SailNet Community

SailNet Community (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/)
-   US Northeast (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/us-northeast/)
-   -   Marblehead to Hampton, NH (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/us-northeast/98640-marblehead-hampton-nh.html)

tsell 04-18-2013 07:49 PM

Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
I am planning to move my boat (Pearson 26) from Marblehead to Hampton, NH, in about 3 weeks. Any advice on whether to use the canal, or would it be a nice 2 day cruise if we went to Rockport on day 1, and the rest of the way the next?

We are pretty novice sailors, in our second year, and unfamiliar with the area. I have heard of challenges with current and traffic in the canal, and with shoals and grounding dangers sailing around the cape.

Any input is appreciated!

Tom

talbot 04-18-2013 09:11 PM

Re: Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
Hi Tom,
Nice trip either way. If the sailing is good with winds from West or South, I'd go to Rockport and spend the night in Sandy Cove if you have a dinghy, or in the harbor if not. Call the harbormaster and they will take good care of you. It is a wonderful stopover.
If its snotty off Cape Ann (winds out of the North or NE) then I'd opt for the Annisquam. Going through the Annisquam is pretty straightforward. Pass each buoy on the correct side and you will have no problem. There are some sharp bends, some close to shore, but is not difficult. In Gloucester, you will have to wait for a favorable current passing into the river via the Blynman Canal. I'd stay away from max current on my first time through. You can go through against a mild outgoing current. There will be minimal traffic if you are going through in 3 weeks, but even when it's crowded everybody just seems to find their spot in line. Call the Bridge tenders and they will talk you though. When you come out the other side of the canal, everything calms down. There is a railroad bridge around the first bend that is usually open but will open on request. Then it's just a couple of miles of easy going in a beautiful salt marsh. Follow the channel out the river as it turns east for a while, then you are in deep water again. You can head straight for Hampton Harbor from there.

klem 04-19-2013 12:43 PM

Re: Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
tsell,

talbot gave you good advice. The few things that I would add are:

If you haven't done a lot of bridges, try to arrive at the entrance to the Blynman canal close to slack water, at maximum flow, you probably can't motor against it. From time to time, a sailboat will get a shroud hung up on the bridge so just make sure that you have lined up well to the bridge. They try to open for a minimum amount of time so get close, call the bridge on 13 and then be ready to hit it through there. The outgoing traffic always has right of way.

The train bridge is pretty easy, just be sure to hug the east side as you can get your rig hung up if you are too far west (the span swings 1 way so there is very little clearance on 1 side). If you are waiting for the bridge (they area also on 13), don't stray too far west once you get past the marina as it is really shallow. Be aware that the MBTA plans to replace the train bridge and the work was originally supposed to start in May but there doesn't seem to be any updates coming from anyone so I doubt that it will be a problem. Their plan is to keep the train part open but it is unclear as to whether the bridge will be capable of opening to let sailboats pass. The rest of the trip is relatively straightforward provided that you follow the channel. In mid summer it is a zoo but before July, it is nice.

Going out and around Cape Ann is really easy and fun although there tends to be very little wind and a decent amount of current off of halibut point. Don't go inside milk island and think twice before going inside Thatchers. Another common problem is people getting too close to the Londoner off of Thatchers. Finally, if you haven't been to Rockport, be aware that the breakwater was never finished and so a large portion of it is just below the water's surface.

If you just need to get this done, then a single day with reasonable winds that are not from the N, NE or E should be fine. If you go through the canal, there are not many places to anchor if you decide not to complete the trip. Your best bet would be to call the Annisquam yacht club and see if they have a mooring for you. If you go out and around, it would be a longer day or you could stay at Rockport. Rockport inner harbor is pretty protected but if you anchor off the beach, it can be rolly and you don't want to be there in big swells or any form of N or E wind.

tsell 04-19-2013 01:37 PM

Re: Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
Klem and Talbot, thanks for the replies. We have been leaning towards going around the cape and talking our time with a stopover in Rockport. We probably won't be leaving until late morning, so that should work well. If the weather looks iffy, we will wait until the next day and head through the canal.
Both ways look really interesting and worthwhile, so I think we will have to do them both at some point.

I am not too concerned about the bridges, having been through the Hampton bridge numerous times, both with and against the current.

Any points of interest we should check out on the way?

klem 04-19-2013 02:58 PM

Re: Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
If you are looking for a lunch stop on your first day, Brace Cove is neat and a place where most people don't get to from the shore due to no parking. Rockport itself is cool and Bearskin Neck is very cute but you could easily get there by car as well so it is less special to me although it is one of my wife's favorites.

Since you will have the boat in Hampton, you will be able to check out some of the cool nearby places provided you like gunkholing. The Merrimack is pretty full of boats but you can definitely get in there and a lot of people really like it. If you are adventurous, you can go into Ipswich and the backside of Plum Island. Another place you can go if you are adventurous is Essex bay which is actually where I keep my boat. Beware that the place where deeper draft boats used to anchor in Essex Bay has vanished and you have to look around for water that is deep enough to allow you to stay there over low tide. With all of these places, you should be careful, this winter's storms moved a lot of sand around. If you are interested, I can give more detailed info on Essex Bay but I haven't looked anywhere else yet this year so my information is out of date.

Alden68 04-20-2013 05:57 PM

Re: Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
Klem - Just curious on your comment about not going inside Thatchers. 100% for not going inside (west) of Milk Island but I have traveled North & South inside of Thatchers for years and years. In fact I have never gone around. The navigation is incredibly easy and I believe it's quicker. Of course if time is not important the path is not important.

klem 04-20-2013 07:50 PM

Re: Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
Alden, I reread my post and I don't think that I was clear on going inside Thatchers. I go inside fairly regularly myself. The reason that I said to think twice is it can get really bumpy in there if there is a swell running. I have also seen more than one boat not follow the channel that well and run aground there. I actually jumped in my dinghy and went over and helped someone patch a hole there a few years ago because they strayed out of the channel. I guess that I should rephrase it and say that you should look at the chart before going inside and don't do it on a rougher day especially if the tide is lower.

Sorry for the confusion.

NaviGsr 04-20-2013 09:12 PM

Re: Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
Remember that Rockport is a dry town. If you stop in, be sure to bring your own rum! ;)

DrB 04-21-2013 09:00 AM

Rockport - May not be "Open"
 
One word of caution if you're looking to Rockport as an overnight. I did a delivery on my boat in May 4th a few years back from Newburyport to Marblehead. My wife was seasick, so we dropped her off in Rockport for her sis to pick her. There were no docks or support folks until May 15th. We had to swing in and drop her of onto a wooden ladder from the street.

You maybe able to find an empty mooring inside the breakwater or anchor outside the harbor, but be prepared to have your own means of going ashore. You may want to call the harbormaster a day or too before your trip and get the status.

DrB

Alden68 04-21-2013 10:17 AM

Re: Marblehead to Hampton, NH
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by klem (Post 1019078)
Alden, I reread my post and I don't think that I was clear on going inside Thatchers. I go inside fairly regularly myself. The reason that I said to think twice is it can get really bumpy in there if there is a swell running. I have also seen more than one boat not follow the channel that well and run aground there. I actually jumped in my dinghy and went over and helped someone patch a hole there a few years ago because they strayed out of the channel. I guess that I should rephrase it and say that you should look at the chart before going inside and don't do it on a rougher day especially if the tide is lower.

Sorry for the confusion.

Agreed on the chart review. There is some great coastal navigation in that area. I find the trip south to the Cape Cod canal really boring; but going north either thru or around Cape Anne to be rewarding - albeit exciting if you don't pay attention!


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:11 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012