Suggested Anchorages Cruising Cape Cod and Her Islands
Quisset Harbor (Buzzard’s Bay side of Cape Cod near (just NE of ) Wood’s Hole Passage) lovely spot, quiet, secluded, no services—just peaceful, small beach, nice hike out to “the knob”. Great place to wait for favorable tide through
Wood’s Hole**, or to spend the night before the boat has to be back in Onset, Mattapoisett or Cataumet the following morning (nice angle of sail on return to most of our mooring locations in prevailing SW wind)
**Important note about Wood’s Hole” If you have never used Wood’s Hole as a passage from Buzzard’s Bay to Vineyard Sound or vice versa, (or even if you have many times as I have) I cannot stress enough the amount of respect you need to give this tricky passage. It is narrow and winding. There is no room for mistakes as there are rocks on either side of the channel. The current at height of Ebb & Flood is extremely fast and manipulative. There is usually traffic going both ways to have to deal with, some of whom do not seem to know the rules of the road. On the Vineyard Sound side there are ferries coming out of Great Harbor channel crossing the passage, and coming in from the Vineyard who have no interest in moving one inch from their path. Under no circumstances should you attempt passage if there is fog or low visibility of any kind. I recommend going through Wood’s Hole within an hour of SLACK TIDE or with the tide slightly against you, (which gives you more control than if it’s carrying you forward). Study the charts carefully before entering the passage and identify every buoy.
Hadley’s Harbor on Naushon Island (on right side just as you enter Wood’s Hole Passage from Buzzard’s Bay and, as such, another good stop for awaiting a favorable tide or weather situation). Quaint, lovely, quiet with horses grazing along the shore; Excellent place to duck high winds; great inlets to explore by dinghy. Private island—going ashore a no no.
Tarpaulin Cove and Quick’s Hole—on Naushon and between Naushon and Nashawena—nice day stops for lunch/swim in the lea. Quicks is nice sandy white beach. Quick’s Hole can be used to pass between Buzzard’s Bay and Vineyard Sound if Wood’s Hole is unfavorable. Day anchorage only.
Cuttyhunk Island—tiny island, crowded anchorage but kind of fun place to stop and walk around. Lovely view of Elizabeth Island chain from top of hill, fun walk. I believe there is still a little penny candy store on the way up the hill from the main dock which we lived for as children! There’s a nice bed and breakfast called “Cuttyhunk Fishermen’s Club” which serves a mean breakfast, and you can also eat in or take out at Bart’s Place.
Lambert’s Cove on North side of Martha’s Vineyard on Vineyard Sound side. Nice beach with dunes for a swim and picnic lunch in normal SW wind. Day anchorage only.
Lake Tashmoo only approachable if your vessel draws 4’ or less!! If you can get in, this is a lovely peaceful “lake-like” setting from which you can walk to Vineyard Haven while avoiding hustle and bustle of the more busy and commercial Harbor of Vineyard Haven. Note: approach entrance way to the left of the jetty and take a dog leg right and left again at the last minute (there is a very shoal spot just in front of the entrance.) Ditto on exiting (opposite of course)
Vineyard Haven is large and accessible and perfectly fine if you need to stop. The town is dry (no alcohol) but lots of fun and great restaurants (the famous Black Dog) and shopping. Great bike rental shop with access to nice bike trails out to West Chop, Tisbury and Edgartown. The negative is that ferries come in and out all day and night which make for a busy and wavy anchorage.
Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. One of my favorite spots. Easily visible by Cape Poge Lighthouse and a lovely long entrance by lovely beaches and a lovely array of very yachty yachts.
You can reserve a mooring in advance ($30 per night) by calling the Town Harbormaster’s Office at (508) 627-4746. Oldport is the launch service now ($2 pp each way), or dinghy to Edgartown Marine where Navigator Restaurant to the left of the Edgartown Yacht Club. If Edgartown is too crowded, go on way past all the boats to Katama Bay for privacy and quiet (do be aware that it’s a long dinghy trip to town in that case.)
If you do anchor in Katama Bay, you can dinghy over to the barrier beach and enjoy total privacy with the same great waves and sand you find at South Beach. Allow more than one day on the Vineyard—Great bike paths—good bike rentals, explore Gay Head cliffs, beautiful white, sandy South Beach –big breakers for bodysurfing.
Take a ride in a classic bi-plane or go parasailing out of Oak Bluffs. Great folk music at Wintertide Coffeehouse or R & B normally at Hot Tin Roof. Great restaurants. Try Seafood Shanty in Edgartown for great seafood dinner. Navigator is fun too, esp. for bloody Mary’s and appetizers like cherrystones on the halfshell! Great breakfast at Garden of Flowers Café. Oak Bluffs is worth a visit if you have kids, just to ride the carousel.
Nantucket Harbor (about 4 hours’ sail from Edgartown with a Sou’West breeze) Spend two days. Biking or roller blading (great dedicated bike paths), gorgeous beaches, fishing, shopping. Great restaurants.
You can call ahead and reserve a slip from Nantucket Boat Basin at (508) 228-1333.
You can reserve a mooring from Nantucket Moorings with a Mastercard or Visa at
There is a 2-day minimum ($45 per night = $90). Deposits are non refundable. If you need to change the date, change must be made one full day prior or you will forfeit $90 deposit. You can call in for a last minute reservation by VHF –they monitor Channel 68.
Osterville on Cape Cod (on the way back from Nantucket maybe—check water depth there at low tide though!!!!!!! Refer to your Guide for all Cape anchorages—my knowledge of this area is completely limited.
Red Brook Harbor, Cataumet MA (Kingman Marine Center and Parker’s Boatyard for services and restaurant. Good spot the night before you have to be back at Onset or Mattapoisett . good services, and Chart Room is a fun bustling restaurant. Make reservations now (508) 563-5350.
Sippican Harbor (Marion) Mattapoisett and Apponagansett Bay (Padanaram Village, So. Dartmouth) are kind of fun, quaint small New England spots to visit and have dinner. Special favorites in the restaurant department are Mattapoisett Inn (Mattapoisett), Bridge Street Café (Padanaram) and either Village Market, Christy’s or Riverside Grille for great breakfasts/brunches and lunches (also Padanaram)! Marion is a good anchorage in most all weather conditions, although there’s not much room—call ahead for mooring to Burr Brothers or Barden’s Boatyards. Mattapoisett and Padanaram are fine except in a Southeasterly wind in which case they are quite open to the weather and rolly/unprotected. Call Mattapoisett Boatyard for Mattapoisett Moorings and Concordia Company for moorings in Padanaram harbor (or call me if you’re in a jam for mooring).
New Bedford/Fairhaven has an anchorage behind a large Hurricane Barrier Sea wall for truly horrid weather. While there, take your kids along the cobblestone streets to the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Seaman’s Bethel—incredibly well-preserved traditional city full of history.
Call to discuss itineraries for other areas! We wish you fair winds and smooth seas! But don’t blame us if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Remember this is New England. “…If you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes…” . We do our best, but don’t always get the weather we order for our clients!
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About Us | Yacht Search | Bareboat | Crewed | Boston Charters | 1-Minute Interview | E-Mail | Links | Home