• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Sailing to Block Island. Some Opinions?

Status
Not open for further replies.

estopa

.
Feb 27, 2008
182
Oday 222 Milford, CT
Hi Folks, No sooner that this newbie gets back from the 120 mile rOnDAYvous trip that I have another opportunity to possibly sail out to Block Island.

My family is renting a house in RI (Narragansett or Charleston). I was thinking of trailering my 222 out to RI then launching from RI to the Block.

I am a little familiar with Block Island and was thinking of anchoring in the "Great Salt Pond". Or even getting a slip for a few days if possible. I'd like to take a week off in August to do this.

Questions:
1) best place to launch in RI? I know a few places but not all too familiar on whats needed or if we can launch a sailboat with mast.

2) Any insight to any anchorage in Block Island?

3) Any insight to any marinas to rent out a slip for a few days?

4) Any Misc. advice for this newbie? Am I crazy for doing this???
 
May 31, 2004
857
Catalina 28 Branford
Not crazy at all. You will just need to be careful with your weather windows and try to use the tides to your advantage. Be prepared to spend a lot more time out there than you might want, so have enough water, food, fuel, etc. You will need to watch out for the ferries as well, but its certainly a doable trip.

Finding a slip or mooring in Block during the summer can get crazy. All of the available spots can be taken by late morning, so reservations are highly suggested. The two marinas in Block that I know of are Champlins and Paynes (you have to go to the Great Salt Pond; I don't think there is any public recreational access to the Old Harbor). You should be able to google them and find out if there is any space (slip or mooring) for when you want to show up. Another word of caution: when things get tight, the marinas do some pretty hefty raft-ups to accomodate everyone. Make sure you know if that's what you will be getting into so you can be prepared. Block itself is great. Very low key and relatively undeveloped.

Launch ramps to access the ocean? I know there is one at the Charlestown Breachway, but other than that, I can't say. Btw, LOVE Charlestown. We have been taking summer rentals there for about 10 years or so, and find it to be about the nicest vacation spot we know.

Good luck and have a great time.
 
Jan 24, 2005
4,881
Oday 222 Dighton, Ma.
Hi Folks, No sooner that this newbie gets back from the 120 mile rOnDAYvous trip that I have another opportunity to possibly sail out to Block Island.

My family is renting a house in RI (Narragansett or Charleston). I was thinking of trailering my 222 out to RI then launching from RI to the Block.

I am a little familiar with Block Island and was thinking of anchoring in the "Great Salt Pond". Or even getting a slip for a few days if possible. I'd like to take a week off in August to do this.

Questions:
1) best place to launch in RI? I know a few places but not all too familiar on whats needed or if we can launch a sailboat with mast.

2) Any insight to any anchorage in Block Island?

3) Any insight to any marinas to rent out a slip for a few days?

4) Any Misc. advice for this newbie? Am I crazy for doing this???
No you're not crazy for wanting to go over to Block Island. It's a shorter run than sailing down to Martha's Vineyard, Cuttyhunk and the Elizabeth Islands which I would prefer over Block any day. Mike is right though. The weather window is very important in heading to block in a boat as small as ours. I've been over there twice. I sailed over in my boat and took the ferry with my wife. We were very disappointed with Old Harbor and New Harbor wasn't anything to brag about. The trip over there is nauseating on a good day. If I were you George I'd head inland down the West Passage of Narragansett Bay and circumnavigate that whole bay. My wife and I did this many years ago. Only we started from the Mount Hope Bay end heading out the East Passage to make stops at Newport and around Beaver tail Point and up the West Passage. If you go from Narragansett and come up the West Passage, you can make stops at Dutch Island Harbor. The holding ground is great and they have some free State of RI Guest Moorings. You can walk right across Jamestown to the other side where Newport is across the East Passage. Then a stop at Wickford RI is a good site to take in. Believe me. The waters are sail friendly and there is so much to see. When you are in the RI area and you need a radio check, call for it on Channel 24 and your voice recording will come back over the radio. This is a new free service to boaters compliments of Sea Tow. I tried it out yesterday on the Taunton River in Somerset and was able to hear my voice. Both the upper and lower parts of Narragansett Bays have so much more to offer than Block Island George. I'll never sail over to Block again and that's for sure.
 
Jan 22, 2008
597
Oday 35 and Mariner 2+2 Alexandria, VA
Well, they're all good...

I've done both, Block Island is a neat place, but expensive. I agree with the circumnavigation of Narragansett. I did several laps around Jamestown and looped Aquidneck (Newport) Island. A cool trip all the way. The Sakonet Passage is bucolic on the south end, rather rocky on the north, just don't be surprised at boulders COVERED in Bird Droppings in the pass. The West Passage is nothing short of spectacular. And the East or Middle Passage by Newport proper is well traveled for a reason. I have a bunch of pictures scattered throughout my albums at photo.onpar.biz. Check them out if you want. One of our all time favorite trips was south from Newport, west around beavertail then north in the West Passage. Cut back to the east and then north to Potter's Cove on Prudence Island, hook it for the night (eggs and bacon taste the best when eaten on the beach at sunrise.) Then north and around the top of Aquidneck past Bristol and south on the Sakonet and back to Newport.
If the destination is the goal, then I would press on to Mystic Seaport. If it is cutting your teeth in a bit of offshore, Block Island is a good starter, though Martha's Vineyard was cool too, albeit further. If it is the trip as a whole, there is so much to enjoy in the bay too without feeling "overtasked" and having to deal with fish havens etc. Let me know what you are thinking, and I can bounce you a ton of other info...my Wife should work for the Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce with her information and "sails" pitches on the area. I can also strongly recommend the Cruising guide to Narragansett and the South Coast of Massachusetts by Childress Childress and Martin. Fair winds for now,

Dan
 

estopa

.
Feb 27, 2008
182
Oday 222 Milford, CT
WOW awesome info. I've been kind of 'gansett-out' over the years. I've spent most of my summers for the past 10 years in Naragansett and have toured the area mostly by car or bike. Maybe by boat will give it a different perspective. I plan on day sailing the bay for the week while I am there.

I'd still like to do the the block for a few days though. I found these 3 marinas on the salt pond:

1 Champlin's Marina
2 Block Island Boat Basin
3 Payne's Dock

I mapped out a quick route: (21miles)


Tide Info for Pt Judith, Aug 23rd.
7:40 AM EDT High Tide 3.16 feet
1:40 PM EDT Low Tide 0.36 feet
8:03 PM EDT High Tide 3.32 feet

I am assuming I need to leave at low tide 1:40pm so I take the tides into the Sound as I am making my way? I assume 4 knots or about 5hrs to cross the 21 miles to the block?
 
Jan 24, 2005
4,881
Oday 222 Dighton, Ma.
It sounds like a plan George. If I ever decide to go over to Block Island again, and it will be a cold day in July, I'll take the ferry boat. When I sailed over there with my boat, I came into New Pond and anchored. It really wasn't what I would call an enjoyable trip over and back. I plan on sailing out to the Bays tomorrow morning to visit my favorite coves for a couple of days. Have a good trip.
 
Jan 22, 2008
597
Oday 35 and Mariner 2+2 Alexandria, VA
5 hours from beach to pond seems about right. Should make for a nice trip. Keep an eye on the weather though, if the wind shifts "wrong" you can easily end up with a head wind both ways. Since Narragansett gets a good stiff southerly every afternoon, if should keep you going in the right direction on your way home.
 
Jan 24, 2005
4,881
Oday 222 Dighton, Ma.
Dan is right George. Block Island is very expensive. When my wife and I used to sail over to the Vineyard from Mattapoisett, we found that the food prices in Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs were very reasonable compared to Block Island.
I often wondered why Block Island was the only place in RI where it was mandatory for motorcyclists to wear helmets. As soon as we got off the ferry, we actually saw a girl on a moped crash after spinning out on the road right in front of us. They experience more bike accidents on that island than anywhere in RI. If you want to see a lot of that island, you need to have wheels.
I've always loved Narragansett Bay especially the areas around Bristol and Prudence Island. I've spent many a night in Potter's Cove and you just can't beat places like Bristol or Newport for taking in the sites.
The fishing around Prudence Island is good right now and all you have to do is troll a lure while you're sailing. I caught a Snapper Blue Fish somewhere out on Mount Hope Bay last Wednesday. I didn't even know I had him on until I reeled my line in after we anchored near the Spar Islands. I prepared it with a couple of strips of bacon and added some milk to the baking dish with some salt and pepper and baked it on board. Man it don't get any fresher than that. I gave Penny half, and I ate the other half, and that was after I had eaten a dozen "Clams Casinos" that I had just baked around 9:30 AM.

Ahoy there, Phil!
We need to get a "Galley Recipes" section on this site.
Ahoy!
Joe
 
May 22, 2004
77
Oday 23 Bullock's Cove, RI
I agree 100% with Joe, there are so many places to see in the bay. I have yet to make the trip to BI so I have read the posts here a number of times. Thanks to everyone for your input.

Joe I was intruiged by your comment ....

".....is great and they have some free State of RI Guest Moorings."

I have seen the DEM Moorings in the past but did not know they were for guests.

Since I am always looking for a free mooring I was pleased to hear about these being for transients. I wanted to learn more so I contacted the DEM and asked for specific details and information, GPS locations etc and .... this is the reply I got today .....

".......forwarded your question concerning guest moorings to me this AM. The answer is that the Division of Fish & Wildlife used to set and manage several guest moorings in and around Narragansett Bay. Due to budget reductions and loss of personnel this service to the public had to be discontinued."

So I guess they are no longer available.

Have you used them this year?

If you have other suggestions on places to visit please write more. I often sail from Bullock's Cove to Warwick Pt an then around Patience passing through the channel between Prudence and Patience - it's beautiful in Coggeshall Cove - a little shallow but with the 23 its never been a problem.

Thanks for all your posts

James
 
Nov 11, 2008
54
Oday 34 Noank, CT
Ok George, Here's my 2 cents:

Go to Block, it's part of New England and everyone should say they've sailed there at least once. DON'T go this time of year. Seas can build to 6 feet real fast and that's no fun on a small boat. Watch your weather carefully when you do go. Blows come up suddenly and the holding sucks in New Harbor. If you can get a mooring do so. You don't slip in Old Harbor, you raft up and everyone traipse across your boat to get to theirs.
If you do go soon, have fun and be safe and DON'T FORGET THE PICTURES!
 
Jan 24, 2005
4,881
Oday 222 Dighton, Ma.
I agree 100% with Joe, there are so many places to see in the bay. I have yet to make the trip to BI so I have read the posts here a number of times. Thanks to everyone for your input.

Joe I was intruiged by your comment ....

".....is great and they have some free State of RI Guest Moorings."

I have seen the DEM Moorings in the past but did not know they were for guests.

Since I am always looking for a free mooring I was pleased to hear about these being for transients. I wanted to learn more so I contacted the DEM and asked for specific details and information, GPS locations etc and .... this is the reply I got today .....

".......forwarded your question concerning guest moorings to me this AM. The answer is that the Division of Fish & Wildlife used to set and manage several guest moorings in and around Narragansett Bay. Due to budget reductions and loss of personnel this service to the public had to be discontinued."

So I guess they are no longer available.

Have you used them this year?

If you have other suggestions on places to visit please write more. I often sail from Bullock's Cove to Warwick Pt an then around Patience passing through the channel between Prudence and Patience - it's beautiful in Coggeshall Cove - a little shallow but with the 23 its never been a problem.

Thanks for all your posts

James
Hi James,
I guess it's been a long time since I've seen these State of RI Guest Moorings. I didn't know that they discontinued that practice. Actually James, I think that I only used a guest mooring once since I've been boating in Narragansett Bay. I really prefer to anchor when I visit these areas. For one thing, my boat is small and I've always felt that someone with a larger boat should be on them and not my boat. So I stand corrected on the Guest Moorings. I know that they had four near Dutch Island Jamestown and two in Potter's Cove Prudence at one time. They never had any in Newport as far as I know. I guess things change after a while. I love Potter's Cove and Coggshall's Cove on Prudence Island. I've anchored in both of these places through the years and the holding ground is great. Coggshall and Sheep Pen are always clean for shell fishing. I enjoy kayaking in these areas from my boat. I sail out of the Taunton River and into Mount Hope Bay a lot. I like to anchor on the North side of the Spar Islands out in the middle of the bay. The holding ground is great and there are no mosquitoes. Bristol Harbor and the Kickamuit are loaded with mosquitoes. I also like Church Cove near Mount Hope Pt. Although it can be a little bumpy in there at times with a Southwest Wind and boat traffic going by there. Sometimes they have functions at the Cove Cabin with a dixieland band playing and a large tent set up for clam bakes in the summer months. Dutch Island Harbor near Fox Point has great holding ground in there. In Newport Harbor, there's a Potter's Cove next to the Newport Bridge with good holding ground for anchoring but it can be terribly bumpy with all the boat traffic in there. The Sakonett River,--forget it. Fogland Point is the only place with decent holding ground. I wouldn't trust too many areas in the river for anchoring except Third Beach which has so many rocks in that area that it's a bit scary. I've anchored in there a couple of times though. If you ever sail into Church Cove on the other side of the Mount Hope Bridge, stay in between Seal Island and what's left of the old dock of the Cove Cabin and go straight in. The holding ground is good. I've spent many nights in there. Dyer Island in the East Passages is nice to anchor on the inside, South of the old wreck. I love to beach comb that island. I think I'll sail there real soon this summer. These are the places that I continue to sail to on my boat and like I said, I prefer to anchor wherever I go. My anchor holds too well sometimes. I threw my back out last Saturday trying to pull my anchor up in the morning on the River. I think that I know what I did wrong and I'm going to make an effort to avoid doing it again. It feels pretty good this morning and I plan on going for an overnighter tomorrow. The wind won't be too good for bay sailing so I'll have to just hang out on the hook in my favorite cove on the Taunton River.
Have a great sailing season James. Maybe I'll see you out there some day. My boat is easy to spot with the small green kayak in tow behind her and of course, that "old geezer" with his dog by his side is always unmistakable.
Smooth Sailing!
Joe
 

estopa

.
Feb 27, 2008
182
Oday 222 Milford, CT
Thanks guys for all the good info. I'll be in Bonnet Shores around Aug 20 to the 30th. Sounds like you all really like just sailing the Narragansett bay. Maybe that might be the ticket for me at this time. Sailing to the block was just going to be a milestone. I've been there numerous times but usually by ferry and just do day trips. I could save it for next year.

Yes pictures will be posted for sure. Of course not before we post some pictures of the PJ raftup this weekend ;)
 
Jan 24, 2005
4,881
Oday 222 Dighton, Ma.
Thanks guys for all the good info. I'll be in Bonnet Shores around Aug 20 to the 30th. Sounds like you all really like just sailing the Narragansett bay. Maybe that might be the ticket for me at this time. Sailing to the block was just going to be a milestone. I've been there numerous times but usually by ferry and just do day trips. I could save it for next year.

Yes pictures will be posted for sure. Of course not before we post some pictures of the PJ raftup this weekend ;)
Hi George,
A trip to Block Island in an O'Day 222 is a must at some time or another. I did it back in the early 1990s but prior to sailing there, my wife and I had taken numerous trips to Cuttyhunk and Martha's Vineyard, plus a circumnavigation of Narragansett Bay, so I really had other places to compare with Block Island which I prefer more than Block Island. I can say now that I've sailed to Block in my little boat but at the time the trip over there wasn't what I would call enjoyable. The waters of Narragansett Bay on the other hand is so beautiful to sail and sight see. There are so many places to go to and spend overnighters anchored in a quiet cove. Check your chart for general anchorages. If the holding ground is mud and clear of currents, don't be afraid to anchor. I usually anchor in shallow water and use adequate scope. The more you anchor, the more confident you will become. Believe me, if your boat should ever slip the anchor for some reason, you'll know it instantly. As long as you keep your scope horizontal and never too vertical you'll be OK provided the holding ground is good. Have a great time out there. It would be wise to have a companionway bug screen on board and an 8'X10' polytarp to tie off over the boom to your lifelines. I prefer the Walmart Ozark Trail all purpose tarp. I bought a 3/8" grommet tool w/grommets, and some 3/16" braid line to use as ties for the tarp. It seems that most of the Polytarps I've had were always lacking in having the grommets centered in the center of the tarp at each short end that ties off to the mast and the end of the boom boom. Hence the need for at least two grommets on center. A 1/2" grommet tool would probably be better if it is available.
For a forward hatch screen, I made my own out of Vinyl screen and Velcro many years ago and just stick it to the inside head liner over the hatch opening. My screens seem to work at keeping the no seeums out. When it gets real hot or if it rains, I hang a 5'X7' polytarp over the forward hatch between the mast and the forestay and this thing acts like a big wind scoop. I've actually taken naps in the V birth with these tarps up on 85 degree days and woke up cold. Take care and enjoy the sailing season!
Joe
 
Status
Not open for further replies.