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Cape Cod to Portland

Folks,

In about 6 weeks I will be taking my new-to-me O'day through the canal and to Portland, about 120 miles. This will mean overnight sailing or stopping along the way. I need some advice from those who have made the trip about where I can put in along the way in case things get dicey. Also, what about that whole canal thing. What do I do? How do I time it? Etc.

Thanks Gals and Guys!

Don
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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

I've done the trip only once so far, but we'll do it again this summer. In our area, good bail-out harbors would be Gloucester or Rockport. Newburyport has a bar that can be dicey. We've also stayed at the Isles of Shoals, which provide reasonable protection and have plenty of moorings. I'd be interested in finding out about good places to put in further north in Maine.

The CCC and the Hog Island channel approach can be really bouncy depending on tide and wind conditions, but if you're northbound, tide and the prevailing southwest wind work in your favor. If the Hog Island channel is too rough, there is a channel to the east along Wings Neck that is supposed to be much quieter.


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post #3 of 28 Old 03-11-2017
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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

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Originally Posted by DonScribner View Post
Folks,

In about 6 weeks I will be taking my new-to-me O'day through the canal and to Portland, about 120 miles. This will mean overnight sailing or stopping along the way. I need some advice from those who have made the trip about where I can put in along the way in case things get dicey. Also, what about that whole canal thing. What do I do? How do I time it? Etc.

Thanks Gals and Guys!

Don
Hi Don, as far as the CCCanal, you can get tide schedules online these days. The canal flows North, and ebbs South (I think). The South end can be dicey as the current charges out, if there is a good Southerly, which there often is.

Most boats can get through in under 2 hours. Onset is a good place to overnight and or catch to Northerly flow. You could hit 10 knots riding the current through the middle.

We've made the round trip close to a dozen times. There are lot's of ways to go. If conditions are dicey(or you have time), you can hug the coast and stop along the way in any of the good harbors. That will take you a few days.

If conditions are favorable, you can cut across Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown. Again in favorable conditions, in another day, you could make Isle of Shoals. Another day should get you into Portland.

Or you could leave the CCCanal and go overnight (again, in favorable conditions), easily to Portland.

Which one do you want to do?

Tom Young sailing a 1961 38' Alden Challenger, CHRISTMAS out of
Rockport, Maine.
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Last edited by TomMaine; 03-11-2017 at 03:27 PM.
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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

I have done this trip several times on deliveries and as a pleasure cruise on a Sabre 28.

The Cape Cod Canal floods EAST (toward Sandwich), and ebbs WEST (toward Wareham). The current runs at 5+ knots, and you MUST do the transit under power.

I have no idea where you are starting from, but logical bail out ports include Provincetown, Scituate, Boston, Salem, Rockport, Isle of Shoals, York, and Kennebunkport.

PM me if you want specifics.


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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

What model O'day are we talking about? Did you buy that O'day 290 or something else?


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Last edited by eherlihy; 03-11-2017 at 05:26 PM.
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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

We bought the 290. She's under contract, survey is done, financing under way. We "should" take possession in a few weeks, spend the first few weekends in May working on her. Then, the second week of June, we splash.

When we say "floods east" are we talking "to" the east or "from" the east? So, will it be easier or harder to go north-east popping out in Cape Cod Bay? If this was Maine where I can duck in and anchor every 7 feet I wouldn't be so wary. But there seems to be an awful lot of coastline with nary a dent should things get hairy. If the conditions are right, 8-12 knot winds, 2 foot seas with a full moon and fairly clear skies, I have not problem sailing through the night. My youngest boy (25) is a night owl anyway so if we do shifts, I can sleep from say 8:00 to 3:00 AM with my wife and son pulling the rest. Otherwise, I figure 1 day to pass through the canal and anchor, probably at P Town. 1 day to get past Isle of Shoals and anchor at Short Sands. Third day York to Portland.

SO, the Canal/ Completely off record, deny it in court. High tide is 1:00 PM in Buzzards Bay. What time should I be gunning it through?
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post #7 of 28 Old 03-11-2017
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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

We did this trip a few years ago when we got our boat down in Newport. We did one day to, and through, the canal (as others have said the tide info is on line). We planned to overnight in Sandwich then direct to Portland but had engine trouble (in the canal of all places) and so went to Plymouth instead.

Once the motor was sorted out we sailed Plymouth to Portland (actually Freeport). Left in the morning and we're rounding Portland headlight as the sun came up the following day. It is a very easy sail...just keep Isle of Shoals to Port and nothing else to worry about.

We had pleasant weather but if we had to bail out, Gloucester, then Portsmouth/Kittery are good options. After that, I don't know. I've never been to Kennebunkport or Biddeford by sailboat. But Portland is just a few hours away so you ought to be able to make it easily enough.

Good luck.

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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

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Originally Posted by DonScribner View Post
We bought the 290. She's under contract, survey is done, financing under way. We "should" take possession in a few weeks, spend the first few weekends in May working on her. Then, the second week of June, we splash.

When we say "floods east" are we talking "to" the east or "from" the east? So, will it be easier or harder to go north-east popping out in Cape Cod Bay? If this was Maine where I can duck in and anchor every 7 feet I wouldn't be so wary. But there seems to be an awful lot of coastline with nary a dent should things get hairy. If the conditions are right, 8-12 knot winds, 2 foot seas with a full moon and fairly clear skies, I have not problem sailing through the night. My youngest boy (25) is a night owl anyway so if we do shifts, I can sleep from say 8:00 to 3:00 AM with my wife and son pulling the rest. Otherwise, I figure 1 day to pass through the canal and anchor, probably at P Town. 1 day to get past Isle of Shoals and anchor at Short Sands. Third day York to Portland.

SO, the Canal/ Completely off record, deny it in court. High tide is 1:00 PM in Buzzards Bay. What time should I be gunning it through?
Look up your day of planned travel here

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/no...tionid=8447270

This station is the west end of the canal, you should want be heading east beginning at or following the time of low water, ie during the period of the flood current. Pass here two hours after low water and the flood current will have you out of the canal in an hour.

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Last edited by sailingfool; 03-11-2017 at 08:34 PM. Reason: N
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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

I am sure that sailingfool has pegged this, but let me try to confuse you; I will use the chart at Tide Charts | Cape Cod Canal, RR. Bridge | Jun/2017 | Massachusetts

On June 1, 2017 High Tide at the Railroad Bridge at the WEST end of the canal is at 3:12 am, Low Tide is at 11:33 am, the second High Tide is at 3:46 pm, and the second Low Tide is at 11:47 pm. The canal is approximately 7 miles from Wareham to Sandwich. Floods East means that when the tide is coming in, the water flows toward the east.

DO NOT try to bring your new boat through the canal between 2:12 am (because it takes at least an hour to transit the canal at slack tide) and 11:33 am, as you will encounter a current that is against you. You can transit the canal after 11:33 am, but before 3:46 pm and the current will be helping you. For a really fun ride, plan to begin your transit at 12:30 pm so that you will be transiting the canal between low and high tide (maximum flood). You should see a 5+ knot boost to your SOG under power.

On the Sabre 28, mentioned in my earlier post, we transited the canal going west AGAINST the current. While we were making headway, I distinctly recall two women strolling along the canal next to us sipping out of Dunkin Donuts styrofoam cups. The Sabre's Volvo MD7a was running WOT, yet these women walked past us like we were standing still. I believe that this transit took us well over 2 hours.

We encountered two mating sharks at one point, and a sudden squall, later, while approaching the railroad bridge. Visibility in the squall dropped to under mile as we approached Mass Maritime Academy. I had ski goggles on when out of the wall of mist and rain appeared a car carrier less than mile in front of us! After all the excitement, we put into Onset harbor to collect ourselves and spend the night.

Have fun!


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post #10 of 28 Old 03-11-2017
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Re: Cape Cod to Portland

Don,

Next time you go to a WM or other chandlery spend the $16 and pick up a copy of the Eldridge Tide & Pilot book for 2017. There are a several comprehensive pages about the CCC and the traffic light sequences they use (yes, there are traffic lights at each end) and when the current will be in your favor for heading through. There is also a bunch of other useful information in the book if you bother to read through it and it can help you with tidal inlets all the way through Maine once you learn to read the offsets from the tidal harmonics they use (based on high tide at Boston etc.)

No batteries, wifi connection or cell usage required.

Enjoy the trip.

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