Rhode Island Sound cruising suggestions

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La Sirena

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
122
Location
United States
Vessel Name
Untethered
Vessel Make
Selene 57
I'm looking for some suggested cruising areas in the Rhode Island Sound area.

My brother will be flying his small private plane to Westerly State Airport (near Watch Hill, RI) or Newport State Airport (near Newport) for about a week's visit on our boat. He prefers the one near Watch Hill.

I was thinking of spending about 2 days each in Newport, RI, Martha's Vinyard, and Block Island. Are there other places we should be considering in that area? My boat has a 6'-6" draft, so there are some places I can't get to. I'm at Block Island right now.

Thanks in advance for the local knowledge!
 
The whaling museum in New Bedford and downtown New Bedford in general is worth the time in my opinion. The waterfront is more rough or commercial and not as pretty as say Newport but there are a number of nice recreational marinas. The museum is fascinating and the town is just loaded with history. You can see the fake (Hollywood-constructed) pulpit in the chapel they used for Gregory Peck's Moby Dick. About 38 water miles from Newport if you're boating it so not very close though. We have good memories of dinner and drinks at the Whaler's Tavern on a cold rainy night in late April.

(Just googled to refresh my memory - that pulpit was actually constructed by the church years after the movie because tourists were so often disappointed at not seeing a "bow pulpit.")
 
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Book a mooring in Newport and particularly Martha’s Vinyard (Edgartown) well in advance.

To hang out before picking up or dropping off your brother in Watch Hill, there is a nice anchorage just to the west. Depths will be a little tight going through Little Narragansett Bay to get there, so watch the tides. You can get into Watch Hill Cove to pick up or drop him off. The cove is full of permanent mooring so no anchoring, but the anchorage to the west is much prettier.

David
 
Agree on Cuttyhunk. Bristol RI also nice.
 
Been a few years but I think info still mostly accurate...

Cuttyhunk - Mooring first come first serve. Inside crowded. Outside less so. Limited food choices but they may still have a seafood boat bopping around. Neat place for walking.

Marthas Vineyard - Oak Bluffs - Crowded, rafting with strangers on moorings and noisy. But fun for a visit by quick bus trip from Vineyard Haven. VH most moorings are first come first serve although one marina has reservations. Love VH. Gannon & Benjamin is great traditional boat yard, with museum pieces (sailboats) on moorings there. Inside breakwater crowded (harbormaster controlled) and no wake from ferry. Outside open but ferry wake. Edgartown reservations for mooring. Neat place to visit. Can bus or bike between all three towns.

Woods Hole - Eel pond. Small harbor teeny draw bridge great Oceanographic Institute you can walk through.

Neat places in Buzzards Bay. PM me if you want more info. Spent more than few decades in that neck of the woods.
 
Oh dang. Just noticed your 57'. It is my understanding that moorings may top out at 50'. You may want to inquire. Sorry. VH has a good anchorage as does other places in New Bedford.
 
Last year we went to Edgartown and anchored outside of town past the Chappy ferry. It was a good anchorage, but it was end of season and not many boats. We love Block Isl. I ran into a woman this morning with a Cuttyhunk shirt on and asked her about it. The inside harbor has a 50' limit, so we would need to anchor or get a mooring on the outside. No problem as long as the weather permitted.
 
Nantucket has a great nautical vibe and history. It's hard to make recomendations without knowing your preferences. Are you looking for locales with an active night club scene, local craftsmen and women, long walks on the beach, Monster Truck Shows....everyone has a different idea of what makes a good seaport
 
FYI Nantucket will take up to a 85' on its moorings. First come, first serve there as well. Anchoring inside is an exercise in risk management with the currents proximate to the anchorage. Boats get helter skelter in that anchorage.
 
FYI Nantucket will take up to a 85' on its moorings. First come, first serve there as well. Anchoring inside is an exercise in risk management with the currents proximate to the anchorage. Boats get helter skelter in that anchorage.

They sure do get helter skelter. That anchorage has a strong reversing current which can cause all sorts of mayhem.

I was sitting on our sailboat at anchor in Nantucket having a cold one when I noticed our neighbors sailboat about 100 yds away beginning to hobby horse at an angle to the current. I mentioned to my wife that the rode was probably wrapped around its keel. After about ten minutes of this it suddenly straightened up and started drifting downstream towards the inlet. I was pretty sure what happened.

So I jumped in our dinghy and while firing up its O/B noticed another neighbor waving. So I ran over and picked him up and we headed over to the loose boat. Its rode had apparently sawed through on the keel. Fortunately he had a spare and we deployed that and it caught.

We secured the boat and went back to our respective boats. An hour or so later the owner with his wife and child returned and had a puzzled look on their faces until he looked in his anchor locker. He cranked the engine up, raised the spare anchor and probably headed over to pick up a town mooring.

FWIW the harbor master was worthless. My wife called them on the VHF as we were heading over to rescue it. The harbor master just shrugged their shoulders and did nothing. If the boat hadn’t had that spare it would have been swept out of the inlet.

By the time of that incident I had experienced a couple of wraps with soft rode and had installed all chain rode on my sailboat. All chain doesn’t wrap, and if it did it wouldn’t saw through.

Less likely to happen with a trawler, but probably possible with soft rode.

David
 
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The Nantucket Harbormaster was (is?) infamous for being a DB. Knew generations long residents who had run-ins with him. Always took a mooring there. Or I left. All chain should not wrap, but if it did, the keel may be sawed through a bit.

Got wrapped in Provincetown on a mooring pennant with an adverse wind. With an 8' keel and some grunting with no results decided to take a risk and fire up the putt-putt and bump it off. Thankfully it worked.
 
You brother could also fly in and out of block island. Gives you a different radius for a week of cruising. The pond is a secure anchorage for all types of weather. Some of the other areas aren’t fully protected.
 
Three options for mooring in Newport
1. Old Port in Newport is now on Dockwa so easier to get a mooring in advance
2. The Harbor Master in Newport is now renting out empty private moorings to help with the crowds Call on 16 / 14 when in the harbor.
3. Newport Moorings. Cell phone only. Neil Gray. (401) 742-8490
 
Second Lollygag1's suggestion for Bristol. It's about 12 nm up Narraganset Bay from Newport.

Bristol Harbor is a very popular destination usually full of boats. You might have trouble in some spots with your draft, though I often see similar sized boats at anchor. Depending on when you would arrive you might also have trouble finding a mooring ball or even space to anchor. Arriving during the beginning of the week (not Friday or Saturday) would increase the chances of finding space.

You might also be able to tie up at the Herreshoff Museum's docks, which seem to be able to accommodate very large boats.

Bristol is a delightful town. A visit to the Herreshoff Museum is a must, to see a stunning display of amazing sail and powerboats.

https://herreshoff.org

Many fun bars and restaurants easily walkable from the harbor. Aidan's on Sunday night is popular with locals for live Celtic music. Also Portside, Judge Roy Bean Saloon, Cafe Central (Portuguese), Quitos (another loved local seafood eatery), Le Central (French), Sakuratani (Japanese-quality udon noodle soups), and the Bristol Oyster House (the name tells you what you should get there).

Also an easy walk from the harbor is Pivotal Brewing, one of the best breweries in New England (according to my old man taste buds). Delicious beer in a beautiful space, a restored 19th century factory manufacturing building with soaring 50 ft high ceilings. Right next door is Brick Pizza (beer and pizza is one of the best combinations known).

Bristol is a charming historic town with many historic houses, very pleasant to just walk around and sightsee.

If you have ground transportation (or Uber/Lyft) the neighboring town to Bristol also worth a visit is Warren, with many excellent restaurants. Bywater is my favorite and is a culinary experience. Also Square Peg, Revival, Waterdog (a very fun casual pub), and Chomp (maybe the best hamburger you'll ever have).

Have fun!
 
Personally prefer the non tourist traps. Have had a berth in Naragansett Bay for years and years.
Avoid block
Wickford
Bristol (Herreshoff museum)
Apponagansett Bay (Padanaram)
Jamestown
Watch Hill
Pt. Judith
In Buzzards Bay
Cuttyhunk
Marion
Onset ( nice calm beaches with warm water)
Woods hole
Avoid Nantucket unless you have deep pockets
For MV prefer Oak Bluffs but need to plan ahead. Tight inside.
Like with the Chessie you could spend a life in Naragansett Bay and not be bored. The small towns generally have better restaurants as the tourist traps raise the prices and are just interested in moving volume during season. Even places like East Greenwich or the other small towns on west passage are fun and interesting and you avoid the tourist crowds. Restaurants serve the locals so must be priced fairly and good to stay open.
 
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WOW, thanks for all the recommendations! Keep 'em coming. I'll have fun putting together an itinerary.
 
I'm not sure what this means.....but Google maps is showing the Salt Pond on Block Island is closed.
 

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Three options for mooring in Newport
1. Old Port in Newport is now on Dockwa so easier to get a mooring in advance
2. The Harbor Master in Newport is now renting out empty private moorings to help with the crowds Call on 16 / 14 when in the harbor.
3. Newport Moorings. Cell phone only. Neil Gray. (401) 742-8490

A fourth option would be to pick up a mooring with Conanicut marina in Jamestown and dinghy or take the ferry over to Newport.
 
I'm not sure what this means.....but Google maps is showing the Salt Pond on Block Island is closed.

Well, I was there three days ago and it was open then.
 
Shark (Mako) sighting in Block Island boat basin on Monday. Watch your toes.
 
We left Block Island Salt Pond anchorage about an hour ago. Sadly the Harborside Inn burned in the early hours of Saturday morning. It is a total loss. Everyone was safely evacuated. We had drinks on their porch 2 days earlier.
 
Tragic news about the Inn. Thankfully the fire did not spread.
 
And the Newport Boat Show, Sept 14-17.

https://newportboatshow.com/

We'll be there, save me some RI chowder at Anthony's.

Even better! Newport is spectacular. We discovered it just last year on our SilverSea Cruise. Of course we have heard of this moneyed seaport forever, but after the visit we just had to come back.

I think it was here were we got the famous chowder, and we had an interesting outing to a oyster farm.

https://www.blackpearlnewport.com

https://www.inahalfshell.com/journal/rhode-island-oyster-tour
 
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At the risk of some thread drift, yes, we'll also have dinner at the Black Pearl, outstanding chowder there too (and food in general, and they make one of the best Dark & Stormys I know), but we always do Anthony's for lunch, and their RI chowder. I grew up next door in Connecticut and we used to make fun of "watery" RI clam chowder (as opposed to Manhattan or Boston) but -- well, Anthony's also has those very thin shelled steamers and some other things that would justify the cost of a plane ticket across the country. Haddock. You can't get haddock anywhere in South Dakota. And then we'll have to drive to Noank for a lobster roll at Abbott's, but okay, sorry for the thread drift. Can't help it.
 
Book a mooring in Newport and particularly Martha’s Vinyard (Edgartown) well in advance.

To hang out before picking up or dropping off your brother in Watch Hill, there is a nice anchorage just to the west. Depths will be a little tight going through Little Narragansett Bay to get there, so watch the tides. You can get into Watch Hill Cove to pick up or drop him off. The cove is full of permanent mooring so no anchoring, but the anchorage to the west is much prettier.

David

Edgertown I think is better than Oks Bluff for a mooring. But there bus service is great and you can see the whole island.
 
Avoid Newport, unless you want to hobnob with "yachties" and enjoy being overcharged for everything.

Bristol, RI, is great - your length may be an issue but check with the Harbormaster. Also, East Greenwich, and Wickford.

Lots of nice places in Buzzards Bay with moorings (again your size may be an issue).
 
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