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Old 08-20-2008
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Cape Cod (Cotuit) Sailing

Hello,

A few weeks ago I asked for some information on sailing around Cotuit, Cape Cod.

I just got back from a long sailing weekend and thought some of you might want an update. If so, read on....

My brother, his friend, and I arrived in Cotuit Thursday evening. We met another friend there, and settled into his house, a very nice place close to the waters of Cotuit bay. The boat was owned by a very nice older gentleman, who still singlehands the boat, sailing on and off the mooring, at 81. His son and his family were also there.

Friday morning we headed down the boat, a mid 70's Peason 30. The boat was in very nice condition with a new Yanmar diesel, good sails, tiller steering, etc. The weather forecast was for light wind, so we planned on just motoring to the beach, anchoring, and swimming while we waited for the wind to come up. Well, as soon as we slipped the mooring, the wind came up. Change of plans, lets sail! So we raised sail and headed out of the channel into the waters of Nantucket sound.

I am used to sailing on the Long Island sound, where once you leave the harbor, there is lots of deep water. Not so in Nantucket sound. We had to stay inside a narrow channel for some time, and still the depth was only around 10' (the boat draws over 5'). Once clear, we headed east towards Hyannis. We had a nice reach over, stayed clear of a number of shoals and shallows, came about, beat back upwind, then sailed into the Seapuit river, and finally anchored and swam.

The types of boats you see in Cape Cod is also very different than the boats on Long Island. I am used to seeing lots of Catalina, Beneteau, Hunter, O'day, C&C, Sabre, Tartan, etc. In Cape Cod it was Marshal Catboat, Cotuit Skiff, Wianno Senior, and then a few typical boats.

Friday night lots of thunderstorms blew in, but Saturday morning was nice. In the morning we sailed around Grand Island, and even had a small drawbridge raise for us. That was pretty cool. Saturday afternoon we went out with the father, and I hope I am doing nearly as well as he is when I am 81. I thought that us three young (in our 40's) guys would do the work, but he jumped the main, then dropped the mooring while I steered out of the harbor. We sailed south as far as we could. We approached yet another shoal (I can't believe that you can be 5 miles from shore and in 5' of water), and ran out of wind and water. So we turned and headed home. I was laying on the side deck, just enjoying the warm sun, when the wind started to come up, fast. Within 5 minutes the wind went from 0 to 15-20 kts. The boat seemed to love the conditions, as we sailed on a beam reach home. With the boat heeled over 20-30 degrees we were moving along at 7 kts. I asked if we should reef, but the boat owner just said to hold on. Since it was his boat I just enjoyed the ride. Once back inside the harbor the wind calmed down and we moored under sail (something I never do, well I did do it once when I couldn't start the engine, but that's another story).

Sunday we wanted a longer sail, so we went to Martha's Vineyard. The wind was on the nose, so we sailed S for a long time, the wind really did pick up, so we put a reef in the main and kept on. Eventually we tacked west, but couldn't sail close enough. We sailed NW until we were close to Oak Bluffs, then motored in. The harbor was incredibly crowded, with 2-3 boats on every mooring. We found one mooring with a sailboat on it, with the owner on board so he helped is tie up along side him. We caught the launch into town and had a great lunch. Food (and beer) always tastes better after some time on the water. We walked around the Vineyard for a while, then took the launch back to the boat, slipped the mooring and headed for home.

The wind was dead astern, and blowing at 20 kts. We tried sailing at 120 degrees off the wind, with full sail up, but the main kept blanketing the genoa. Then we tried going wing and wing, but after a few accidental gybes we stopped doing that. We dropped the main and sailed downwind with full headsail. That worked great and we averaged over 6 kts for the trip home. outside the channel we raised the main so the owner could get some pictures of the boat under full sail entering the harbor. Unfortunately, the camera batteries were dead.

That was the last sail on Cape Cod, as we had to leave Monday. We did get in a short sail on my boat Tuesday morning before I took the guys to the airport.

We're already making plans for a trip somewhere next year. One of the guys may have a line on a 54' sloop in LA. That would be cool!

Barry
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Old 08-20-2008
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Nice write-up Barry...thanks!
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Old 08-20-2008
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You've discovered why there are lots of catboats on the Cape. Yup, there are shoals out of sight of land. Generally the nearest land is straight down, and not very far. Many shipwrecks, right up through the ARGO MERCHANT, attest to this.

In Oak Bluffs, did you get up to the "Camp Meeting Grounds"? A hidden gem, a wonderful bevy of small victorian cottages, and a central meeting hall.
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Old 08-21-2008
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Marthas Vineyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
In Oak Bluffs, did you get up to the "Camp Meeting Grounds"? A hidden gem, a wonderful bevy of small victorian cottages, and a central meeting hall.
Yes we did. Very cool looking place. Many of the houses had wild paintjobs (pink, lime green, etc.).

We spent around 2 hours on MV, not nearly enough to see things, but we needed to get back before dark (one of the guys brought his wife and family, so you know how that goes).

Barry
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