Marthas Vinyard Rendezvous
Bob Smith

Threatening best describes the weather conditions experienced during the Buzzards Bay rendezvous. Rain was predicted all week-end with a 20 knot Nor'easter on Saturday and a 25 to 30 knot Nor'easter on Sunday. Foul predictions however did not dampen the spirits of the four boat crews who came.

Crossing Buzzards Bay going to Woods Hole

Bob and Linda Chase in the Moon Breaker, a boat truly outfitted for all conditions, trailered down from Laconia, NH and launched on Thursday. They sailed through Quicks Hole and spent Thursday night in Tarpaulin Cove off Naushon Island. Friday they sailed over to the Vineyard and spent Friday and Saturday nights in Tashmoo.

Ed Goodhue our sailing local legend, in the Taurus, sailed to Hadley's Harbor off Woods Hole on Saturday. After a brief bout with a cantankerous engine, reportedly fuel problems, he sailed over to Tashmoo.

Just before the right of passage when we entered the outer limits of the Hole. Unfortunately we were to busy to take pictures at the entrance

Frank and Sonja in the ExploreTEN were our third boat. They trailered down from Burlington, VT and arrived late Friday night and launched Saturday morning. They were relatively new to their boat having purchased it in May. They may have been new to their boat but it soon became evident that they were old salts to sailing.

Feeding the localsin Tashmoo

There were four of us on the Mariah and we teamed up with ExploreTEN and departed New Bedford Harbor just after 8 am. The crossing to Woods Hole, a distance of about 20 miles was an adventure. The wind was 15 to 20 from the NE, which required a beat, with 3 to 4 foot seas. Both of us reduced our sail. The ExploreTEN reefed their main and jib while we sailed on the main alone. We had an interesting and snappy crossing arriving at the Hole about 11:30. Of course the current changed in the Hole at 9:45 and now we had the full ebb flow against us. Undaunted, we proceeded into the entrance where the current buffed the now 20 knot Nor'easter. For a short distance the waves built to 5 to 6 foot and breaking. This was our right of passage. The inner Hole is sheltered from the NE so the passage was flat although the current was strong. We entered Tashmoo and found the Moon Breaker about 1:45. Bob Chase joked that we were not expected until about 2 pm. Oh the advantage of providing a sailing plan.

More feeding the locals

As a group we toured Vineyard Haven and then ran into Ed Goodhue who arrived after us. Later we took a bus to Oak Bluffs and enjoyed a walking tour of the area. After a fine dinner we returned to our boats and settled in for the night.

Sunday dawned with the sound of rain about 6 am. I closed the companion way and returned to my cozy bunk. Our plan was to leave about 9:30 and sail through the Hole at 10:30 on slack water. About 9:30 I donned my foul weather gear and went on deck. Frank, looking equally impressive in his bright yellow suit on the ExploreTEN, appeared on deck a short time later and provided a good morning greeting. Since the forecast was for 25 to 30 from the NE with building seas we coordinated our departure and decided to have at it. The Taurus and Moon Breaker had departed just after 9 am and were already in route to the Hole. The rains ended for the rest of the day and the winds held steady as we crossed Vineyard Sound. Our passage through the Hole was uneventful. Oh the advantage of traveling with the current.

Warren sailing the Mariah back across Buzzards Bay on Sunday

Buzzards Bay was initially calmer than the Sound. We made good use of the calmer sea conditions by getting a bite to eat. The closer we got to New Bedford the more the sea and wind built. Eventually the wind was whistling through our rigging, but we were undaunted as we sailed beside each other and took pictures of each other and exchanged words of encouragement. We had conquered the Bay and we knew it, and now we were sailing into New Bedford at nearly hull speed.

Frank and Sonja sailing along side on the return trip across the Bay on Sunday.

We arrived at the ramp and found the Moon Breaker had just been hauled. Ed Goodhue had proceeded North from the Hole to his home on the Cape. Three crews made short work of hauling two boats. After some final farewells our Bay adventure was over. On to Boston rendezvous 8/25.

Frank is giving his thumbs up as he turns a good bow wave.