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Old 16-09-2015, 07:51   #1
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Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

Hi All
Planning an end of season trip from Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island end of September
Want to spend about a week on this trip. Prefer to do
it in a few hops of about 40 to 50nm a day. Not into beating myself up on this trip. Staying in Marinas at night with a little sightseeing along the way is what I
had in mind. Any recommendations? I'm fine with making Block Island
the turn around but would like to make it to Nantucket if the weather

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Old 16-09-2015, 13:12   #2
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

Couple of weeks ago we went from Port Washington to Port Jefferson to Oyster Bay to Fisher Island to Block Island to Newport. Nice easy trip and a lot of interesting things to see. One thing that surprised us was the strength of the current in the Sound. Would have been a better trip if we had timed our voyages a bit better.

Have fun.

- Dennis Jay
Annapolis, MD • USA
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Old 16-09-2015, 13:42   #3
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

I have navigated the waters between PW and Nantucket for the past 9 years. It would be wise to pay attention to the current in the Race. If there is any wind against current avoid the area and try crossing at slack water. Heading east ride the outgoing current so you arrive at the Race just prior to slack water.
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Old 16-09-2015, 13:59   #4
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

More marinas on the Connecticut shore. Milford, Westbrook, Mystic,Stonington, etc. Block is just about 20 miles from Stonington. Get there towards the weekend, it is after season, some places are only open on weekends. Moorings in Newport are good, besides marinas, pricey but fun place. You will have the water to yourself. Try to plan to use the current to your advantage. If in Stonington, you will use Watch Hill Pass instead of the Race. Each is OK an hour or two on either side of slack, but if with the current, go anytime, just hang on.
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Old 16-09-2015, 18:19   #5
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Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

Old Saybrook is also a nice stop. So is pt Judith but after some point in the year there's not much there. Cuttyhunk has teenagers selling oysters and chowder from their launch like boat, you hail them and they come to you.

And I would skip Block - was such a zoo and tourist trap when we visited a couple summers ago (but yes, that was before Labor Day).

Montauk on the other hand we enjoyed very much (and you can anchor in the lake, it's very protected).

I'd also say a week is not enough, I would spend a few days on Nantucket alone.

How big the boat?
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Old 16-09-2015, 21:46   #6
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

Thanx to all

Dennisjay, thanx for pointing out the current
It was on my radar

Mañana, you suggested crossing the "Race" during slack
I was going to try and time it to ride the tide thru by entering as
Slack turns to ebb (east bound) any problems with that plan?

Thanx Race info noted

Antoha, you are correct , a week might be too short
And our turn around point might be Block Island
Boat is IP 27, crew of 3

Once again thanx to all
Now I'm gonna sit down with Eldridge and chart
and make a passage plan
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Old 17-09-2015, 02:35   #7
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

You want to transit the LIS with fare current and hopefully fare winds so you aren't tacking. PW to PJ is can be a pleasant reach... PJ to maybe Fishers Island (anchor) or Stonnington (either or) is another easy sail with the right conditions... and then you can sail pass Watch Hill along the RI coat and do Newport... or BI (OK off season) or CuttyHunk. That's about 150 miles so... fare current and winds makes a HUGE difference.
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Old 17-09-2015, 06:03   #8
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Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

Get navionics for smartphone - great for planning routes and such. They also have tide and current (predicted).

Slack vs about to turn etc: current at the Race can be 4 kts, so you probably shouldn't try to go against the tide in a 27 footer; it churns a lot so slack is more about comfort - you can do it at full ebb too provided you don't need to get too far from there before it turns against you, you'll just get tossed around.

Smaller boat: might be tough to do PJ - Fishers island in one go, it's 55+ NM without the approaches etc. PJ - Old Saybrook a bit over 40, which is still a 10 hr sail for you I suppose. North Cove has free moorings (for up to 3 nights if I remember correctly; launch and facilities are not free), so if you just need to sleep a night without worrying about anchoring - call ahead and ask if they have a spot (it's a club, members who are not using theirs on a given night leave streamers on their buoy, but I don't remember their reservation policy otherwise).

Passage plan: I was told by wise men that you have to at least have plans A through H, in case plans B, C, D, etc don't work...
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Old 17-09-2015, 08:07   #9
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

I'd skip Nantucket myself, even Cutty which we love would be pretty desolate, I agree with Stonington, Mystic, Newport and Block, places that are "zoo's" in season and perfect in the off season.
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Old 17-09-2015, 08:33   #10
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

Nantucket is quite far for a one week turnaround (unless you want to go all night - which it sounds like you don't).

If you're a yacht club member, and have reciprocal rights, Black Rock at Bridgeport, Northport, Centerport and Huntington are good stops. There are non-yachtie options there and both options available at Oyster Bay (Seawanhaka and Sagamore). Milford is a great stopover, as well as Essex on the Connecticut River. Port Jefferson is also a possibility. We generally plan our LIS cruising based on the weather. North winds, we stay in CT, south winds, we stay in NY - less rolly anchorages that way!

Advice on the tide current is critical. The Race can ruin your whole day, if you hit it wrong. Obtain a copy of Eldridge 2015, so you can see the tide current diagram and timing, so as to plan your trip. Tides run stronger in certain parts of the Sound, and you want to sailing there when they're in your direction (and, obviously vice versa). Try to plan your departures to coincide with good tide direction - especially getting through the Race.

Also, beware of morning fog on the south coast of New England (CT and RI), at this time of year when warm days mix with cold nights. Radar and/or AIS is a must. I'd take radar over AIS (not everyone has AIS, and a good radar set on low range will pick out the lobster pots).

Make the red "2" buoy at the entrance to the Great Salt Pond on the west side of Block Island. Proceed in the channel and hail the Harbormaster for a mooring. The town has about 80 moorings, but only 11 for larger yachts. They will assign private moorings at 2:30pm and ask that you hover between Red 14 and Green 13 to wait, but only for one night (cost $46). There is a good anchorage and it shouldn't be filled this time of year - but it's a long dink ride in.

Have fun! Try Essex and Hamburg Cove on the way - both are great.
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Old 17-09-2015, 08:50   #11
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

You don't have to go through the race. A better option if the current is against you is to go through the Gull Island cut. You will still have the current against you, but it is only for a very short time and the water is calmer.

Another option is to just keep going through Fisher Island sound and exit at Watch Hill. The water is also calmer there, and the current might just switch by the time you get there.


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Old 17-09-2015, 09:08   #12
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Smile Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

The Eldridge Almanac is a great source of information regarding the currents in Long Island Sound, The Race and the water from there to Newport. I used to make the trip from East Hampton to Nantucket often and once I got my head around using these currents, I was amazed at how short the trip could become time-wise.

We discovered every great breakfast joint and restaurant between Block and Nantucket. We would eat a good breakfast and then sail to the next good restaurant, eat breakfast the following morning and repeat...all the way there and back.

Of course, my Pearson 26 didn't have much in the way of a galley, but my crews were well trained and bought the captain all his meals.
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Old 07-10-2015, 17:47   #13
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Re: Port Washington to Nantucket or Block Island

Hi Friends
Just thought I'd give you an update on this trip.
We left the Port Washington slip on Saturday morning 9/26 headed for
Port Jefferson which was going to be our first stop.
However when we got out past execution rocks we were confronted by easterly
winds hovering around 17, forecast was for 10 to 15 northeast.
The seas were lumpy at best as we were tide against wind.
After a 4 or 5 hours of tacking it became evident that we were not going to make
Port Jefferson in daylight so we put in at Oyster Bay. Had a nice night on a mooring ball.
Our plan was now in flux and we knew that Block Island was slipping away.
On Sunday it was more of the same and we put in at Port Jefferson and another
night on a ball. On Monday the wind swung around more from the north and we
had a nice beam reach all the way to Mattituck, were we spent the night at Strongs Marina,
Quit a nice place. By now, Monday night we were actively monitoring the weather and the brewing storm that was to become Hurricane Joaquin.
There were also forecasts for a second storm front to hit Long Island and small craft
warnings were likely to go up for Block Island Sound and points further east.
So Mattituck became our turn around point. We left Mattituck Tuesday morning
and had an absolutely beautiful sail headed west. Winds were from the north at 15 to 20.
We put in a reef and had one long beam reach all the way to Huntington Harbor.
We put in there because we didn't think we would make it back to Port Washington
during daylight and we had already been to Oyster Bay. We had a nice walk around
and dinner out. Wednesday was a fast chip shot back to Port Washington.
So it took us three days of hard beating to windward to get from Port Washington
to Mattituck. Then a glorious fast sail, beam reaching home.
All in All a great 5 day trip.
I hadn't been on Long Island Sound in almost 30 years and this sail
reminded me just what a fantastic place it is.
The lesson learned was that sometimes the best passage plan can go out
the window in a heartbeat so it's prudent to have alternates B,D & C ready
and a bit thought out. Our original plan was to make Port Jefferson on day one,
Old Saybrook on day two and then Block Island on day three. But after a few hours
beating into strong easterlies, we started to think of alternatives.
There was no drama because we had a set of alternatives previously thought out,
so we changed our plans and executed the changed plans.
Boat: Island Packet 27 Crew: 2
A BIG THANK YOU to all who suggested places and routes.

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