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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, Like a couple others who posted here I'm new to sailing, or cruising anyway. Just bought a 30 S2 aft cockpit (9.2A). Very much looking forward to sailing it from Plymouth, Mass, to Providence, Edgewood YC, where we'll have a mooring. That will be in May, hopefully early May.

Would appreciate any tips about navigating out of Plymouth, the canal, Buzzard's bay, Newport, etc. I know you have to be with the current in the canal. Wondering if we can do the trip to Providence in 2 days, one night, or if it requires 2 nights. And if there are any challenges to be aware of.

Eager to hear about any interesting cruising experiences in the area, Narragansett, The islands, LI sound. I just wish to heck it was May already. Champing at the bit here...
 

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Hi,
Welcome and congratulations. As you probably know and will hear in other responses, you need a copy of the 2013 Eldridge. Maybe you've got it already. A little study of its tables and current charts and you'll get what you need for the canal and for Buzzard's Bay. The breeze usually picks up pretty well in the afternoon in BB and is usually from the southwest, but you could find it coming from any direction on any given day. You will read in Eldridge and in other guides about what can happen when you clear the canal and with the current at your back and the SW breeze in your face and the water being pushed up into the current. It can get pretty hairy. So, again, avoid those precise conditions on the day you go through if you can. Plenty of places to stop overnight on the way. You could do the whole trip in one day with good conditions and an early start, but why not check out Quisset, Hadley Harbor, or Marion etc on the way down. Or go to Cuttyhunk, which you'll love. Other than weather and seas in adverse weather, BB is no problem navigating, pretty much a straight shot unless you are entering any of the BB harbors. My boat moored in New Bedford and if you need anything in that harbor when you pass by, let me know. I'll let others comment about Narragansett Bay. If you get stuck for crew and need another body on board, let me know. When I got my boat a few years ago, I brought it down from Beverly, MA to New Bedford, MA and that inaugural trip is still a great memory.
Greg
 

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Congrats on the new boat!!

Not sure if you intend to sail through that one night? If not, I don't think you're going to find it doable in two long day sails in a 30 footer, especially if you sail. As you seem to know, you must time the canal current too. While you aren't required to check in with canal traffic control (forgot the official name), I suggest you call first anyway. Nice to know if there is a tanker coming the other way.

You may find that keeping your boat in Providence is a bit limiting. Lots of commercial traffic in the narrowest part of the Bay. It is also a loooong trip to open water from there. Even Block Island would take all day. If its an option, I would consider Greenwich or Warwick or Bristol, if not even further south. More options from there.

Happy to help with anything you need to know on the Bay or vicinity. Personally, we much prefer sailing destinations that are eastward from the Bay/Block, over LIS. Maybe its because I grew up boating on LIS and its old hat, but I do find a difference. However, explore them all !!

Don't hesitate to drop a PM to start a thread on anything I can help with.
 

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As you are a professor, here is your required reading list:

"The Coast of Summer" by Anthony Bailey - it contains detailed descriptions of navigating in your waters

"A Visual Cruising Guide to the Southern New England Coast" by James Bildner

Eldridge's Tide and Pilot Book, 2013

MapTech Cruising Guide for the Northeast/New England

MapTech Chartkit for Region 2: Block Island to Canada
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, many great suggestions already. Eldridges is a must. Sounds like the secret to the CC Canal is waiting for just current but good conditions where it meets Buzzard's. Depending on those, might be able to make it a one-night trip. But if we need two nights that could be fun. I really want to see Cuttyhunk, but have always wanted to moor in Westport harbor, and go to the Back Eddy in a dinghy.

Anyway, thanks! James: I'm on that reading list and charts. That'll help me get through the winter!

As for Providence being far from open water. Yes... I've been a little afraid that's the case. But there are some nice day sails around here (Prudence, Bristol, EG), and I don't think the commercial traffic is too bad, having sailed here. The idea of the Yacht Club being within walking distance of my house, being able to go work on the boat, or go for quick evening sail is nice. And a great group of people, events, club sailing etc.
So we'll see. Then again the open water & islands are on my mind, so yeah maybe we'll want to moor south of here the next year.
 

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There's lots to do in a day on the bay so for recreational purposes you will be fine in Edgewood. I am new to the "sailboat" thing but have been on the bay my entire life.

We have a four boat "pirate fleet" so if you see the cocktail colors flying in Potter's Cove feel free to come over, raft up, and have a cocktail or two. As long as you are not politically correct you will fit right in....LOL.

Bill
"Houligans"
 
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Best of luck with new boat!
Made trip from LIS to Kittery Maine 2nd week in May 2011,
be prepared for cold, possibly wet, possibly foggy trip.
If memory serves me water temps were about 42f and air temps
not much warmer at night. We went straight thru from Point
Judith pond to Kittery, 32 hours combo sail, motorsail, motoring(after being stopped in our tracks for 3 days with a 35plus knot headwind). Maybe more familiar sailnetters can comment on
what is the norm/expected in early May.
What I do remember is that the northern entrance to the canal is not a good place if strong northerly wind.
As referenced in above post you want to check in with the "Cape Cod Canal Control" folks. Beware of the Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge at the southern end of the canal...if train passing you will
have to deal with lowered bridge and strong current.
Suggest you are very comfortable/confident with motor before
making delivery, hopefully your S2 has a Yanmar, but the early
Atomic or Volvos are also good if there in good shape.
Sometimes sail with my mooring neighbor on his 30 S2 great boat,
lots of room below, we make a point of reefing early and then really
enjoy.
Best,
Hugo
 

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Just a point I'd like to make, when sailing in waters with temps
as low as you will experience in early May, boat must have a life raft
and/or at least a serious dinghy on board or I'm a no go. Realize that this is a near coastal trip, but thats how I see it especially if
crew is aboard.
 

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Just a point I'd like to make, when sailing in waters with temps
as low as you will experience in early May, boat must have a life raft
and/or at least a serious dinghy on board or I'm a no go. Realize that this is a near coastal trip, but thats how I see it especially if
crew is aboard.
I fully agree with the liferaft, but feel that the dinghy is a false sense of security, if seas are over 2 ft. Liferaft companies go to great lengths to try to design them to resist capsize and they are only marginally effective.

Further, the time necessary to get the dink in the water is a concern, unless you are pulling it on a painter. If there is enough time to launch a dink, I bet there is enough time to stop the leak. I collect every single leak stop gimmick I find at boat shows! Hoping never to use them (though I actually have in non-emergency repairs). If there isn't time or the leak is too big, you would have to just cut the dinghy away from davits or a deck mount and hope it stays righted while you get aboard. Flip it and I don't think you'll never get it upright from the water.
 

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Really agree 100% should have liferaft aboard but trying to be realistic the chances of a 30 fter that will most likely be cruising bays and sounds will not have one aboard.
But your right about time/issues to get dink in the water however in certain conditions
a dinghy just might keep one out of the water instead of in the water long enough
to make the difference. True not good in rough seas but maybe in the more likely
case a holing or such. Would think one would not put out with a gail forcast for the afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, so I'm glad I asked this question (about sailing Plymouth to Providence, the
CC Canal, etc). Dinghy or liferaft? Well I will need a little tender, but wasn't planning on a life raft. Should I? Not going to be cruising a lot,more daysailing, but a trip to the islands, Block, Cuttyhunk, MV, once or twice a season.

For Plymouth to Providence, was planning on towing a small inflatable dinghy.
That safe enough for an emergency in early May?

Also, sounds like I really need to avoid the railroad bridge coming down while en route: only have a Yanmar 13 hp on this boat (S2 30), which is not enough power to go against the Canal's current.

Can you find out on web if bridge will be down? Or just radio canal manager?

I do not have much experience, but will be sailing with a very experienced sailor.
Definitely need him on this first trip...

Thanks.
 

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Water is very cold in May. Probably 55 degs. Many don't have rafts, but I would want one. The dinghy will only work in relatively calm seas.

You can rent liferafts from LRSE in Newport, if you prefer.
 

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Minnewaska brings forth a very good sugestion in a rental for the delivery.
You can check canal control web site or phone to check if a bridge schedule.
The time I transited the canal, when the bridge was down, canal control boats were
on hand to keep traffic a safe distance from the bridge. Do not know if this is
standard operating procedure but suspect it is as they seem to be pretty much on top
of things. Maybe more familiar sailnetters will comment.
Beware of towing dink, as is a very possible way to foul prop. Well aware of the space
contraints of a 30 fter., if you can't keep inflated aboard use floats or floating line
and bring in very close to transom if manuvering boat in tight quarters.
 

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I guess a life raft would be nice on every trip, but certainly not nec for this trip. Tow diNGHY and you are are fine. RR bridge seldom down.
 

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Greetings all!

Like Jivories, my wife and I bought our first boat ever in Nov. 2012, a 2005 Hunter 41DS which we keep in Barrington. We've taken some ASA classes for education since first getting out on the water in 2006 (I know....newbies.), enjoyed vacation charters in the BVI, SVI, Penobscot Bay & Acadia, Maine, and of course the Vineyard.

Like many, the last few years were also spent learning local waters on a friend's Hunter 376. We are in the midst of researching and visiting local yacht clubs to see which might be the best fit for us in terms of location and culture.

Having said all that...we can't wait to get out there!! Looking forward to hearing from others...

Best wishes,

Mark
 

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Welcome marktun and JIvories! :)

The trip from Plymouth to Providence should be a good shake-down cruise, and it could be done in a (long) day. However, IMHO, you would be better served to do it in two.

Getting out of Plymouth will likely take more than an hour. It is a long slog to G "1" Q G BELL, which is where you will finally be out of Plymouth Bay. Be careful, and stay in as there is always shoaling outside the channel. From there it is a short hop to the Sandwich entrance to the canal. If the tide is with you, go through. If not, spend some time at the Sandwich Marina, waiting for the tide to change, and making adjustments to the boat. If needed, you can get repairs here too. If you spend the night, in Scituate, get up, and head through the canal EARLY. If you go straight through the canal, plan to stay overnight at Onset, or Red Brook Harbor.

My advise is that you NOT attempt to transit Buzzards Bay with a new to you boat in the afternoon. Also, be sure that your motor is working well, because you will likely want it to help here. The wind in Buzzards Bay usually kicks up large swell in the afternoon. If there is a steady breeze from the southwest (and there usually is), you could easily be heading through at 10' swells, and will be doing the "Buzzards Bay Bash." It makes for a long and uncomfortable day. Fortunately, there are lots of places to bail out if conditions get fugly.

I suggest that you forget about Westport, as it is at least an hour to get in, and another hour to get back out. Gooseberry neck (and Hen and Chickens) will seem to take an eternity to pass. Also, unless the sailing is great, I would skip Newport, and head up the Sakonnet River. Once you get past Sakonnet point, the river is wide, and you can usually sail either a beam reach, or a run right up the river.

I keep my boat in Barrington, just a little further down the Providence river than Providence. I could care less that Block Island, and Cutty Hunk are a full day away, Narragansett Bay, the East Passage and West Passage, and Mount Hope Bay are great for sailing when the conditions suck in Block Island Sound.

PM me if you would like more info. or assistance.
 

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Jivories,

Welcome! Has the YC been rebuilt? I belonged there as a teen and was sick when it burned. If you run into Jeff Lamphear give him my regards.
Joel
 

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.....I could care less that Block Island, and Cutty Hunk are a full day away, Narragansett Bay, the East Passage and West Passage, and Mount Hope Bay are great for sailing when the conditions suck in Block Island Sound......
While this is completely true, I might also suggest it is like lake sailing. \ We love it and sail the Bay at least 50% of the time we are off the dock. Pressing on to the islands is more adventurous and feels more like one has gotten away. We like having both as an option and will make good use of both.

p.s. With any luck, we will splash by Monday!!
 
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