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ccollins0601 07-14-2008 10:19 PM

Looking for advice on New England cruise in August
I'm planning for my first significant coastal cruise. Amulet, my O'Day 27, is out of West Island (Buzzards Bay) and we will have about a week in August (not sure exactly how long yet but likely 7-10 days). My wife & I have cruised Buzzards Bay for several years now but never done much more than one or two night trips to the Vineyard or Cape. I've come up with two options for an itinerary:

1) Go south and west, towards Montauk or somewhere else in eastern long island, see how far we can get, come back by way of Block Island, Newport, Westport, visit Cuttyhunk and maybe the Vineyard on the way back.

2) More ambitiously, head up to Maine and cruise mid coast Maine for a week (Boothbay and Penobscot Bay, perhaps?). I've heard so many great things about it, but know less about the specifics of where to go. Given the time constraints, and because I don't plan on an offshore overnight sail to get there I would probably need to bring the boat up the coast the weekend before over an agressive 2-3 days, find a place to leave it, return to work for the week, then get back up to the boat for the week. Same (except in reverse) on the way home.

A few comments:
- The boat is solid but equipment is rudimentary (outboard 12hp motor, handheld gps, handheld VHF, inflatable dinghy w no motor (oars only), danforth anchor with 20' chain, icebox, hank-on jib, port potti, no autopilot). I will get a radar reflector.
- Would like to get to some more remote, uncrowded places (hence Maine), OTOH the admiral would prefer not to be aboard in our rather spartan accomodations for the whole week - 1-2 nights in a B&B would be much appreciated.
- I have limited experience anchoring, though I have read a reasonable amount about it. I'd like to get more experience and will probably invest in more chain before the trip.

My feeling is that Maine is probably not going to happen this year given the time constraints, but I'd like to get some comments on these options and suggestions on either of the itineraries. Thanks!

sailingdog 07-14-2008 10:38 PM

I'd recommend you get and read Anthony Bailey's The Coast of Summer. The book describes a summer cruise along much the same areas as you're talking—LI Sound, Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay and the Islands—but in the opposite direction. He was in a Tartan 27 IIRC. It describes many of the anchorages and ports of call quite nicely and is an excellent read besides. However, a week would be a bit short in terms of time, depending on what you're planning on seeing.

As for the other direction, a week would definitely be too short. If you go up the Cape Cod Canal, you could cruise the Boston Harbor Islands and then do Cape Ann, but I think, given the size of your boat and average speed, that a cruise to Maine would also require far more time. Some places to stop on the way through Cape Cod Bay, Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay include:

Onset, Plymouth, Provincetown, Scituate or Green Harbor, the Boston Harbor Islands, Great Misery Island, Marblehead, Salem, Gloucester, and Rockport.

You could also circumnavigate Cape Ann, and come back down the Annisquam River, instead of reversing track.

Another thread to read is this one.

gc1111 07-15-2008 09:22 AM

You need a lot more time for either trip. Be realistic about the distance you can cover in an "agressive" day. Count of spending a lot of time under power. Count on several "lay" days due to fog on a Maine trip. Spend some time with a chart trying to lay out a reasonable timetable. You will discover that you come up way short on time.
I have taken a summer cruise from Long Island to Maine most summers over the last 30 years. Even when I was younger and more agressive, it would take at least a week travel time each way. This was counting on making 50 mile days, but being realistic about the weather and bashing to windward.

sailingdog 07-15-2008 09:25 AM

I think the Cape Cod Canal, to Cape Cod Bay, to Mass Bay and Boston Harbor, up to Cape Ann is doable... a bit tight...but doable. A Cape Ann circumnavigation takes about three days, to do it at an enjoyable pace. Seven to ten days would probably be about right. :)

ccollins0601 07-15-2008 09:56 AM

Thanks SD, I'll definitely pick up that book. Looks like we'll skip Maine (maybe next year) and head towards Block Island Sound/Long Island, though I will think about the Cape Cod Bay/Massachusetts Bay route too.

CalebD 07-16-2008 04:10 PM

Multihuller SD is correct (as usual) that Anthony Bailey's boat was a Tartan 27'. The book is well written and enjoyable to read.
If you come to LI, Montauk is nice as is Shelter Island and the North Fork. I would think that a BnB on SI or the NF could be fun. It is high summer so expect crowds.
Have fun.

JimsCAL 07-16-2008 06:30 PM

If you head west, put Block Island and Watch Hill on your list.

AlanBrown 07-17-2008 11:25 AM

What's all the rush? You've only got a 7 days, so why not enjoy them?

If you want to head west, then set your sights on Cuttyhunk. This should prove an easy day trip from Buzzards Bay. I would think spending a day there, exploring the island, and chilling out, could be fun.

From there, continue on New Bedford. If you haven't visited the whaling museum yet, its a great take-in. I've also read that the city has done a lot in recent years to be more welcoming to cruisers. Once again, a day to get there and a day to enjoy.

From New Bedford, starting heading home. There are quite a few picturesque harbors along the way to pop into, like Mattapoiset and Marion. Here you can spend another day or so. You vacation is nearly over and you haven't had to kill yourself.

The purpose behind my suggestions is to encourage you not to adopt the "This is Tuesday, so it must be Belgium" mindset, but to slow down and smell the roses.

Have a safe trip and watch the weather!

nolatom 07-17-2008 12:29 PM

I agree with others above, save Maine for a year or two. You could get there quick pretty quick in a smoky sou'wester, but getting back home in the same conditions could take forever. Also, Maine (being a lee shore in the summer southwesterlies over cold water) is much more fog-prone in August than is southern New England.

I like the Boston Harbor islands and Cape Ann idea that SailingDog suggested . While the latter might be crowded, the former might not be.

That said, I made it from Marblehead to Boothbay, and back, in a week once, on a medium-speed 30-footer. But it was a stretch, and I was much younger then. All the way from Buzzard's bay, no way.

Whatever you decide, enjoy it. But keep your distance estimates realistic, and the "admiral" will be happier. And therefore so will you..;-)

sailingdog 07-17-2008 12:45 PM

Also, be aware that you'll probably want a good insect repellent. In the southern parts of New England, Green Head flies are the problem, up north it is mainly the deer flies and mosquitos.

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