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  #1  
Old 06-22-2008
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Cruising Martha's Vineyard Question

Hi,
I'm hoping to find someone that has experience mooring or docking at Menemsha Harbor at Martha's Vineyard. I will be chartering a 42 foot bare sailboat from Newport, RI in August. I would like to sail to Menemsha on the first day which will be a Saturday. I am wondering what the likely hood is of being able to get a slip or mooring for that day? I understand that Menemsha does not take advanced reservations. They advertise being able to call at 7 AM the day of arrival to make a reservation. However, they only have 16 slips and few moorings. If I call at 7:00 AM on an August weekend what is my likely hood of getting a slip? I have tried calling the harbormaster's office but just keep getting a recording. Also, I would like to hear from someone that may have spent the night anchored in Menemsha bite.

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Old 06-22-2008
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Haven't stayed there recently, but don't think things have changed much. The few moorings in the harbor raft three boats to each. I have anchored outside the entrance (OK in good weather) and I understand there are a few moorings outside now. Cuttyhunk is a close altermative with more mooring choices.

Last edited by JimsCAL; 06-22-2008 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008
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Your chance of getting a slip or mooring is pretty slim, considering that is basically high-season for the Vineyard.

If the wind is out of the northeast, north, northwest, or west at all, Menemsha Bight will be miserable, since the harbor faces northwest and the bight itself is pretty much wide open to those directions, and the Vineyard will be a lee shore for you.

What draft does the sailboat have? I've anchored in the pond, but there's a bar across the channel, which is about four feet at low tide IIRC.

Be aware that Menemsha harbor is a working fishing harbor, and the large dock on the left as you enter the harbor is reserved for commercial fishing boats.

Cuttyhunk is probably a better bet in many ways, and far better protected than the Menemsha Bight.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 06-22-2008 at 05:49 PM.
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The boat has a 6 foot draft. I don't expect I will be taking it into the pond. I have chartered from Newport before and have been to Cuttyhunk twice, once on the way out and once on the way back. The first time I stayed at Cuttyhunk I reserved a mooring in the outer harbor ahead of time. I could do that again, however, I have learned that staying in Cuttyhunk outer harbor is not so great either. There is a bell bouy that you must hear all night unless the water is perfectly calm. It also does not have great shelter if there is a North wind. The inner harbor is great, got to stay there on the way back, but that was a weekday. They don't take reservations there either. I'm pretty sure that my chances of getting a spot there on a Saturday after sailing from Newport are slim. I expect to be staying there on my last day, a Friday. This is why I was hoping to call the Menemsha harbormaster at 7:00 AM on on my first Saturday and get a slip. For all my other days I have reservations for moorings. They will be Edgartown, Nantucket and Vineyard Haven.



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Your chance of getting a slip or mooring is pretty slim, considering that is basically high-season for the Vineyard.

If the wind is out of the northeast, north, northwest, or west at all, Menemsha Bight will be miserable, since the harbor faces northwest and the bight itself is pretty much wide open to those directions, and the Vineyard will be a lee shore for you.

What draft does the sailboat have? I've anchored in the pond, but there's a bar across the channel, which is about four feet at low tide IIRC.

Be aware that Menemsha harbor is a working fishing harbor, and the large dock on the left as you enter the harbor is reserved for commercial fishing boats.

Cuttyhunk is probably a better bet in many ways, and far better protected than the Menemsha Bight.
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Old 06-23-2008
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Can you keep a secret? You might try How to get to Woods Hole Marine in Woods Hole, they take reservations, slips or moorings. You can enjoy Woods Hole for the night, it can be a little noisy until the ferry stops, but its all part of the charm. Don't tell anyone else about Eel Pond.
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Old 06-23-2008
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An option for anchoring is Hadley Harbor, just opposite Woods Hole. Very pretty and great protection from all directions.
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Old 06-23-2008
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It's tight in the Menemsha basin. This is what I would do.

Plan A: Anchor or grab an outside mooring at Menemsha if wind East (preferrably South East).

Plan B: Anchor in Tarpaulin Cove, which is North East of Menemsha on Naushon Island or spend the night in Lake Tashmoo.

Newport to Vineyard Haven is very doable as well and there is a great anchorage in Vineyard Haven.
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Tarpaulin Cove is an excellent anchorage if the wind is out of the north, northwest or west, but not so good otherwise. Not a good anchorage if the wind is out of the the southeast or east.

I guess it really depends on the wind when you get there. If it is out of the North, NorthWest or West, head for Tarpaulin Cove. If it is out of the Southwest, south, southeast or east, head for Menemsha. If it is out of the northeast, both anchorages are a bit of a crap shoot and you'd be better off at Hadley Harbor.

Lake Tashmoo is a bit shallow for a boat with a six-foot draft. IIRC, the channel has a couple of 4' spots going in...and if you're not at high tide, there's a fair chance a six-foot draft would get stuck. Most of the southern half of the Lake is fine for a boat that deep, but getting to the deeper water is the trick.


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It's tight in the Menemsha basin. This is what I would do.

Plan A: Anchor or grab an outside mooring at Menemsha if wind East (preferrably South East).

Plan B: Anchor in Tarpaulin Cove, which is North East of Menemsha on Naushon Island or spend the night in Lake Tashmoo.

Newport to Vineyard Haven is very doable as well and there is a great anchorage in Vineyard Haven.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 06-23-2008 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 06-23-2008
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RE: SD's comment about the bar in the channel from Menemsha Harbor into Menemsha Pond. Was over it in a skiff this weekend at low and the bar is now 2 to 3 feet deep. Worked our way along the channel and I couldn't find a passage with more depth - this build up is just at the red nun adjacent to the rocks. After this shoal, it drops back to 4 + feet. Be aware.
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Old 06-23-2008
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Water is getting kind of skinny getting into Menemsha Pond.
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