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I may be helping someone sail his boat from Chatham to P-Town. Just made contact with him but haven't discussed the route. But looking on a chart the shortest distance by far is on the outside, rather than through the canal. We will be sailing a Beneteau First 235, which isn't a big boat.

I have never sailed on the outside, always through the canal. So I guess the name of the game is avoid strong winds or sees that might wash us ashore and give ourselves a wide enough berth. Any advice?
 

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I may be helping someone sail his boat from Chatham to P-Town. Just made contact with him but haven't discussed the route. But looking on a chart the shortest distance by far is on the outside, rather than through the canal. We will be sailing a Beneteau First 235, which isn't a big boat.

I have never sailed on the outside, always through the canal. So I guess the name of the game is avoid strong winds or sees that might wash us ashore and give ourselves a wide enough berth. Any advice?

Yes. Avoid strong winds or seas that might wash you ashore and give yourselves a wide-enough berth.

(aren't you glad you asked?)

Sorry, I couldn't resist. But you've given yourself good advice. Nicest breeze would be a smoky sou'wester, if you can arrange one this late in the season. Get a real early start, carryh plenty of fuel too in case you get becalmed, you want to get the trip done, not hang around.

You might sneak into Nauset in a pinch, but basically you're an "orphan of the sea" for that 30-mile stretch. And stay three or four miles offshore once you're past Monomoy, less scenic but safer. Picking your weather is the key. And be mindful of the currents off Race Point at the end.

And chat with the ships on VHF if you're so inclined, they are usually glad for the company, and the northbound ones may be just toodling along if they have to wait off Boston for a berth. Just in case of trouble, always nice to have a buddy.

Best of luck, and let us know how it went?



PS: Why should you take advice from some guy in New Orleans?? ;-) you shouldn't, except I'm from Marblehead originally...
 

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Slayer,

Pick a good day and do it. Sound currents are substantial by Monomoy, so time them. Yea, the other way is safer, but you should be able to get a perfect weather window and go.
Boat is small, there is no place to hide...so I'd only do it if I believed the boat was in great condition and the weather was solid for 2X my expected time enroute.

We go out that way on the way to Nova Scotia from here. P-town is in the way, if you go via canal.

I know you don't mind bad weather...and sometime seek it out for experience. Not this time in this small boat.;)

Have fun.
 

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nolatom is right, you want to choose your weather and conditions very carefully for this trip, in such a boat...

I'd strongly caution against making it with any significant swell running, or in the aftermath of any real weather out of the E-NE... Pollock Rip Channel is so named for a very good reason, and while ideally it's nice to ride the ebb out of there, it will get dangerously riled up if there's any sea in opposition to the wind or current...

ELDRIDGE should be your guide for planning around the currents, and be mindful of the fact that the times of the current changes listed for Pollock Rip are counter-intuitive. In other words, when the "Ebb Starts at Pollock Rip", that's when the current actually begins to FLOOD into Nantucket Sound from seaward... Weird, I know, but that's because what the tidal current chart for that area is really indicating is the flood into Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound...

Those waters to the E of Nantucket Sound and the Cape can get pretty messy... By far the largest, and most confused seas I saw all summer, were on my final approach to the Great Round Shoal Channel near Nantucket at the end of my passage across the Gulf of Maine from Shelburne. It was blowing pretty good from the NE, and about 20 miles out I ran into the ebb out of Nantucket Sound. For about 6 hours I had a very chaotic and uncomfortable sea state, lots of breaking crests, would definitely not have wanted to have been on a Beneteau 235... :) No way to avoid it, it was the price I had to pay to sneak in before it was forecast to really begin blowing, and catch a fair tide across Nantucket sound over to the Vineyard...

In short, the currents and the way they meet with the rapidly shoaling bottom in that area can produce some very impressive effects. Then, the proximity of the shipping lanes into Boston can serve to pin you in closer to Cape Cod than you might like to be. A fair amount of fishing boat activity out there, as well, you really don't want to be doing that trip if there's any chance of fog...

having said all that, it can be a very pleasant and benign trip in ideal conditions... However, I'd suggest you check carefully the comparative distances between going outside, and going thru Woods Hole and the CCC... It's a long way down around the bottom of Monomoy Point from Chatham, and a long way all the way around Race Point, and back up into P-town, so the difference in total mileage may not be quite as much as you've initially thought... Plus, if you have the time to play the tides, and catch a fair current over to Woods Hole, and then up Buzzards Bay and thru the Canal, that time differential can be reduced considerably... Not to mention, plenty of very nice stops along that route, if you're not in too much of a hurry...
 

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There is a saying in Turkish: The shortest route is the one you know.

I do not know the conditions of the area. I think it is best to take the route you know.
 

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I have gone out and around many times. It was an issue a century ago but now, with boats that sail to weather, reliable weather forecasting and modern navigation it should be nothing more than just another day on the water .......having said that any day you are on the water you should be keen of your surroundings regardless of where you are. I'm just saying don't let the "Lee Shore" saga of the outer cape and monomoy scare you. Unless your beneteau is square rigged.

BTW Woods hole and the canal are no picnic. In a 24' boat I'd rather go outside.
 
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