LEG 2 – THE CITY PRINT­ERS BARRA STRAIT CUP

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - 7033958

And the ad­ven­ture con­tin­ues. With Leg One com­plete, sailors gear up for the City Print­ers Barra Strait Cup. The sec­ond day of sail­ing will be filled with nau­ti­cal chal­lenges and unique van­tage points for glimpses into Cape Bre­ton’s history. On this leg, rac­ers will cover roughly 30 nau­ti­cal miles which is es­ti­mated to take six to nine hours. The start­ing point for this race will be just a bit up the Lake from the Ben Eoin Yacht Club, in East Bay. The fleet will pass the MacPhee Is­lands and then the world’s largest Mi’kmaq com­mu­nity, Eska­soni. Com­ing into the wider part of the Bras d’Or Lake, the fleet will round the point at Be­nacadie and Pipers Cove, gain­ing Derby Point and com­ing into the Barra Strait. Like the other legs, the City Print­ers Barra Strait Cup gets its name from the ter­ri­tory it cov­ers. The Barra Strait is a 1 km wide chan­nel that con­nects the north­ern and south­ern basins of the Bras d’Or Lake. At its deep­est the Strait mea­sures 50 me­ters. The Mi’kmaq peo­ple of the area re­ferred to it as Taaw­itk, which means, “where the wa­ter flows out”. In 1802 many set­tlers from the Scot­tish He­brides ar­rived in this com­mu­nity. It is be­lieved they named the nar­row stretch of wa­ter af­ter an iconic lo­ca­tion in their home coun­try, the Sound of Barra on the Isle of Barra, thus the Barra Strait. The ma­jes­tic, sweep­ing hills of Iona will flank boaters as they ap­proach the first bridge of Race the Cape. The Grand Narrows Bridge, also known as the Barra Strait Rail­way Bridge is the long­est rail­way bridge in the province. As boats need to get through, that road bridge lit­er­ally opens up in the mid­dle to cre­ate clear sail­ing for wa­ter traf­fic. The race clock will be paused dur­ing this in­ter­val — al­low­ing sailors a bit of down-time from strate­giz­ing to take a breather of the fresh Iona air. Sailors might be able to catch a glimpse of some of the many build­ings of this liv­ing-history mu­seum — up on the hill to your left. Once all the boats are through the bridge, there will be a re-start gate, from which the race will con­tinue for the last 8 nau­ti­cal miles. At this point in the sail and in the day, the af­ter­noon winds should co­op­er­ate to al­low for a great spin­naker run, as the Barra Strait opens up into a wider sec­tion of the Bras d’Or known as St. An­drews Chan­nel. With any luck, rac­ers will sail with ease past Gil­lis Point and Maskells Har­bour (birthplace of the Cruis­ing Club of Amer­ica), round­ing the Washabuck Penin­sula at MacKay Point. Though shrouded by trees, at the tip of Red Head, rac­ers can catch a glimpse of Beinn Bhreagh — home of Ma­bel and Alexan­der Graham Bell. The es­tate is still used by their many de­scen­dants. Beinn Breagh means “beau­ti­ful moun­tain” in Gaelic. And fi­nally the fleet will round to­ward Kid­ston Is­land — where its light­house will be a welcome bea­con at the end of this sec­ond race day. The big fin­ish hap­pens in front of the Bras d’Or Yacht Club on the wa­ter­front of the vil­lage of Baddeck to a cheer­ing crowd. Another race com­plete! That evening there’s mu­sic and din­ner planned at the Baddeck Yacht Club, along with the awards for the City Print­ers Barra Strait Cup. Dur­ing the lay­over day sched­uled for July 15th , the prob­lem for rac­ers won’t be find­ing some­thing to do — it’ll be de­cid­ing what to do. From me­an­der­ing the his­toric Baddeck vil­lage, its board­walk, shops, restau­rants and Farm­ers’ Mar­ket to the Alexan­der Bell Mu­seum, the Fortress of Louis­bourg, or vis­it­ing one of Cape Bre­ton’s many award-win­ning golf cour­ses. Sail­ing for 40 years, Paul Jame­son says the Bras d’Or has it all, in­clud­ing warm, salt wa­ter, no fog, good pre­vail­ing winds. He says he hopes events like Race the Cape will help make the Bras d’Or Lake as iconic as the Cabot Trail. “Lo­cally we know how fan­tas­tic it is, but peo­ple from away don’t know un­til they come here,” says Jame­son. “How­ever, once the dis­cov­ery is made, they love it, and they re­turn.”

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