Join Date: Nov 2009
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Re: Advice for newbies re: Fishers Island
We favor Wicopesset Passage over Lord's Passage. It may be narrower, but it is easier to navigate. Assuming you are going clockwise from West Harbor, you might hug the shore of Fishers Island, minding the navigational buoys. You can stay close to shore to the east of East Harbor or go north of Youngs and Seal Rocks. Line up Green can 1 in the center of Wicopesset Passage with the RW Bell and you can hardly go wrong. You need to stay within 200 yards of can 1 as you pass it and you will be quickly through Wicopesset Passage.
As you proceed toward Race Point, you can hardly go wrong to stay a few hundred yards offshore. I would not consider anchoring on the outside of Fishers Island to wait for slack water at the Race. Rather, you need to factor the currents into your planning. You didn't mention the Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book, but you need have one. Check the currents on page 89 for Sunday and plan your circumnavigation of Fisher Island with reference to the Tidal Current Charts on pages 92-97, which show the currents on an hour-by hour basis.
I would not plan on maintaining 6 kts in your boat. Better to figure on 4 kts through the water if the winds are right. You also need to adjust for the current, based on Eldridges (pp. 92-97) which will affect your speed over the ground. You will not have ideal conditions at both ends of Fishers Island, so you need to plan on avoiding maximum currents at Wicopesset and Race Pt and deal with some adverse currents on your circumnavigation of the island.
All that said, and given the currents on Monday, August 5th, I would recommend a counterclockwise route and plan to pass Race Point no later than noon. You'd have a fair current all along the south side of Fishers Island and would enter Wicopesset Passage with a 2 kt or so foul current and then head west in FI Sound with a diminishing foul current. You can diminish the effect of the Ebb current after passing through Wicopesset Passage by hugging the Fishers Island coast and avoid the center of Fishers Island Sound. This assumes you are returning to somewhere in the vicinity of West Harbor. Perhaps you are sailing out of Noank?