Preparation for the Overnight Crossing

Those in powerboats can cover much ground in little time. So this next part is not so important to you. But for us sailors hoping to do six knots, a fifty mile run is an all-day affair. And when hopping off from Buzzards Bay you hope to make, in order, Scituate, Isles of shoals, Casco Bay, Boothbay and finally Rockland. Each day is 40 to 55 miles and 8 to 12 hours. If we leave early on Saturday 07/18 from Buzzards Bay, and experience very good weather, stopping each night would get us to Rockland no earlier than Wednesday night, five long days.

Therefore an overnight run of 30 hours adds three days back to the heart of our vacation! It is much easier than you expect, especially with the security of others nearby. We will travel as a group keeping each other in sight. After sundown we do hourly radio checks with each other.

If the 48 hour weather forecast is in our favor, we depart Sandwich on a course of 038 magnetic. If the weather is not in our favor, a run to Provincetown on Sunday followed by a Monday/Tuesday overnight is a possibility. All boats must have at least three in crew, each taking two hours at the wheel watch. We try to maintain a 5.5 knot average speed, sailing when able, motoring when necessary. At sundown all crew on deck wear life jacket. We keep two in the cockpit through the night, while the third sleeps. At each change of watch the crew at the wheel turns in, the crew on deck takes the wheel and the new crew keeps the skipper company. There are a few fishing boats working the waters and they seem to be aware of our presence before we are aware of them. But we cross no shipping lanes in the night. In July the time of total darkness is short, light to the east arriving just after 0400. There will be half-moon on this date. By 0800 Monhegan is usually in sight.

Off New Hampshire we will be about 35 miles from the coast, beyond sight of land and beyond capabilities to reach the Coast Guard. Prepare for things that “go bump in the night”.

• Remember the rule of thirds for fuel consumption. Anticipate headwinds. Bring extra fuel in jerry cans. Bring extra oil, filters, belts, impellers, etc.

• Be sure to test your navigation lights, your compass and dashboard illumination.

• Bring backup GPS and VHF units.

• Bring extra batteries for them, lots of batteries.

• Be sure that your radio is transmitting and receiving at a distance.

• Do not leave the cockpit after dark.

• Double up the dinghy tow line.

• Wear your life jacket – attach a whistle , waterproof signal light, & handheld VHF

Photo: Landfall (Kate Fuss)

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