Race the Cape 2016!

Race the Cape 2016!

Date: Mon, Jul 18 2016 - Sun, Jul 24 2016

Race the Cape is an event, a sailing regatta for boaters, their families, and friends that unfolds over a week each July on Cape Breton Island. Race the Cape is seven days of challenging point-to-point sail racing, both inland and coastal ocean, broken into five legs of up to 40 nautical miles through the island’s amazing Bras d’Or Lakes and along Cape Breton Island’s rugged Atlantic coast leading to the Cape Breton Highlands. Race the Cape is a World Sailing – Off Shore Special Regulations (OSR) Category 4 Race, sailed during daylight hours, over 175 miles of sailing to completer the 5 legs.  There are both Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker Divisions.

The inaugural Race the Cape was held in 2013. Since then, it has become a signature annual sailing event in Cape Breton. In November 2015, Race the Cape was honoured with the Regatta of the Year 2015 award by Sail Nova Scotia.

Race the Cape in 2016! also offers a Cruising Class to allow non-competitive cruisers looking to get in on the action. Sailboats and powerboats are welcome to follow along and watch the fierce, but friendly, competition unfold before them while taking in the beauty of the Bras d’Or Lake.

The Location: Cape Breton Island’s Bras d’Or is a 450 square mile inland sea; connected to the Atlantic Ocean through natural channels, with deep salt water, virtually no fog, little tide influence, and few navigational hazards.  Prevailing July winds are SW at 10 – 15 knots, typically rising to 15 – 20 knots in the afternoons with gusts to 20 to 25 knots as the waters narrow between the long ridges of hills and low mountains (600 to 1000 feet high) that define the channels.  An exceptionally windy July day will see gusts to 30 or even 35 knots in these channels.  In July, Bras d’Or water temperatures are usually in the 70’s.

The Legs: Race the Cape 2016’s first leg, The Red Islands Cup, about 30 nautical miles overall, will start on the morning of Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 in the Bras d’Or Lake at the mouth of the St. Peters Inlet.  After a start off of Cape George Lighthouse the fleet will head up into the 5 mile wide, island dotted West Bay.  The fleet will then round a mark at Paddle Shoal off of Clarks Cove, Marble Mountain to turn downwind into the open lake for what is in typical winds a long spinnaker run past the Red Islands down into East Bay to finish off of the Ben Eoin Yacht Club & Marina.

Leg Two: The Barra Strait Cup, about 30 nautical miles, starts on Wednesday, July 20th just offshore of the Ben Eoin Yacht Club.  Prevailing south-west winds will find the fleet beating to windward up East Bay past the MacPhee Islands into the open Bras d’Or Lake to round the headlands at Benacadie and Derby Points, entering the Barra Strait.  Beyond the Strait the fleet will crack their spinnakers to the building afternoon winds for an 8 nm run down St Andrews Channel to round Kidston Island for a finish in front of the Bras d’Or Yacht Club on the waterfront of the village of Baddeck.

Leg Three: The Great Bras d’Or Cup is Race the Cape’s longest leg, at about 40 nm, and starts on the morning of Thursday, July 21st.  After an upwind start reaching past Beinn Bhreagh the fleet will hoist their spinnakers, running between the 1000 foot hills lining the bold shorelines of the 18 nautical mile Great Bras d’Or Channel.  Yachts will race under the Great Bras d’Or Crossing (the Seal Island Bridge) toward the narrows at Carey & Noir Points to enter the Atlantic Ocean at the Cabot Strait and will then reach for 10 nautical miles along the rugged ocean coast of Cape Breton Island to enter Spanish Bay, reaching past High Cape, gaining Cranberry Point to enter Sydney Harbour. The fleet will sail past the old lighthouse at Low Point to round South Bar for a reach up the South Arm to a finish off of the Dobson Yacht Club at Dobson’s Point in Westmount.

Leg Four: The Aspy Cup, about 30 nm, follows a layover day in Sydney Harbour so will start on the morning of Saturday, July 23rd off of Dobson Yacht Club.  After the start the fleet will turn downwind past the North and South Bars, to round a mark off of Cranberry Head, reentering the Atlantic Ocean and the Cabot Strait for a run “Down North” along the coast of Cape Breton toward the bold 1200 foot high headland of Cape Smoky and the Cape Breton Highlands in the distance.  On rounding the Cape the fleet will turn to the west to enter South Bay Ingonish for a finish off the entrance to Ingonish Harbour.

Leg Five: The historic Cibou Cup, about 35 nm, starts on the morning of Sunday, July 24th in South Bay Ingonish.  After the start the fleet will turn to run out again past Cape Smoky into the Cabot Strait and make their course to the south.  On entering the harbour the fleet will sheet in for a close reach 6 nm up into the Northwest Arm passing Swivel Point, the communities of Sydney Mines, North Sydney at Indian Beach to a finish in front of the historic Northern Yacht Club at North Sydney.

We are happy to accommodate off-island boats by holding equipment and gear not needed for racing in secure storage in St. Peter’s for later pick up alternately for transport to the North Sydney finish at the Northern Yacht Club, your choice, at no cost.  We offer a Crew Bank.  As part of Race the Cape you will be hosted at many of Cape Breton’s best Yacht Clubs & Marinas.

For more information and to register, visit our website: www.racethecape.ca

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