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post #1 of 11 Old 05-01-2009 Thread Starter
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Down East to NYC Transit

I'm planning a delivery from Southwest Harbor, ME to NYC in early June... looking for route advice (and local knowledge). As I see it there are a few choices: A) off-shore beyond (south of) Nantucket, then along the south shore of LI into NY harbor; B) off-shore then inside (north of) Nantucket (and MV) and on to LI Sound to NYC. C) sail much less off-shore into Cape Cod Bay, through the canal and then into LI Sound to NYC (I am somewhat concerned with traffic and pots, but may consider trading-off for safe harbor in weather). My vessel is well founded (full-keel 42 ft yawl) and I have some off-shore exprience (albeit mid-Atlantic coast, not NE). I am not time-constrained, but would like this to be an efficient transit. Any advice from those who have made the trip?
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-01-2009
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Originally Posted by drymartini View Post
I'm planning a delivery from Southwest Harbor, ME to NYC in early June... looking for route advice (and local knowledge). As I see it there are a few choices: A) off-shore beyond (south of) Nantucket, then along the south shore of LI into NY harbor; B) off-shore then inside (north of) Nantucket (and MV) and on to LI Sound to NYC.
These are both much riskier passages than using the Cape Cod Canal. The Eastern shore of the Cape has basically no harbors to duck into should bad weather occur.

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C) sail much less off-shore into Cape Cod Bay, through the canal and then into LI Sound to NYC (I am somewhat concerned with traffic and pots, but may consider trading-off for safe harbor in weather).
IMHO, you'd be far better off doing this. Gulf of Maine to Mass Bay to Cape Cod Bay to the Cape Cod Canal to Buzzards Bay is really a much better route in terms of safety and in terms of distance traveled.

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My vessel is well founded (full-keel 42 ft yawl) and I have some off-shore exprience (albeit mid-Atlantic coast, not NE). I am not time-constrained, but would like this to be an efficient transit. Any advice from those who have made the trip?
I would highly recommend you pick up the book, The Cruising Guide to the New England Coast, since it covers the entire length of your voyage in fairly decent depth.


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post #3 of 11 Old 05-01-2009 Thread Starter
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Thx... appreciate the guidance.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-01-2009
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LOL! I read the title and, at first glance, wondered if you were looking for a connection from a boat to the subway which is, to those of us who live in the NYC metro area, New York Transit. Sounds like a nice trip. I too would avoid the East coast of the Cape.

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post #5 of 11 Old 05-01-2009
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Have Fun!

I have done this (21 years ago) and the counsel from Sailingdog is right on. Only we ended up in Oxford, MD with stops in Atlantic City, Cape May and transiting the Chesapeake/Delaware Canal, then down the Bay. Took us three + weeks with lousy weather.

We left SW Harbor April 1 and headed straight for P-Town. Enjoyed a quiet night and then 40-50 knot winds for 2 days in P-Town harbor on a mooring. Quite delighted not to have been on the east shore of the Cape or anywhere south of Monomy Point. Headed south through Cape Cod Bay through the canal to the Refuge at Point Judith and anchored. Awakened to 5" of snow the following morning while the next weather attraction went through. Then south passing west of Block and straight to Atlantic City. There's an awful lot of commerical activity on that part of the transit. Extra care using radar and binoculars day and night.

Back to Point Judith, as you then head east, if you enjoy the Race on the sw corner of Fishers Island you'll see many less lobster pots. Instead, through Fishers Island Sound, you'll think you are back noreast. Further east, dodge the high speed ferries as you transit the Sound. And pay close attention to slack tide when you approach NYC. One does not wish, should not, enter that Hell Gate area (very approrpiately named) unless it is slack.

Obviously keeping track of tides through the canal, the Race and Hell Gate, as previously mentioned, will generally make a more enjoyable and less frightening transit. And June will not doubt delete the snow and much of the high winds.

Finally, I'd not go offshore and around the Cape and her Islands, much less Long Island. There are great harbors to enjoy in fine weather, and in challenging weather, you'll be glad you're not offshore. The Atlantic side of Long Island can have substantial fishing and commercial traffic as well as few safe harbors to find protection.

Check into Stonington, Port Jefferson, Huntington in the Sound, Hadley and P-Town for the Cape, and Camden if you don't take the direct SW Harbor to P-Town. I did mine in a 67 B-40 aft cabin yawl, sounds like you'll enjoy the transit in your SW-42 yawl(?). It should be a lovely ride.
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I'd add that you NEED either Eldridge's or Reed's East Coast... either Nautical Almanac will have the information you need to get through the Cape Cod Canal... do not try the canal if the wind is out of the southwest and strong... Best if the wind is out of the north.... otherwise, the Buzzards Bay end of the canal can be very interesting, with standing waves batting your boat around like a toy... A 42' LOA boat will have an easier time of it than a smaller boat though.

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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post #7 of 11 Old 05-01-2009
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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.

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post #8 of 11 Old 05-02-2009
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I also recommend the canal, but check the current charts. Also, when I went through I thought I had everything planned correctly, but they closed a railroad pivot bridge on me and I spent 45 minutes idling against the current as my daylight and outboard gas was running out.

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post #9 of 11 Old 05-04-2009 Thread Starter
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Good advice guys... I'll keep to the CCC route and get my collection of ref materials well beforehand. I'm quite familiar with the Race, Sound, Hell's gate and NY harbor... just didn't know what was the best way in. Never did the CCC so it should be interesting. Thx again.
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-29-2009 Thread Starter
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arja, a few weeks ago you mentioned that once-upon-a-time your trip was from SW Harbor straight to P-town... wondering how long did it take (under what conditions). We're planning the same initial route and want to get a feel for departure/arrival timing.
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