A trip to Nantucket is a great thing to do in a second year of ownership
. Nothing too hard but a serious trip. Some suggestions:
1. Buy a 2015 copy of Eldridge. You will need it. Every New England
cruiser should have a copy aboard. Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book 2015
2. Remember that the #1 rule
of cruising is to not be driven by schedule. Even in these fairly protected waters, you need to pick your weather
. Allow for a lost
3. Because of the above rule, I would schedule four days before the triathlon start (since the Triathalon is the reason for the whole trip, five days would be safer). Three days back should be fine because you'll be going with prevailing winds.
4. You will need the Cape Cod
canal and Woods Hole current with you. Eldridge will tell you.
5. Getting to Nantucket is upwind against the prevailing SW winds. I bet your boat doesn't do much better than 3.5 knots VMG to windward. So 30 miles is a full day. It's often calm first thing in the morning so consider motoring a few hours to make some easy miles. 3 hours of beating is fun. 10 hours isn't. Buzzards Bay in a typical southwest afternoon wind can be very rough.
6: Hazards: Study the chart for Woods Hole carefully before going in. Make sure you confirm the buoy numbers as you go by. There are a lot of buoys but the rock ledges leave no room for confusion. There's also a lone rock off Scraggy Neck near N2 to avoid on the way out of Red Brook. Even in July you may get thick fog
near Nantucket. Have plenty of horn canisters and radar
reflector. Consider adding an AIS
transponder as a spring project
. Easy to install yourself and can be had for as little as $500. It will greatly reduce the stress of sailing in crowded waters. Your friends can also see you on MarineTraffic.com
7. I would do the following trip - Plymouth, Red Brook Harbor, Vineyard Haven, Nantucket.
8. You will be arriving into Nantucket at peak season. It will be a zoo (although less of a zoo on the water
than in the town). While you can anchor
the tidal current is strong and the anchoring
conditions difficult. You will be nervous leaving your boat for the day on an anchor
with no one aboard. Most who plan to anchor end up deciding to pay for a mooring
- $70. The dinghy dock
is badly overcrowded so most also use the launch which I think is $5 a person. Consider reserving your mooring
ahead of time online - Nantucket Moorings.