Northeast - Advice needed - navigating to Martha's Vineyard/Nantucket from Yarmouth

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03-06-2010, 08:43 AM
Hi - I have a 19' 145HP Grady Bowrider and am thinking about taking it over to either the Vineyard and/or Nantucket. I know weather is always an issue but am looking for people's experiences with their own travel over in a similar size boat. Thanks!

03-06-2010, 08:58 AM
athough my boat is 32ft. I will say I have had days going over in the morning that have been flat glass then to come back in the afternoon to have crap all the way back. one thing you could do is take a coast line approach in hopes the wave height is a little smaller. I have had to make the trip back running the coast before and is much longer but does ease the ride. I come out of bass river and probably the toughest spot is going to be going past hyannis. gets a litle choppy with all the boat traffic. just pick your days and be prepared. takes me about 45 mins from the river. you can use a mooring in oak bluffs for free as long as its not overly crowded to tie up for a few hours. I assume you have a gps which makes life much easier. great place to hang out have lunch etc. just watch the weather as always..

Cobalt 25
03-06-2010, 09:51 AM
We usually launch our trailer boat out of Bass River and have done Nan and MV dozens of times in boats similar to yours over the years. We have decided that it makes more sense to trailer to the Falmouth area for MV trips. It just opens up lots more opportunities to go to places like Cuttyhunk and Menemsha. If you PM me I can let you know where you can launch for free down there.

As stated above, the weather forecast is key for a Nantucket trip. Ideally you want calm seas, but if it's fairly calm in the morning and the typical southwest wind in the afternoon, 10- 15 knots or less, the return trip isn't bad.

Both destinations are great and doable with your boat with some planning and GPS.


03-06-2010, 09:52 AM
Boxcar is right, the mornings can be flat but you almost always will have a SW wind blow up by late morning or early afternoon. 19' is smaller than I would run across the Sound in, but that's just me, many 19's can do it without a problem, only you know you boats ability.

Headed to MV from Yarmouth, there is Bishop & Clerk's which is a rocky shoal south of Pt. Gammon, be sure to stay clear as there are some huge boulder there that will ruin your day. Continuing west, Horshoe Shoal has an area where there are exposed rocks, also stay clear, other than that it won't be bad in a 19' boat. There are shoals as you head west from the Shoe, should be enough water, but if the tide is pullin' against the SW wind, it could be hairy.

In fact, if you go, be sure to consider the tide in your plans. If it is running against the wind it will be worse than if the tide and wind are both fair.

The ride from Yarmouth to Nantucket is straight 180* and uneventful.

Finally, be prepared for fog and/or haze in the summer. It is almost as constant as the SW winds.

03-07-2010, 02:34 PM
Agree with Cobalt. Trailer to Falmouth and avoid Bishop and Clerks altogether. I've fished Middle Ground and the Elizabeths many times from a 19 footer and getting to the Chops or Menemsha on MV isn't that bad on a nice day. Avoid days where strong W/SW winds are expected. I wouldn't even attempt Nantucket in a 19' boat.

The key is to plan your trip with the tides. Even on a moderate SW, with a dropping tide you can get some pretty serious chop especially if you're navigating near Woods Hole. A SW wind blows right through Vineyard Sound and when against the tide can be quite nasty.

03-07-2010, 04:16 PM
just an fyi if coming from falmouth and going to OB be carefull coming around the corner near vineyard haven. gets a little choppy there to. you can always do what we do. try and time it right and run behind the high speed ferry. nice smooth ride as long as you can hang with him. he fast....

03-08-2010, 02:27 AM
If you PM me I can let you know where you can launch for free down there.

What's the big secret Pete?;?

Here ya go -

Cobalt 25
03-08-2010, 05:35 AM
loligo, nice link. "My" special launch area is included on it. But you guys can use it, too! (:


03-12-2010, 09:34 PM
I agree with Cobalt as well... trailer down to Falmouth/Waquoit then zip over. If it's crappy coming back, follow the ferry and let it knock everything down.

Legal Bill
03-18-2010, 05:42 PM
I'm in Falmouth and MV is my fishing ground. I did it all the time in my 23' Welcraft. I did it occasionally in my 19 foot Searay. The advice about the weather is key. Even in my 26 foot Robalo I have some unpleasant rides home at the end of the day.

03-18-2010, 07:46 PM
OK Guys,

Here is the scoop. A Grady White bow rider is now intended for the Nantucket Sound crossing. It is 30 miles of normally rough water. But can it do it... of course it can. Martha Vineyard is 3 to 5 miles out of Falmouth. Hell I sailed a windsurfer over... Of course you can do it. MV is a better introductory trip than Nantucket.

But the real question is how well do you predict the marine weather situation in the Sounds?

Second question is, if the answer to the first question is not "pretty damm well,"; how much of a "every wave in the face" sitiuation can your crew withstand? I remember 60 minutes of "every wave over the top and into my face" as a kid.... it didn't really bother me. Some crew it would freak out...

So, plan the weather. Plan the crew if your weather skills are not really good. Plan the level of potential misery you are willing to subject the crew to.... then go for it.

A Grady is sea worthy. A bow rider is not a ocean boat..... but can it get you there under the right circumstances? Yes. Know the circumstances.... and even if you are wrong (within reason), you have an hour of "every wave in the face" misery to withstand... no one has died from it. But it could really turn off a rookie crew.

So here is the boton line... go slow. Push things just a bit at a time. Learn as you go. Take your poundings in stride and be safe and have fun... don't freak out newbies. If you do, sell the boat before you lose too much money.

Again, can you do it... hell ya, on the right day!!!!! Could you possibly face 60 to 120 minutes of "every wave in the face" misery (especially in the afternoon)... yup. Could you face a life threatening situation... sure, but not useless you really blow it, I mean really blow it!


03-23-2010, 10:59 AM
There is a post on this forum from a fellow who wants to take his family across the bay from Scituate to ptown. He has a 21 whaler. Most people said something to the effect of "go for it." I didn't. We don't know how long you have owned the boat, your experience, the shape the boat is in, your emergency gear, how you react in an emergency, etc., etc. I hate to say it, but most of these questions are from guys that shouldn't be doing what they are asking about. No way would I take a bowrider on that trip - Grady or not. All it takes is one good wave. Do a lot of people do it? Sure they do. But if they are beginners, then they are just lucky.

Do what I did – go out a little further each time, gradually working up to a full crossing – which I would do at Falmouth. Be confident that you can handle the rough stuff, and know that you can get home even if it means going 5 MPH. Heed the advice about the wind and tides and make sure your boat, electronics and vests are all good. Try to find a buddy boat or throw a note up here a week or two before you want to try it – one of us might just go with you.

03-23-2010, 12:50 PM
My kid had taken his 18' Angler to ACK with 2 buddies...would I do my old body doesnt like slamming for 60 minutes. A bunch of 20ish year olds...they didnt mind!!

And falmouth to biggie...the kids sailed 420's from falmouth to Vineyard Haven...

Just check the weather, be responsible (enough), and take your time!

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