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Old 08-14-2009   #1
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Sailing south of Boston (and anchoring over night)


we are planning to sail south from Boston towards Plymouth. This is the first time we head further south than the harbour islands. So we are looking for some advise.

Based on cruising guide and charts there don't seem to be a ton of alternatives to call in for night if Plymouth is overcrowded. On the other hand, given the predicted southerly winds, the area north of Eel river, right outside Plymouth beach, looks like a convenient anchorage.

And if we don't manage to get all the way to Plymouth, Scituate sounds like the best alternative. While probably being likely overcrowded, the area north of Shingly looks convenient in southerly winds.

Green River and New Inlet seem to be to shallow and tight for my taste.

Does anyone here have experience with those options?


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Old 08-14-2009   #2
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Plymouth is a big harbor, it can't get overcrowded. I have always found a mooring in the inner harbor, same with Scituate, although its a good ides to arrive by 5-6 on weekends. If you got stiffed on a mooring in Plymouth inner harbor, there is a lot of open achorage to the west of Gurnet light, be sure to get the anchor into sand, not kelp.
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Old 08-17-2009   #3
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Scituate is a good alternative if you can't make it to Plymouth/Duxbury. Cohasset is another albeit even smaller fallback.

Unless you have some local knowledge and/or conditions are very calm, probably best to avoid the North River (although there are some anchorages there.)

Further south, Green Harbor in Marshfield is shallow and small -- so depending on your draft you might not be able to get in there and I doubt there is much if any anchorage -- moorings/dock being the only option.

If you want to get away from the crowds in Plymouth harbor, there are a few anchorages sprinkled around Duxbury Bay. North and east of Clark's Island has some deep water (approach from the west side of the island if the tide is out.) You can also call the Duxbury harbormaster to see if they have a free mooring at Snug Harbor.

I'm not sure I'd recommend Warren Cove as an anchorage (the area off Plymouth Beach that you mentioned). I've never noticed anyone spending the night there -- it is potentially very exposed and Brown's Bank can make approaches very tricky. I HAVE seen folks tuck up close on the south side of Saquish Neck -- but I would rather see you come in even if only to the vicinity of the Cowyard. Plenty of boats anchor thereabouts for the night in calm conditions.

Have fun!!

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Old 09-08-2009   #4
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Thanks for the tips! We did two trips south now.

On the first sail in August, we went to Scituate on a Saturday. We had to tack down against southerly wind, and arrived so late that we wouldn't have made it any further. We called Cedar Point Launch for a mooring and they were extremely helpful. They run very late hours and are very friendly, also the harbor is easy to get in. So definitively one of my favourites now. On the way back there initially was no wind at all, so we motored for some time. It was extremely hot that day so we decided to put down the anchor at Tar Pouch and jump in to cool down a bit. After the wind picked up we had a great sail back to Boston.

For the Labor Day weekend, my wife and I set out on Friday in the late afternoon. Wind was to weak, so we turned around and anchored off Peddocks Island for the night. On Saturday we then were able to sail down to Plymouth and were able to get a mooring there.
Getting into Plymouth was a bit an adventure as the tide was still going out, carrying a lot sea grass and other things. Right when passing Duxbury Pier, something got into our prop and we sat drifting there between the rocks and the sand shoals at the head of Plymouth Beach. Luckily we recovered after letting down the anchor and then putting the gear in reverse and forward for some time.
We had thought about anchoring in the Cowyard but decided to not for convenience as we planned to go to town. The area parallel to the channel and perpendicular to Plymouth Beach, that is often recommended for anchoring, seems to be filling up with moorings by the way. At the end, going for the mooring in the protected inner harbor turned out to be a good decision: during the night, the wind picked up quite a bit and became gusty due to a high pressure system. I doubt I would have gotten any sleep anchored in the Cowyard however protected it is.
On Labor Day we sailed back to Boston in light winds. At the end we surrendered and used the motor.
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