Yesterday, we continued our search for near normal Dock and Dine experiences on Buzzards Bay amid the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Thus far we’ve visited The Chart Room – which has recently gone from Dock and Dine to “Touch and Go” pickup only, and Oak Bluffs.

Last week I spoke to the Harbormaster at the Sandwich Marina who told me they were open and so were the restaurants, so we decided to head over on a chilly Memorial Day Weekend Sunday.

The wind was blowing 15-20 knots out of the Northeast and Buzzards Bay was covered in white caps. Mrs. Horne was leery about going so I told her that the worst of the trip would be right after we turned north around Angelica and if she was uncomfortable, we could head back.

Despite the widespread white caps, the waves were pretty much 1-2 footers – no probs!

Angelica Point Mattapoisett

The Cape Cod Canal – A Boating Sanctuary

Sandwich is an ideal destination for a Buzzards Bay Northeaster because the worst seas you’ll encounter occur in the first leg. Once you pass Bird Island, things start to calm down and half the day will be spent loafing along on the glassy Cape Cod Canal at 10 knots.

California Dreaming on the Cape Cod Canal

Mrs. Horne shot this video as soon as The Mama’s and The Papa’s classic started playing on Pandora. She once had aspirations of starting a band with her friend Charlene and this would have been their signature song!

It takes about 30 minutes to run from the railroad bridge to the Sandwich Marina. All was going well as I cut my speed to enter the boat basin.

Just as I was passing the fuel dock Vigilant coughed twice and died. Fortunately I had enough forward momentum to carry me to the dock and thrusters were fully operational. Mrs. Horne had already set the lines, so it was just a matter of working the thrusters and getting close enough for the dockhands to catch a line. All in all, I think it was a very elegant landing for no power!

This had happened once before when we’d run out of fuel (despite showing 60 gallons), so I started running through the process we used the last time.

The port fuel tank was showing 45 gallons – which is lower than I generally allow, so my first thought was that we were sucking air from that tank.

I crawled into the engine room from the aft hatch and tried to pump fuel from the starboard tank which was showing 102 gallons. The transfer pump failed, so I knew it was time to call Ned!

Ned Kaiser To The Rescue!

Understand, it’s 1:00 on the Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, but Ned picked up after one ring.

He had me try the engine and once again it kicked on and stalled. Mrs. Horne said there was white smoke coming out of the exhaust, so I asked Ned if we could switch to FaceTime so he could see what saw.

He said “Give me a minute, I’m out walking the baby…”

Anyway, he had me check the fuel filter – which was full and clear. He then suggested I switch the fuel flow from 50/50 to 100% from starboard tank.

And just like that the engine came to life and purred like a kitten.

Earlier, when I was struggling to start the engine, Mrs. Horne started talking about sleeping on the boat until we fixed the engine. I never mentioned it, but I knew Ned would never let things come to that; he’d be there in a flash if we needed him.

Later in the day we exchanged texts about the fuel tank issue and he confirmed what I already knew…

GRACIOUS SIDE BAR: I simply can’t say enough about Ned, he’s the most impressive young man I know (my son in law Brian notwithstanding). Since Mattapoisett Boat Yard starting maintaining our boats, we’ve never been stranded or lost a day at sea due to a mechanical failure.

If you boat anywhere near Mattapoisett, do yourself a favor and have the Mattapoisett Boat Yard service your little baby!

Not only did grace shine upon us in the form of Ned’s skill and dedication, it also let us run out of fuel right in front of the best fuel dock on Cape Cod.

Once she started up I let Vigilant run for a few minutes and asked Dwight (the Dockmaster) “Do you have 250 gallons of diesel?”

He said “250 gallons – I’ve got 6,000 gallons!”

Ron and Dwight – Following Covid Protocols

I’ve known for a while that Sandwich has the lowest fuel costs ($2.50/gallon) on the Cape, but yesterday I learned that they also have one of the fastest pumps!

By now it was 1:30 and all that was standing between me and a fried oyster plate was the speed of their pump. We got 250 gallons in less than 10 minutes!

The Pilot House Takeout

Before Fisherman’s View, the Pilot House was our go-to Dock and Dine destination in Sandwich. The food was always great and the outdoor dining area is first class.

I think the last time I ate there was on The 4th of July with my family, Gail, and Rudy…

July 4, 2017 Tequila Toast!

The outdoor dining is great!

I know Dwight would have let us tie up on the F/V side if we asked, but I craved fried oysters and the Pilot House has the best.

Knowing that takeout has been coming out really fast, we cracked a cold one before placing our order…

Dockwa and The Chart House Koozies

Our order was ready for pickup in 10 minutes at the parking lot entrance and it was piping hot when we sat down to eat on Vigilant…

The Captain’s Fried Oyster Plate ($12.99)
Mrs. Horne’s Scallop Plate ($17.99)

We got a boat load of fries, so the next time I’ll just order the Fried Oyster Appetizer and mooch fries from someone else!

In the last week we’ve visited Kingman Marine, Oak Bluffs, and now Sandwich. Indoor dining notwithstanding, I have to say that Sandwich looks and feels like the most normal in terms of activity and boats in the water…

A Leisurely Cruise…

Once we ate about half our meals, we packed up the leftovers and headed home.

The ride down the canal was a bit dreamy with the 10 knot wind at our backs and just enough traffic to keep the ride interesting.

Mrs. Horne bought me a Nikon DSLR for my birthday so I could take longer range photos for all of you.

Sunday afternoon cruising along the canal seemed like the perfect time to try it out.

Here are some of my first shots…

We finished the day with 4 lbs of steamers from Turks…

With Massachusetts opening for boating tomorrow, we’re hoping to go back to Oak Bluffs and Coop deVille tomorrow with Doc Ruel and his wife Joan…