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Old 21-07-2015, 19:07   #1
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Going through Woods Hole

I'm headed for Martha's Vineyard in a couple days and it will be the first time I've gone through Wood's Hole. I'm all set to go with the flood tide and I have assumed I would treat it as a harbor passage and go through under power. But I wondered if it was practical to sail through? I sail a 28ft. Oday sloop. Any thoughts from those who have made the passage. Thanks.
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Old 22-07-2015, 07:04   #2
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Re: Going through Woods Hole

Depends on the wind. The current can over-power the wind so that you are going faster than the wind alone would have you. This can make for some squirrely steering and loss of control. Also, there isn't really any room for tacking, so if the wind is against you, you wouldn't want to sail it.

Be aware that as you make turns, you can be set toward the rocks you are turning away from. This is the major cause of most boats coming to grief here - making the turns, their visual heading looks good while their COG is not.

If you go through around slack tide, you will wonder what all the fuss is about. If you go through during the full flood, you will probably need a drink to relax your sphincter after. Your boat probably won't be able to go through during the full ebb.

Sail it if the conditions are right, but I would also have the engine on.

Mark
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Old 22-07-2015, 08:39   #3
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Re: Going through Woods Hole

I agree with Mark. If you go through with a full current, stuff happens quickly. Slack is much more benign. Sailing through at slack is not a problem, but I, also, would have the engine running.

I suggest having a route up on your MFD or whatever device you use to navigate. It will help you adjust for the current setting you out of the channel without having to take constant bearings. I grew up in the area and have been through many times, but I still always have the route up to stay aligned.

It looks smaller, but Quick's Hole between Nashawena and Pasque is actually a much easier transit if you're dealing with a full tidal current. The difference is that the current runs straight down the channel at Quick's, whereas it sweeps sideways through Wood's Hole. There is also less traffic and no ferries.
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Old 22-07-2015, 09:50   #4
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Re: Going through Woods Hole

Thank you both. Your comments confirm my original thought that I will motor through. I'm also adjusting when I arrive to get closer to slack tide. thanks.
Bill
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Old 22-07-2015, 10:25   #5
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Re: Going through Woods Hole

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Depends on the wind. The current can over-power the wind so that you are going faster than the wind alone would have you. This can make for some squirrely steering and loss of control. Also, there isn't really any room for tacking, so if the wind is against you, you wouldn't want to sail it.

Be aware that as you make turns, you can be set toward the rocks you are turning away from. This is the major cause of most boats coming to grief here - making the turns, their visual heading looks good while their COG is not.

If you go through around slack tide, you will wonder what all the fuss is about. If you go through during the full flood, you will probably need a drink to relax your sphincter after. Your boat probably won't be able to go through during the full ebb.

Sail it if the conditions are right, but I would also have the engine on.

Mark
We over look Woods Hole passage and sail out of Eel Pond and/or Great Harbor. Most groundings occur during Flood stage but the reason has more to do with navigation confusion than currents. Going from Buzzards Bay to Vineyard Sound, the channel splits at the red/green buoy SB. Keep in mind the red / green convention represents travel towards Boston harbor - not the town of Woods Hole. Boats that get into trouble mistakenly think they should keep red marks to starboard but that will result in hitting red ledge. By the time they realize their mistake, they either turn right or left to get back into either Broadway or into the Woods Hole channel. But during full Flood, attempts to correct for this navigation error result in "crabbing" sideways into the rocks. The easiest way in my opinion is to simply travel in the left channel i.e. keeping red marks to port throughout the passage - and exit at the Grassy Island ledge light (Red mark). The alternative is to take the right hand fork and stay near the Green Buoys. This has the advantage of minimizing interactions with Ferries. I prefer the former track because in prevailing SW winds one can sail the entire passage. And going against the current during Ebb is not much fun unless you have a very strong engine but with a 28ft sailboat there will be times when you will not be able to overcome the current. I do not think it necessary to wait for slack tide if you pay attention to proper navigation AND if you avoid going towards Vineyard at full ebb.
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Old 22-07-2015, 13:55   #6
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Re: Going through Woods Hole

Im headed that way from Newport Thursday evening. Probably Vineyard heaven or oak bluffs bound. 10-15 years ago I used to use the eldridge to read current, but ever since open-source charting and public charts became available, i've been using OpenCPN. Currents are well documented and you can easily see the 6 hour time slot when its "your" time to go. Slack disappears quickly. I usually have the engine running in neutral even when I can sail through. You can get the New bedford ferry turning the corner coming at you and at times of fast water, he could drift all the way to the other side of the channel. So I time my passage, and get the hell out of there. And quite often when i'm in that area i hear coastguard or seatow responding to someone on the rocks in woods hole.
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Old 22-07-2015, 18:18   #7
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Re: Going through Woods Hole

Ive done it many times. Just need to time it like everyone else has mentioned. Its not has bad as it seems. I will just add to watch out for the motor boaters. They fly through with no regard for the slower moving traffic.
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