Dog's right about route and the use of the Canal. The issue with the Canal on a strong SW wind is this: You will want to transit the Canal with the current. It often runs 4-5 knots. When you exit the Canal proper you still have several miles to run in a narrow channel. With a 4 knot current against, say 20+ knots (I presume that's what SD means by 'strong') of SW breeze on your nose, a nasty steep sea builds in the channel and immediately beyond. I made the mistake of encountering this combination of wind and tide one night and the seas were so big/steep we buried the bow several times and the prop was cavatating (BR is 47 ft and 24 tons). It wasn't fun. If the wind is up from the south and you can time your exit from the Canal at slack or even with the current turning against you it's not a big problem. (Motoring into 20+ kts is never fun, but the waves won't be nearly as big as when the current's running.)
Don't let the challenges of the Canal this defer you from the route. If the wind/tide is wrong you can lay up in Provincetown (22 miles from the Canal) and wait for better weather, or on a SW breeze you could even anchor off the beach at the Canal's east entrance (Cape Cod Bay side). (I've never done it, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't anchor either side of the Canal entrance.) Once in the Canal you can find refuge at the West end (Buzzards' Bay). Just after the Mass. Maritime Academy on the Cape (port) side there are several transit moorings situated behind a string of dolphins. The entrance is bit tricky, but the CCC Authority can probably instruct you on the entrance to the mooring area.
Once beyond the Canal there are any number of places to put in for the night. These include: on the east side of Buzzard's Bay, Pocasset, Hadley Harbor (near Woods Hole), and Cutty Hunk. On the west side of BB: Onset (about a mile beyond the Mass. Maritime Academy -- which also has an 'interesting' entrance so watch the chart carefully), Marion, and three or four others on the way to New Bedford.
After that stops are possible at Newport, Point Judith and Block Island -- all with good shelter and easy entrance. That's where my local knowledge runs out.
Have a good trip.
PS -- don't sweat the traffic and pots. Southern NE doesn't have the wall-to-wall lobby pots you learn to love in ME waters. The only place you're likely to see much 'traffic' will be in the vicinity of the CCC and in Buzzard's Bay. This is usually coastwise tug-with-barge. They normally do the CCC run with the current against them, so at those times you're probably not there, and if you were, you'd be heading the same direction. The Canal is wide enough that traffic is not a problem. Once to the SW of the Canal you need to be aware of the potential of tugs with long tows, but avoiding them is easy assuming your watch is alert.
Last edited by billyruffn; 05-02-2009 at 12:40 AM.