Vinalhaven to Wood’s Hole

October 31st – November 1st – Perry’s Creek to Wood’s Hole MA (Cape Cod)

We awakened at 0630 and enjoyed coffee and a fantastic “hearty” breakfast prepared by Jaime and left “pronto prontissimo” at 0730 as I said we would. At 0725 I was on deck hauling anchor while the lads were still donning their foul weather gear.

The storm was gone and partly cloudy skies and a bit of breeze from the SE boded well for our departure. As we motored through the Fox Islands thoroughfare into the morning light I again marveled at the beauty of the Maine coast – a beauty I don’t take for granted after having already sailed and traveled much of the globe.

Just before exiting the thoroughfare, we tucked into a cove and hoisted the main. Wow what a luxury to again have an autopilot that works! The new Simrad pilot is great and I can even program it to sail an apparent wind angle – such as 0 degrees when hoisting the main. Without having to concentrate on steering, I could give clear instructions to Jaime and Peter who are still “learning the ropes” so to speak….. There are A LOT of lines on Redwings and I was impressed to see Peter diagraming them all in his little notebook (I wonder what else is in there???? Better be nice….)

We were soon sailing on a close reach under full main, genoa, and staysail (a new sail – thanks Doug Pope) and six knots towards Matinicus. However, as we approached the Island, the wind died a bit and SSW – right where we were heading (Cape Cod Canal) and as this is a delivery and not a pleasure sail, we furled in the genoa, dropped the staysail and started motorsailing with the full main.

We bashed ahead and at 1800 started our watch routine:

1800-2000 Aaron
2000-0200 Peter and Jaime
0200-0600 Aaron
0600-1000 Peter and Jaime
1000-1400 Aaron
1400-1800 Peter and Jaime

So I had the first “night watch” and although it was a bit chilly and a bummer we were having to motor almost right into the wind, I was pretty excited to be out alone in the cockpit under the stars again offshore and finally headed for Southern climes.

Now I was “pretty sure” that the two port fuel tanks were full before we left. One holds 18 gallons and the other 50. I knew I had only about a ½ full starboard tank, but felt that with 68 gallons on the port side at say 1.5 gallons per hour motoring hard (we burn only 1 gph at low speed) we could easily make Stratford CT to rendezvous with Phil.

When we started motoring 1200, we were on the port 50 tank. At 2140 (luckily on my watch) the engine sputtered and died! WTF???? How could we be out of fuel? Well I guess I was wrong in thinking that the tank was full… In any event, I had to get the boys up while I bled the engine (got the air out….) and switched tanks. I estimate that we had only been motoring for 12 hours so I guess the tank was not full…. Strange however (and this saga continues…..)

We continued to motor sail towards the Cape Cod Canal and after a sloppy night were off P Town by 1030 the following morning and entered the canal right on time just as the tide started to ebb. We enjoyed a fast run through the canal at speeds as high as 10 knots! The fun soon ended however as we shot out the other side and entered Buzzards Bay and hit some serious (I mean SERIOUS) chop as the outflowing current from the canal collided with 20 knot winds from the SW funneling up the bay. Although we were moving at 4-5 knots (thanks to the current) every other wave broke completely over the boat. We were just BANGING as I kept looking nervously over my shoulder at the dingy swinging on the davits….

We finally bashed through and tried to set a course toward Cutty Hunk but we were only making 3 knots so I said screw it and we headed East towards Woods Hole – at least we will be able to get fuel there and a good night’s sleep I surmised.

Now Peter is a man of the 21st century and has a “smart phone” so I continually put him to work getting weather and other info. His task – find places that sell diesel fuel in Woods Hole. Well…. There were none! I guess I forgot that as we are now into November, there are not many folks pleasure cruising. Word was we needed to go to Falmouth to get fuel. We entered Woods Hole just as the light was fading and had a fun time trying to make out lighted and unlighted hazards, but were either skillful or lucky as we did not run aground…. We navigated through the channels and headed towards Falmouth – on the chartplotter I could see a yacht basin, which sold diesel fuel…. But as I approached, I did not see ANY masts in there and on closer inspection, the depth was only 6 ft at low tide. I bailed. Sorry guys, we are going back to Woods hole to anchor and will sort it out in the morning!

We had a close encounter with a ferry heading into Woods Hole and got thoroughly confused by the navigation lights that were NOT on our chartplotter…. But but being cautious and backing out when we were not sure and poking ahead…. We finally made the inner mooring field and given the late date, had out pick! Finally secure, we collapsed for a well deserved rest.

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