The next North Carolina Pamlico Challenge is
Saturday, September 20, 2014. The North Carolina
Pamlico Challenge is roughly 300 miles long. It starts concurrently with the North
Carolina Challenge which is shorter at roughly 90 miles. There is a mandatory equipment
inspection and captains meeting for both events the day before on Friday, September 19, 2014. Refer to the schedule
for time/date specifics.
Completion of a North Carolina Pamlico Challenge within the last Ultimate Florida
cycle satsifies the entrance requirement for the Ultimate Florida Challenge. For
example, completing NCPC2013 allows entrance into UF2014.
Cost is $395.00
for the captain and $395.00 for
a crew member if any.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Payment deadline is
Monday, August 18, 2014
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, August 18, 2014
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 NCPC distance is roughly 300 miles depending on your course selection. This
challenge is a figure 8 race starting in a counter-clockwise direction. After going
through the Beaufort checkpoint and up the inland Waterway, you will cut through
Cedar Island and head for the Hobucken checkpoint. At this point you have a choice.
You can take the inside route to the checkpoint at Roanoke using the Alligator-Pungo
Canal or you can take the outside route. Then you will return to Cedar Island via
whatever route you choose. There is an overall maximum time limit of approximately
Note: The table includes waypoints for both the North Carolina Pamlico Challenge
(NCPC) and the North Carolina Challenge (NCC).
The only route requirements are that the first part of the race be run counter-clockwise,
through the Harlowe Canal, with a stop at the checkpoint on Taylor’s Creek in Beaufort.
Then proceed up Core Sound until you get to the turn to cut through Cedar Island
heading for CP2. 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 Carolina.
The NCPC and NCC 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. For either
event, 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.
A banquet lunch and award ceremony for the NCPC will take place Saterday beginning
at about 10:30 at the Driftwood’s Pirate Chest Restaurant.
Camping at Driftwood Campground at Cedar Island (no reservations: first come, first
served), or reserve a room at The Driftwood Motel:
This event is planned to be family and friends friendly. We will have many suggestions
of activities for your guests during the Challenges. Friends and family are invited
to the banquet (for a small lunch fee); please indicate any additional numbers on
your registration form.
TOPSPOT Chart N 239 Pamlico Sound to Morehead City Inshore.
Weather and sea conditions including current and historical data can be found at
Registration, Waivers, Float Plans -
Friday, September 19, 2014
Is Mandatory .
Gear Inspection -
Friday, September 19, 2014
Is Mandatory .
NCPC Race -
Saturday, September 20, 2014 to
Sunday, September 28, 2014.
Newcomers Meeting - Is Mandatory for anyone who has
not completed a WaterTribe Challenge OR
anyone who is renting a SPOT. Bring your SPOT with new lithium
Both the NC Pamlico Challenge (NCPC) and NC Challenge (NCC) start and finish on
the beach at Cedar Island to the east of the ferry dockage on the grounds of the
Driftwood Campground and Motel. Boats should be assembled, packed, and left on the
beach above the high water mark Friday night. A guard will be posted. There will
be plenty of parking at the campground to leave cars and trailers during the challenges.
Friday afternoon there will be a captain and crew meeting which is mandatory. Your
boat may be inspected for final class determination.
The beach start and finish to the right of the Public Wildlife boat ramp is tidal,
and shallow (see photo above). Larger boats can launch at the boat ramp into a small
jettied inlet before heading out to the right and landing on the start beach just
around a breakwater point. Kayaks and canoes can be easily hand carried to the beach
from the temporary parking area at the boat ramp. Boats may be left above the high
tide line on Thursday night for the Friday morning start.
NOTE: If you arrive late, you may still participate. Race officials will be at the
starting line for at least one hour after the official start. 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.
The route starts following the coast around Cedar Island in Pamlico Sound, to the
North and West into the Neuse River. Piney Island is a military training facility
and target range. There are restricted areas marked on the chart on both the outside
and inside of Piney Island.
Cedar Island is also home to the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, providing
habitat and protection for endangered species such as American alligators and brown
pelicans, and provides habitat and protection for migratory waterfowl and other
waterbirds. Though not marked on the charts, these areas are well marked with signs
prohibiting landings and camping.
The Neuse River, named in 1584 for the Neusiok Indians, flows about 275 miles and
lies entirely inside the state of North Carolina emptying in Pamlico Sound at Cedar
Island and into the Atlantic Ocean. On the NCPC and NCC route, the Neuse is a wide
river (~5 miles) with miles of sandy beaches and with little noticeable tidal effect,
though its large fetch is much affected by winds. A strong easterly or northerly
wind will raise the level, while a sustained westerly breeze, say 25 knots, can
lower this level by as much as 2 feet.
Historically, the river's ties to human history are long. Many artifacts traced
to ancient Native American settlement have been found along its banks. And in 1865,
one of the first ironclad warships built by the Confederate Navy, the "Ram Neuse",
was burnt and sunk to the river bottom by occupying Union Soldiers. Later discovered
during historically low water, and raised in 1963, the hull remains reside beside
the river at a Memorial in Kinston.
The Harlowe canal is the required route and is entered thru Clubfoot Creek WP2 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 (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.
Roughly 48 miles from the start you will need to check-in at CP1 which is located
on Taylor Creek in the center of the historic Beaufort waterfront. This checkpoint
is the mid-way point for the NCC and a brief rest for the NCPC.
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.
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.
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 Paul
Graden 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.
Upon leaving CP1 you’ll travel east for the remainder of Taylor’s Creek, and choose
to go inside or around Harkers and Browns Island to reach Core Sound.
Roughly 58 miles from CP1 you will need to check-in at CP2 which is located at
Boatyard in Hobucken on Goose Creek Island.
After traveling north on Core Sound, all NCPC challengers are required to take either
1) the Thorofare Canal between Thorofare Bay (sometimes called Barry Bay) and West
Bay or 2) Salter’s Creek from Nelson Bay into Long Bay and West Bay, which will
take you out to Pamlico Sound and the mouth of the Neuse River. One could also take
the additional Old Canal Cut from Long Bay into Turnagain Bay to cross the Neuse.
Old Canal is shallower and narrower than Thorofare Canal, no deeper than 4’ and
no wider than 20’. These canals are over 300 years old with histories going back
to the indigenous Native Americans before European settlements. Beware the biting
flies, and posted signs as some of this area is military restricted.
North from the Neuse River, CP2 can be reached by entering the Bay River and finding
the ICW, or by entering Jones Bay. There are a number of little cuts one can take
in and out of Goose Creek Island; beware, some of these are private and gated, most
derive from an old and abandoned Corps of Engineers project for mosquito control
in the 1960’s. Yes, there are lots of BIG mosquitoes on Goose Creek Island; there
are also lots of black bears.
At Pate’s Boatyard, there is a small boat ramp and docks at the end of the canal
on the right. Challengers will be able to tent camp and refill water. There is also
a small convenience store next door.
A bit of history of Pate Boatyard can be found in this blog posting
In more recent history, Goose Creek Island was devastated by Hurricane Irene in
2011 with 90% of all homes flooded. There are markers inside the Boathouse indicating
the flood’s high water mark.
Click the pictures for a larger view.
Pate Boatyard (photo credit: Steve Earley)
Pate Marina Backside (bear right to docks and boat ramp) (photo credit: Steve Earley)
The canal in and out of Pate Boatyard (photo credit: Steve Early)
CP3 is located at the immediate North West corner of the Alligator River bridge
off highway 64 at the mouth of the Alligator River and the Albemarle Sound. Depending
on your route, you will have reached this either by:
Your return to the finish from CP3 can also take any of the above routes.
CP3 is a refueling port for yachts on the ICW heading to or from wintering in Florida.
The CP contains a small boat ramp, docks, Shell gas station, convenience store,
and a short order grill. A ‘heavy lifter’ boat cart will be available for kayaks
and smaller boats needing to exit the boat ramp. The boat ramp
and parking area must be kept clear
at all times. Larger boats may need to be assigned dock space, the CP Captain
and the Boat Captain (you) will
work this out with the marina.
The Alligator River Bridge is a 2.8 mile long swing bridge with closed vertical
clearance of 14 ft at the center. This bridge will not open in high winds (35+ kts)
or reduced visibility (they are afraid cars won’t see the stop lights), there are
no set standards it is up to the bridge tenders discretion. The bridge opens on
demand VHF channel 13.
There is a large grassy field to camp, but we ask all to be considerate of the owner
Ms Wanda (who lives on the property) and her other clients by being quiet at night.
CP3 is located along the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge, composed of 152,00
acres, 28 miles from north to south and 15 miles east to west and lying in North
Carolina’s Coastal Plane. It is bordered on the West by the Alligator River and
the Intracoastal Waterway, which is crossed by the 2.8 mile bridge on the North
by Albemarle Sound, on the coast by Croatan and Pamlico Sounds, and on the South
by Long Shoal River and incorporated farmland.
The refuge is one of the premier strongholds for American Black Bear on the Eastern
Seaboard. It also has concentrations of ducks, geese and swans. The wildlife diversity
includes wading ducks, shorebirds, American Woodcock, raptors, American Alligators,
White-tailed Deer, Raccoons, Cottontail rabbits, Bobwhite Quail, Northern river
Otters, Red Wolves, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and neotropical migrants.
The refuge was established to preserve and protect the unique wetland habitat type
– the pocosin – and it’s associated wildlife species. Pocosin is a Native-American
word meaning "swamp-on-a-hill" and is characterized by poorly drained soils high
in organic materials.
Diversity of habitat types including high and low pocosin, bogs, fresh and brackish
water marshes, hardwood swamps, and Atlantic white cedar swamps. Plant species include
pitcher plants and sun dews, low bush cranberries, bays, Atlantic white cedar, pond
pine, gums, red maple, and a wide variety of herbaceous and shrub species common
to the East Coast.
Nyssa Aquatica Tree in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
Pamlico Sound, is the largest lagoon along the U.S. East Coast, 80 mi long and 15
to 30 miles wide. It is a body of water separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the
Outer Banks, a row of low, sandy barrier islands, including Cape Hatteras. The Neuse
and Pamlico rivers (the latter is the estuary of the Tar River) flow in from the
west. Pamlico Sound is linked on the north with Albemarle Sound through Roanoke
Sound and Croatan Sound. Core Sound is the narrow southern end.
Explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano mistook the sound for the Pacific Ocean. The sound
and its ocean inlets are noted for wide expanses of shallow water and occasional
shoaling, making the area hazardous for larger vessels. In addition, the shallow
waters are susceptible to wind and barometric pressure-driven tidal fluctuations.
This effect is amplified on the tributary rivers, where water levels can change
by as much as two feet in three hours when winds are aligned with the rivers'
axes and are blowing strongly.
Pamlico Sound is part of a large, interconnected network of lagoon estuaries. As
a whole it is the second largest estuary in the United States; (Chesapeake Bay is
the largest). Seven sounds making up the whole: Albemarle Sound, Currituck Sound,
Croatan Sound, Pamlico Sound, Bogue Sound, Core Sound, and Roanoke Sound.
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