ASA and PSIA Instructor
Join Date: Apr 2000
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35 years ago i made my first trip through the canal in a 23 footer with a 4 hourse on the stern. Passing through the canal is not a problem, as the traffic is usually not that bad and it has a a 5MPH speed limit. While the speed limit is often ignored by powerboats, the Canal is not a high wake area. Going with the current makes for a much faster passage. You can pass against the current by staying to the side of the canal in 15-20 feet of water where the current dies to a knot or so - however, you can almost shake hands with the Sunday strollers, so it is a little un-nerving and requires careful attention..
The one issue with a East-West Canal passge is if you come out of the Canall with the current and against the prevailing strong southwester, the wind /water collision can build a few miles of sharp 6 foot chop into which powering is at best very difficult. In this area you may not be able to make any progress with an outboard, altyhough it makes for interesting if hairy sailing. A trick it to take a sharp turn to the South as soon as you exit the Canal proper, and follow a path along the north side of the Monument beach shoreline until you reach the end of Wings Neck where you can re-enter the Canal channel.
The best solution is to enter Buzzards Bay when conditions are mild or moderate, but this is hard to schedule...