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Plum Island
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Most sailing is in the Newburyport Harbor waters at the Point or the Seawall. In high winds, the Point has heavy chop -- especially if the tide is going against the wind. This area is best sailed three hours either side of high tide. However, even at low tide the Point is still sailable. Do not sail the Point in an outgoing tide and marginal wind; if the wind dies, being swept into the pier (aka The Strainer) is a most unpleasant experience.... Also, beware skeg-eating rocks and mussel beds as the tide recedes.
Note: See the Newburyport Boardsailing Association for a low tide sailing chart, as well as complete details on the Point, the Seawall, and open ocean conditions.

When you launch from the Seawall in an offshore wind (southwest, west, or northwest), expect gustier conditions and lower windspeeds than those reported by the meter at the Point. Under these conditions, the wind has all of the harbor to recover some of its strength before hitting the meter at Plum Island. Thus, offshore conditions at the Seawall can be quite different from those at the Point.

Choppy to flat water.
All skill levels at the Seawall at Joppa Flats; waterstarts a must at Plum Island Point.
Seawall is only sailable three hours either side of high tide.
Northeasterlies tend to be quite steady at the Seawall and at Pavilion Beach in Ipswich.
Best conditions at the Point are northwesterly winds and an incoming tide;
marginal winds with an outgoing tide can cause anxiety attacks.
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I-95 to x57 (113E). Follow 113 for 4.5 miles. At the intersection at the end of a small common, follow the sign (left) to Plum Island. At "T" go left for the Seawall at Joppa Flats, right for Plum Island Point. Once on Plum Island, turn left at the next "T" and follow road to the Point. There is a nominal summertime parking fee.

The sensor is located 500 yards southwest of the lighthouse at Plum Island Point (the northern tip of Plum Island), just across from Woodbridge Island. Sailing conditions at the Point can be extremely gusty -- more than any other location in the WHL network. If meter readings are much higher than at other beaches (e.g., Nahant), pay attention to the hourly averages. Are they much lower than the five minute average? If so, think twice about trekking to Plum Island. If you don't receive the "trend information" (hourly averages) in your voice report, look at the spread between the gusts and lulls. A large spread can mean it's quite gusty and you might have caught the sensor during a high spell. To be on the safe side, check back in 20-30 minutes.


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