A week off!!! Always a good thing!
Our plans for this week were to sail alongside Mike and Jane aboard Jamin, up to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod and then go the outside route around the Cape and south to Nantucket… The red track on the map below… Best laid plans and all that…
The weather was not forecast to assist. It was forecast to be nice and sunny and with good wind – but the wind for the day we were to head south to Nantucket was predicted to be strong from the South South West – right on our nose (big yellow arrow) – so our course would have taken us offshore towards the east – and then at about the time we’d tack back towards the west, the wind would shift again – keeping us offshore! So, we re-planned…
We headed (green route) first to Hadley Harbor – a first for Jane and Mike. It was a hot day so we were fearful that the very protected harbor would be a furnace, but in fact it turned out to be really quite manageable and we had a very enjoyable afternoon swimming (Hadley has quote a current in it – so swimming was quite an effort at times!) and we followed up with a boozy evening as always!
The following day we had a relaxed start, awaiting suitable tide through Woods Hole – Jamin’s first transit, which proved to be a non-event. Once through, we sailed all the way to Edgartown and anchored out in the bight north of the main harbor, parked next to a large trawler type affair. Jamin arrived about 30 minutes after us and decided to anchor ahead of the trawler, closer to land – but as they dropped, the Trawler captain stood at the bow of his boat staring them down and then yelled that they were on his anchor and should move. Jamin was AT LEAST 500 feet forward of the trawler, so he either had an inordinate amount of rode out – or an over inflated ego! To prevent any scenes, Jamin moved and re-anchored. We then suffered listening to the Trawler’s generator – for hours on end – so in the morning we relocated ourselves out of earshot, leaving Captain Mud to his own devices.
We got the tandem out and bicycled our way up to Oak Bluffs for a very enjoyable – if short – lunch with Laurie’s sister Cynthia and Arthur and then pedaled back again and enjoyed a cocktail with Jane and Mike at one of the bars in Edgartown.
Nantucket beckoned, so on Tuesday morning after a lazy start, avoiding a couple of downpours (same storm system that wiped out half of Rhode Island!), we set sail in not very much wind at all, but gybed our way out of the harbor using our reaching sail. As we cleared the headland, the wind dropped further, so we furled the reacher and brought out the spinnaker, but after about an hour of that, the wind died almost completely so we reluctantly brought it down and started the iron genoa. 5 minutes later, the wind came up, we doused the iron maiden and set the Genoa and started making excellent progress towards Nantucket. Slowly the winds built so we reefed the main. Then we reefed again. As we turned into the final straight for Nantucket Harbor, we pulled in the Genoa and set the smaller jib – so by now we’d used every sail in the inventory! We arrived in Nantucket with the wind at about 22knots, gusting to 28 and happily took up our mooring just a few spots away from Jamin.
Julian and Lynn aboard Domini (whom we’d met on the OCC cruise) had expressed an interest in joining us in Nantucket, but were unable to secure a mooring reservation. Nantucket’s policy (since they were theoretically sold out) is that without a previously arranged mooring, you must call on the day of arrival to see if there are any no shows and therefore availability – not easy for Domini since they were in Newport – a long day’s sail from Nantucket. However, I learned that they allow raft-ups, so if a mooring was not available, they’d be able to pull alongside Toodle-oo! – with this back up plan in hand, Domini was able to join us the following day – and in the end managed to secure their own mooring.
Laurie and I took a tandem ride out to the western extremity of the island to spy out a possible anchorage there – it’s a bit bleak. Otherwise we all strolled the very neat cobbled streets of Nantucket or sat around the beach sunning ourselves – the weather was really fantastic for us all week.
We had planned three nights in Nantucket, but unfortunately, the founder of the company I work for had passed and so we had to make arrangements to stay a fourth night – so that I could fly back to attend. I took the first flight of the day out to New Bedford and managed to secure the co-pilot’s seat in the 10 seater plane. What a great view! Able to see all the difficult shoals around Nantucket and get a real feel for the geography so familiar from water level. I arrived back that afternoon, earlier than expected, so we headed to the fishmonger and secured all the necessary for a clam boil which we shared with Mike, Jane, Justin and Lynn – great night!
The following morning it was time to go – but the wind was howling in the harbor. We’d worked out that a 6am departure would get us favorable current most of the way and Domini had decided to come too. Jamin had already bagged it as too windy – besides which, there was to be a Boston Pops concert on the beach along with fireworks. In the end Domini bailed too in favor of the Pops, so Toodle-oo! was on her own.
We finally set off about 6:45 with 25knots blowing in the harbor, rather leary of what we might encounter ‘outside’ the safe haven. In the end, we were in good shape as the wind never strengthened, remaining at that level pretty constantly. The day was a glorious one – beautiful sunshine, low humidity and once we’d rounded the first leg marker and turned westward, the strong wind was abaft the beam, making for some really nice progress towards our target destination, Tarpaulin Cove on the south side of the Elizabeth Island chain. We made it there in just four and a half hours having planned for 8! It always helps when you’ve got the current with you – and as we approached Woods Hole, we were showing a speed over ground of between 10 and 11 knots – constantly!
We set anchor at about 11:00am and decided that since we got up so early, we could have an early beer to mark our arrival! There’s nothing here. It’s a private island though they let you use the beach and wander up to the diminutive lighthouse. Other than that, it’s relax time!
In the afternoon, the cove became somewhat inundated with power boats – in for the beach – and some sailboats joined us. By sunset, all the small power boats (save one) had left us, but we’d been joined by a mega yacht, a coast guard cutter and 12 other sailboats, variously anchored around the cove.
Our final day of holiday dawned ugly – drizzle and fog and not much wind – though apparently back in Nantucket the wind was up because both Jamin and Domini had bailed again and were staying yet another night – the true benefit of cruising without a schedule! We had to get back and so, to take advantage of the currents, we left at 7:30am with the tail end of the fair current up to Woods Hole – though unfortunately the wind was on the nose. Never-the-less, we sailed right up to Woods Hole. When we got through, the wind piped up and we scooted across Buzzards Bay like we were a power boat. The wind kept building and in the end we had both reefs in the main and the small job was reefed down too!
10 minutes after hooking our mooring the wind dropped and the sun came out – so we celebrated with another late morning beer! We also got to take Toodle-oo! to the dock and give her a good washdown and loose all the salt build up.
It was a great vacation – great destinations, great company, the weather really cooperated and we hardly used the motor at all! Doesn’t get any better!