My friends Charles and Hilary were going down to Cuttyhunk for the Fourth of July and asked if I was going down. I told them I would see them there. We had invited my friends John and Lorie as well, as we thought this would be a good introduction to cruising for them.
John, being relatively new at owning his own boat, and having never been to Cuttyhunk, asked if I would come along with him, instead of sailing down on the Pretty Gee. As it didn’t really matter what boat I got there on, I decided to catch a ride on s/v Felix.
I headed over to Marion on Friday, and helped get s/v Felix ready for the weekend trip. One of our tasks was to fill the water tanks. This would have been much easier if some idiot hadn’t left his small runabout parked on the town water dock. Lorie asked me to back Felix into the dock. The trick was to get Felix on the dock without crushing the 20′ runabout that was parked there. I backed Felix in and left the runabout under the dinghy on the davits. This made docking a bit tight, but allowed us to get the water tanks topped off. While we were filling the water tanks, the captain and crew of the runabout came to the town dock, and started complaining about where we were docked. I mentioned that they weren’t supposed to leave boats unattended or parked on the town dock, and they went off grumbling. Rude powerboaters were going to be an issue for the weekend.
I also spoke with Patrick and his wife Michele, on s/v Cheers. Cheers is an Iroquois Mk II catamaran. Patrick is planning on launching her in a couple of weeks. Here’s Patrick and s/v Cheers.
Saturday morning, we left Marion for Cuttyhunk. There was a pretty solid breeze, in the low teens and slowly building out of the west. As we were leaving the harbor we decided not to set the screacher. I told John that the wind would probably be too strong for the screacher, which ended up being the case. Here’s a short video of s/v Felix doing about 7.5 knots in 10-13 knots of true wind out of the west.
Coming into Cuttyhunk is an adventure if you’ve never done it before. The harbor channel is fairly narrow and very close to the island’s beach, as you can see in this screen shot of the chart for Cuttyhunk Harbor.
The island itself is much like a place out of time. There are only about five cars on the entire island, and the people on the island know each other. There really isn’t a lot to do on Cuttyhunk, unless you like walking. It doesn’t have the vast variety of bars, restaurants and such that you might find in other destinations. In fact, the island of Cuttyhunk is dry, so if you like to drink, you’d better pack what you like to drink.
There is a mooring field with public rental moorings available on a first-come/first-serve basis. We decided to pick up a mooring, since we knew we were having some problems with the windlass from our previous NEMA weekend. Charles and Hilary, in s/v Ship O’ Fools, their Corsair 31 CC, were already anchored north of the mooring field when we arrived.
Charles had seen us as we were coming into Cuttyhunk and swam over to meet us. He and Chris went swimming. The water was a bit cold for those of us not wearing wetsuits to go swimming. The reason he was swimming is that Hilary had taken the dinghy to Cuttyhunk, and she and their guests, Karen and Mark, were playing tourist on the island.
A little while later, Mark and Doug, Hilary’s father and younger brother showed up in Mark’s boat, Makani. They eventually went back out to pick up a mooring just outside the harbor, since all the harbor moorings were taken. While they were looking for a mooring, a big powerboat, which I’m going to call the m/v Obnoxious, showed up. These guys would prove themselves to be world class assholes and drunks besides.
Saturday night, s/v Felix hosted a potluck dinner. Mark, Doug, Hilary, Charles, Doug, and Karen joined John, Lorie, Chris and I aboard her. This is one place where Felix seriously rocks… I can’t imagine trying to host dinner for 10 aboard the Pretty Gee or Ship O’ Fools.
The fireworks started a bit after dinner did. The drunken idiots on m/v Obnoxious seemed to think having the world’s loudest air horn meant that they had to blow it every ten-to-twenty minutes. This went on well into the night.
Sunday morning, I awoke to one of the most amazing sunrises I’ve ever seen. There was an “X” formed by two jet contrails that crossed and were being lit by different shades of pink, purple and gold. However, I found that my camera’s battery was dead, as was my cellphone… so I grabbed John’s camera, only to find he had no space left on the memory card in it. ARGH….
Then, I saw the captain from m/v Obnoxious getting in his dinghy with his small yippie dog. As he pushed off to walk the dog, he yelled up to his crew that they should fire off the air horns again. This was before seven in the morning on the 5th of July… fortunately, his crew was too lazy to do that.
Charles ferried the crews of s/v Felix’s and s/v Ship O’ Fools to shore and we went and had breakfast. We walked up to the bed & breakfast and had a very nice breakfast. After breakfast, Hilary took Lorie, Chris, Karen, and Doug on her 30 minute walking tour of the island. Charles took John and me back to Felix.
After Lorie and Chris got back, we headed out. Originally, our plan was to go to the Martha’s Vineyard, but for various reasons, we decided to cut that side trip out and headed up to South Dartmouth, where we were going to stay on a mooring that Charles and Hilary owned. We met up with Ship O’ Fools in Clarks’s Cove and went ashore.
In South Dartmouth, we met Greg and Mara, friends of Charles and Hilary’s. It turns out that several of Mara’s friends are also friends with John, Lorie and Chris. What a small world it can be at times. Even though Greg and Mara had to go off to a dinner engagement, they were gracious and generous enough to let us use their home for dinner.
After dinner, we headed back to s/v Felix for the night. John and I would take her back to Marion the next day, while Lorie and Chris went to Marion by car, so Chris could get to Tabor on time.
Monday, we awoke to a very calm morning. If there was any wind, it had gone elsewhere for the morning. Charles ferried Lorie and Chris to shore and headed off to work. John and I got underway, and it looked like sailing wasn’t going to be an option. This was during the 8:00–2:00 dead spot you see on the graph below. Motoring back to Marion wasn’t too bad, but both John and I would have preferred to sail. Oh, well…
Once back on the mooring, in Sippican Harbor, John and I had a list of things to get done. We dropped by R&W Enterprises to get some better docklines for s/v Felix and some new lines for s/v Pretty Gee. If you need running rigging or docklines, I would highly recommend you see them. We also dropped by West Marine and picked up some carbon monoxide detectors and other gear that John needed for Felix.
I think John, Lorie and Chris have been bitten by the cruising bug pretty badly. I know that Chris is looking forward to his father buying an outboard for their dinghy.
Monday Evening—July 6th
Monday evening, I drove over to Falmouth to meet Michele, her husband Bruce and their friends PJ and Becky. Michele and her husband are a couple I know via the Anything-Sailing sailing forum, which was setup by my friends Alex, Chris and George. The five of us went out to the Silver Lounge, which was recommended by PJ. The four of them are some of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Here’s a photo of Michele and me.
Michele and her husband, Bruce, are restoring a wooden motorsailer, named Quidam. I look forward to seeing their work progress…