S.V. Las Chicas (1995 Mac 26S)
Crew- Ed and Deb Kruzel and daughters Niki and Kesli aged 11 and 9 respectively.
We started at Mattapoisett ramp where we put in around 1 pm on Sat. 8/15, after driving down from Pelham, NH. The ramp continues to be a good one with wide access that isn't too busy. There is a good area to rig before launching and a free parking lot less than 5 minutes walk. Great deal.
After clearing the dinghy painter off the engine's prop and doing a little fending off the outer dock in a little panic, we started for Hadley's. It was a pleasant motor/sail with a 10-15 knot SW wind. We made it in just under 3 hrs. Got there and rafted up with a friend on a mooring who owns a 34' O'day. Next morning we headed for Cuttyhunk.
The trip to Cuttyhunk was pleasant enough, though we couldn't use the sail as the wind was from the SW again. We motored down in about 4 hours. I keep the 9.8 Tohatsu turning around 3K rpm which gives us about 4 knots average; this time we got no better than 3 with the wind in our faces.
We continue to like Cuttyhunk with it's raw bar boat and nice beaches. Took a climb to the observation platform and did some risky blackberry picking along the way. It was as relaxing as can be for me, considering I'm always watching the weather to plan for the next leg. Stayed for 2 nights; the moorings are $40/boat/night, even rafted with our friendly O'day.
Tuesday morning we took off around 6 am to catch good currents for the trip to Vineyard Haven. We squirted through Quicks Hole at over 6 knots thanks to the current. motor/sailed across Vineyard Sound to catch the favorable rip close to the Vineyard. Another nice sail for a little over 3 hours.
Vineyard Haven is also nice, if you can put up with the ferry noise/activity. It does have a Stop+Shop close to the dinghy dock and lots of other tourist type shopping. Be aware that this town is dry, though you can BYOB to most restaurants. The beach is close enough to the moorings that you can watch the kids from the boat if you're in the first couple rows. They play for hours while we shmooze and booze with our friends Nice.
Next morning we're off to Oak Bluffs to catch Illumination night. It's a very short motor to get in the harbor, and we were real lucky to get a mooring. Since the O'day friends were with us we asked one other sailboat to raft with us and we were all set. According to the harbor rules in Oak Bluffs you MUST raft if the moorings are full, so it behooves you to grab someone who seems pleasant and looks like they know what they're doing to raft with you. The boat we asked was a Catalina 35 from RI with and older couple who were pleasant, if not exciting. We were all set with 3 boats on the mooring. Cost is also $40/boat/night as in Cuttyhunk and Vineyard Haven.
On Wed. we started early with all the women going shopping and Al(O'Day Capt.) and me going to Sharkey's just after 1 to check out the margaritas. Yumm, best on the island. Sharkey's also has the best Mexican food, IMHO. We then went back to the boat for a little less expensive cocktails to wait for dark and Illumination night.
If you've never been to Illumination night, it's worth going at least once. The locals put a lot of effort into decorating their house with all types of lanterns and other glowing objects. It is quite enchanting, and it's fun to stop and talk to them too!
With reports of the hurricane making it's way up and t-storms and variable winds forecast for the next few days, we decided to go back to Mattapoisett on Thurs. cutting our boat time by a couple days.
We left Oak Bluffs at 1:30 pm to get a favorable flow through Wood's Hole. When we got past the breakwater the current grabbed us and we were off. At one point going past Vineyard Haven, pointing directly into the wind, we recorded over 7 knots ground speed on our GPS with the engine not giving us more than 4 I'm sure. We finally got away from the island enough to use the reefed main, and with the current, made it to the hole in less than 40 minutes. That's good speed indeed, for us. When we got into the hole the ride really got wild. You could see the current flying by the large buoys in the hole and tipping them to about 30 degrees! We reached a top speed of 8.9 knots on the GPS! That's a new record for us! When I say we squirted out of the hole you can believe it!
The rest of the sail to Mattapoisett was uneventful and pleasant until we got about 4 miles out. Then the fog started to roll in to the point where visibility was reduced to 200-300 yards. That's when your thankful for a GPS/chartplotter and 3 extra sets of eyes keeping watch. Thankfully it lifted as we reached the mouth of the harbor and we pulled out without incident.
For a vacation that was supposed to have lots of t-storm, we really lucked out with beautiful sunshine and heat each day. What a difference from Champlain this year!
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