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Ahoy from New Bedford/Fairhaven, MA!
Today has been a long day which started with us leaving Provincetown shortly after 7 AM. The forecast was for 10-15 kts gusting to 20 kts out of the SW, which was pretty much the direction that we were headed. We watched the weather on the TV before departing and they said that rain was headed our way. The winds were lighter than forecast and we had a better wind angle than expected, so we got to motor-sail for a while. Then the rain came and the wind shifted to being on the nose, so the sails came down. Do you remember the 10-15 kt forecast? Well, as usual the forecast was wrong and we had 20-25 kts gusting to 30 kts. I can assure you that the later is massively different from the former!
Unfortunately the winds remained pretty consistent at 20-25 and this generated very steep waves with a very short period. A 4 second period is typically considered very short and steep, but we had a 2-3 second period with 2-4 foot waves. Yuck is all that I can say! The waves finally died down as we approached the Cape Cod Canal, but that sure took a long time.
Transiting the Cape Cod Canal requires careful timing. The current through the canal can reach 4 to 6 kts, so you definitely don't want to have it against you. Another problem is that you don't want to have current ebbing into Buzzard's Bay if you have southerly wind blowing against it. I've made that mistake before and you end up with extremely steep waves at the exit which exist for several miles. I had planned on getting to the entrance of the canal about 1.5 hours before slack tide and exiting the 10 mile long canal just at slack tide. What I didn't plan on was the extremely slow passage across the Cape Cod bay which put us about an hour behind.
Even though we arrive an hour later than planned, the current should still have been with us as we went through the canal. However I think that the strong winds were blowing water into Buzzard's Bay and out of the Cape Cod Bay, basically moving the tidal cycle forward in time. So, instead of having current with us, we had up to 2 kts of current against us. It took quite a while to make it through the canal, and somehow or another we ended up with current WITH us as we entered Buzzard's Bay, which set up steep standing waves. Can you say "not fun?"
We had planned on pulling into Marion but decided to keep slogging forward to shorten our tomorrow's trip. So we headed to New Bedford/Fairhaven, which was about another 14 miles. The entire trip was very, very wet which crusted BlueJacket and myself with salt. At around 4 PM we pulled into New Bedford, which is a very interesting harbor. They have a hugh breakwall with a storm gate that they close during major storms to protect the harbor and the cities. It was a long day so we didn't explore the city.
Tomorrow we're headed to Newport, RI where we've been offered a free slip from one of the readers of this log.
For the cruiser: We anchored just past the flood doors and to the east of R2 in a 17' deep section of harbor.