This is our premier event site. There is minimal boat traffic in the west passage of Narragansett Bay. The prevailing summer southwest wind and plenty of beach area provides easy access for boat launching and landing. We schedule 4-6 days of sailing from here during the summer months.
This launch area is available for permitted events only, so it's not possible to just head there and launch unless we are having a scheduled event. At our events, we have access to the locked field, so we have plenty of room for 20+ vehicles, trailers & boats.
Due to the location and access, even new sailors can launch from here safely. And since all sailing at Compass Rose Beach is during Fleet 448 events, there are always many experienced fleet members available to help with boat rigging & setup. There will also be plenty of our members out on the water to make sure new or inexperienced sailors can learn in a relatively safe and controlled area.
Compass Rose Beach is right next to the Vineyard Fast Ferry dock and across the road from the Quonset State Airport. For Directions, look for the Vineyard Fast Ferry on Roger Williams Way, North Kingstown RI
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/jRzfrk3899yEr7aN8
This public park is open from May through October and there is no charge to enter or use the park. The park is located on Ives Road, Warwick, RI. When you have entered the park, do not follow signs for the boat launch, instead follow signs to the Beach and the Pavilion - the google link below is right where to launch!
Our fleet events at Goddard are usually in May-June or Sept-Oct as this is a very busy beach in the summer with a life-guarded swimming area and many organized walking, running or other charity events as well as weddings and family celebrations. It is certainly possible to go there during the summer, especially on week days that are not crazy busy. We don't try to hold fleet events at busy times that might draw 12-15 boats and could cause problems or difficulties with other beach users.
The park was donated by a horse lover to make sure that there is plenty of space to ride. Horses are often walking on the beach, in the parking area and on the many trails in the park. Make sure you are near your boat and that it is facing into the wind so that any noise from your sails banging in the wind does not scare the horses.
Launching Note: Always make sure that you keep your boat to the east of the stairs at the end of the beach boardwalk. There are rocks just off the beach where we can launch—further east from the boardwalk. They are visible at low tide, but not at high. Make note of them before you leave the beach.
Important!! This is a very busy public park. We have worked hard for many years to gain better access to the RI ocean. Please try to get along with others on the beach, even if they are not always being reasonable.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/9NnWVUbqRboeC23M7
Hoppy's is always open and available for catamaran sailing! There is a very small beach area, so you have to be ready launch when you cat trax down from the parking area. You then have to navigate through a small channel area to get out to Buzzards Bay. The channel is short, but usually requires several tacks or gybes on leaving or returning.
There is plenty of parking at Hoppy's for dozens of boats and trailers. Even on weekends in the summer! There is a per vehicle parking fee of $7.00 to be paid by exact cash or check, or you can pay by credit/debit card for $7.50.
This is a relatively open area in Buzzards Bay along the eastern end of the Elizabeth Island chain. The water & wind conditions can change rapidly during the day. As it is easy for boats to become separated or out of sight here, we recommend a buddy system so you and at least 1-2 other boats always stay within sight of each other. Bring a VHF marine radio or a cell phone, just in case you need assistance.
We are able to bring grills, coolers, food etc to this location, and there is a small beach bar & grill across the access road as well.
Hoppy's is on the right across the street from Earl's Marina—before you cross the causeway
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/99csbBt6iYMH6FH36
Conimicut is one of our favorite places to sail from - we've never seen an unmarked rock, it's shallow-ish in areas, but not much trouble. The Conimicut light is an easy waypoint to keep in sight. We often launch near here at Mike's house, which can be a challenge with the rocky shore and massive shoal... a better option is the the public launch site is on the north side of Conimicut Point.
It is at the east end of Shawmut Ave. The parking lot is fairly big gravel; it could accommodate at least six vehicles with trailers. It is also a common fishing spot, so be aware of your surroundings, it can get busy so lock up. To launch from there will require beach wheels. We do not recommend backing a trailer into the water because the sand is very soft. There actually is a ramp there, but it is buried in sand.
The only problem might be avoiding fishing lines cast out from the beach... take your time and be friendly, the fishermen and fistherwomen may not pull up their lines for a sailboat, but they certainly will let you know if you snag their line!
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/BF9WuLZ2wRwErQLY9
Gooseberry Island is a great place to sail and is open from dawn to dusk. There is no entry fee, and it has a beach area, boat ramp and a walking trail out to the end of the spit of land. Facilities are limited, so bring your own drinks, food, etc. Sailing st Gooseberry will keep you at the western end of the Elizabeth Islands. Cuttyhunk is visible from the beach and is just over 6 miles away. Martha's Vineyard is about an additional 9 miles after you sail through the channel and head across to Menemsha. A sail to Cuttyhunk and back can usually be completed in a couple of hours with prevailing southwest winds in the 10-15 range.
For new or less experienced sailors, a short sail to the nice sandy beach at Barney's Joy is recommended. This will keep you in the more controlled area nearer the beach and out of the main channels in Buzzards Bay.
We do not sponsor fleet events at this location due to the logistics and limited parking. There are about 10 places for boat/trailers, and these can fill up very early on a busy, hot summer weekend in July or August with powerboats & jet skis. There are usually several beach cats there early (by 8-8:30) on weekends with good wind and weather. Parking for additional vehicles without trailers is very limited. Since there is no charge to use Gooseberry, there are many adults, kids, and dogs on the beach, so you must launch and land carefully during busy times.
Despite the logistical issues. Gooseberry is an awesome place to sail. And if you can possibly get away during weekdays, go for it!
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/goscZW2DP8JsdQNC8
If you just want to get out on some somewhat protected salt water, with an option to adventure out into greater Naragansett, Grenwich Bay is a great little area to try. There's generally a lot of boat traffic on weekends and Oakland Beach has a designated swim area you'll need to stay off of, but a small beach area is available for set-up (especially at low tide).
An advantage of Oakland Beach is the possibility to ramp launch - so someone without Cat Trax ... or someone with a Miracle 20 can get their boat in the water easy enough.
We haven't run any fleet events at this location but there is ample trailer parking, especially outside of the busy summer weekends.
We haven't run any fleet events at this location but we've had members launch here. There is some parking and public access, but not a big lot. This spot gives you direct access to lower West Passage of Narragansett Bay 3mi north of RI Sound, but it's probably for skilled boat handlers only.
There are a few larger rocks which can be exposed or hidden depending on the tide, but a slow careful departure for the first 100 feet off shore will have you clear of all of them.
Additional Caution: There is current. If tide is outgoing and you’re sailing beyond your ability near the mouth of the bay, the risk exists of being washed out into RI Sound.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/mDYQK9dW4V4CZqLy6