for the BBC is Saturday.
Inspection day for the NCC is Thursday.
There is a Captains meeting at 15:00 on Inspection Day for both events. Attendance is mandatory. This will be
held at the House on Ditch Path Drive near the Island Choice general store.
NOTE: If you arrive late and give us notice of your late arrival, you may still participate.
As long as you complete gear inspection and check in with a race official before you launch
you can still enter. Your time however, will not be adjusted for a late start.
You have four starting options that are outlined in the Overview. Choose wisely according to the
weather and your boat.
Although you have four options for the start, the finish is at the House.
This CP is located on Taylor Creek in the center of the historic Beaufort waterfront. This checkpoint
is used for both the BBC and the NCC.
Beaufort, pronounced ''Bo-furt'' by locals, is the third oldest town in the state
with a rich maritime history. This quaint town was originally established in 1709
for its close proximity to the excellent deep-water inlet now called Beaufort Inlet.
Throughout history, Beaufort has always been an important seaport for whalers, fisherman,
merchants and even pirates. In fact, the notorious pirate Blackbeard and his crew
spent quite a bit of time in Beaufort, and their legacy still remains in the form
of the many legends and ghost stories that are still told.
In 1997, Beaufort was highlighted in national and international news as the wreckage
of what is presumed to be Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, was discovered
in 20 feet of water, two miles from Beaufort Inlet. Artifact recovery operations
were immediately able to identify—and in some cases retrieve—many pieces, including
the ship's bronze bell, cannons and deck guns. Some of these artifacts are already
touring the country or are on exhibit in Beaufort at the NC Maritime Museum.
The Harlowe canal is the required route and is entered thru Clubfoot Creek off
the Neuse River, and is the old original Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), located west
of the current ICW, connecting the Neuse River with the Morehead City and Beaufort
waterfronts. Known locally as the Slave Canal because it was deepened to five or
six feet by slave labor, the Harlowe is one of the oldest canals in the United Sates,
originally created untold centuries ago by Indians who dragged their canoes across
the lowlands to the Neuse.
The canal is narrow but deep enough for most boats (but take care with the shallow twists and turns
entering and exiting the canal), with three bridges that will require the sailboats
to step their masts. Beautiful and tree-lined, the Western side of the canal is
part of the Croatan National Forest. There is some tidal influence on the southern
side and from wind effects on the Neuse.
Upon leaving the Harlow Canal into the Newport River towards Beaufort, you will
be entering an area of very busy boat traffic and possibly strong tidal currents.
Morehead City and Beaufort are sound side seaports situated on opposite banks of
the Newport River. Both are very busy commercial, recreational and fishing ports.
You’ll need to go under a car bridge exiting the Newport River and entering Beaufort.
The NCC checkpoint (just a few hundred yards down the street from the NC Maritime
Museum) is located on the historic waterfront of Beaufort’s Taylors Creek at Graden Paul
Park, WP3. The park contains a small public canoe and kayak beach landing
and a small public dock for the larger boats. Sailboats coming into the dock must
come in on the starboard side as entering. There are no public facilities at the
park, however there are water spigots and hoses all around the nearby docks (walk
to your left up Front St), and a public restroom a few hundred yards left up Front
St (at the end of the marina), not to mention some nice (yet expensive) seafood
restaurants and tourist shops, if you’ve got the time :)
An ORANGE LOCKBOX will be located in the gazebo. In the ORANGE LOCKBOX
you will find a logbook for each challenge. You must sign the logbook and fill out
each section adjacent to your name in the.
Opposite the checkpoint across from Taylor’s Creek, the string of small islands
(pictured below)—Carrot Island, Town Marsh, Bird Shoal and Horse Island—more than
three miles long and less than a mile wide—include the Rachel Carson Reserve, part
of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve. Accessible
by boat only, visitors are allowed and there are even walking trails. But, NO CAMPING
is allowed and this is strictly enforced. As you pass by these islands, you are
likely to see the small herd of feral horses which roam the island, and many of
the 200 bird species which have been recorded there.
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