SDSA Maritime Rally

July 15, 2022 Onset, MA and July 16, 2022 Rockland, ME departure (weather dependent)

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

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.  This rally is still considered one of the SDSA "stepping stone" rallies, appropriate both for those just beginning their offshore sailing experiences or for those experienced Captains wanting to make the passage to Nova Scotia and visit Cape Breton.  As such, the requirements are simplified when compared to our longer, offshore rallies. 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!  

This year, the Maritime Rally will have a primary departure from the Rockland ME/Penobscot Bay area on July 16, 2022, just after the conclusion of the Downeast Rally.  Boats first traveling to Rockland with the Downeast Rally can enjoy the Rockland events and the Penobscot mini-cruise, and will be rewarded by facing a shorter passage to Shelburne, Nova Scotia.  Departure from Maine is scheduled for early morning on July 16 for the 180 Nmi passage which will include one overnight for most participants. 

Another option will allow a departure from Onset, MA at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal, which eliminates the need to first go to Maine.  Since boats from Southern New England will face a longer passage (for example 280Nmi from Onset, MA) and two nights offshore instead of one, they are encouraged to start out for Shelburne on July 15.    Regardless of point of departure, tailored pre-departure briefings and social events will take place via local meetings and remote webinars and Zoom meetings. 

Effective May 20, 2022, the CBSA has reopened Shelburne as an official point of entry into Canada. 

In Shelburne, 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 July 19 with additional stops planned for the colorful old fishing and swift schooner building village of Lunenburg (remember the Blue Nose), and Halifax on July 21-23. Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital city, is  bustling and modern, but full of rich history and tradition.  On July 22 a reception dinner will be held at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax.  Then on July 24 the fleet will begin another passage including an overnight, arriving St. Peters on July 25 after passing through the St. Peters Canal. St. Peter's is the southern entrance to the lake, where a rousing reception with food and music is planned at the St Peter’s Marina.  The following day participants will begin their exploration of the Bras d’Or Lake.   The rally terminus is the town of Baddeck, and includes a boat parade into the village of Baddeck on July 28.   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.  

Summer 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 in the future.  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/texts (if the boat is so equipped). 

Sailing CBI 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.

Visit The Ultimate Cruising Destination: The Bras d'Or Lakes and download a free Cruising Guide.

  • July 13-14  Pre rally arrivals in Onset or Maine
  • July 14 or 15 Briefing, pre-departure dinner
  • July 15-17: Passage to Shelburne from Onset, MA. 
  • July 16-17: Passage to Shelburne from Maine
  • July 17-18 All boats in Shelburne
  • July 19 Shelburne to Lunenburg
  • July 20: Lunenburg
  • July 21: Lunenburg to Halifax
  • July 22-23: Halifax.    Reception on July 22
  • July 24-25 Halifax to St. Peters
  • July 25 St. Peter's Marina Reception
  • July 26-28  St. Peters to Baddeck
  • July 28:  Boat Parade Baddeck
  • July 29: Free day
  • July 30: Cabot Trail tour
  • July 31: Begin independent cruising
2022 Maritime Rally Participants


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