Race the Cape
Lack of wind meant late arrival in Ben Eoin in first leg of Race the Cape
Lack of wind meant late arrival in Ben Eoin in first leg of Race the Cape.
Hurry up and wait was the order of day as Race the Cape 2015 finished the first stage of the annual sailing race from St. Peter’s to Ben Eoin later than anticipated early Monday evening, due to a lack of wind on the southern part of the Bras d’Or Lake.
“There’s very light wind and the sailboats are just bobbing around out there,” said regatta co-ordinator Jennifer Rowe, as volunteer staff waited at the Ben Eoin Yacht Club for the 40-some official entrants to come into view. “There’s no way to determine what the wind will be like. You have good wind some days and bad wind on others — it’s just Mother Nature.”
The third year of the annual Cape Breton sailing race that includes five legs of racing around the Bras d’Or Lake, finishing up Saturday in Sydney, will see a new wrinkle this year with the introduction of a “cruising class” to the race.
“The race is growing in popularity, so this year, we’ve changed it a little bit by adding a cruising class where the boats aren’t really competing, but are just following the other boats.”
Not surprisingly, one such cruising class vessel, the Acadian Gemini, with Don Boudreau and Lorna Bennett aboard, was the first to arrive in Ben Eoin, motoring into the yacht club while the competitive boats were still under sail.
The Halifax residents — Boudreau is originally from Wedgeport, N.S., and Bennett hails from Coxheath — have only had Acadian Gemini in the water for two years after buying her in Annapolis, Maryland, and this is their first time taking part in Race the Cape.
Despite the lack of wind on the course, they say they had a pretty good time out on the water Monday.
“We were supposed to follow the fleet, but because there was no wind, we got here before everyone else.
“It was so flat and sunny, I think the jellyfish were actually sunning themselves.”
With Bennett being a native Cape Bretoner, the couple had been looking forward to sailing the Bras d’Or.
“It was a nice chance to come up and see the (Bras d’Or) Lake,” said Boudreau. We heard it was a great place to sail and we also wanted to get some experience on the water.”
As relatively inexperienced sailors, the couple didn’t travel up the coast to Cape Breton all by their lonesome.
“We ‘buddy-boated’ our way to Cape Breton with three other boats,” said Boudreau, “so we learned a bit about sailing through that.”
So far, they’ve been enjoying the experience and will take some good memories back to Halifax with them.
“Going through the St. Peter’s locks was interesting — if you want to experience the Lake, this is the way to do it.”
Volunteer Ann Chaffey, from Corner Brook, N.L., was working the retail tent at the ben Eoin Yacht Club on Monday as she patiently waited for the sailboats to arrive. She and her husband, David, have come over from Newfoundland each year of Race the Cape, where David crews for Avatar, a Cape Breton sailboat owned by a family friend.
“We enjoy the camaraderie of the sailors and I love the fact that it brings the event to small communities all over Cape Breton,” she said. “And as a Newfoundlander, I feel we share something with Cape Bretoners — we were welcomed with open arms.”
Today’s leg of Race the Cape is the Barra Strait Cup Yacht Race, with a 10 a.m. start from the Ben Eoin Yacht Club to the Bras d’Or Yacht Club in Baddeck, a distance of 30 nautical miles.
For more information on the event go to www.racethecape.ca.
From left, Don Boudreau, formerly of Wedgeport, N.S., and Lorna Bennett, formerly of Coxheath, relax in their sailboat, Acadian Gemini, at the Ben Eoin Yacht Club, Monday afternoon. The Halifax residents reached the yacht club long before the rest of the boats finished the St. Peter’s to Ben Eoin leg of Race the Cape 2015, mainly because Acadian Gemini is entered in the non-competitive cruising class that’s part of the race for the first time this year. They were able to motor in on a day that made for slow going by sail because of a lack of wind.