Tail of the Downeast Loop: Boston to Newport (BLOG)

Of diesel fuel, antique boat hooks, and headseas. From Boston to Newport through the Cape Cod Canal: The tail on the end of our trip trough the Downeast Loop.
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For the last two weeks, I have been wrought with jealousy.

Let me explain.

Towards the end of August a collective of editors from several Active Interest Media (the company that owns PassageMaker) Marine Publications have been taking turns running a brand new Cutwater 28though a Demi-Downeast Loop. We call it a demi-loop because Cutwater designed the 28-foot “pocket yacht” to be trailerable, thus giving the owners the ability to haulout and truck from place to place. This opens up a world of lake, river, and bay cruising that trawler owners may not have access to without the luxury of using interstate roads. (Honestly, I never tought I would refer to the highway as a luxury.)

Boston's Financial District, standing tall as we passed by.

Boston's Financial District, standing tall as we passed by.

In our case, the Cutwater began the loop in New York where it traveled up through Lake Champlain to Quebec City. (You can read Peter Jansson’s account of that leg by following the link here.) Once in Canada, instead of rounding New Brunswick and coming back down the coast from Nova Scotia, the Cutwater was put on a trailer and driven to Hampden, Maine, via pickup truck in a matter of hours instead of days and plopped into the water.

From Hampden, PassageMaker’s editor-in-chief, Peter Swanson, took over the reigns of the Cutwater to explore the Maine coast as I obediently sat at my desk in Boston melting into an office chair upholstered in the early 90s with our office air conditioner taking the day off. (You can read about Peter Swanson’s leg of the journey here.)

Salvation, sweet salvation.

Salvation, sweet salvation.

My task, along with SAIL publisher, Bob Bauer, was to pin the tail on the end of the Downeast Loop and bring the boat from Constitution Marina in Boston down to Newport, Rhode Island, where it would be in attendance for the Newport International Boat Show before heading south to Annapolis. Though not this exact yacht, Cutwater will have several boats on display during the show, including a (much cleaner) Cutwater 28 and the larger32.

As with nearly all boat trips, there was a snag. When Peter arrived in Boston on Friday, the first thing he said, with a smirk I must add, was, “there is a problem with the boat.”

Though the boat was a-okay, it turns out the fuel gauge aboard was displaying 1 gallon of diesel in the tank. To add, Constitution does not offer a fuel dock and it is “unlawful” to refuel via jerry can while tied up.

While tied up next to a center console name Boston Sea Party, we did our best rumrunner impression, dumped a quick gallon of fuel in the tank and cut the lines in search of a fuel dock. As soon as we started moving the fuel gauge jumped to about 40 gallons. Finding salvation at nearby Admiral’s Hill Marina, we took on 87 gallons of diesel until the gauge said full (100 gallons). For those of you keeping track at home, the math is a bit screwy there and our gauge is obviously not up to the task.

After leaving Admiral’s Hill, the cutwater rounded the island Logan Airport sits on and headed out to sea. Boston has a smattering of islands in its shadow, most of which are parks or old forts and are accessible to the public via ferry or boat.

I believe the old saying goes, "rough day at the office."

I believe the old saying goes, "rough day at the office."

After passing Lovell’s Island the Cutwater was met straight on by 4- to 6-foot, confused headseas; forcing us to press further out into the Massachusetts Bay than we intended in hope that we could steer to starboard and find ourselves a smoother ride towards the Cape Cod Canal.

Our approach helped, though the seas were confused enough that our pocket yacht was bumped around every now and then as if to remind us of the thrashing we took earlier.

Reaching the Canal around 3 PM, we slowed to the requested, no wake speed of 10 mph. Though only 28 feet and designed to be narrow enough for a trailer, the Cutwater is a heavy boat. This is no knock to the boat, as the C28 has an awful lot going on inside and is equipped with bow and stern thrusters and even a secondary helm in the cockpit. But a dry weight of 8,000 lb leave the little boat feeling its heft as you cruise and she pulls a sizeable wake at almost every speed.

As we popped out the other side and into Buzzard’s Bay the Cutwater was brought back up to speed, and once again lamented how we felt the boat needed trim tabs to reach its full potential. Which leads me to my second confession of this trip: after 6 hours of being thrashed in surf and standing on tiptoes to navigated through the minefield of lobster pots, we moved Bob’s iPad from its spot near the helm chair. Low and behold…trim tabs.

This boat really does have everything you can imagine.

In the Cape Cod Canal, the only flat water we'd see all day.

In the Cape Cod Canal, the only flat water we'd see all day.

Trim tabs down, the ride improved immensely and we picked up some added speed. The C28 still feels stern heavy, and can get a bit squirrely past 17 knots. But the ride was enjoyable and we reached Newport around 6 PM.

We even had the privilege of zipping by Gizmo, Ben Ellison’s cruiser of Panbo fame. Ben is on his was down to the BMC Harbor Marina in Baltimore where he will be presenting at this year’s TrawlerFest-Baltimore.

Along with the help of Paul Comyns of Intellian, Ellison will host an all-day seminar titled, “Everything You Need To Know About Marine Electronics To Make Decisions And Save Money.”

Running all day on September 24, the seminar will focus on the latest and greatest in current marine technology, covering communications, navigation, safety and entertainment. While the emphasis will be on dedicated marine electronics–because they remain critical to safe and successful cruising–Ellison and Comyns will also touch on the use of tablet and smartphone apps as valuable accessories. As an added bonus Gizmo will be on display, showcasing her extensive suite of electronics.

You can register for the Seminar by clicking the registration button above.

Somewhere, beneath all that salt, is the Pell Bridge.

Somewhere, beneath all that salt, is the Pell Bridge.

That is one heck of a 5-knot wake.

That is one heck of a 5-knot wake.

Passing by Ben Ellison's Duffy 37, Gizmo.

Passing by Ben Ellison's Duffy 37, Gizmo.

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