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  #1  
Old 04-09-2010
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NYC to Kittery, Maine

If the survey and seatrial go well I will soon be sailing my (new to me) 1985 Seafarer 30 from Port Washington NY to Kittery where I have had my Pearson 26 moored for the last 2 seasons.

This is my 3rd year sailing, so I no longer consider myself a novice but these will be new waters for me. I will have my son (20 y/o) with me and possibly my college buddy (typhoon owner).

The Seafarer has no navionics. I have gps on my handheld radio but otherwise plan on using compass and charts.

Any advice from those familiar with the planned area of sail would be appreciated.

I am thinking up Long Island sound, Buzzards Bay to the Cape Cod Canal, up the coast to Boston then on to Gloucester and up the Annisquam River. From there I will be within striking distance of Portsmouth NH/Kittery Maine.

Thanks, Greg
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Old 04-09-2010
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Have done the trip twice recently, couple other times too long ago.
2005 delivered my then new to me Pearson 34 from New London to Mount Desert. 2008 helped a buddy w/his Catalina 30 from Padanarum to Tenants Harbor. You'll be fine paying attention to charts, probably better than many w/chartplotters because you will actually pay attention to where you are..
I wish I had spent more time exploring Narragansett Bay. We had one lovely breezy day up & around Conanicut(sp?) Is.
Hadley's Harbor south of canal entrance is very nice & well sheltered, also popular high season.
Crossing to P-town is fun.
Cohasset has a rocky approach (I grew up there, well at least as much as I actually did grow up).
Boston's fun. On my boat we stayed two nights at Constitution Marina walking distance to the North End & it's good food. There's also a supermarket ~5-7 blocks. Laundry & showers @ marina.
Moorings in Gloucester @ Eastern Point YC just inside the breakwater.
I have never gone through Annisquam, always outside.
York can be dicey in a thick fog, but otherwise cozy harbor w/considerable current but moorings.
Both recent trips were June before things got busy/crowded.
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Old 04-09-2010
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I have done this run for the last 8 years. The only problem you are likely to have is from fog. Leave yourself some slack to spend some time socked in by fog or truly lousy weather. (Remember that the most dangerous thing on a boat is an inflexible schedule). There are many great harbors along the way where this can be done painlessly. Get the two chartbooks that cover the area and calibrate your compass. You need never be out of sight of land and piloting shouldn't be a problem, other than bad fog. If that's the case and you lack GPS and/or radar, or a really experienced navigator, find the local museum or watering hole till the sun burns it off. Make sure you have Eldrige's or some other way to calculate tides and currents, you'll need that to get through the Race and the Cape Cod Canal painlessly.

And have fun, it's a great cruise.
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Old 04-09-2010
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The trip that you propose is very reasonable. If you have never been through the cape cod canal before, make sure that you read up on the current so that you hit it at the right time. If you don't know the Annisquam canal well, you really need to do a lot of visual navigation through there. On the northern half, most of the shallow areas are sand and easy to see with good light and clear water. I have done the cape cod canal many times at night(it is actually lit) but I would not do the Annisquam canal at night, I would go out and around Cape Ann.

Beyond that, watching the weather and being willing to wait is the most important thing. There will be a couple of stretches where the good anchorages have many miles between them but you are not proposing anything exposed. If the wind has any form of east in it, you may find that it is a little bumpy.
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Old 04-09-2010
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I'll let others tell you about their waters, but in Buzzards Bay, the sailing will be pretty good and you'll probably have decent wind for much of it. The biggest caveat I have for you is pay attention to the wind and timing the entrance of the Cape Cod Canal. You really don't want to do the Cape Cod Canal entrance with a southwest wind... and you do want to time it so that the tidal current is in your favor for as much of your passage as possible.

If you try entering the canal with a southwest wind, it will be much like sailing through a washing machine... not fun...especially in a boat as small as yours. I've seen the CCC throw 50'+ boats around like bathtub toys.

Some good places to stop are Cuttyhunk, Mattapoisett, and Red Brook Harbor.

I'd highly recommend picking up a copy of The Cruising Guide to the New England Coast. This book covers from the Hudson River all the way up to New Brunswick, and will be invaluable.

Red Brook Harbor can be an excellent place to wait for the wind and tide to become more favorable for the CCC section of your trip. Onset Harbor is a bit closer, but is pretty shallow. If you only have a short period before the conditions are right, anchoring off of Toby's Island just east of the canal approach, south of Mashnee Island, is a good choice.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-09-2010 at 07:30 AM.
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Hi Greg,

I'll be headed up to Maine this summer as well, I hope. I'm looking forward to it. Lot's of great stops!

A copy of Eldridge would be essential. After Port Jeff, I like to cross over and stop in Old Saybrook or Essex, there's a good anchorage ( north cove) on the Connecticut river. You might even be able to pick up a mooring there.
This sets you up nicely for timing your exit through the Race to Block I.
or Narragansett Bay. Obviously, you've got to time the CC Canal right.
Then decide if you're going to Provincetown or bouncing up the mainland side.

Fog can be an issue. Have sound signaling devices. ( w/back-up ) If you have a cell phone with internet access and a laptop you can get AIS data on the web @
Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions There's a few other sites.
You won't get every vessel on the water, but you'll know where the big boys are. A pair of Binoculars.

The book, A Cruising Guide to the New England Coast, Fenn and Duncan has a wealth of good details on every stop on your way, along with some navigational/piloting guidance.

Have a Great Trip!
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SD,

That spot behind Toby's Is. looks very convenient. Great tip.
Do you find the entrance to Red Brook much easier than Onset ?
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I don't have any issues with either, but I have a much shallower draft than most... There's generally no need to go all the way into Red Brook Harbor. I find that going north of Bassett's Island, toward Pocasset Harbor is easier than going south and around to Red Brook. Going south into Hospital Cove is also a good choice, as you can see from the chart:



Here's the chart for Mashnee Island:



The reason I don't like Onset, aside from it being very shallow, is that you basically have to cross the channel to get to and from it...and why do that if you can avoid it. The bigger ships that use the CCC can move very fast and surprise you.



In any case, you should contact CCC control on Ch. 13 before proceeding.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
SD,

That spot behind Toby's Is. looks very convenient. Great tip.
Do you find the entrance to Red Brook much easier than Onset ?
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Old 04-09-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
...Do you find the entrance to Red Brook much easier than Onset ?
We had one of the "highlights" of boating entering the cut to Onset in 2007. First timers - we wanted to be set up for the canal the next morning and so were keeping track of the next day's tides through the canal. What we overlooked was the wash coming out of the canal into Buzzards Bay that afternoon. The entrance is not wide and sideslipping at wide open throttle at a 45-degree angle into ~6 knots of current was an eye opener for a pair used to the "tranquil" Chesapeake.

Next day the canal portion went well and we saw 11-knots SOG with the engine turning over 1800 RPM.

We went around Cape Ann but always wondered how the Annisquam Canal would have been for us with 6'2" and 60'3" drafts.
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Annisquam is pretty, and with your draft, no problem. It keeps you off the rocks off Cape Ann (an unforgiving coast in an easterly), and is shorter to boot. I'd do it, especially if you spent the night in Gloucester. From there, the Piscataqua River is an easy shot.

Re the Cape Cod Canal, by all means look up the times the current turns, as it runs about 3 knots for the 4-mile cut. But generally, since the tide range is about 8-9 feet on the Mass Bay side, and 4 feet on the Buzzards' side, slack water is roughly at mid-tide, when the height is equal at both ends. So from mid-tide and rising to mid-tide ebbing, current runs west, since Mass bay is higher, and from mid-tide ebbing to mid-tide flooding, the opposite. Almost close enough for government work!

Marblehead, where I'm from before hiding out way down south, is a pretty town (though open to the northeast), but hard to find a guest mooring, but you can anchor near the harbor mouth and row in. Worth spending a day in the old town, an easy walk from the public landing at State st. Not directly on your route, but not far off either. Then a short hop past Baker's Island up to Gloucester and Annisquam, a half-day trip to Portsmouth and Kittery, especially in a summer sou'wester.

Last edited by nolatom; 04-09-2010 at 10:53 AM.
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