Any advice on getting to the head of the harbor in Nantucket? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-30-2013
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Any advice on getting to the head of the harbor in Nantucket?

I'm looking to visit Nantucket this summer, if I can make it to the Sailnet gathering on MV in late July.

I'd love to take our 6' draft boat up to the head of the harbor. Is this possible? I'd be willng to wait for high tide if needed.

Would love to hear from others who may have some experience with this.

Regards,
Brad

P.S. Yes, Jon's recent post reminded me of the harbor there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
...Nantucket's Head of the Harbor is one of my favorites... It's tricky getting up there, not every boat can make it... But if you do, it's like having Great Salt Pond all to yourself, I've yet to ever see another cruising boat when I've been up there...

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Old 07-01-2013
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Re: Any advice on getting to the head of the harbor in Nantucket?

Thinking you might want to employee a "camel" to get your 6 ft. draft into head of the Harbor! Camel=drydock that was used to float the whalers over the Nantucket Bar into the harbor back in the day.
Have on my favorites a thread from SSCA "anchoring in Nantucket"
that talks about entering Head of the Harbor, might be helpful.
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Old 07-01-2013
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Re: Any advice on getting to the head of the harbor in Nantucket?

I recall just slithering over the last bar with our 4' draft. But I don't think it was top of the tide, but close. There is probably water enough for you, if you're in the right place, and at the right time,....

It's a bit tricky but our chart plotter kept us in the deeper water. I remember watching the Depth Sounder was a real cliff hanger at the end.

We spent a night up there and were amazed that we had the whole inland lake like anchorage to ourselves. I took this photo while swimming.

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Old 07-01-2013
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Re: Any advice on getting to the head of the harbor in Nantucket?

Brad, I haven't been up there in about 4 years, but I think 6' draft would really be pushing it... I draw a bit over 5', and I just grazed the bottom once, at pretty close to the top of the tide (can't recall whether it was a spring tide, or anything much different from the mean height)...

The tightest spot seems to be the final bar extending from Bass point on Coatue Beach, just beyond Pocomo Head in the pic... There are small buoys placed at the critical spots on each of the bars, and I've always found my C-Map charts to be spot on in regards to their placement...



I seem to recall a pretty good description of the route appears in the classic CRUISING GUIDE TO THE NEW ENGLAND COAST by Duncan & Fenn, a wonderful book, but I don't have mine handy at the moment...

Unfortunately, there seems to have been a spate of new regulations that have appeared in recent years regarding anchoring in Nantucket Harbor. Check the dockmaster's website for the latest information, but last time I looked, they were basically saying boats over 30' are no longer permitted to anchor overnight beyond the First Point on Coatue... that would seem to rule out going up to the Head of the Harbor, of course, for anyone who needs to play the tides to get in... Still, it's so far away from the main harbor and dockmaster, I can't imagine that they can really enforce such an ordinance, and would guess one can still get away with it for at least an overnight, or two...

Now, for those with shoal draft boats who might really want to explore off the beaten track around Nantucket, I'd suggest going into Tuckernuck Pond (at the lower left center in the pic below) Again, your 6' draft and boat size in general would really be pushing it out there, the final approach into the pond is VERY tight, and really requires 'one foot on the beach'... Beautiful, remote feel to the place - it's visited during the day with picnickers/day trippers coming over to the beach from Madaket during the day, but really quiets down later on, guaranteed you'll have it to yourself. One of the few homeowners on the island invited me up for drinks and dinner, said I was the first cruising boat he'd seen come into the pond in years...

Pretty challenging approach, however, and there's no such thing as a slack tide in that area... closest thing you'll find to the Bahamas in New England, and you'd really want good light to help read the water past Eel Point and Madaket...


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Re: Any advice on getting to the head of the harbor in Nantucket?

There should be channel markers and the charts suggest you could make it. However, it shoals back there, so I would only try it at 1 kt and high tide.

I would reserve a mooring at Nantucket Moorings for the night you arrive. They are a bit expensive, but it really takes the pressure off to know one is waiting for your arrival. The staff is extraordinarily helpful. Ask the tender, who will be escorting you to your mooring and dropping a ton of literature off with you, and they probably have some local knowledge on getting back there.

Does anyone recall if the Wauwinet has a dinghy dock?
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Re: Any advice on getting to the head of the harbor in Nantucket?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Does anyone recall if the Wauwinet has a dinghy dock?
Yes, they have a pretty substantial floating dock for the launches they run back and forth to the main harbor and town... I had no problem using it for a few visits into the Inn for breakfast, and a look around, etc., but I wouldn't want to use it as a shore access point to venturing beyond their own property...

A lot of the shoreline in that vicinity seems privately owned, but you don't have to stray too far to the north to find suitable places to beach your dinghy, and head over to the beach, or up towards Great Point, or whatever...
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Re: Any advice on getting to the head of the harbor in Nantucket?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Yes, they have a pretty substantial floating dock for the launches they run back and forth to the main harbor and town... I had no problem using it for a few visits into the Inn for breakfast, and a look around, etc., but I wouldn't want to use it as a shore access point to venturing beyond their own property...

A lot of the shoreline in that vicinity seems privately owned, but you don't have to stray too far to the north to find suitable places to beach your dinghy, and head over to the beach, or up towards Great Point, or whatever...
Thanks. We will be out there this summer and I may take my wife in for lunch. Beautiful place.
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