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Old 06-01-2016, 22:40   #1
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Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

Looking at the charts and Active Captain and this appears to be a doable run if you get a nice 3 day window of Southwesterlies. Has anyone done this as a direct shot coming back north after winter down south that can comment on the realities of this? 37 footer. Not a ton of offshore experience but certainly comfortable.

It would certainly save a lot of time to be able to bypass NYC and Long Island Sound coming home.

Timetable would likely be late May, 1st week of June.
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Old 06-01-2016, 23:14   #2
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

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Originally Posted by Jaspell View Post
Looking at the charts and Active Captain and this appears to be a doable run if you get a nice 3 day window of Southwesterlies. Has anyone done this as a direct shot coming back north after winter down south that can comment on the realities of this? 37 footer. Not a ton of offshore experience but certainly comfortable.

It would certainly save a lot of time to be able to bypass NYC and Long Island Sound coming home.

Timetable would likely be late May, 1st week of June.
===

The problem with going direct to Nantucket is the water east of Marthas Vineyard. On the charts that area is called Muskeget Channel. Those waters have a lot of shifting shoals, tide rips and strong currents. I have seen sand bars with breaking waves where the charts show nothing. There is also a high probability of fog, especially at night and in the early morning hours. If your main objective is to bypass NYC and LIS it would be much safer in my opinion to make landfall at either Block Island or in Vineyard Sound, continuing up Vineyard Sound and around the north side of MV. The distance is about the same, you'll have deep well charted waters, and more options if you get hit with heavy fog.

It's also important to note that you will be crossing at least 3 very busy shipping lanes. You'll need to keep a really good look out visually, and preferably with radar and AIS. Never assume you have the right of way with large, fast moving commercial traffic. They might not even know you are there. A radar reflector is a very good idea, even better if combined with an AIS transponder.
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Old 07-01-2016, 03:41   #3
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

Jaspell

I have experience around Cape Cod and the Islands. Wayne's advice is exactly right - Vineyard Sound to Nantucket Sound is your route.



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Old 07-01-2016, 05:50   #4
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

I've done Fishers Island around Montauk to Cape May. Left around midnight to catch the tide and arrived before dark the second day. That's about the reverse of your first leg. Duck in past Block Island. It's a long run for a single hander due to the traffic.
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:16   #5
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

Edgartown Yacht Club runs an "Around The Island Race" that sees about +50 boats go up the Muskegat Channel every summer, many of them deep draft racing boats so it's not like you would be the first person to do it. Not disagreeing with the other commenters, just saying it is an option. Make your own call.

Pick up the "MC" main channel marker to the southeast of MV and follow the cans north past Poge Light into Vineyard Sound without cutting east too soon and you should be fine as long as you have the fair weather window of southeasterly winds you suggest and can time a favorable tide.

FWIW, as a victim of chance and circumstance I cut across the bottom half of Nantucket Shoals last summer en route to England with very fair weather. Not saying I would rush to do it again but I am glad to have had the experience. Hands down the most eerie area of the ocean I have ever sailed on. Maybe fine in a shallow draft sport fisher but was a creepy place to be on a sailboat that draws seven and a half feet!
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:16   #6
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

Going LI sound adds40 miles but the views on NYC are worth it!


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Old 07-01-2016, 08:21   #7
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

I did a similar distance Cape May outside passing Block Island thence to Riverside, RI in about 3 days in my Block Island 40 yawl (27ft waterline length) in mostly light winds (did a lot of motoring at 5 to 6 knots) in April several years ago.

Ditto what Wayne said re Nantucket shoals, shipping, radar reflector and AIS transponder.

Re 3 day weather window: I recently completed a Maine to Florida run and found Chris Parker's forecasting service mwxc dot com coupled with passageweather dot com most helpful for the coastal/offshore legs (Maine to Norfolk).
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:24   #8
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

I've done that trip in a 37. Go offshore from Cape May to Block Island--- approximately a 30 hour trip depending on weather, etc. Then day trip to Martha's and then to Nantucket. I was a CG Auxiliarist so spent some time at the Nantucket CG Station with an Auxiliarist who was standing watch examining the charts and looking for a way to go direct from Nantucket to Cape May by going east. Best advice I got from all that local knowledge was "Don't Do It." So, the suggestions you have gotten are good, stick to the north and west side of the islands for the trip. By the way, take a mooring at Nantucket, the holding there is terrible- especially in a north blow. I watched several anchored boats, including some very large ones get blown high and dry after a north wind popped up one night.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:35   #9
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

Ditto Sail Gal's advise. I've done it singlehanding a number of times from Cape May or south of there. If you have the time, a stop at the Great Salt Pond on Block Island is a delight, particularly in June when it will be largely empty. Then up the Vineyard Sound. I'd try not to miss Edgartown, as it is a wonderful stop.

If you have AIS, it will be a game changer for the big boats. You'll keep the same watch schedule, but your anxiety level will be much lower. I envy you the trip.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:41   #10
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

I've done this trip numerous times and agree with Wayne B. I like to stop at Cutty Hunk for several reasons. The fuel prices there are the lowest in the "islands" by far and you can then catch a fair tide thru Vinyard Sound, west of MV and on into Nantucket in a day. I use the NYC / LIS route if the weather off shore is adverse.
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:32   #11
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

I have done the Cape May to the end of Montauk Pt and the reverse many times. I agree with others the best route would take you around Block Is. Several cautions: There are 3 serious traffic zones, however there are 6 lanes, so don't forget to watch in both directions. 2ndly, there will be many fishing netters and trawler types who may or may not have AIS functioning. Their netting operations go out a considerable distance from their ships & blinding lights. Best to try verbal contact to determine best approach to proceed around their intended paths. Please study ship lights so you'll know if tug is towing a barge.........
Have a great trip. Did the NYC trip several times as well. You have to do this at least once. Stay far away from the UN and time Hell Gate correctly. Or Not, and have greater stories to tell.
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:06   #12
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

We're heading from the Annapolis area to MV July 8th, and have decided to take the advice of going through NYC as it might be the only opportunity we ever have.

Having been fishing off MV at noon in July and been in fog with visibility less than 100', I'd say an AIS transponder, radar and reflector are a good idea; I've just ordered ours.

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Old 07-01-2016, 12:20   #13
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

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Originally Posted by LeeV View Post
We're heading from the Annapolis area to MV July 8th, and have decided to take the advice of going through NYC as it might be the only opportunity we ever have.

Having been fishing off MV at noon in July and been in fog with visibility less than 100', I'd say an AIS transponder, radar and reflector are a good idea; I've just ordered ours.

Lee
===

The experience of going up through New York Harbor is like nothing else you'll ever do - highly recommended unless you're in a hurry to get east.
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Old 07-01-2016, 13:10   #14
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

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Originally Posted by wayne.b View Post
===

The experience of going up through New York Harbor is like nothing else you'll ever do - highly recommended unless you're in a hurry to get east.
Yep, agree. Done it several times, including last July (pic).

But, the advice to take a direct shot from Cape May to Block Island is right on. Done that several times, too, and it generally works out very well.

Have fun,

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Old 07-01-2016, 13:55   #15
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Re: Cape May to Nantucket Offshore

I have a PDFs version of the 3pg article from Cruising World, ChesapeakeToNarragansettBay.pdf. If you haven't seen this before, you might enjoy reading it. It's 5.45 me so it wouldn't let me upload it, but if you email me directly I'll be glad to send it directly to you. lvogtman at Comcast.net
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