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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-01-2015 08:01 PM
Re: Block Island - Marina recommendations?

Really great info in this series. Thanks. I am looking for a spot to keep my 36' Hinckley Picnic Boat on Block Island for 90 days, August 1 - October 31 in 2016. Is my best bet a mooring in the Great Salt Pond and if yes, will they lease it for 90 days? In the alternative, are the private moorings for rent for 90 days?

Many thanks.

07-21-2008 12:27 PM
Pamlicotraveler I meant to mention that I witnessed one of the most fantastic cases of seamanship I have ever seen - right there in the Block Island mooring field. I was so busy being amazed I didn't get a video of it. I wish I had - I would certainly post it here.

A guy on a 35(ish) foot boat sailed and weaved his way right through the mooring field with a 10 knot breeze. He was under main as he navigated through the maze of boats. He eyed his mooring ball, turned into the wind at the perfect moment, and his crew on the bow grabbed the mooring line on the first try. The helmsman quickly went forward to douse the sails. It was flawless.

For those that have been there, you know how crowded the field is - Boats are moored with just enough swinging room fto allow for the biggest boat. If he had misjudged somehow he could have had serious problems.

Later I detoured my dinghy and told the guy that I was impressed with his great seamanship. He said "it's a rush, you should try it." Not gonna happen, but I would like to test myself in the open sometime.
07-21-2008 10:38 AM
Brezzin I was at BI July 5th they raised the mooring fee from from 30.00 to 40.00 and like Pamlico we were on the far end of the mooring field. That night there were available moorings right up until 8 pm when from our mooring we saw a boat come in and pick up the last available Orange mooring. We were fortunate that the Fireworks were postponed from the July 4 to the 5th and we were able to enjoy them from the boat.
07-21-2008 09:29 AM
JimsCAL Getting water in Block Island when anchored or on a mooring is a problem. Most seem to dinghy in and fill up a couple of portable containers each morning.
07-20-2008 01:15 PM
camaraderie Cranki...hope yer doing a bit better now.
On the issue of longer drives for better cruising grounds...I would say to do it IF you can get off work Friday 5PM and head to the boat make a weekend of it on the boat. My own experience in a different venue on the Chesapeake is that the 90 minutes looms large if you are just trying to day sail and you use the boat less. On the other hand...if you can get to the boat Friday night and have some great cruising to look forward to till Sunday night...each weekend becomes a mini-vacation. Good luck with the decision!
07-20-2008 10:24 AM
Pamlicotraveler Cranki,

Sorry to hear about your accident. I'm sure it'll be worth a laugh once you have recovered, but it sounds like it could have been a very serious injury. Be careful.

The moorings probably get more scarce as the season goes on. We were there the week before July 4th and I was surprised to hear that in Block the season starts July 4th weekend. Some restaurants were just opening up that week.

Incidentally, our mooring was probably 100 yards from Champlains. It seemed kind of "out of the flow" to getting towards town because the public docks were at the other end. We ended up taking the taxi shuttle to the eastern side where the ferry/dinghy docks were and walking or renting bikes to get into the main part of town where the old harbor is.

Our only stop at Champlains was on our way out. We really didn't need fuel, but we topped off the tanks so we could get some water. They said that was OK since we were buying fuel. They didn't have a hose though, so we had to dig ours out. I thought that was funny - they obviously don't want sailors taking their dock space to get water. I think we pumped about about 10 gallons of diesel and filled all three water tanks (200 gallons). A cabin cruiser was waiting to get our space at the fuel dock, so by the end of the 200 gallon water fill I was feeling a little pressure from the Champlain's folks. They were nice, but understandably they would rather be pumping gas of diesel than water. Getting water can become a little bit of an issue in places like this.
07-19-2008 11:02 PM
cranki Hi everyone.

Just got back from our cruise to Block and thought I'd update the thread with a quick report.

I almost broke my neck boogie boarding at Napatree Point , Watch Hill Tuesday AM. We had planned to sail to Block right after a morning session,but, I got nailed! Drilled into the sand face first by a vicious shore break. I have never been hit so hard in my life! I could barely move. We walked to the clinic in Watch Hill and they checked me out and gave me some prescriptions. Being that my neck, back and shoulder were all hurting, along with my face... We decided to continue on to Block, but stay at Champlain's instead of anchoring/mooring.

I had it from here that we might be rafted but we needed a dock. We got a nice spot on the far north end of the docks and no rafting. Oh it was pricey, but, worth it. We were there for 2 nights. I did not see any town moorings available when we came in around 4:30PM Tuesday.

Cab driver (who lives aboard a 31' sloop) confirmed about 25 - 30% less business this season.

The Harbor View restaurant next to the pool at Champlain's is excellent - really. The Harbor Inn, in town, sucked - really.

Last week was a beautiful week for a cruise and I am on the mend. Curse that shore break!

This is probably the subject for a completely different thread, but, we are considering keeping the boat up in Stonington or somewhere in Fisher's Island Sound area next summer. It is about a 90 minute drive from our home and we think it would be nice to have anchorages like Watch Hill and Block Island so close for weekend trips. Anyone have any experience with dong this?
07-10-2008 06:12 PM
JimsCAL Glad you had a great time at Block Island Pamlicotraveler. It is really a special place. I have cruised there over a dozen times over the last 20+ years and never tire of it. Sounds like the mooring availability is better - maybe one of the few positive things from the high fuel prices.
07-10-2008 02:56 PM
Originally Posted by cranki View Post
Thought I'd add this question to this thread. I haven't sailed to Block Island in probably 20 years. I am planning to cruise there from Watch Hill on Tuesday, July, 15. Anybody give me an idea of what time I'd need to be there to be reasonably sure off picking up a mooring ball. Are they all taken on weekdays?

I know this is prime cruising time and grounds and. you guys know, New harbor could get pretty crowded 20 years ago. Of course it was much worse on weekends.

Side note: I believe the guys in the "andiamo" boat are descendants of Aldo, who was doing that when I was a teen; I'm in my 50's now.
I would bet you won't have much of a problem on a Tuesday. There are also a lot less powerboats making the trip this year, thanks to gas prices.
07-05-2008 05:19 PM
Pamlicotraveler Thanks all and for your advice.

We did go to Block Island and it is a wonderful place. It is really beautiful and a great natural area. We pulled up to a mooring in Great Salt Pond, the "new harbor" at about 6:00 in the morning. We didn't call anybody in advance and we knew just to look for the "Granny Smith green Apple" colored balls. There were plenty available all of time we were there. The first one we tried and the little floating part that holds the line was tangled around the mooring chain and we couldn't untangle it so we went to the next one - #67 - and it was a breeze. We just reached for the floating buoy with a boat hook and pulled it in. The line that is connected to the mooring has the right amount of line to bring straight to the anchor chock. The harbor master came by soon to collect the rent. They were $30 a night.

I will say that one concern I had is that we have a long bowsprit and thus bobstays supporting the stays at the end of the bowsprit. Since our anchor chocks are way back I sort of felt like I needed a bridle of some sort to even the pull on the two sides of the boat. We were just attached to the mooring ball on one side and it was about 3 feet back from the jib. When the wind blew a certain way the mooring line would put pressure on the bobstay (see the photo).

I could have made a bridle of some sort, or tied another line to the ball, but it never got stormy while we were there so I didn't worry about it. I wasn't sure how that one line was supposed to work with a boat like ours, and when we picked up a mooring at City Island in New York it had two lines coming from the mooring. This was much better since it balanced the boat to the center.

There is a very convenient shuttle taxi from the moorings to a landing. It's a great way to go. We would use the dinghy to save money sometimes, but when your "all primped up" and ready for a night on the town it is nice to just call the shuttle guys and get onto a sturdy platform. I think it was $3 per person and we had 5 people and we would always tip, so after a while the dinghy had its appeal.

Great Salt Pond was formerly a fresh water lake; a big one. It was turned into a salt water pond at some point and thus the name "new harbor." Many people said you should definitely stay at the new Harbor. The old harbor is just a jetty with room for a few boats on the eastern side of the island. But if you were able to get a mooring there it would be more central to the town. From the Great Salt Pond it is a couple of miles walking, or bicycling, or an expensive taxi. The new harbor is right there.

I highly recommend Block Island as a cruising destination. It is a very beautiful Island and is 75% owned by the nature conservancy. There are great restaurants all around and it is a fun island atmosphere. You can walk, rent bikes and boats, take taxis to get around, shop etc and the views are really impressive.

One of our brave crew members went to the top of the mast to take this picture of the Great Salt Pond at Block Island. Its a beautiful place!

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