red fishing boat off nauset beach
Geoff Rand
Fishing boat at sunrise off Nauset Beach, just north of Pollock Rip. Calm weather makes a passage through the Rip more comfortable, although it doesn't mitigate the currents.

Pollock Rip is an inspiring stretch of water. It's the kind of place that should lead you to contemplate the abilities of your boat, your crew and yourself on the one hand, and on the other the vast forces of wind and water through which you are sailing.

Running almost 9 miles from the elbow of the Cape at Monomoy to the northern tip of Nantucket, the Rip is a ridge of shifting sand, cut through with a handful of shifting channels. Strong tidal currents flowing in and out of Nantucket Sound meet weather from the open ocean to generate conditions that range from merely disorienting to completely treacherous.

Most famously, Pollock Rip turned back the Mayflower as she made her way south along the Cape, full of Pilgrims who according to William Bradford "hoped to find some place about Hudson's River for their habitation." Bradford continues:

But after they had sailed that course about half a day, they fell among dangerous shoals and roaring breakers, and they were so far entangled therewith as they conceived themselves in great danger; and the wind shrinking upon them withal, they resolved to bear up again for the Cape. . .{OPP}

Thus, their land fall at Provincetown and eventual settlement in Plymouth.

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more on Pollock Rip. . .