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Old 08-06-2014, 09:49   #1
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Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

Need some local advice on planning a 3 week trip starting from Huntington Harbor. We want to do a few days at each of the following locations: Shelter Island and area, Block Island, Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod. We believe we have enough time to allow for weather and we want to take it easy and be flexible on when and where we go in the area. No night sailing. The plan now is for me to take the boat up to Shelter Island between July 1st and 3rd and meet my wife there, stay a few days then head out to Block to begin the 3 weeks. We would like to do both mooring and slips with a few nights in hotels that have slips or moorings. Our draft is 5' and length is 40.
Biggest concern is getting reservations if we can. The weekend of the 4th will no doubt be the most difficult.
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:24   #2
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

I started almost the identical thread a few weeks back... Because I'm doing almost the exact same trip... Out of Huntington as bizarre as that sounds... I even think some of our dates overlap...

Only difference was that I was looking to circumnavigate the island .. Which I was quickly talked out of...

I'd be glad to share research and whatever other findings I've come across recently... Perhaps even a raft up since we seem to be out of the same harbor with an info exchange... If interested you can PM me... Otherwise the thread is just one or two scrolls down..
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:43   #3
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

I have done the trip a number of times. I noticed you didn't mention anchoring. There are many nice anchorages along your route, but if you're looking for slips or moorings only, you might try Greenport, north of Shelter Island for the weekend of the 4th. Mitchell Park has a tight but modern set of slips next to the ferry. Call Mitchell's in advance for reservations

Block Island's Great Salt Pond has town moorings, but you better get there VERY early if you arrive on a weekend. Secret tip: If there are no town moorings available, wait until after 3 PM and call the Harbor Master. They will assign you an unused private mooring and charge you the town price. You cannot reserve a mooring in advance.

My favorite harbor on the Vineyard is Oak Bluffs. It's a dog-friendly town, which is important to me. It is also not a dry town, which is even more important. There always seem to be mooring balls available, and you can sit at a bar overlooking the harbor and keep an eye on your boat. You can also watch all the drunks get back in their dinghies and bump into stuff.

Have a great cruise!
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:58   #4
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

try Cockles harbor in Shelter Island......tricky entrance but well worth it.
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:59   #5
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

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Originally Posted by DennisM View Post
I have done the trip a number of times. I noticed you didn't mention anchoring. There are many nice anchorages along your route, but if you're looking for slips or moorings only, you might try Greenport, north of Shelter Island for the weekend of the 4th. Mitchell Park has a tight but modern set of slips next to the ferry. Call Mitchell's in advance for reservations

Block Island's Great Salt Pond has town moorings, but you better get there VERY early if you arrive on a weekend. Secret tip: If there are no town moorings available, wait until after 3 PM and call the Harbor Master. They will assign you an unused private mooring and charge you the town price. You cannot reserve a mooring in advance.

My favorite harbor on the Vineyard is Oak Bluffs. It's a dog-friendly town, which is important to me. It is also not a dry town, which is even more important. There always seem to be mooring balls available, and you can sit at a bar overlooking the harbor and keep an eye on your boat. You can also watch all the drunks get back in their dinghies and bump into stuff.

Have a great cruise!
Good Info.
If your hitting the Block on the 4th my advice would be to get in early, the town moorings are gone by 10am or noon most weekends but like the info here sometimes the harbormaster can get you onto a private mooring if you come in late but he usually is off the water by 7pm. The only issue there is you might have a time limit on that mooring if the owners are returning the next day.
The anchorage in new harbor has been getting smaller over the years due to the number of moorings increasing and pushing towards the anchorage and also a no anchor zone increasing in size due to environmental reasons. The anchorage does have good holding but is also crowded on weekends and holiday weeks, a chain rode would be a good thing if you end up having to anchor and are limited in scope due to swing room. The town has put a moratorium on new moorings for that reason.
There are docks available for rent at Champlains and the docks at the Oar but I'd suggest calling soon since it's a popular week. If you choose that option there are hotels available but again, it's a busy time. If you are looking to dock you may end up rafted to other boats since they really try to take in as many as possible on that weekend. Because they tend to raft up and use every available space the fuel docks and access to water is limited, I'd suggest making sure the fuel and water tanks are full before getting in. There was a guy operating a portable water service last year but I'm not sure if it's in operation this year, the harbor master would be a better source for that info.
Don't forget Aldos bakery, they make the rounds of the mooring field and anchorage in the morning with hot coffee and delicious pastries to your boat, they've been at it since the old man started the service way back, his son now does the on water rounds. You'll hear him singing out his wares in the early am.
Usually I don't go to the Block on the 4th but was lucky enough to get the dates for my yacht clubs BI mooring that weekend which makes for a little shorter dinghy ride to the dinghy docks.
Vineyard Haven has plenty of moorings but can be a bit rolly if the wind is out of the right direction, it's not as well protected, best to radio ahead to both Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluff for availability. Another possibility is the pond in Vineyard Haven which requires going under the lifting bridge but they usually limit the amount of time you can stay there, I think it was 3 days last time I visited (12 years ago) that site. ALso the dinghy ride is much longer but still doable.
I also agree that Oak Bluff is the most convenient harbor on MV but just remember that they will raft up to 3 boats at a time on the town moorings. Not a problem if your a social person, I've met some very nice people that way, most will respect your privacy and have been quite cordial in my experience. It helps if you bring good lines and fenders, several times I've had people raft up who didn't have the proper equipment or enough lines to do it properly or the previous experience, in that case I always bring enough lines to cover the situation. If your staying for a few days it's worth getting a multi-day bus pass, it's unlmitted in use for the time period and they do have a pretty extensive route schedule.
If your looking for a nice, more laid back anchorage you might think of Cuttyhunk, it's a rather small island with a small harbor but a nice, less busy place for a day, halfway to MV. Just bring an anchor which will set well in sea grass, a regular danforth won't set that well and will just keep pulling up clumps of sea grass. The inner harbor is small and usually full by noon, but the outer harbor is still well protected except in the case of a northeast wind.
In any case pay attention to the tides both in getting to the Block and to MV since they can run pretty strong at times.
Good luck, enjoy your stay, their both very nice places to visit but I'm still partial to the Block though, make sure to get out and see the island, there are still plenty of remote, sparsely populated beaches there and fine scenery to take in.
My wife and I are going for our arrival ritual, Frozen Mudslides at the Oar.
Cheers.
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Old 09-06-2014, 20:03   #6
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

Thanks to all for all the great suggestions. This community has been an incredible help to me as a newbie. I was able to get reservations on Shelter Island in Coeckles harbor for July 3,4,5 and 6th. I plan to leave from Port Jefferson on the 3rd to get up there. I'll head next early in the morning to Block on the 6th, a Monday and hopefully get a mooring. What do you think are my chances if I get there around 4 on a Monday? I assume it'll take about 8 hours to get there from Shelter. Would it be better to stop in Montauk for a couple of days then head up to Block on Thursday?
After a couple of days in Block, depending on wind and weather, we are thinking either Newport or Matha's V or Cape Cod.
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Old 09-06-2014, 20:14   #7
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

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Originally Posted by DeaconBlues View Post
Thanks to all for all the great suggestions. This community has been an incredible help to me as a newbie. I was able to get reservations on Shelter Island in Coeckles harbor for July 3,4,5 and 6th. I plan to leave from Port Jefferson on the 3rd to get up there. I'll head next early in the morning to Block on the 6th, a Monday and hopefully get a mooring. What do you think are my chances if I get there around 4 on a Monday? I assume it'll take about 8 hours to get there from Shelter. Would it be better to stop in Montauk for a couple of days then head up to Block on Thursday?
After a couple of days in Block, depending on wind and weather, we are thinking either Newport or Matha's V or Cape Cod.
I like to break the trip up from Port Jeff and stop at Mattituck and get an early start the next morning timing to get the ebb through Plum Gut. From there I may sail to Block, Cockles Harbor, Greenport, Three Mile Harbor depending on the winds. Montauk would be an option too. Don't forget to get an Eldridge Tide and Pilot and get familiar with it.
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Old 09-06-2014, 20:50   #8
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

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Originally Posted by DeaconBlues View Post
Thanks to all for all the great suggestions. This community has been an incredible help to me as a newbie. I was able to get reservations on Shelter Island in Coeckles harbor for July 3,4,5 and 6th. I plan to leave from Port Jefferson on the 3rd to get up there. I'll head next early in the morning to Block on the 6th, a Monday and hopefully get a mooring. What do you think are my chances if I get there around 4 on a Monday? I assume it'll take about 8 hours to get there from Shelter. Would it be better to stop in Montauk for a couple of days then head up to Block on Thursday?
After a couple of days in Block, depending on wind and weather, we are thinking either Newport or Matha's V or Cape Cod.
We did Greenport to Block in about 6 hours so you will get there earlier than that. Honestly, the last few years we've had a hard time getting a mooring at Block but the private moorings work well for the night then you get up early in the morning, one of you take out the dink and a radio and start scouting. Once you find someone leaving, grab it and radio in to the home ship to come on in.

This is our normal stomping ground and we do 3 weeks in August yearly so if you have any specific questions, ask away. On the Vineyard, while it's the furthest, we MUCH prefer Edgartown. Great moorings and not expensive but you DO need reservations. Honestly, Edgartown is the only place we ever make a reservation further than a couple of days in advance and we've not found a problem at all but then again, we don't do docks usually and instead get moorings or anchor.
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:40   #9
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

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Originally Posted by DeaconBlues View Post
Thanks to all for all the great suggestions. This community has been an incredible help to me as a newbie. I was able to get reservations on Shelter Island in Coeckles harbor for July 3,4,5 and 6th. I plan to leave from Port Jefferson on the 3rd to get up there. I'll head next early in the morning to Block on the 6th, a Monday and hopefully get a mooring. What do you think are my chances if I get there around 4 on a Monday? I assume it'll take about 8 hours to get there from Shelter. Would it be better to stop in Montauk for a couple of days then head up to Block on Thursday?
After a couple of days in Block, depending on wind and weather, we are thinking either Newport or Matha's V or Cape Cod.
If your coming into the Block after the 4th it's a 50/50 deal, many people will be leaving that day but of course many will be getting in also. Getting a mooring is a roll of the dice. How are your anchoring skills? More people will probably be leaving on Sunday morning after the 4th to clear out, you might have better luck then.
If you get in at a reasonable hour you should do OK but it's always good to have a backup plan. The earlier advice to get a private mooring and then get up early and do some scouting is a good one, we've done this many times and it's worked for us, then again we don't mind dropping the anchor since it's farther from the shoreside noise and bustle near the marinas, Champlains can be exceptionally loud due to the dockside bar/club. It's a bit more relaxing in the anchorage and sometimes amusing to watch the different anchoring "techniques" on display.
Newport is a short downwind sail (usually) and is a fun town, the anchorage near the fort will usually be full and again, the moorings are first come first served, but the anchorage north of Goat Island usually has room and good holding.
Still, sailing to Cuttyhunk is a relatively short sail from the Block and then MV is a short hop from there, of course the sail back from MV will be upwind all the way when the prevailing SW wind is in force, not bad but still takes longer than the trip out. Might be a good idea to go to there from the Block and then stop in Newport on the way back to break things up. Newport has plenty of boat services and a free water filling dock available as well as lots of activities to do.
It's hard to have a bad time along this part of the coast, there are so many possibilities, it just depends on what you want to do, socialize or chill out in a quiet place, it's totally up to you and all the options are there.
Don't forget you Aldridge or Reed's tide and information books, riding the tides in this area can make for a more pleasant experience. A cruising guide is also a must, it will give you all the harbor and harbormaster info, a truly handy piece of information.
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:42   #10
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

I'll be cruising the same area those weeks, the biggest problem is deciding which options to choose, it usually depends on the weather and winds. It's not a bad problem.
Good luck, hope you have a great time.
CHeers
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Old 12-06-2014, 16:15   #11
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

1. IMHO Dering Harbor is much nicer than Coecles harbor and it's easier to get to Greenport from Dering. Short ferry ride and you can walk to the ferry. Reserve a mooring in advance.

2. Block on July 4th weekend is a zoo, and so is Cuttyhunk. Don't go to those places at that time. Plan to be somewhere else. One option might be the lagoon at Vineyard Haven.
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Old 12-06-2014, 17:00   #12
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

The Lagoon is beautiful place. Always lots of room. Tashmoo is nice, but crowded.
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Old 12-06-2014, 17:28   #13
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

Thanks. I won't get to Block until the 6th. I have reserved a slip at Champlin's.
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Old 12-06-2014, 18:44   #14
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

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Thanks. I won't get to Block until the 6th. I have reserved a slip at Champlin's.
Oh man, have fun with that! It's overpriced and they tie you up with other boats so either you get to climb over someone else's boat to get off or they climb over yours. We won't stay at Champlins anymore.
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Old 12-06-2014, 19:43   #15
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Re: Cruising North Fork, Block, Cape Cod

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Thanks. I won't get to Block until the 6th. I have reserved a slip at Champlin's.
Yep. Heard that from them. Just want to make sure I've got a place to tie up. I'll have extra fenders and lines. Who knows, might meet some nice people in the process.
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