Tales of The Sea

Weather Insanity Off Westport

We’re in Newport for the Boat Show. Our plan is to spend a couple of days in Newport, then Watch Hill, and end up Sunday morning in Jamestown.

This is my first time attending the Boat Show by boat. I booked this trip back in the winter since marinas and restaurants are super busy this week.

Because of this, there wasn’t any option to move it out due to weather, so “The Good Ship and Crew” were pretty much committed to a Wednesday departure.

I watched the forecast all week and it never looked great, but it never forecast the conditions we ran into.

The wind was blowing 18 knots when we left Mattapoisett. We’d traveled to Block Island in worse winds, so I was expecting we’d just slow down and ride through it.

It was sloppy around West Island, but I told everyone that I expected us to hit big ocean rollers and smooth out once we left Buzzards Bay.

I then checked the marine forecast and noticed the wind speed was picking up…

For the first time in my boating life, the big ocean rollers failed to appear as we entered Rhode Island Sound.

Instead, we hit some of the most insane waves I’ve ever seen about a mile off The Wild Cat.

If you’re not familiar with The Wild Cat, you should be before you pass Westport. It’s a very treacherous rock outcropping that extends over a mile into Rhode Island Sound.

Anyway, Peter and I shot some video, but as we hit the worst of it off The Wild Cat, everyone was holding on for dear life.

The waves were about 6 feet, but very closely spaced. They reminded me of the waves you often see at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal, except those waves only last for about 1,000 feet. We were 2-3 miles offshore and completely surrounded!

I tried to turn and run with them abeam, but they were so close together that Vigilant was rolling 45 degrees from side to side.

I ended up zig zagging my way to Sakonnet Point and avoiding the whole mess by running down the Sakonnet river to Tiverton and coming into Newport from the north via Narragansett Bay.

We did capture some decent video that I put it together along with Gordon Lightfoot’s Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald.

Enjoy!

Categories: Tales of The Sea

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