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post #2 of Old 06-12-2008
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Block Island Marina

Champlin's is mainly used by power boats, although a limited number of sailers do stay there. There are two other marinas in Great Salt Pond, and on the east side of the Island, very limited anchorage in Old Harbor.

Great Salt Pond is the body of water you will sail or motor into by entering on the west side of Block. North of the pond's navigation channel ( which itself runs wnw to ese) is the mooring field and the anchoring area. There are a series of white bouys running sw to ne beginning near the west side of the pond entrance once through the channel entry from Block Island Sound (check the charts). The area north of these bouys is for water sports- skiing and dingy sailing, but no anchoring. And this is enforced.

You will find generally good holding but there are areas where that is not true. I have found what is effective is either two anchors or one with a kellet to improve holding 1/2 to 2/3 of the way down the anchor rode. For me the ground tackle system has 30' of chain and then whatever I need of 300' of 3/4" rode. This works well on our 20,000 lb Hinckley Bermuda 40 aft cabin yawl that frequents Great Salt Pond.

And note, a quiet morning can easily become a very busy afternoon with 25-30 mph gusts. Or even more fun, a dark eveing with fresh storm conditions as thunderstorms cross from west to east. Effective anchoring skills are important here, even without lots of wave or current actions.

Depth (remember it's tidal) can be anywhere from 4-6' in the ene part near the dingy beach to 50' in the nw part of the anchoring area north of the navigation channel. South of the channel is the mooring field, both private and town. The town moorings are available nightly by vhf discussion with the harbor master. There is a nightly fee, probably $40 a night if you sleep better on a mooring than the hook. You will meet the harbormaster your first afternoon/night on a mooring as the Town of New Shoreham will assure each vessel pays that is on a mooring.

If you choose not to use your dingy, there are two launch services raised on vhf (might be 68) that provide for $1.50 per person each way transportation to shore. Always more entertaining and dryer to do this, especially in the later evening as the inebriation level rises after dark. Especially on this island....

Realize this was the first harbor in the northeast to go 'clean', as in Federal Discharge penalties. They take this very seriously, so do not get confused about it. So if you do not have an effective holding tank system and or are not willing to use it, go to a marina and use the shore facilities only. By vhf channel 78, when on a mooring or the hook as well as if tied to a dock at one of the marinas, the Town of New Shoreham runs several pumpout boats morning and afternoon for free, contributions appreciated. And remember, you will see the harbormaster and his associates perusing the clean waters of Great Salt Pond at a variety of random times for anyone so foolish as to think pumping overboard is wise.

Several years ago the town paper reported over 78,000 gallons of marine pumpout was handled that year, not by the Pond, but by the island's waste water facilities. It is now delightful to swim, sail dingys, kayak, clam etc., before this with sometimes 750 -1,000 boats in this pond per night, not so. Read up on Block Island, lots of things to do. It is a great destination, with over half the island in permanent open space without the mansion events of MV or Nantucket.

Have fun, we always do.
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