New Bedford to Martha’s Vineyard

To get to Martha’s Vineyard, it is necessary (to save a long and convoluted journey) to go through Woods Hole. Strong tides run through here, so it is prudent to get there at slack water. This meant an early start for the usually-late risers onboard Lady Jane.

But before leaving, we needed to get some diesel. Fortunately, Sea Fuels also make an eye-blurringly early start, so at 0645 on 12th  July we slipped our lines and headed to the fuel dock. Although Sea Fuels cater predominantly for the fishing fleet, they are very welcoming of yachtsmen. We received all the help we really did need. I hadn’t seen a high-pressure diesel pump before, so I appreciated the tuition – and the diesel spill cloths just in case I cocked things up. This is also one of the cheapest places from which to buy diesel, and the additional discount for Boat US members makes it into an even better bargain.

With fuel in the tank, a deadline to make, and only a half hour of slack water before the tide turns, we motorsailed to Woods Hole. Despite arriving a little early, it transpired to be a fairly benign sail through it with only one disappointing knot added to our boat speed.

Martha’s Vineyard

Our early departure and steely determination resulted in us being only the second OCC boat to arrive at Edgartown in Martha’s Vineyard – a rare novelty. This meant we had a great pick of anchoring spots and were able to get close into the beach. 

Because of our closeness to the beach, I thought it was safe to launch the paddle board. The seas were reasonably flat and the wind fairly light. So I blew up the board to its recommended 15 PSI (bloody hard with a hand pump) and chucked it in the water. 

The last time I used a paddle board was March 2014 in Singapore. But like riding a bike, it is not. With a bike, once you have learned to do it, you can always do it. With a paddleboard, leave it too long and you are a beginner again. It felt like the first time on a board, and I made a complete arse of myself before eventually managing to stay upright for a short distance. More regular practice required I think. That hadn’t escaped the attention of Julian and Patricia who later joined us for drinks onboard Lady Jane. No-one ever sees the good bits, do they?


The next day we walked up to the Stop and Shop supermarket to buy some much-needed supplies and later met up with the rest of the rally folks at the Edgartown yacht club for drinks. Initially, the plan was to go there on Saturday, but with a jacket and tie dress code and a fleet of salty sea dogs with a warm-weather wardrobe, that wasn’t going to work. That yacht club is popular. At least their dinghy dock is. It’s hard to muscle in. Many folks had to climb over several boats to get on land. 

On 14th July we took a self-guided tour of Edgartown. It is a stunningly beautiful town to walk around; it’s picture postcard perfect, and it smells of flowers – everywhere. It’s amazing. Again we walked up towards the Stop and Shop, but this time towards the Bad Martha’s brewery, recommended to us by Peter and Patty.  On the way there, Maria tried out an electric bike, we stopped at the wine shop to restock on wine boxes. And we called in at a fishing tackle shop to buy a new lure in an optimistic attempt to break the current fish-less streak we are enduring. After all, Jaws was filmed here, so there should be some big fish around.

Bad Martha’s is a fun place. Although small, there is an excellent selection of hand-crafted beers and it draws in a lively crowd. The beer was flowing and the Saturday crowd were enjoying a lazy afternoon basking in the sunshine, listening to a very talented singer/guitarist. Maria and I stayed for one drink, tipped the singer, and trudged back down with our wine boxes and fishing tackle to Lady Jane. We had an appointment with a bunch of dinghies.

Dinghy Drifting in Edgartown 

Mike and Jane, the organisers of the rally, started the dinghy drift from the back of their boat, Jamin. Our collection of tenders didn’t quite qualify as a dinghy drift as we were tethered to Jamin. This is just as well given the current at that time and the amount of traffic out on the water. But eventually the line was metaphorically cut, and away we went, drifting between all the parked yachts and superyachts. And occasionally dodging some of them with judicious use of an outboard motor. 

As we drifted, the salty sea dogs passed around their starters to share. Some of the OCC folks have impressive culinary skills. Meatballs, stuffed peppers and bacon, mini pizzas and more dips than you could shake a carrot baton at passed our way. Even we had upped the quality of our offering – this time we brought hummus and crackers. 

Continuing past one of the larger superyachts, the passengers in the hot tub at the front offered to send us some more wine if we run out. That was a thoughtful offer, but alas the time was not on our side. It was getting dark, and some of the OCC folks had prior engagements to attend. For us, and Julian and Patricia, this was the last day of the rally – we planned to go to Nantucket – but this was a great way to end it. It is never goodbye though, one of the great things about the OCC is meeting more like-minded people. And the chances of seeing them somewhere else in the world are thankfully high.