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Old 10-01-2012, 10:12   #1
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Location: Port Washington, NY
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Rhode Island Sound / Buzzards Bay

I've been cruising the Long Island Sound for the past few years and am looking to expand our horizons. We've visited many of the CT coast spots and have also ventured around Orient Point to go to Greenport/Shelter Island. On top of that we frequently head down the East River to the Statue of Liberty.

I give that as background for our 'comfort zone' of conditions.

We have a Regal 2860 (30ft) and I travel with my wife and young kids (age 5, 7) - they love the boat but not so much the rough weather. This year we are considering going through the Cape Cod Canal to go to Salem and Plymouth.

Here's the question... Compared to the LI Sound, what are the general conditions (storms aside)? Is the 'open water' heading upto/into Buzzards Bay something of more concern? We do not have radar either.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 10-01-2012, 10:22   #2
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Re: Rhode Island Sound/Buzzards Bay


From Orient Point through the first half of Buzzards Bay you're more exposed to the ocean swell from the south, as well as the prevailing Southwesterly breeze. So yes, the conditions can be rougher than you'll find on LI Sound. Headed north from the Cape Cod Canal you'll want to avoid northerly / northeasterly winds, which cause short and steep swells on Cape Cod Bay. Bottom line: if you pick your weather and travel in the morning, before the sea breeze kicks in, you can enjoy a smooth trip. Cheers, Colin

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Old 10-01-2012, 10:34   #3
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Re: Rhode Island Sound/Buzzards Bay

Thanks Colin,

That makes sense. With the family along I be more of a fair-weather cruiser to keep them comfortable. Given a bit more boat it might be a better experience too. I'm sure your Sabre handles beautifully in that...
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:56   #4
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Re: Rhode Island Sound/Buzzards Bay


I agree with cfarrar about going early in the morning before the wind pipes up.

If things turn on you there are plenty of good places to tuck in on your port side going north
Onset Harbor, Marion, Aucoots cove. Go to to plan it out.

Try to time your exit of the Cape Cod Canal to about half tide as to not push you out the other side up against wind or water coming at you. You will know what I mean if you do it wrong. We went through at a sweet 10 knots with the motor at idle. It was sweet fun until we hit dead water and north wind on the exit. Not a fun ride after that. Take a hard left our right to get out of the strong current ASAP. All and all it was a great trip except for that.

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Old 10-01-2012, 10:59   #5
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We have been out there several times. There is a lot of swell as the previous poster stated. However, once you get behind the outer band of islands (cuttyhunk..etc) it does decrease

Also we have had fog close in on us rather quickly - so our radar was very valuable.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:57   #6
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Re: Rhode Island Sound/Buzzards Bay

Avoiding wind against tide will help keep the motion down. As has been said, in summer, the mornings are often quiet. I expect you already know that it's much better to keep the kids happy than to try to get them to recover after a bad time. So here are a few places to test without pressing too far afield:

Block Island -- Crowded on weekends, but a good place to explore and close to your usual grounds.

Narragansett Bay -- Always a much calmer sea state than either RI Sound or Buzzard's Bay. Lots of variety from Newport to quiet anchorages. Small, accessible towns like Bristol or E. Greenwich.

Along Buzzard's Bay you've got a bunch of nice destinations that are covered in the Cruising Guide to the New England Coast. Cuttyhunk, Hadley's Harbor, Quisset and Red Brook Harbor are nice along the east side. Padanaram (South Dartmouth), Marion and Onset on the west side.

On the north side of the canal, Scituate and Provincetown are a lot closer than Salem and will be less exposed to the swells blocked by Cape Cod. P'town Harbor is gorgeous. The anchorage and beach across from town are not to be missed. We love the craziness of the town itself, but you'll have a lot of 'splainin' to do if your kids are at all observant. Just north of P'town, you're over Stellwagen Bank which is prime whale watching. Scituate is a good walking around town though without the witches of Salem.

- David
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