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Author Topic:   Nantucket Island
Keith Silliman posted 10-05-2000 06:46 AM ET (US)   Profile for Keith Silliman  
This is not a trip or rendevouz, but I think the post is appropriate for this forum. Has anyone taken a Montauk or similarly sized Whaler from the Cape to Nantucket (and I don't mean on a trailer in the ferry)? I would be intersted in the details of this experience. Thanks.
andygere posted 10-11-2000 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I've made the crossing in a 20' Aquasport (my uncle's)years ago. I'm pretty sure we launched at Sasquetucket Harbor in Harwich. He had Loran, which came in handy in the fog. Like all other boating, pick your days carefully and watch the weather.
KCarlsen posted 10-11-2000 07:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for KCarlsen  Send Email to KCarlsen     
Keith, I fish and vacation Martha's Vineyard many times each year and while I haven't personally done it, a trip from the Cape to Nantucket is possible if you choose the correct weather. I have seen days when the water is flat and a trip would be pleasurable and safe. I have also seen days when I wouldn't want to be on the water in a 30 footer. The risk and concern comes from the unplanned and fast moving storm. I have seen them roll in unannounced and it would be downright suicidal to be out on the water in a Montauk. Fog is a totally different story. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if the water is calm and stays that way for an extended period of time, you could go 60 miles off shore, but I don't know of a crystal ball that allows that kind of prediction. I play things safe and stay within sight of shore when I'm in a small boat and in an open ocean. One other option and also a good practice is to travel with another boat that could handle the bigger seas so that if you had to bail, you might lose a boat but you would be alive to tell about it. Hope this helps. Kurt
triblet posted 10-12-2000 10:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Here's the crystal ball:

Your taxpayer dollars fund the Navy Fleet
Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography
Center (FNMOC, or "Fleet Numerical") in
Monterey, CA. They run predictions of
swell heights world wide, and post the
results on the web. This data has taken
all the guesswork out of when to to diving
and when to go surfing.

Chuck Tribolet

bigz posted 10-12-2000 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
The area off the south shore of Cape Cod can in a blink of an eye turn pretty nasty with virtually no warning ---will even shut the ferries down on occasion ---

Keith you can always play safe or as safe as one can be by running out of Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard then run along the eastern coast of the Vineyard you will go around Cape Poge, you then only have a short open water distance to Nantucket --- think maybe 15 miles or so and on a clear day can keep both in sight all the way --- there are some shoals and ledges in Muskeget Channel which is the area of open water but with a good chart and a course plotted before starting out should be a piece of cake even in a Montauk.


KCarlsen posted 10-13-2000 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for KCarlsen  Send Email to KCarlsen     
Tom, Excellent advise. I fish from East beach and on a clear night I can see the lights from Nantucket. Your directions are definetly the shortest and safest route. The east shore of Martha's vineyard is sheltered has has the calmest waters. I plan on doing this trip when I finish my restoration. My in laws live there so I visit quite often. Kurt
TheWiskey posted 07-15-2001 02:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for TheWiskey  Send Email to TheWiskey     
George and I did it once (wile in college); we took a marine chart, a small ladder as a ruler and plotted the heading. We were off so fast, we used only a compass and we hit the island on the north end. We launched from Chatham and there was a place were two currents meet that gets very rough.
PDM posted 07-19-2001 02:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for PDM    
On a clear day with relatively calm seas its not a difficult trip. From Chatham to Monomoy Point you are in fairly protected water. At the tip of Monomoy you have the rip currents which can get pretty rough even on a calm day but once past that its a straight shot over to Nantucket and if you have the correct compass bearing (or better yet a GPS)you should have Natucket in sight less than 20 minutes after losing sight of Monomoy. On a nice summer day there is a lot of boat traffic out there which should give you a little peace of mind. The ramp at Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich is a good starting point although there is a fee to launch. Keep an eye on the weather, during the summer most days start calm and the waves build during the day because of the normal winds out of the SW.


PDM posted 07-19-2001 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for PDM    
Previous reply posted 7/19/2001 not 2000
simonmeridew posted 07-19-2001 09:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
Do you have a destination in mind once you get there? Where do you tie up? Anchor in the harbor?
TightPenny posted 07-23-2001 02:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for TightPenny  Send Email to TightPenny     
Somewhat off post, but I am looking to take my Montauk to the Cape, possibly this summer to visit friends in Orleans.

Are there any public ramps in the area. I have heard a lot about fishing near Monomoy, and would like to try it out.

Any advise would be appreciated

sorcerer posted 07-23-2001 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for sorcerer
PDM posted 07-25-2001 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for PDM    
The fishing off Monomoy has been great. Blues and Stripers all over the place. This past weekend one of the charter boats had a run-in with a large shark who was very interested in the striped bass that they were reeling in. They haven't decided if it was a Mako or Great White but the incident occurred about a mile offshore and has a few swimmers concerned. I'm familiar with the ramps in Chatham and Harwich. Stage Harbor and Ryders Cove have very little parking, Saquatucket Harbor has good parking but charges a fee to use the ramp. The sandbars around the Monomoy/ Stage Harbor are very difficult, they change from day to day. Although some of the channels are marked with buoys you might find that the channel is not where the buoy says it should be. Some channels have filled with sand and are impassable at low tide. I'm out there every weekend and I usually just wait for a boat that draws more water than mine and follow him through. Whaler is the only boat to have in the area and you will have plenty of Whaler company. For parts or service Nauset Marine in Orleans is the place to go. Have fun.


PDM posted 07-25-2001 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for PDM    
One more thing.....

Here's a helpful website for the Chatham area. It has a link to a webcam that looks out toward Lighthouse Beach.

The weather link is good for up to date current weather in the area. The weather station is about a half mile up the beach from Outermost Harbor.


TheWiskey posted 07-29-2001 12:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for TheWiskey  Send Email to TheWiskey     
Mr. Paul!

Can I jut tell you how kool that link is. I am in Venezuela and I have the best memories from boating around Chatham. I have not been there in 12 years.


Maximus posted 08-04-2001 12:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Maximus  Send Email to Maximus     
I've taken my Montauk to Nantucket twice this season. I store the boat in the Bass River. From the 1 Mile Gong you are looking at 25 mile trip.

Just remmember - only on light north wind days.

Also be aware: Gas is $2.95/gallon, mooring fees are upwards of $20 and shuttle fees are another $7 per person, one way! If you have less then 3 people you are better off taking the SS Authority.

tabasco posted 02-11-2002 09:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for tabasco  Send Email to tabasco     
Here's a thought.......Follow the high speed ferry. Still would only follow it on a good day. Also if there is fog ......they have radar
Also make sure you whaler can keep up with it I think it goes 30-35MPH and takes about on hour
lhg posted 02-11-2002 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
When I was young and stupid, about 31 actually at the time, my wife and I, and another couple, experienced the WORST boating trip I have ever had in my life, to this day. We had to return from Nantucket to Hyannis in our, then new, 1971 16' Nauset, with single 115Hp Merc in-line 6, and two 6 gallon tanks under the console. I think this is a distance of 36 miles, open water. Inadvertantly, we gave the Whaler it's chance to save our lives.

It was the end of Memorial Day weekend, 1972, and the sky was clearing as a STRONG high pressure front was moving in. When I filled up the gas tanks, the fuel dock guy said we'd better get going if we're headed to the mainland, as there's gonna be a "blow" tonight. He said a couple of sailboats had headed out an hour before, and I later found out one of them didn't make it. We left Nantucket in calm waters, but with a freshening breeze, about 4pm, and clearing blue skies. This was before the days of having a radio and NOAA, satelitte photos, much less Loran. The little red Ritchie compass was it, and we were on our own, with one engine and 36 miles of open water ahead of us.

As we headed across, straight North, the wind and waves were building rapidly, right in our face, and the temperature was plummeting, from about 75 to 40. The 16' Whaler handled the waves amazingly well, keeping it's nose up and over each huge wave, with breaking white water on the top of each one.
I estimated waves at 10', but later heard on the radio they were running 13', and a lot of boats had gotten in trouble, including the 40' sail boat that had left Nantucket ahead of us, that went down. The other fellow with me had to stand in the bow, holding on to the bow rail to get the necessary weight up front, with the wives huddling behind the pilot seat for protection from the cold wind and freezing salt spray. Because of this, no one will ever convince me that one of these 16/17' boats should not have a bow rail. These things are life savers, and one of the features that made the early Whalers unique. Having his weight up front made all the difference in the world when the boat is lugging along.

In spite of the huge, breaking waves, the Whaler plodded along, wave by wave, mile by mile, land looming larger ahead every minute, but only visible as we came up on the top. It's strange, but after being out in conditions like this, you actually get the feel of the situation, and realize you will be all right, as long as the engine keeps running. Then, about halfway across, the engine dies. My passengers absolutely panicked as the boat turned sideways to the waves. I quickly switched tanks, prayed that it was only a fuel tank running dry, and the engine restarted on the other tank, allowing me to turn the boat back into the wind. These are times when you REALLY appreciate the great stability of the Whaler hull. The engine was getting a continual bath of salt water, but kept running. I had pulled the boat floor plug also, so the walls of spray could drain out. But the Whaler kept it's bow up surprisingly well, never getting a wave over the bow. We would look up at the next wave coming, see the top of it breaking, and wonder whether we'd get over it. Sure enough, we did, then surf down the back side of it and back up to the next breaking crest. The winds were blowing about 35mph, and the waves were short and steep, plus the Sound is quite shallow. Sometimes I thought I could actually see the bottom. Looking across the water, everything looked white, as the wind blew the tops off each wave crest.
Believe me, it was awful to be out in these conditions in a 16' boat.

Since we were heading to the source of the wind, I knew the seas would eventually get smaller, but not as fast as I expected. I knew we also didn't have enough gas to make it all the way into Hyannis. Fortunately, about 2 miles out, I found a guy in an OMC powered Lyman fishing, along the protected shore. The only boat out. We headed over to him, told him we had just come from Nantucket, and needed a few gallons of gas to make it in. His first comment was "You came from Nantucket, in this weather, in THAT?" All he could say was "those Whalers must be some boats". We crudely poured some gas from his 6 gallon tank into mine, spilling much of it, and made it the rest of the way in. We were cold, soaked, shivering and beat up pretty badly, the trip having taken four 1/2 hours, arriving just before dark. My hands ached from holding the wheel and the continuous throttle adjustments. I am absolutely convinced the Whaler saved our lives, and would not have made in any of the other outboard boats available at the time.
At the dock, we were a complete curiousity as word spread around that we had actually MADE IT from Nantucket in the Whaler in such terrible weather.

Until you go through an experience like this, you don't really know what it's like. But it's not fun, and even when I think about it today, I realize how lucky we were way back then. The early 1980's Whaler catalog used to say the following:
"Someday, either you are a member of your family may get caught out in weather where good seamanship alone will be insufficient, and your boat will be your only ally."

How true that proved to be for me. My seamanship, I think, was good, in handling the boat in these conditions, but my judgement, in deciding to even attempt this passage, was terrible. Today, thirty years later, would I attempt this same passage in these conditions in my 25 Outrage, twin engines, Mills canvas, complete electronics and 140 gallons of gas? NEVER. It was that bad.

tabasco posted 02-20-2002 05:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for tabasco  Send Email to tabasco     
ihg- Thanks for you story......glad it was you not me
ledfoot posted 02-20-2002 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for ledfoot  Send Email to ledfoot     

That's the kind of stuff that makes this forum so great. Stories and experiences. Thanks lhg!

simonmeridew posted 02-20-2002 08:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
I'm rethinking a trip I had planned for this summer to visit my son on Nantucket, based on a couple of things: wind, waves, and dockage. The story about the return trip by lhg is enough to make me wonder.
The regular steamship ferry goes about 15 mph, have checked with GPS, not bad for a displacement hull vessel i'm thinking, but anyway, another choice is to follow, discretely of course, the Steamship out of Hyannis, or perhaps the Hyline is an option.
The trip from Woods Hole, past the Vineyard would be a good choice if destination is Madaket harbor; I like fishing the flats around Eel Point in the summer anyway.
But the dockage issue is looming large.
In any event just wintertime dreaming of summer trips.
lhg posted 02-21-2002 08:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tabasco - I'd like to say I wish it was you instead of me! But I'd never wish a trip like that on anyone.

But, no one should let a story like discourage you from heading to Nantucket. Today, there is no excuse for getting caught in weather like that, and those kind of conditions are easily avoided unless you're
really careless.

About 5 years ago, in my 18 Outrage, I made the run from Woods Hole, to Edgartown (on Vinyard) and then across the banks to Nantucket, in nice mid-May weather, and it only took about an hour each way from Edgartown. Once there, the docks were empty, but they were saying that everything changes on Memorial Day.

These kind of open water passages are one of the reasons I'm such a fan of twin engines, or for mounting a kicker if you have a big single.

Keith Silliman posted 02-25-2002 05:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Keith Silliman    
LHG: Thank you for describing your trip. If I ever get back to Nantucket, I'll probably take the Montauk over on the ferry. Your last comment about not making the same trip in your larger Whaler is quite telling.


lhg posted 02-25-2002 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Keith - Remember I was saying I wouldn't make the trip from Hyannis to Nantucket in the 25 Outrage in the kind of bad weather which I experienced that day. But in fair weather, I would, even with a good navigation and communication equipped Montauk and adequate fuel capacity.

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