Sunday, July 20, 2014

Inching our way to Maine!

We had an easy 20ish NM downwind sail from Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts to Onset, Massachusetts through Buzzards Bay; ASSWOP did most of the work. 

ASSWOP doing all the work :)

The more we sail and more experience we gain, the better we learn Tango's intricacies. We learn what works and what doesn't for sail combinations and helm balance. The sailing we've been doing has been much different than what we were used to. Sure, we've done plenty of weekend sailing and the occasional 7-10 day trip, but that was all limited to Bay sailing (other than our honeymoon and J with Dudes' DelMarVA) so the conditions were much different.  We learned on our previous passage from Fishers Island to Cuttyhunk that in 20+ knots of wind and 6-10 foot following seas a reefed mains'l and heads'l isn't necessarily ideal for a broad reach to a run.  ASSWOP seemed to struggle in these conditions and, though she did her job, it wasn't as "efficient" as it could be, or at least we felt it wasn't. So, after a bit of research we read that perhaps going under heads'l alone would be better. Sure enough, they were right!  So for our passage to Onset, we sailed under heads'l alone and wow, significant difference!!  We may have sacrificed a few tenths of a knot in speed, but the ride was much more comfortable, and ASSWOP kept us on a much tighter course.

We decided to anchor for the evening in Onset, just inside the Cape Cod Canal, and wait for favorable currents the next day. 

The view from where we dropped anchor in Onset, MA

The canal can be pretty ugly and treacherous (can reach 5.2mph during the receding ebb tide) if not timed correctly, so thanks to some great advice from fellow sailors whom had done the canal before, we waited for slack tide and used the outgoing current to our advantage. 

The mouth of the canal is home to the second longest vertical lift bridge. At the time of its completion, it was the longest vertical lift span in the world, but is now the second longest as the Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge between New Jersey and Staten Island, New York is now the longest. 

Since the Canal is narrow and can have such crazy currents, you're not permitted to sail through it, so we motored the seven miles from Onset Channel to the opening at Cape Cod.  We expected it to take approx 2hrs to get from the harbor at Onset, into and through the canal, but with the favorable currents, we made it in a little under 90 minutes.  Tango got up to 9.1kts - gotta love currents (when they are with you, that is).  

The canal was quite picturesque, with trails, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and beautiful homes and cottages lining its sides.  Outside of dealing with overtaking and oncoming traffic in a narrow channel and eddies from strong currents, it was an enjoyable transit.  There is a walking/biking/running path that seems to run the entire length of the canal as well as a few campgrounds for summer enjoyment.  

Cute, "small" houses that line the Canal

Beautiful walking trails

Murals along the Canal

Mass Maritime Academy (MMA)

Overtaking "pleasure" craft... this thing was ridiculous!

This guy was fun to share the Canal with!


Standing waves at Canal exit... The picture really doesn't do it justice.

Once through the canal, we found ourselves in the wide open Cape Cod Bay.  Across the way you can see the Pilgrim Monument, which could easily be used to navigate our way to Provincetown.  We read that in the Cape Cod Bay there is a Northern Right Whale Sanctuary and had hoped to see some.  Unfortunately, in this transit, no such luck.  Just the usual fishing nets and buoys.   

Our sail across the bay was like the day before, broad reach to a run, but with a bit less wind.  We sailed all the way, some might say stubbornly as we were sometimes making only 2.3kts over ground, until we rounded the green marker at the tip of Provincetown.  As we approached, there were two tourist-laden schooners, majestically sailing across the harbor, and two replica whaling ships at anchor- they were absolutely beautiful!  Welcome to P'Town!

Approaching P'Town - Pilgrim Monument in the background

Lovely Schooners

Whaling ship, Charles W. Morgan

As we made our way to the breakwater, we hailed the Provincetown Marina to get our mooring assignment. We were both really looking forward to exploring this little town that we had heard so much about! 

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