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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI, I am picking up my new to me boat in Warwick R.I and have to sail it back to Boston through the Cape Cod canal and I am trying to plan the best possible route and time the canal just right to cross it with favorable tide. I need a sanity check. So I plan to leave first light the week of may 10th +- 1~2 days and sail to either Cuttyhunk or Hadley Harbor, do an over night in anchorage get up first light and try to arrive at Cape Cod canal entrance at slack transitioning to flood cross the canal and sail all day up to Boston.
is this a good plan bad plan? any suggestions
About the boat:
Hunter 34 with a Yanmar 3GM series 27HP
2 blade prop
Thanks!
 

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That's a good plan...
Hopefully you will have done a shakedown - get familiar with the boat sail before this????
Yes go through the CCC at slack high if you can with a some following current.
Cuttyhunk has a rep for eel grass and bad holding... so make sure your hook is set well.

Congrats and fair winds and following seas!
 

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The canal even better mid tide when it's going your way (don't try it when it's going the wrong way, you will be close to zero knots over the ground). I've seen 12 knots over the ground steaming at 6 over the water when it's with me. So bottom line you got a 6 hour window and need about an hour to pass through if that helps with your planning, fastest passage in the middle of the window). Another stop, depending on your timing that's real convenient is Onset, lots of room to anchor on the Buzzards Bay side of the Canal. Great place to wait out a tide shift. Like one of those easy in easy out stops on the freeway. Hadleys and Cuttyhunk are 2 of the best for a scenic stop. Good luck with new boat.
 

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The plan is sound, assuming the canal current accomodates your first light plan. It's unlikely that many mooring balls are set up at Cuttyhunk yet, none outside, maybe some inside. If you don't tuck too close to shore to anchor, the grass is not as much an issue. However, you wouldn't want to anchor there in anything northerly. Hadley is also a great stop, but a very long way from Warwick.

It's not terribly significant, but in order to sail a few hours up Buzzards Bay to hit the canal at slack to favorable, you'll need to sail into the Bay's outgoing current, which is only a knot or so. Still, if 5 kts is your cruising speed, it's big percentage. A fully favorable current in the canal is, nice, unless a stiff wind opposes it, when you exit. That rage would be miserable, if not dangerous in a 34ft boat. I'm a fan of slack in the canal, unless winds are very light.

You could think about an anchorage stop over outside Plymouth, to take a break, overnight or otherwise.

It's something in the neighborhood of 110 miles. Sounds like you are trying to get it done in two very long days. I'd try for three, if not four and enjoy the new boat.
 

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With a long day on Monday, you can do this trip in two days, as the Canal tide is ideal for an easy AM transit on Tuesday. On Monday you need to get to Onset or Pocasset, or make the trip more relaxed, and take three days with a Monday overnight in Cuttyhunk.

My hint for planning a Canal passage is "FEEW" which stands for "flood runs East, ebb runs West". So to pass thru East, ideally you would enter the Canal about three hours after low tide, allowing you to complete the 9 mile passage in an hour or so.

So referencing high tide from one of the many tide tables (or from your chartplotter):
which tells you that on Tuesday May 11 high tide is 7:12AM EDT and 7:24PM EDT,
and this reference provides this neat table:
Tuesday May 11, 2021
Cape Cod Canal
Tue -- 12:50 AM -4.40 knots Max Ebb
Tue -- 04:02 AM 0.01 knots Slack
Tue -- 05:26 AM Sunrise
Tue -- 05:30 AM Moonrise
Tue -- 07:12 AM 4.19 knots Max Flood
Tue -- 10:26 AM -0.03 knots Slack
Tue -- 01:11 PM -4.31 knots Max Ebb
Tue -- 03:01 PM New Moon
Tue -- 04:20 PM 0.02 knots Slack
Tue -- 07:24 PM 4.08 knots Max Flood
Tue -- 07:51 PM Sunset
Tue -- 07:53 PM Moonset
Tue -- 10:36 PM -0.17 knots Slack

So you have excellent timing for an early morning Canal transit. On Monday you would have a long 66 mile day to either Onset or Pocasset, leave at 5AM or so and it is manageable. I personally like Pocasset as Kingman's has moorings, gas, water and a nice restaurant. Leaving Pocasset Tuesday about 6AM, a little after 8AM you will be heading north in Massachusetts Bay with 50 miles remaining to Boston. If you want to break this leg up, spend the night in Scituate unless you feel seeing Plymouth is worth two hours of in/out travel.

If you dont have an Eldredge's, get one as its the best reference for visualizing the current direction and strengths across this region. And read this

FWIW entering Pocasset I prefer using the South channel as it has fewer bends and turns than the North, just be sure to not to turn right before red N "14".
 

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think about an anchorage stop over outside Plymouth
Note, this does not suggest making the trip into Plymouth, which is time consuming. However, there is an unlimited amount of easy anchorage outside that is not far off track.

Maybe the OP is excited about getting this done, but balance that will staying fresh enough to manage any curveballs in a new-to-you boat. Downtime at anchor is always a great way to get to know one's boat.
 

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If you can make Hadley's you might consider Quissett Harbor instead. Quissett is just north of Woods Hole passage, then you won't have to deal with the currents thru the hole to get to Hadley's. Quissett is small but a very nice spot, has moorings and a small anchorage, quick back out to Buzzard's Bay and the canal. Good luck hope all goes well.
 

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The last time we anchored just outside of Plymouth on front of the Plimouth Plantation area, late in the day a Humpback whale surfaced and cruised around our boat for 15 minutes.

The tidal current is insignificant at the entrance to Hadley Harbor; but it does increase rapidly just past it as you enter the Woods Hole channel.
 

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then you won't have to deal with the currents thru the hole to get to Hadley's
If you enter and exit Hadley's, from Buzzards Bay, the current virtually doesn't come into play. You don't approach the channel that gets squirrelly, you go the other way.
 

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That's a good plan...
Hopefully you will have done a shakedown - get familiar with the boat sail before this????
Yes go through the CCC at slack high if you can with a some following current.
Cuttyhunk has a rep for eel grass and bad holding... so make sure your hook is set well.

Congrats and fair winds and following seas!
FWIW, when anchoring in Cuttyhunk Pond I've found the anchor to set easily and to always come up heavy with mud, unfortunately there's only mooring free space for about a dozen boats on anchor. I have never anchored outside.
 

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when anchoring in Cuttyhunk Pond
I'm sure SO was referring to anchoring outside. Next week may be a fine time do anchor inside, as it's almost always full once the season gets started. Either that or you must be very careful of your neighbors, both swing and dragging. A dozen sounds like a lot, but it's been ages since I've even thought out bothering.

It's probably worth checking out, but the OP needs to have a good sense of where the anchorage is behind the mooring field (NE corner of the pond) and be sure they don't get fouled up in the winter mooring sticks. One may not anchor within the mooring field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for all the great suggestions! I have narrowed the departure date based on all of your suggestions and weather forecasts for the upcoming days. I will be leaving R.I next Saturday morning first light and sail all the way to either Onset or Pocasset about a 12hr trip to either side, drop anchor and wait for the canal tide. Looks like Slack starts a 2:48am on Sunday May 9 and Flood follows at 6:42am then slack again at 9:06am so if I enter the canal between 7 and 8am I should be on the other side by 9 am. Then sail all the way into Boston harbor arriving between 8-9pm
Once in Boston harbor I am comfortable navigating at night.
Still a sound plan? let me know if I am missing something pls!
 

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We've stayed in Pocasset a number of times waiting to go through the canal; anchoring just outside the northern most harbor entrance is excellent, and only 20 minutes away from the canal entrance.
 

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Still a sound plan? let me know if I am missing something pls!
If the weather cooperates, I think you know what you're signing up for. I hope it goes well and you have a good time.

If weather allows, I would just drop an anchor outside the canal and wait for morning, rather than wind my way into Onset, which is also shallow in spots. If the canal is favorable, when you arrive on day one, you might even consider dropping anchor on the Cape Cod Bay side. You have visible light until about 8:30pm these days.
 

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If things go badly for schedule and you find yourself waiting for current, if you have a halfway descent engine you can go against the current. Stay close to the edge. The current is much less there, and the canal is deep close to the edge. I have done that a few times in a Ben First 36.7 with a 20hp engine, really not a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If things go badly for schedule and you find yourself waiting for current, if you have a halfway descent engine you can go against the current. Stay close to the edge. The current is much less there, and the canal is deep close to the edge. I have done that a few times in a Ben First 36.7 with a 20hp engine, really not a problem.
Do you have a 2 blade or 3 blade prop?
My engine is 27HP 2 blade prop but I don't know how the boat will behave as there will be a lot of first times once I get on the boat this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If the weather cooperates, I think you know what you're signing up for. I hope it goes well and you have a good time.

If weather allows, I would just drop an anchor outside the canal and wait for morning, rather than wind my way into Onset, which is also shallow in spots. If the canal is favorable, when you arrive on day one, you might even consider dropping anchor on the Cape Cod Bay side. You have visible light until about 8:30pm these days.
Yes this is true, but I think a 12 hr day will be long enough for me also I don't want to be out there at night since it is a new boat if anything goes wrong can turn into a nightmare after a long day and no visibility.
 

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One thing to watch for at the CCC - the railroad bridge at the southern end. The last time we went to Maine we had the bridge come down in front of us going both ways - up and back. Lots of flashing lights and maybe a horn. It used to only be used by a weekly garbage train. More recently they have added passenger service from Boston. Can delay things about a half hour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One thing to watch for at the CCC - the railroad bridge at the southern end. The last time we went to Maine we had the bridge come down in front of us going both ways - up and back. Lots of flashing lights and maybe a horn. It used to only be used by a weekly garbage train. More recently they have added passenger service from Boston. Can delay things about a half hour.
Oh wow, good to know! Thanks
 
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