Nantucket Shoals and Beyond

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 1 Sep 2008 16:39
Noon Position: 40 23.6 N 072 04.6 W

Course: West sou'-west Speed: 6 knots

Wind: Northwest, Moderate breeze

Weather: Sunny

Day's Run: 140 miles

The tides were favourable, pushing us along at an extra knot or two so that as we approached Nantucket Sound we were sitting on a steady 8 knots. The sun was shining and the wind was fair so we went on through the shoals that lace the Sound's eastern entrance. Once inside we wouldn't have known that we weren't out on the broad blue ocean as the surrounding land is low and for the most part below the horizon. Late in the afternoon the wind died out and we were left drifting in some shoals just inside the southern entrance. Again I pondered options: start up the engine and motor out, drift, or drop anchor and wait for some wind. Drifting was not really an option as the strong tidal streams would have eventually pushed us onto a shoal, and I knew once I dropped the anchor it would require quite a fresh wind before I would haul it up again, besides, maybe where we were was a bit of a hole as far as the wind was concerned, so motoring clear was the logical if reluctant choice.

By 7 p.m. we were once more out into the Atlantic Ocean though still amongst some shoals with a couple of fishing trawlers nearby. I hopefully set sail in the light breeze but found it insufficient to overcome the north setting flood tide pushing us back from whence we had come. Another hour and a half of motoring had us well clear of shoals and currents and I could feel a light workable breeze upon my face - up sail. By midnight we were broad reaching with a fresh nor'-west wind, making a steady five knots plus. So despite a short period of drifting we have still managed to post a very respectable day's run. We are well ahead of where I expected to be and if forecasts prove true I figure we may even be back in Chesapeake Bay by Friday.

Looking at the weather fax this morning I am glad we are where we are and not to the north or south, with a gale around Newfoundland and a couple of hurricanes to the south, but all these lows are undoubtedly squeezing the high to our west and giving us these nice northerly winds. It's an ill wind as they say.

Bob Cat:

Skipper maybe a bit if a hard nose, but I managed to score a can of tuna this morning, and if we are making good time for the Bookstore that suits me.

All is well.