Wednesday August 9, 2017 I sailed from Great Island with food and water for three days. The skies were clear and the wind was from the southwest at 10-15 knots. I was close hauled but I had the tide with me as I negotiated the Point Judith Breach Way. Still close hauled I made the east gap and then as I rounded Point Judith I was able to move to a broad reach. Tarpaulin Cove lay 35 nautical miles ahead and it was already 1pm, I wanted to arrive before dark. Much depended on what the wind and tides had in store for me. It would be close but everything felt good so I decided to go for it.
Instead of moving a mile or two further east toward the center of Vineyard Sound I stayed close to Sow and Pig Reef and the east side of Cuttyhunk. This shortened my route just a bit but I met some very steep two foot standing waves as the southwest wind now down to 10 knots met the ebbing Vineyard Sound current. In most places the current was around 1.5 knots but it was closer to 2.5 knots in the 15 to 20 foot water I was cutting through. I was a little concerned as Skorpa buried her bow deep into the waves, as deep as I have every buried her bow. I was unsure how long I would face these waves or if they would get worse before they got better. Of course I never should have cut this close to the reef or negotiated the shallows with a strong apposing tide, but Skorpa shook off the waves and plowed on and after 15 minutes or so I was out of the shallow water.
The sun was getting low, but the Cuttyhunk harbor looked full of masts and to enter it from the east I would have to navigate the notorious Canapitsit Channel. I decided to press on. The sun was just setting as I passed Nashawena. Quick's Hole is a good anchorage and very accessible, but I was only and hour or so away from Tarpaulin Cove so I decided to continue. The lighthouse on the bluff and the mouth of Tarpaulin Cove were welcome sites. I set the anchor in ten feet of water with the last bit of daylight.
There were a few other boats at anchor in the cove including the 108 foot Top Sail Schooner Shenandoah. The next morning I sailed around her to get a closer look. She was built in Maine in 1964 along the lines of the 19th century Schooner, Joe Lane. She was built and to this day operates without auxiliary power. The Shenandoah was crewed by a couple of dozen middle school students who seemed to be having a whale of a time, hauling together on halyards, climbing out on the bowsprit, and jumping into the water from the side of the ship.
I anchored over closer to shore so I could step out into knee deep water and wade ashore. I walked a path up to the top of the bluff to get a closer look at the Tarpaulin Cove Lighthouse.
I left Tarpaulin Cove in the afternoon with the ebbing tide of Vineyard Sound. I sailed about 6 nautical miles directly into the southwest breeze. I passed Pasque Island and entered Quick's Hole. There is a wide sandy beach on the east side of Nashawena. I anchored, and then pulled the stern into the shallows hopped out and went for a walk. The beach is wide and a mile or so long. On the far end I met one of the cows that graze the island.
Skorpa naturally lies at anchor facing into the wind. The waves were being refracted as they worked their way around the tip of Nashawena and into Quick's Hole. This resulted in the waves hitting Skorpa broadsides. This isn't really harmful and during the day you might hardly notice it, but down in my bunk it can make for a noisy, bouncy night for a light sleeper. I set out a second anchor to hold Skorpa's bow into the waves and had a quiet night below. Good thing as tomorrow I wanted to sail with the outgoing tide which would begin to ebb at 4:30am
There was not much wind, but it was behind me and the current was with me.
Farewell to the Elizebeth Islands.