Leg 7 Race 12 Cape Breton Island to Cork - Day 1, Sat June 19th

19th June
Today I was more than ready to set sail again. Today I was looking forward to tackling our final big ocean crossing and at the end of it looking forward to arriving in Ireland. All that eagerness is also tinged with a little sadness and trepidation though. I'm sad that this amazing adventure is so nearly over and also concerned about how I'm going to settle back into my old life again.....or not!

So today we waved a fond farewell to Cape Breton. The local community have looked after us amazingly well, have been kind and generous and enthusiastic about our visit and have bent over backwards to ensure that we have enjoyed our stay and that we will therefore go home and tell everyone how fabulous Cape Breton is and how you must all go and book holidays there immediately!
You should. It's a beautiful Island with its Cabot Trail coastal drive of stunning views, mountainous forests (which will look breathtaking in the autumn), and fresh lobster galore! It may be a little behind the times in some ways – we all felt we'd taken a step back in time into the 80s – but the warm & friendly welcome you'll receive is second to none – apart from perhaps that of the Yorkshire folk back home.

And so after a breakfast brunch, provided for us at the Royal Cape Breton yacht club and a parade back to the boats, accompanied by local school children, we each slipped lines and made ready for an exciting and closely fought race start out in the bay, right in front of the assembled crowds on both sides of the banks.

Early on it appeared as though we may not have enough wind to start the race there. However in the final hour, the breeze filled in and after watching an amazing parachute display from the Skyhawks – the Canadian Forces Skydiving Display team (who had treated me to my first Tandem skydive just yesterday!!!), we soon had the 10 minute warning gun for the start of Race 12.

Despite the fact that the estuary was barely wide enough to take all 9 nine boats (Cork had set off in this new Pursuit Style Race, 2 days earlier) we were given the all clear for a Spinnaker start. We chose to cross the line with headsails but were rigged ready for an immediate spinny hoist and after ½ a mile, had taken the lead held onto it until
we were just entering open water and attempting to tip-toe through a field of lobster pots!  We reverted back to our headsails and found ourselves chasing Finland, Australia and Singapore.  Not for long however and during the following couple of hours of our watch, we edged back into the lead – although in fairness there is still not much more than a mile or 2 between all the boats.

Our first supper of the race was very welcome – especially as for the first time in ages, it contained fresh meat. Yes – chicken curry with fresh chicken – luxury! And blueberry pie for dessert!  I shall be climbing into my sleeping bag very shortly with a very content and full tum!!!!