Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

It’s fi­nally ar­rived. The last leg of this epic odyssey, the Ci­bou Cup. Wak­ing in serene, in­spir­ing In­go­nish Har­bour, sailors will be re­ju­ve­nated and ready for one fi­nal push. Jump­ing into the heart of the ac­tion for 35 nau­ti­cal miles, tak­ing them from In­go­nish to the Dob­son Yacht Club in West­mount. Race the Cape co-chair John Astephan says although he has many fa­vorite parts of the week-long ad­ven­ture, he says, the mo­ment just be­fore the gun, on each race day, is the best. “Must be the com­pet­i­tive spirit in me,” he says laugh­ing. “I en­joy get­ting out on the start line, it’s close quar­ters at the start with lots of in­ter­ac­tion, while de­cid­ing on a strat­egy and con­sid­er­ing the unique chal­lenges that lay ahead.” Rac­ers will make their way out to South Bay In­go­nish to wait for that piv­otal start at 10:00am. This end­ing route is ex­pected to take be­tween six and nine hours to com­plete. Rac­ers will re­trace their steps past mag­nif­i­cent Cape Smokey to bask in that beauty be­fore tack­ling the long stretch back to Syd­ney Har­bour. Ci­bou was the name the Mi’kmaq are ru­moured to have called what is now Syd­ney Har­bour. Au­thor Su­san Young de Bi­agi used the ti­tle “Ci­bou” for her 2008 award-win­ing novel set in 17th cen­tury Mi’kma’ki, ter­ri­tory of the Mi’kmaq of Mar­itime Canada. In 1907, The Ci­bou Cup was pre­sented to the Royal Cape Bre­ton Yacht Club by the own­ers of the orig­i­nal Ci­bou Yacht which raced for many years in Cape Bre­ton. The orig­i­nal Ci­bou Cup from 1907 will be on hand for the awards cer­e­mony of this leg of the race. Rac­ers will make their way along Cape Bre­ton’s rugged East coast, in the midst of the mighty At­lantic Ocean. Head­ing back around Point Aconi, into Span­ish Bay and to Syd­ney Har­bour. The fleet will sail past Low Point Light­house, then Vic­to­ria Mines and into South Bar and the South Arm of Syd­ney Har­bour. Long-time sailor Vaughn Mer­chant’s home port is the Dob­son Yacht Club. This’ll be his third year tak­ing part in Race the Cape. “It’s great ex­po­sure for the is­land,” he says. A high­light for him is meet­ing the peo­ple in­volved and learn­ing their sto­ries. “You met peo­ple from all facets of life.” And he just loves rac­ing in the Bras d’Or Lake. “I’ve sailed in On­tario and parts of it are like the 401 High­way — just so jammed with boats. But in the Bras d’Or, you can see the other boats and the ca­ma­raderie is ex­cel­lent,” says Mer­chant. “It’s great when we’re all rac­ing un­der­neath Seal Is­land Bridge at the same time — and there’s al­ways lots of spec­ta­tors at that spot, too” He’s also look­ing for­ward to the legs to and from In­go­nish. “Nice to have that race in­cluded, to be out in the ocean,” he says. “En­joy­ing the vari­a­tion of sail­ing.” With any luck, strong winds will take boats the last stretch past the com­mu­ni­ties of Edwardsville and Whit­ney Pier, with the bea­con of Cape Bre­ton’s Largest Fid­dle on the Syd­ney side as they come to a fin­ish in West­mount at the Dob­son Yacht Club. Whef!! Race the Cape 2015 chal­lenge comes to an end. Cel­e­bra­tions of the Ci­bou Cup and the race over­all will take place in the evening — along with fab­u­lous food and mu­sic.

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