Race the Cape - Smooth opening for inaugural edition

Sailboats head out from St. Peter’’ s in the first stage of Race the Cape on Thursday morning
Steve Wadden
Race the Cape, the four-day, point-to-point sail race began its first leg Thursday, as 40 vessels made their way from St. Peter's to Ben Eoin, covering a total 33 nautical miles.

The first leg started in the Bras d’Or Lake off the Cape George lighthouse with the fleet beating windward into West Bay before turning off Marble Mountain for a spinnaker run down the Bras d’Or into East Bay to a finish at Ben Eoin.

'It was windy, it was beautiful, it was sunny. It was perfect,' said Ed Backman of Halifax, captain of the Hot Water.

'It's boring if there's no wind you can't break anything. You can't throw anything overboard, you can't pass anybody. You need to have windy days.'

Backman said he bought the Hot Water specifically for the Race the Cape event, as he has a larger boat that he was unable to bring to Cape Breton.

He says the Hot Water, a J-70 class boat, was able to gain some speed as it hit strong winds just past Marble Mountain.

'I've sailed here before. I've done two East Bay regattas and a couple of Baddeck race weeks,' said Backman. 'It's fantastic. We love it here.'

During Thursday's start, several boats bumped into each other in anticipation of the race. Overall race results were unavailable late Thursday due to protests.

In total, 40 boats are competing in the race with entries from across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Boston.

'We had some very close starts,' race co-chair Jen Rowe said of the competition. 'So three, four, or five boats trying to get over the line at the same time and kind of trying to push each other out of the way.'

Greg Kelly of Vermont, who spent the day at the helm of the Osprey of Halifax, said he was quite pleased with the weather that made for a great day of sailing.

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