On Saturday we went through the Cape Cod Canal and re-entered the more familiar waters south of the Cape. The Canal was incredibly busy with lots of boat traffic coming and going. We can only go through with the current as it runs hard in both directions. We were able to time it well and entered on a solid ebb to the west which sped our passage.
We waved to the Coasties. They waved back.
A very nice trawler. If I didn’t have a sailboat, I’d have a trawler. However, it woudn’t be as big as this one. A great looking boat. I wasn’t able to read her hailing port but I’ll bet that they get around in this boat.
Our first stop was Hadley Harbor in Wood’s Hole, a place we have been visiting for nearly 3o years. However, we had never gone there on a holiday weekend. In spite of our best efforts we were unable to find a spot inside as it was just jammed with boats and had to anchor out in the harbor adjacent to the Woods Hole thoroughfare. With a forecast of 20 knots of wind from the northeast, I wasn’t looking forward to what would surely be a bumpy night. Well, the weather forecast did not disappoint and by 1:30am we were sitting in a very Roley anchorage with steady 20 knots of wind with gusts to 25. Very unpleasant. For the first time in many years I sat up for a few hours to be sure that we didn’t drag our anchor. I also set an alarm on the GPS that would go off if we moved too far toward shore.
I wasn’t the only one that was up for a while as a number of boats dragged including two that ended up on the rocks before they knew what was happening. The were all able to get off because the tide was rising. They were lucky. Lots of action in the anchorage as boats were moving around resetting their anchors. Quite chaotic and lots of fun at 2am. I don’t think that I will be able to convince Brenda to go there again for a while.
On Sunday morning we continued west with the very strong north east winds and left as soon as I was able to get the dog ashore for his morning visit. It was so rough that it took me about 5 approaches to get back on board from the dink. I kept on being blown off as the boat pitched in the rough chop.
Once we were underway, with solid winds in the 20s and higher gusts against a full flood tide going in the opposite direction of the wind we had a wild ride. Buzzard’s Bay is known for short steep waves and when the wind opposes the tide the waves really build up. I have spoken to folks who have sailed all over the world and they say that the “Buzzards Bay Chop” provides some of the nastiest conditions that they have encountered anywhere. Yesterday, it didn’t disappoint. Even with a full knot of tide against us we were showing a solid 8 knots on the GPS with some periods when we were going 9.5 knots. That suggests that we were actually going over 10, and that’s fast for our boat. As usual, we passed a number of other boats along the way, some much bigger and that made me happy. Pandora handled it very well and the autopilot was able to hold her on a broad reach, a difficult point of sail. We had one reef in the main and the jib up which was quite manageable. This video doesn’t do justice to the conditions as the waves looked much bigger to us. I guess it’s an excellent example of “you had to be there”. Brenda wasn’t happy but took it like a champ.
After an exhilarating run we decided to head to Wickford again and to visit Pleasant Street Wharf, our home away from home. Recall that we kept Pandora in Wickford for the month of July prior to running her to Maine. We had a very nice dinner with our friends Eric and Sandy last evening at the marina. Eric was kind enough to find a place on the dock for Pandora. We will be taking a lay day today and plan to head west tomorrow, Tuesday as we continue toward Norwalk.