Maritime Rally, 2023

Highlights of the Maritime Rally to Nova Scotia
Written by Susan Tananbaum, SV Apres Ski

Eighteen boats joined the Maritime Rally this summer, sailing from either Rockland, ME or Provincetown, MA, and rendezvousing in Shelburne, Nova Scotia in mid-July.  Sailors from the Down East and Maritime Rallies who gathered in Rockland met for a weather presentation by Chris Parker and a pizza dinner.  Thanks to Mike and Ronna Benjamin of Exodus for your awesome organizing and warm welcome to the Rally.  Rally Dawgs began exchanging useful information as soon as Mike set up the What’s App group.   We shared information about Maine’s pesky and sometimes toggled lobster pots, weather resources, the water temperatures around Cape Sable (chilly – some recorded temps as low as 42 degrees with fog) and that the entrance to Shelburne Harbour was easy, but there were fish pens to avoid.  Along the way, there were great wildlife sightings, including a breaching whale, a leatherback turtle and bald eagles.

“Our trip to Nova Scotia,” noted Fiona Baker of Carioca, “was seriously blighted by horrendous weather from the start:  we motored from Cape Cod under grey skies, no wind, rain, and sporadic fog for 54 hrs and arrived in Shelburne in the rain. Two rainy days later we experienced 3 months of rainfall in one day, causing a province-wide state of emergency.  Despite the weather however, we loved the remote, wild beauty, met some great people (both locals and rally sailors),  experienced somewhere totally different from any other we’d sailed in (or indeed been to), which was what drew us to the Maritime Rally in the first place …. and had a lot of fun on the way. As we continued into the Bras D’Or Lakes the weather did improve and we had some glorious sunny days in that very beautiful inland sea.”

The members of Shelburne Yacht Club prepared a delicious fish dinner, and we had a great chart talk by Brad Wilson.   Upon arrival in Lunenburg we entertained one another with limericks - see some examples later in the newsletter!  The welcoming committees in St Peter's and Baddeck were amazing: friendly and helpful.  The sailing in the Bras d'Or Lake was lovely - and fog free!  The Dawgs were enthusiastic about the beauty of the coast and the many harbors we all enjoyed.


Mary and Joe of Adiona and Fiona and Chris of Carioca found a warm welcome when invited to join the Mi’kmaq annual gathering and The Procession of St Anne (their patron saint) on Chapel Island in the Bras D’Or. 

Joe, Susan, and the kids and grandkids of Après Ski thought Maskell Harbour one of the most beautiful anchorages they’d ever seen! 

Many of the boats gathered in Baddeck – a lovely town with the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.   Paul Jamieson of SailingCBI planned some wonderful activities for our group and hosted a fabulous “kitchen party” with amazing food and live music! 

Several of the Dawgs had a memorable day traveling along the Cabot Trail - including one of Cape Breton's ski areas!

Joe and Mary of Adiona summed up the spirit of the Rally.  “We loved being part of this rally . A first high point was sailing into Shelburne, fog lifting, being tired but happy to be there. Each milestone stop - same feeling but particularly at Lunenburg and St. Peter’s. That first night in St. Peter’s we felt so welcomed by Gerry Gibson of St Peter's Marina and the music celebrating Cape Breton. The kitchen party was definitely a high point! We’ve had some beautiful sails and swims within the lake here. Wildlife: Today, an eagle soared over our head as we kayaked on the Washabuck River. We spotted a puffin, a whale, a seal, and a new to us bird - northern gannets. Getting to know the other sailors in the group has been wonderful, feeling beginnings of friendships grow as the rally has gone on. And the people of Nova Scotia! So kind and helpful! We’ve eaten delicious seafood, laughed a lot, danced some but not enough, feasted our eyes on beautiful scenery, sunsets, and sunrises. We will be a bit sad to turn towards home.”