Circumnavigating Cape Cod - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-10-2008 Thread Starter
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Circumnavigating Cape Cod

I am sailing my modified Thunderbird 26 footer around Cape Cod at the end of next week (July 17 08) Id like any advice I can get about anchoring at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal (south side) Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket. I'd particularly like to talk to anyone who has 1st hand experience. My boat draws about 6 ft. Id like to be not too far from facilities. ZaZen is the Boats name. Im looking for no cost anchorages with some protection from at least the S\SW.

Thanks a lot
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-10-2008
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Canal runs east west. You can get into Onset Harbor on the west end of the Canal with 6 feet and anchor there. Nice town with one of everything--grocery story, hardware, four or five eateries. You can fuel at Onset Bay Marina.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-10-2008
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Onset harbor is probably your best bet right off the canal. Be aware a six-foot draft will be a bit dicey in much of Buzzards Bay's smaller harbors and anchorages. A better choice would be to go out a bit further and head over to Bassetts Island on the eastern side of Buzzards Bay, in Pocasset/RedBrook harbor.

Another good stop would be Tarpaulin Cove on the southeast side of Nashuon, one of the Elizabeth Islands. Tarpaulin Cove is a good choice if the wind is out of the north or west, horrible if it is out of the south or east.

A bit further out, Cuttyhunk Harbor is fairly well protected from the southwestly to easterly winds. A bit less well protected from others, especially a northwest wind. Cuttyhunk Pond is very well protected, but fills up very quickly in the summertime.

If the wind is from the southwest through eastern directions, Menemsha Bight, outside of Menemsha harbor proper is a pretty good anchorage. It is totally unprotected to the northerly winds though.

If you're going through Woods Hole, Hadley Harbor is fairly well sheltered. South of Bull Island should be okay for a boat with your draft. Personally, I wouldn't go through Wood's Hole. The amount of traffic and the relatively strong currents can make it a PITA. I would go further out along the Elizabeth Islands and cut through Quicks Hole instead.

Lake Tashmoo might be a bit tight for you, but once you're in, the southern end of the lake should be okay. Vineyard Haven is easier to get in and out of, but you do have to contend with the ferry traffic there.

Edgartown Harbor is good if the wind is out of the south or west. If the wind is out of the north, you'd probably want to go into Cape Poge Bay, on the eastern side of Edgartown harbor. Again, your draft will be an issue in some spots.

Nantucket harbor can be a problem with your draft, especially if you're anchoring further in on the eastern side... where shoaling is an issue.

Southern side of Cape Cod can be a nasty lee shore in a SW wind. Also, many of the harbors are going to have issues with your draft.

Don't know what fees are like this year...but I've heard Nantucket is charging an arm and a leg...

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post #4 of 16 Old 07-10-2008
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Nowadays not too many of us sailors get to traverse the outside of Cape Cod, historically referred as the "graveyard of the Atlantic". I guess that trip can serve as a bit of an adventure, just remember that thousands of extremely experienced sailors have found that passge to be their last.

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Swing south and well clear of Monomoy Island and its associated shoals.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #6 of 16 Old 07-10-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
Nowadays not too many of us sailors get to traverse the outside of Cape Cod, historically referred as the "graveyard of the Atlantic". I guess that trip can serve as a bit of an adventure, just remember that thousands of extremely experienced sailors have found that passge to be their last.
With all due respect, I beg to differ.

graveyard of the atlantic - Google Search

As you will see in the results, the museum, the park service, etc, etc, etc, all say it is the area off Cape Hatteras, NC.

-Andy
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Actually, several places, including Cape Hatteras, Cape Cod and Sable Island all claim that title. Cape Hatteras probably has the most press and such since it is the most recent of them. Cape Cod and Sable Island were claiming ships before Cape Hatteras was discovered.

Sable Island:

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For many sailors, this sandy island hidden by waves, storms and fog meant death and destruction. Since 1583 there have been over 350 recorded shipwrecks on Sable Island. The map shows locations of known wrecks.
Cape Cod:



Cape Hatteras:

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The treacherous waters that lie off the coast of the Outer Banks bear the name Graveyard of the Atlantic. It is a grim, but fitting, epithet, for here more than 600 ships have wrecked, victims of shallow shoals, storms, and war. Diamond Shoals, a bank of shifting sand ridges hidden beneath a turbulent sea off Cape Hatteras, has never promised safe passage for any ship. But seafarers often risked the shoals to take advantage of north or south flowing currents that passed nearby. Many never reached their destination. Fierce winter nor'easters and tropical-born hurricanes drove many ships aground, including the schooner G.A. Kohler (shown at left) in 1933. Other ships were lost in wars. During World War II German submarines sank so many Allied tankers and cargo ships here that these waters earned a second sobering name - Torpedo Junction. In the past 400 years the graveyard has claimed many lives. But many were saved by island villagers. As early as the 1870s villagers served as members of the U.S. Life Saving Service. Others manned lighthouses built to guide mariners. Later, when the U.S. Coast Guard became the guardians of the nation's shores, many residents joined its ranks. When rescue attempts failed, villagers buried the dead and salvaged shipwreck remains. Today few ships wreck, but storms still uncover the ruins of old wrecks that lie along the beaches of the Outer Banks.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 07-10-2008 at 01:08 PM.
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3000!!! OK, you win - your sailing grounds are even nastier than ours.

But this weekend I am hoping to sail in the largest lagoon on the East coast of the US...

-Andy
Newport 17 - "Kohanna"
At sea Darwin's hypotheses is the final arbiter of right of way.
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I seem to recall that one of the sailing mags had an article in the last month or two about a guy who tried to circumnavigate the Cape on a tri. Had all kinds of trouble with unfavorable winds and tried to reverse direction, only to have the winds shift and he gave up.
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Mind you, all of this is not to say that circumnavigating Cape Cod isn't possible. It is, but it should be done with the fact that even though you're relatively near land, these waters can be very, very treacherous. One sailing school I know, where my friend is an instructor, does their equivalent of the ASA 105 course by circumnavigating Cape Cod.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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