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Old 12-01-2023, 08:25 PM   #1
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Cape Cod Canal transit question

Hello all. Hope all is well with everyone. Quick question to the cape canal experienced captains.

I'm leaving Sandwich Marina tomorrow and would like to know best time to leave. From sandwich to buzzards bay. Seems calm enough tomorrow. Is there a certain time to leave? The tides are completely different on both sides of the canal.

Just trying to go the "easiest" way. I'm getting the boat hauled this week and kinda don't want to disturb things any more than they already are.

Thanks
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Old 12-01-2023, 09:00 PM   #2
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You must go with the current. Well thats me! Ether 2am or 2pm tomorrow.

The currents can hit 5 to 6 knots. So its best to with with them rather to fight them.
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Old 12-01-2023, 10:11 PM   #3
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As Iggy said, it’s best to go with the current. It usually gets up to 4 knots but can go higher. Traveling from Sandwich towards Buzzards Bay, you want an EBBING tide. For tomorrow, 12,2,2023 the first Ebb at Sandwich runs from 12:30am to 6:15am, the second one runs from 12:19pm to 6:39pm. Leaving between 2 & 3 will give you the best favorable current.

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Old 12-01-2023, 10:22 PM   #4
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As Iggy said, itís best to go with the current. It usually gets up to 4 knots but can go higher. Traveling from Sandwich towards Buzzards Bay, you want an EBBING tide. For tomorrow, 12,2,2023 the first Ebb at Sandwich runs from 12:30am to 6:15am, the second one runs from 12:19pm to 6:39pm. Leaving between 2 & 3 will give you the best favorable current.

Ken
What makes me a bit confused is the tide at buzzards bay it's 1-2hrs different. I'm trying to figure out the best time to leave on a following current t which is an EBB tide in my case but I don't want to deal with 2 much current.

First time transiting the canal in a boat new ro me. 79 albin 36 single screw. Not sure how it's gonna handle in heavy current. A couple knots ok but I'm a tad worried when the current can push me half my top speed.
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Old 12-01-2023, 10:39 PM   #5
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You can’t go by the tides. They are quite different at each end in both time and heights. If you’re concerned about too much current, leave at slack current which is about 12:30pm. It will be increasing as you go along but you will be through it in about 1.5 hours when you pass into more open water into Buzzards Bay. If you do that, the max you should experience will be about 3 knots at the Buzzards Bay end. That said, it’s really not a bad ride.

Plus, the tide won’t be pushing you. Your boat will be going through the water at the same speed it always does, but the land will be going by faster.

Ken
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Old 12-01-2023, 10:50 PM   #6
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What makes me a bit confused is the tide at buzzards bay it's 1-2hrs different. I'm trying to figure out the best time to leave on a following current t which is an EBB tide in my case but I don't want to deal with 2 much current.

First time transiting the canal in a boat new ro me. 79 albin 36 single screw. Not sure how it's gonna handle in heavy current. A couple knots ok but I'm a tad worried when the current can push me half my top speed.
Run your normal speed through the water and the boat will handle normally. You'll just be going faster or slower over ground. Just remember that if you're going with the current turns will need to be started sooner than normal, but as long as you're not trying to turn sideways to the current it's not a big adjustment.
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Old 12-02-2023, 06:34 AM   #7
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This afternoon If you are going west / with the current you are going to encounter a good southwest wind at the west end of the canal. Things could get sporty with wind against tide. I’d rather be fighting a current in the morning then getting my butt kicked in the pm. If it does get rough when exiting the west end of the canal / entering Buzzards Bay, stay as far left towards Wings Neck as depth permits. You should find the smoothest water there.

Let us know of your experience.
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Old 12-02-2023, 06:43 AM   #8
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If you use navionics, just zoom in and click on the current arrow and it will show you the current and direction at different times.

Good luck.
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Old 12-02-2023, 09:25 AM   #9
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This afternoon If you are going west / with the current you are going to encounter a good southwest wind at the west end of the canal. Things could get sporty with wind against tide. Iíd rather be fighting a current in the morning then getting my butt kicked in the pm. If it does get rough when exiting the west end of the canal / entering Buzzards Bay, stay as far left towards Wings Neck as depth permits. You should find the smoothest water there.

Let us know of your experience.
If it is rough, is that the area where it will be? How far out past the jetty before it starts to calm?
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Old 12-02-2023, 09:30 AM   #10
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Also you should monitor VHF channel 14 while you’re in the canal. That’s Canal Control. You’ll be able to hear if anything is going on like a big ship going through or if the Railroad Bridge is being used. (It’s left up unless a train is going over it - which is very infrequent)

Ken
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Old 12-02-2023, 09:39 AM   #11
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DO NOT exit canal in the afternoon when the SWerly smokes up (and it usually does). I have taken solid water back to my dodger on my 40' sailboat. Go in the morning with canal current using Eldridge. There is the old channel that peels off to the east as you exit but it is not an easy find and you will still get hit a bit before you divert. The rough water hangs around for at least the jetty and then some. The Buzzards Bay current is the least of your worries...
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Old 12-02-2023, 11:06 AM   #12
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DO NOT exit canal in the afternoon when the SWerly smokes up (and it usually does). I have taken solid water back to my dodger on my 40' sailboat. Go in the morning with canal current using Eldridge. There is the old channel that peels off to the east as you exit but it is not an easy find and you will still get hit a bit before you divert. The rough water hangs around for at least the jetty and then some. The Buzzards Bay current is the least of your worries...
I got slammed by this many years ago and it wasnít pretty. I was submarining through each wave. I was sure if the boat was going to stay in one piece, but it did.

That said, I have been through other times when it was calm and beautiful.

What I donít know is what the weather patterns are this time of year. In the summer there is typically afternoon wind in the ďwrongĒ direction. So just watch out for incoming wind on outgoing tide.
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Old 12-02-2023, 11:13 AM   #13
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Funny CCC story: My father boat a sailboat in Rhode Island and my brother and I were sailing it back home ( north of Boston ). We woke up to pea soup fog. My dad assured us it would blow over once the sun got a little higher. We put my brother on the very bow because he would have slightly more visibility because he was about 20 feet in front of us. We finally get to the canal and exhale, because that is straight deep water. "Just watch the depth sounder and you can stay in the middle", my dad says. We are putting along practically blind when we hear an air horn that is loud and close. Like piss your pants kind of loud and close. We couldn't even tell what direction the horn came from because the air was so thick and heavy with moisture. We look at the wake, turn 90 degrees and head for shallow water......just as a train goes by on the near bank of the canal and blows its horn again. Like most funny stories, its only funny because we were lucky and didn't get hurt.
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Old 12-02-2023, 11:17 AM   #14
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This afternoon If you are going west / with the current you are going to encounter a good southwest wind at the west end of the canal. Things could get sporty with wind against tide. Iíd rather be fighting a current in the morning then getting my butt kicked in the pm.
Sporty? I felt like I was inside of a washing machine. Yes, avoid a SW wind.
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Old 12-02-2023, 12:55 PM   #15
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The forecast is 10-18. If that’s true, it may be lumpy but nothing horrific.
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Old 12-02-2023, 01:10 PM   #16
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The forecast is 10-18. If thatís true, it may be lumpy but nothing horrific.
10-18 against an outgoing tide will get your attention.
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Old 12-03-2023, 10:55 AM   #17
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DO NOT exit canal in the afternoon when the SWerly smokes up (and it usually does). I have taken solid water back to my dodger on my 40' sailboat. Go in the morning with canal current using Eldridge. There is the old channel that peels off to the east as you exit but it is not an easy find and you will still get hit a bit before you divert. The rough water hangs around for at least the jetty and then some. The Buzzards Bay current is the least of your worries...
Uuuuuuuhhhhhhhh yup! Exactly what you said about not leaving in the afternoon(and I did, 1pm). That was the wildest ride I've been in. Not sure what the waves were, don't know how to give an answer in feet. But if I had to guess I hit a couple of 8-10fters and they looked about 5-7 average. Not what I wanted.

I've been fighting a shaft seal leak and looking to get back home (warwick RI). My bilge while running turns on every 20 minutes when boat is running.

Quick story,,, It was very nerve-wracking going theough the end of the canal because of my situation with the shaft seal.(don't worry, I have 2 extra 110 pumps to pump out if catastrophe happens)

After I passed the jetty about a half mile or so it started to calm down some. So I'm at the helm yelling at myself what I got myself into and I was in a bad mood. So I'm steering through 4-5-6 fters and going along and I hear the coast guard cutter(I forgot the name)calling and saying they will be traveling with a "red over red" because there port shaft seal is leaking and have to shut the engine down.

Immediately when I heard that I started laughing and my mood got so much better. See, I'm not the only one with issues out here,,,
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Old 12-03-2023, 11:57 AM   #18
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Glad it worked out.

Actually had a friend who was a TowBoat operator drown at the entrance trying to rescue a stranded boat.

Wave height is one thing, but these waves seem to break square. Hence minimal recovery between punches. We were pushed down to 1-2 knots at times (from 6+) when learning my lesson.

The part two for the DO NOT is a should not. I failed to mention that when we left Marion (just SW of canal entrance) to leave the bay we always left before noon to go to the islands. If going to Newport etc, we left by 8am to avoid the inevitable SWer. Otherwise you had a vigorous tacking exercise or pounding directly into short 4 foot ++ waves that may or not be fun anymore. So given the Buzzards Bay Afternoon Washing Machine it got tedious for us after many decades...hence the leaving early rule. Was fun coming back home though...many a 9+ knot ride back from BI surfing up the bay.
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Old 12-03-2023, 12:09 PM   #19
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Glad you made it through OK!
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Old 12-04-2023, 06:34 AM   #20
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Glad you made it through OK!
Thanks! It was a crazy ride to say the least. Those waves were crazy to say the least. Haven't run this boat much so wasn't too sure how she would handle. Knowing what I know now,, I wouldn't knowingly make that run again but I also feel 100% fine going through it if it happened.

If I had anyone aboard I would just tell them hold on and enjoy the ride.

The best part was coming into new bedford. To me the boat started to act a bit different. Especially passing through the hurricane barrier and into the harbor. The steering was sooo much easier. It actually steered fairly straight.

I was battling the whole time correcting alot more than I thought I should have been. After i docked and had a minute to relax I thought about it and figured (I hope I did) out why it went so smoothly,,, haven't driven this boat in calm waters.

It's always run in 2-3-4-5 knots of current and 3+ ft waves.
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