SDSA Maritime Rally

Due to continuing restrictions in Canada, the SDSA must cancel the 2021 Maritime rally. The next Maritime Rally will be scheduled for 2022 .

Fees & What's Included
Passage Discussion
Required Equipment
Crew Service
Rally FAQs
Volunteer to Help

The Maritime Rally to Nova Scotia is held in alternate years.  

If you are looking for an exciting adventure, come along with the Salty Dawgs on the Maritime Rally.  Nova Scotia has an attractive sea-bound coast, with quaint fishing villages, numerous isolated coves and historic sites.  The Rally takes participants to beautiful Cape Breton Island and the Bras d’Or Lake. Explore all of Cape Breton with its distinctive Celtic, French Acadian, and English culture all blended together on one island.   And remember, in Nova Scotia you have no lobster pots to contend with in the summer!  

Experience offshore sailing in the Atlantic. The Salty Dawg Maritime Rally is the perfect opportunity to gain experience sailing overnight in the ocean, in the company of other Salty Dawg boats and with experienced shoreside staff support from Maine to Nova Scotia.  This experience can be used as a stepping stone to our longer offshore rallies, such as the Caribbean Rally, or the Bermuda Rally, or the East Coast Rally.  Sharing a passage with seasoned offshore sailors helps all skippers get more comfortable with route planning and departure decisions—an important feature of all Salty Dawg Rallies.

The Maritime Rally will have departures from Rockland, ME and Provincetown, MA.  In Maine, the fleet will gather at the Apprentice Shop in Rockland, ME for a tour of the wooden boat building school, with a wine and cheese party on July 30 for a pre-departure social.  Boats congregating in Provincetown will have similar pre-departure social activities planned.  An afternoon combined live/Zoom Captains’ briefing will include a discussion of sailing strategies for the trip.  On July 31, boats will depart for Shelburne, NS and will arrive on August 1 after an overnight sail.  Crew may stretch legs and explore the village, which is now maintained as a living museum of how life used to be in a typical Canadian fishing village. The journey continues on Aug 3, with additional stops planned for the colorful old fishing and swift schooner building village of Lunenburg (remember the Blue Nose), and to Nova Scotia’s capital city of Halifax, bustling and modern, but full of rich history and tradition.  On August 5 a reception dinner will be held at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax.  Then on to St. Peters, at the south tip of Cape Breton Island, where a rousing reception with food and music is planned at St Peter’s Marina on August 8. Participants will then enter the Bras d’Or Lakes via the St. Peters Canal, the southern entrance to the Lakes.  The rally concludes with a boat parade into the village of Baddeck on August 11.   

Baddeck and its surroundings present an unforgettable mix of history, dramatic coastal scenery, music, and fun. The Alexander Graham Bell Museum is fascinating.  While in Baddeck and the north portion of Cape Breton, don’t miss experiencing the 298-kilometer-long Cabot Trail, a winding mix of roadway, paths, stairs, and stunning beauty that takes you from unreal ocean vistas to quaint fishing villages.  Self guided or group tours will be available.  

August is the perfect time to explore and enjoy all that Cape Breton has to offer, and even though the Baddeck arrival marks the official endpoint of the rally, participants are encouraged to explore an unlimited number of beautiful and isolated anchorages and harbors of the Bras d'Or Lake, before starting the return voyage.  Bras d'Or Lake is an inland sea-- "A basin ringed by indigo hills laced with marble.  Islands within a sea inside an island."  The south end of the lake is connected to the North Atlantic by the Strait of Canso by means of a lock canal completed in 1869—the St. Peters Canal. at the southern tip of the island. In addition, two channels connect the northern Lake to the Atlantic, serving as gateways to the Laurentian Channel and Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Covering an area of approximately 424 sq mi, Bras d'Or Lake measures roughly 62 mi in length and 31 mi width. Although there is some deep water, (the maximum depth is 942 ft in the St. Andrews Channel), there are innumerable shallow water anchorages.  Surrounded almost entirely by high hills and low mountains, the lake is dominated by the Washabuck Peninsula in the center-west, Boularderie Island in the northeast, and a large peninsula extending from the center-east dominated by the Boisdale Hills. The Washabuck Peninsula and Boisdale Hills divide the lake into northern and southern basins, linked by the Barra Strait.    

The most adventurous may even wish to explore further north and east, to Saint Pierre and Miquelon, a French archipelago south of Newfoundland, or Newfoundland itself.  Wherever you choose to explore, participants are advised to plan wisely for their return trips south, before the early autumn conditions begin. 

The Rally includes weather routing by The Marine Weather Center, position tracking by PredictWind, and an extensive level of coordination and support during the offshore passage.  VHF radio communications equipment is required. Offshore communications equipment are not required, but highly encouraged, especially if you have plans to participate in the Caribbean, or Bermuda, or East Coast Rally.  While offshore, vessels may travel in company, maintaining VHF radio contact where possible.  Salty Dawg Shoreside Coordinators are accessible through Sat phone, cell phone when in range, and email if capable for any questions, issues, or to relay messages from family. (Only if the boat is equipped for email, such as an IridiumGo, or equivalent.)  

 Sailing CBI Inc. from Cape Breton Island is partnering with the SDSA to bring the hospitality and Maritime Magic of Nova Scotia to our rally participants.  While in Lake Bras D’Or, there are many good marine services to serve you.  St. Peters Marina is one of the largest marinas in the Bras d'Or and has full boating services. Baddeck is home to two marinas, two full service boatyards and the Bras d'Or Yacht Club. 

 Please next review the Passage Discussion webpage, which contains information about the conditions likely to be encountered.

The SDSA unites experienced ocean sailors with developing cruisers to broaden their blue water horizons.  All Salty Dawg rallies and events are led by seasoned sailors who volunteer their time and knowledge to help cruisers realize their dreams.



If you would like to join us as a volunteer, we would love to benefit from your passion, personality, and expertise as we plan future events. Click here to volunteer.

  • Rally Manager: this position acts as the Rally Director's assistant.  The Rally Manager does the detailed organizing and planning for the rally.  Sharing with the Rally Director, hosts some of the Captains Calls. Participation in the rally itself is not necessary.  This position is flexible to accommodate your time for availability.
  • Fleet Captain: this position takes over in the departure location with help from the Port Captains.  The Fleet Captain and Port Captain share in welcoming activities and any events.  After departure from any port, keeps the fleet organized.
  • Port Captains: this position takes the plans made in cooperation with the Rally Manager and implements them at each Port. The Port Captains and the Fleet Captain share in welcoming activities and planned events.  Participation in the rally itself is not necessary. 

Helpful Links

Sailing with Kids
Sailing with Pets