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Old 12-05-2014, 08:26   #1
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Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

At the end of June I am going to attempt to sail an Alberg 35 from Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay. All of these waters are foreign to me. I have several days in which to make the passage, so I am happy to make short jumps. I would prefer mooring to anchoring and as my experience is limited to New York Harbor and the British Virgin Island this up coming adventure both excites and terrifies me. I would be grateful for any advice you may have to offer.

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Old 12-05-2014, 08:50   #2
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

Do a lot of research on "The Race" off of Connecticut. Its between Fishers Island in CT and Plum Island off of LI. That will be the toughest part of your sail.

Check out Active Captain. Its kind of like cruising guide meets facebook. You can get a lot of local knowledge from there. They also identify moorings, marinas and anchorages with reviews of the holding or costs for moorings and slip fees.

How many days are several days? I would probably say 3 days is a comfortable pace but I would want 4-5 incase you get some thunderstorms or other foul weather. But a lot of this is relative to your experience and your budget if the wind is not in a favorable direction.
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:13   #3
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK n Smitty View Post
Do a lot of research on "The Race" off of Connecticut. Its between Fishers Island in CT and Plum Island off of LI.
While closer to both Rhode Island on the east end, and CT. everywhere else, Fisher's Island is actually part of New York, not Ct. You wouldn't think so looking at a map.

Block Island is a great place to stop. From Vineyard Haven, go around Block Island and enter the Great Salt Pond on the West side of the Island. You can anchor on the left hand side of the channel, but watch to make sure you're not inside the clam beds and reserved No Anchoring sections.

There is also Anchorage in Lake Montauk. Enter Montauk harbor and turn to Port at the coast guard station and anchor south of star Island. Watch the markers coming in. There is a jog that if you miss it, you'll end up on the sandbar.

I'd do one or the other, both would be silly as they are very close to one another.

Watch tide and wind at the race. Bucking both will be a chore. I can't help you much futher east of there.
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:15   #4
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

I have from June 30-July 7 to make the voyage. My experience is limited (80 hrs at helm) and never in those waters. A friend of mine told me a story about his first time out there when a fog came up and they sailed over a tow line and just barely escaped being smashed by a barge. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:14   #5
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

Are you going to be solo on this trip or do you have crew?
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:00   #6
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

Right now it's looking like it's going to be me and a friend of mine with little to no experience but plenty of willingness, strength and good attitude. My hope is to spend a couple of days on the water with him around Martha's Vineyard getting him up to speed before making the passage.
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:44   #7
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

Block Island, Great Salt Pond is a good first stop. You can easily pick up a mooring there (except on summer weekends). But it is a long run, about 55 NM from Vinyard Haven. Montauk would be too far to try in one day. If that is too far, then make your first stop in Cuttyhunk's mooring field- about 20 NM from Vinyard Haven through Quicks Hole.

Then pick up a free mooring at the North Cove in Old Saybrook, Ct. The ones with a yellow ribbon are open and free. This leg is about 40 NM from BI.

Then make the 45 NM leg to Port Jefferson and pick up a mooring from Port Jeffersion Moorings and Launch service.

Finally, a 25 NM leg home to Oyster Bay.

This route may not be the prettiest. But it is all moorings. If the weather is nice and you want to be more adventuresome, check out many other anchorages along the way on ActiveCaptain.

David
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Old 12-05-2014, 15:42   #8
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

I've made this trip several times.
You should buy a copy of Eldridges, as it has complete current tables for the area. Research carefully, and time you trip with the current.
There will probably be fog. Pea soup type. Do you have a gps? It can get pretty hairy if you can't much see past the bow of your boat. Radar and knowing how to use it is a help.
I would think the first stop would be Block Island and the Great Salt Pond. There are town mooring (yellow and green), but they can hard to snag; impossible during the weekend. There are clearly marked anchoriges. It will a long sail. Plot it out in advance, but Block is worth it. After gettng settled go to The Oar and watch the action at the dingy dock and view. After reaching Block, things become easier.
I would suggest Mattituck Inlet as your next destination. Plan carefully, especially going through the race. Make sure you're going with the current (See Eldridges current table for the Race). Make sure you enter Mattituck on an incoming tide. My boat draws 6'7" so I have to be carefull. There's a beautiful Federal anchorage at the end. Drop you hook in 10-15' water. Very calm, a short dingy ride to land, and short walk to town.
My next destination would be Port Jefferson. The Setauket Yacht club and Port Jeff launch rent mooring. Launch to town. Many restaurants and stores there.
From Port Jeff it's about 5-6 hours to Oyster Bay, a pretty straight shot.
Hope this helps.
I did this trip, from Huntington, NY to Vineyard Haven, straight shot on my O'Day 35 and, if I remember correctly, it took us about 30 some odd hours. Don't expect to sail too much, as the winds can be fairly light at that time of year, and mostly from the southwest.

If you want to talk more, pm me.

Peter
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Old 12-05-2014, 16:35   #9
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

All good advice so far. Cuttyhunk, Block island, or Newport are all viable for the first night. Plan on a full 12 hours to block island. You have to remember that you may very well be sailing upwind. By all means pick up an Eldridge tide book. And leave the vineyard on a fair tide. You may want to slide down to Menemsha the night before for a soft start. Have a lobster or two and leave early in the morning.
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Old 12-05-2014, 17:18   #10
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

Thanks for the advice. I will not have radar or a dingy. I will have a gps and lots of time to make it up to a 7 day trip if needs be.
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Old 12-05-2014, 19:05   #11
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

Bear in mind that the 4th of July weekend is right in the middle of your trip. The 4th is a Friday this year. It may be nearly impossible to find moorings the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of July anywhere on your trip. Use Active Captain, Eldridge's, and be prepared to anchor. And have fun!
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Old 12-05-2014, 20:01   #12
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

Few things come to mind...
Week of June 30-July 7 could be just a little crowded at Block
(and other locaations), one should be prepared to anchor if necessary, not always good holding.
Alternate to Block/Newport, if looking for fast easy in/out
or protection from weather/fog consider Pt. Judith, Harbor of Refuge and Pt. Judith Pond.
Current at eastern Long Island Sound could be up to a couple of knots, nice to have it working for you.

DCY...understand your concern re fog/reduced visibility
after your friends run in with a tow line, as rather few people
have that experience and are around to talk about it.
If you find yourself in a situation without AIS/radar,
in a pinch don't be afraid to use your radio to state your position and course or ask if anyone has you on their radar and is there any other traffic in the area...someone might even answer you.

If this is a new to you boat, make sure your familiar with systems, motor is serviced, your ground tackle is in good shape, safety, radio, charts, reefing etc., etc.

Don't be/feel pressured if you are not comfortable, and
you will have a great cruise.
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Old 13-05-2014, 14:30   #13
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

I would suggest to find someone with experience to go with you.
GPS only tells you where YOU are in fog which can be quite thick.
Knowing currents and using them to your advantage will be key to an easy passage if you are lucky not to have fog.
Have made similar trips probably 15-20 times over the years and was without Radar in the beginning. Never had a problem and have left BI in thick fog with the next visual image being Branford Light! Now after many years and miles having Radar those days give me chills. There is a lot out there you don't see or hear. Believe me not trying to talk you out of it just please take someone with you more experienced then the next time do it with the knowledge you have gained. Or if not then pick your weather windows very carefully. Other posts have given you examples to harbors along the way. My only comment is that Newport and Montauk are really out of the way but if you have the time sure why not. The problem is that I believe you said you did not have a dingy which would limit you to marinas if you want off the boat. Except for BI and Newport which have the Old Port Launches ,Marinas in Newport are not cheap. Better to spend the money on a small inflatable, anchor and row to shore. Nice holding ground in front of the Ida Lewis YC.
I wish you well and in the end your confidence will come with more experience just be careful and take your time. Given good weather it will be a fantastic trip.
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Old 13-05-2014, 14:55   #14
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

This is not a difficult trip if you have the time to sit tight until fog burns off. You're still in the period with pretty solid afternoon southwesterlies which are not as much fun headed westbound as eastbound. Start early in the day before the wind and chop comes up and be ready to stop if you find yourself pounding too hard to weather.

I second the comment about studying Eldredge's. In particular, there is a section about timing your passage between Buzzard's Bay and the Race so that you have a favorable current the whole trip. Read it. Believe it. Schedule your run based on it.

Block is too far for a single day unless everything lines up perfectly. It's also ridiculously crowded on summer weekends so, if you're going to stop there, try to do it on a weekday. I would recommend a first day trip to Cuttyhunk. Since you're inexperienced, don't mess with Wood's Hole. It's too easy to get swept out of the channel. Quick's Hole is a nice straight shot if you've got a favorable current or slack water (read Eldredge). Alternatively, you can just go around the west end of C'hunk and swing back to the harbor. C'hunk is also close enough that you should be able to get there relatively early in the day when people are leaving so you can pick up a mooring. If you stop there, make sure to sample the floating raw bar that comes through the harbor late in the afternoon.

Block is a more manageable second day if it's not a weekend. If you don't find a mooring and don't want to anchor, the harbormaster has a bunch of private moorings he releases to transients after, I believe, 3PM. Pt. Judith is a reasonable alternative, but you'll be anchoring and you said you preferred mooring. If you've nailed your currents and want to keep going, Stonington is another good alternative. I'll leave it to others to guide you further into LI Sound. I've only been into Gardiner's Bay and Greenport, but they're off course for you.
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Old 13-05-2014, 15:09   #15
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Re: Need Advice: Vineyard Haven to Oyster Bay

I'd second the suggestion to buy Eldridge, it is "The Bible" listing all routes, specific directions, tide and current charts for the Sound. If you are unfamiliar with the currents in the Sound, you can literally cut your trip time in half (or double it) by taking advantage of the currents or not. And often that means sailing mid-sound instead of shorewards, or vice versa. Easy with the charts.

Fog? Not a big issue, not common. Commercial traffic and tow strings, more of an issue to be aware of. Dinghy? Again, not so much a problem, you should find launch service anyplace that you can moor. If you are a YC member, there are often reciprocal moorings. Plan ahead for your stops and get the PHONE NUMBERS for them, because somehow when you call ahead on the VHF it is often unanswered but someone is at their phone, and they can find the launch for you as well as make dock or mooring arrangements.

That and any of the cruising guides, to choose where to go. Plenty of places to duck into and other than The Race, no real challenges from tides, etc.
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