Montauk: What's the point ?
To go around it of course. This Saturday me and my father left from Amityville to sail my Hurley 20 around Montauk Point, and into Lake Montauk where my little boat is now safely moored. I had a deadline of May 15th to move the boat from its dock in my town. We watched the weather and the weekend couldn't have had a better forecast. West winds, turning SW 10-15 kts gusts to 20, high pressure, sun and pleasant. The forecast remained consistent and so at 1100 on the 12th we left the dock and set off for Montauk.
Although seperated from the ocean by only a few small miles and some outer islands, it took us 6 hours to make it there. In the Great South Bay (I call it the Great Shallow Bay) it is necessary to sail East past the Robert Moses Bridge to West channel, used by many ferries bound for Fire Island from the mainland. West channel allows you to head south, and then west towards the Fire Island Inlet, where it is also extremely shallow in many marked and unmarked spots, and the tedious navigation and vigilance required to keep the boat in the narrow depths of the inlet may remind one of threading a needle. Chart in hand and prudent eyes on wave and water texture allowed us to stay clear of all shallows and proceed to the North Atlantic with a favorable tide where finally we can turn East for the majority of the trip.
Its a great feeling to leave the crammed inlet behind, with all its fishing boats of various sizes and depths just as sporadic. We sailed for 3-4 hours in the daylight and at nightfall we went onto watch shifts, me taking the first one. This was our third time making the trip (last year we sailed there in June, and home again in October) and both times previous one of us was constantly at the helm. This time we had our new mate Steady Eddy aboard, a Simrad TP10 auto pilot, and it made the journey all the more pleasant. I can say from experience, being at the helm your entire watch for a 24-30 hour sail is exhausting, especially in the late night and early morning hours. It was my pleasure to let Eddy sail the boat most of the night, and keep a relaxed watch for other boats, wind shifts, and a consistent heading. Off watch I slept great. There's a lot of noises inside the cabin underway that you don't hear in the cockpit, some inside some out. Once you can identify all or most of them in your minds eye of the boat, it was simple for me to fade off until it was my shift again. We changed our heading a few degrees south in the night to accommodate a slight wind shift and keep us heading safely from shore. By morning we again altered course to head for the point which we timed perfect for the tide, and once there reached as much as 8kts rounding the point. The only thing that saddened us was that the wind picked up to a steady 15kts when we were just getting to Montauk Inlet, while is was very light and slow going all morning. At 1530 hours of the 13th we spotted a good friend, Darius who runs Sail Montauk (charters and lessons), just outside the harbor sailing his Catalina 22 and together we sailed into the harbor.
Edit: Attached is a mockup of our course. My dad has the real course line on his handheld GPS, I can upload that too at a decent hour if anyone wants to see it.
Last edited by liveincolor; 05-15-2012 at 04:08 AM.