Exploring Cape Cod's South Shore
July 15-16, 2010
A log by Tom Erickson W275 Possum
After finally getting a mooring near our cottage in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, I began many pleasant day sails out of Lewis Bay in W 275, Possum. Views of the Kennedy compound, Hyannisport, Ted Kennedy's 50 foot schooner Mya and beautiful seaside summer homes make Nantucket Sound a pleasant place to sail. Not to mention the almost daily 15-20 knot SW wind, which provides exhilarating sailing. Being a Wayfarer sailor, however, creates the wanderlust. I always want to go further and see what's around the next headland.
So I began planning an overnight to Falmouth's Waquoit Bay (maps above), an ESE sail of about 15 NM. Normally this would be a wet upwind tacking job but on this day, I was favored with a 15-20 knot NE wind giving me a downwind sleigh ride under single-reefed main. Surfing down the following 3-5 foot seas I raced along at 5-6 knots with occasional bursts of up to 9.9 Knots.
My course led me past Hyannisport, Craigville Beach, Wianno Yacht Club, home of the Wianno Senior, a beautiful 25-foot wooden gaff-rigged sloop, one of which was owned by Jack Kennedy.
After several hours of thrilling sailing, the bluffs of Falmouth Heights came into view. Now a short run along the beach would bring me to the entrance to Waquoit Bay. I turned and beat up the narrow channel to meet a fleet of happy 10-year-olds heading out in their Optimist Prams. Fortunately I made it in one tack as there is not room in the narrow channel to tack. Once inside the bay it was calm and I found a deserted beach to pull over and eat a late lunch of sardines and beer. Now the search for the perfect anchorage began. On a car drive through the area a few days previously, I had spotted a quiet cove at the north end of the bay. With only a few feet of water running over the entrance bar, I had to row in. I thought it looked lovely from a distance but it turned out to be swampy and promised a night of bugs. Upon the advice from a local fisherman, I headed over to Washburn Island, where I could anchor on the south side of a secluded sand spit. A gentle north wind would keep me gently rocking at anchor just offshore.
Following a pleasant dinner of seafood salad and some delicious goat cheese on crackers, I went exploring on an island trail. A pleasant 1.5 mile hike led me south to Vineyard Sound where I sat on the beach enjoying the view of Martha's Vineyard about 5 miles to the south (chart above). Back at the boat I soon fell asleep, but shortly awoke to the sound of youthful voices. A view out the tent window revealed a gaggle of kids running up and down the beach with headlamps chasing crabs. What fun to be a kid! Their families were camping on the island, a remote conservation preserve. A warm night with no bugs gave a restful sleep.
The forecast for Friday was W wind turning to SW growing to 15-20 kits with gust of up to 30 kits and potential thunderstorms in the afternoon. With that coming, I knew I should get an early start back. A quick breakfast of yogurt and fruit, and I was headed out on the ebbing tide. Contending with the narrow channel proved interesting. The channel between the jagged rock breakwaters was facing SW and there was a weak W wind I knew I couldn't tack out, so rowing would have to do the job. Once safely out, I hoisted the full main, winged the jib and began the leisurely downwind ride home. As predicted, the wind gradually increased, and by the time I got close to home port, it was blowing 15-20 again when I raced into Lewis bay, my home port. Where to next? Martha's Vineyard would be only a few more miles. East toward Chatham's Stage Harbor is another possibility. There's always another headland to see what's around.
A nice following wind and sea pushed me east to Falmouth…
at speeds of up to 9.9 knots…
with great views of Hyannisport and the Kennedy summer homes.
A quiet lunch spot inside Waquoit Bay.
A safe anchorage on the lee side of a sand bar.
Settled in for the night.
A pleasant downwind ride home.
Who's sailing this boat?
Past the Wianno Yacht Club.
And into Lewis Bay where Possum is moored.
Lewis Bay (1) - Waquoit Bay (4)