moored  float
fishing  from a lund skiff
Geoff Rand

The Blynman Canal, connecting Gloucester Harbor to the head of the Annisquam River, has existed in some form since the 1640s. Twentieth century improvements to the canal and dredging in the river make for a useful shortcut through the base of Cape Ann from Gloucester to Ipswich Bay.

The entire passage, generally referred to as the Annisquam, is frequently an attractive alternative to the trip out around Thatcher's Island. With a strong wind or heavy sea from the north east, the waters off Cape Ann show the effect of their full exposure to the Atlantic, making the shelter of the Canal a welcome respite or a good time for lunch. In a flat calm, the intricate scenery along the banks provides a welcome diversion for the crew while under power.

For the sailor on a schedule, one hour of motoring through the Annisquam can save three or four hours outside. The summer breeze has a knack for following the shoreline of Cape Ann, such that we often find ourselves beating east through Sandy Bay, south past Thatcher's, and still beating west past Gloucester and Manchester, wishing we had taken the Canal.

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