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Old 09-20-2010
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jakmedic is on a distinguished road
Barnstable Harbor Sailing?

Anyone have experience sailing in Barnstable Harbor, Cape Cod? I'm moving nearby, have been psyched with the idea of sailing there and tomorrow I'm scheduled to close on a nice used Rhodes 19 centerboard to sail the harbor...tonight I checked my navionics chart of the area for the first time and see the whole harbor looks like shoal!...I know i've seen a lot of sailboats in that harbor, so it must look worse on the chart than it is in life. I'm buying the boat with the idea that it'll be a learner for my wife, so it'll be a drag if the shoals make it a real tough area to sail (even for a centerboard boat). Should've check the charts sooner, feel like a dolt. Am I about to make a big mistake?
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Old 09-21-2010
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My parents live on Barnstable Harbor; I have had my 4' draft sailboat in there and had no problem getting to and from the anchorage via the channel, but I wouldn't sail that boat around the harbor. However it's a great place for a small shallow draft boat. You'll see a lot of catboats, and Barnstable Harbor Yacht Club has a dinghy fleet (not sure what kind).

I mostly know the eastern end of the harbor (east of Maraspin Creek), which I believe is a bit deeper than the western end. The key things to pay attention to:
- 9 foot tidal range. At high tide you won't have to worry about the shoals, at low tide if you're out of the main channel you'll probably go aground no matter what you do. However, it's nearly all sandbar so the groundings will be soft. I imagine with the Rhodes c/b you can get out and push off pretty easily if/when that happens.
- Tidal Currents - a lot of water moves in and out of the harbor and around Beach Point (the eastern tip of Sandy Neck). When I had my boat in there, my brother and I had to row our dinghy out to our anchorage against the current (motor was broken), a little over 1 mile. It took 1 1/2 hours. Know when the ebb and flood are taking place. A small outboard would be a good insurance policy to make sure you don't get stuck down harbor on a falling tide/opposing current.
- Sandy Neck is an incredible place to explore. Take the boat over, beach/anchor it, and walk the dunes and sandbars as soon as you have a chance.

What part of the harbor will you be in? Will you be on a mooring/slip or launching from a ramp?
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