LEG 5 – THE CIBOU CUP
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.