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  #1  
Old 08-18-2007
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Cape Cod Canal and a P26

Hi all,
I am wondering if anyone has tried taking a small boat with an outboard ( Pearson 26 ) through the Cape Cod Canal? The boat is on the hard in Scituate, MA. I could have it hauled to RI, but sailing would be more fun!!I have done the reading about the tides etc, but would really appreciate some feedback from people who have first hand experience. Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2007
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John...I haven't done it in a small boat but lots have and I see no reason why you couldn't as long as you have a decent outboard.
I would pick a weekday to avoid the wakes and the traffic which can be tough on a small boat in a narrow canal. I would also make sure the current was behind me as you do not want to buck it.
Good luck!
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Old 08-19-2007
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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...
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Old 08-19-2007
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Thanks Guys,
Just what I was looking for! I'll let you know how it turns out.
ps "hard to schedule..." yea just a little
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Old 08-19-2007
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You should get and consult a current copy of Eldridge or a Reed's East Coast Almanac.

Timing it so that the tide is with you and on a day where the wind is not out of the south or southwest over Buzzards Bay will make it pretty simple.

As SF has pointed out... if the wind is out of the SW, you can get really interesting conditions...
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Old 08-19-2007
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I’ve used to take my Columbia 22 through there, with a 1.2 HP British Seagull, with no problems. But the last times I went through, both east to west passages, were pretty rough! One was in my 28 footer last year and this year I took a Concordia 41 through. Both times I got my arse whipped coming down by Stony Point into the Buzzard.

I entered the canal on the Sandwich side at the turn of the current. When I got down the other end, it was at full ebb and a nasty sou-wester had built into it. This created a wicked steep and tall chop starting around the Maritime Academy and Onset.

Last year, barge traffic forced me out of the lane and into the shallows along the dyke. My 8HP, hanging off the transom didn’t have the power to keep her moving, nor with all the hobby-horsing, was the prop in the water long enough to get me back into deep water. Luckily, I cleared the end of the dyke before I fetched the hard. Even so, the Ware river was about the best I could make after!

This year, I managed to motor-sail, beating with the current into those same conditions but without the barge traffic. I held good water right up to the channel markers on both sides but even that Concordia hobbied unmerciful and it was a damn wet ride!

So from my experience, if it’s blowin much above 20k sou-west, you’re gonna get whacked comin into the Buzzard with the current! Otherwise, it’s business as usual.
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Old 08-20-2007
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Saturday would have been a pretty good day for making the canal passage east to west in a small sailboat. The winds were fairly decent, and blowing from the Northwest. It would have fairly reasonable at the end of the canal, entering Buzzards Bay and it would have given you a pretty nice sail down to Rhode Island. Some might have found the wind a bit on the strong side, gusting to 35 mph, but we found it great sailing... video and photos to come later.
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Old 08-20-2007
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Two observations: First, going against the current is not an option. A friend with a larger boat than yours claims that he tried it once and an older woman with a walker was making better progress on the shore. With a smaller boat and engine, you might actually go backwards. So make sure you time your trip carefully. Second, I would be absolutely sure that your engine is in good working order and that you have more than enough gas. Getting stuck in there with the traffic and four or five knots of current would not be fun.
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