David Barlow’s C&C 115 Koobalibra (Halifax) finished 16th overall in 2013. © Shawn DunlopNova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island is a sailors’ destination. Race the Cape is a sailor’s dream, and planning for Race the Cape 2014 is underway. This unique event combines four days of challenging point-to-point racing through the amazing Bras d’Or Lakes and along Cape Breton’s rugged Atlantic coast with five nights of legendary Cape Breton food, hospitality and entertainment.

When Race the Cape Association held its inaugural International Sail Race through Cape Breton’s spectacular in-land sea from July 17-22, 2013, that’s exactly what more than 300 off-island sailors and visitors experienced. Welcomed by yacht clubs in St. Peter’s, Ben Eoin, Baddeck, North Sydney and Sydney, a total of 41 boats registered for the race, including 24 from off-island. This surpassed the organizers’ participation goals and brought in an excess of $684,920 in direct expenditures to Cape Breton Island. “This was the first year for the event and our target was to have 40 boats participate,” said Regatta Coordinator Jennifer Rowe. “We were thrilled to have 41 registered boats and a few non-competing boats who just wanted to follow the race.”

“Race the Cape is right up there with the best regattas in the Atlantic Ocean,” said Peter Blunden of Halifax, NS, whose Beneteau 423 Life of Reilly II finished fifth in the Non-Spinnaker Fleet in 2013. “For an inaugural event it was amazing how well planned every aspect of the race was. Cape Breton hospitality together with the endless days of sunshine, steady healthy breezes and low seas makes this a must-do event.”

Plans are well underway for Race the Cape 2014. The Association is targeting high-end racers along the Eastern Seaboard of Canada and the USA, many of whom compete in other significant races in the area. Race the Cape is designed to complement the schedules of these other established events, and in 2014 will align with the longstanding Route Halifax Saint-Pierre race, which attracts racers from Canada, USA and France. The goal of Race the Cape 2014 is to have 50 yachts participating, with 30 of these yachts and over 400 sailors and supporters from off-island.

The Race the Cape fleet is hosted by yacht clubs and marinas around Cape Breton. Pictured here is Ben Eoin Marina in East Bay, the largest marina on Bras d’Or. © Shawn DunlopThe 2014 race will run in multiple legs, taking yachts from Sydney to North Sydney, Baddeck, Ben Eoin and St. Peter’s, with events and festivities held in the local communities at the end of each leg. Boats will depart Sydney Harbour on the first leg on July 19, 2014, and conclude with an awards ceremony in St. Peter’s on July 24.

“Our regatta is unique in that we have countless excellent viewing locations throughout the island where spectators can enjoy the competition,” said Ken Heaton, Co-Chair for 2014. It is expected that Race the Cape 2014 will assist with the development of the tourism sector on Cape Breton Island, and strengthen the reputation of the Bras d’Or Lakes as one of the top boating destinations in the world. For more information, visit racethecape.ca, where skippers looking for crew and sailors seeking boats on which to race can connect at the Race The Cape Crew Bank.

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