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Sailing Cape Breton and the Bras d’Or Lake

Where to Find Us

The village of Baddeck, Nova Scotia, is located just off the Trans Canada Highway 105. When travelling by car, Baddeck is 87km (a 1-hour drive) past the Canso Causeway.


Baddeck has something for every traveller – from spas, fine dining, and 5-star accommodations, to hiking, camping, and kayaking.

All Sailing CBI charters depart from Baddeck. You will find the Cape Bretoner 1 docked at the Baddeck Community Wharf – easy to spot, right behind the Freight Shed Waterside Bistro and Market at 2 Jones Street.

Sailing Routes on the Bras d’Or

The Bras d’Or lake is Canada’s largest inland salt water sea with well over 1,000km of coastline to explore. Paul Jamieson and the Sailing CBI crew have decades of experience sailing the Bras d’Or and will provide numerous course options.

This course will take about a week to complete – and will give you an almost complete tour of the Bras d’Or Lake.

NOTE: The images below are mostly decorative and are not meant for navigation. Please consult the “The Cruisers’ Guide to The Bras d’Or Lakes and Coastal Harbours“.

Baddeck to Maskells Harbour – 4 Hours

Sail out of Baddeck Bay past the Historic Estate of Alexander Graham Bell. Enjoy the Bras d’Or for an afternoon and drop sail in Maskells Harbour. Originally called Bouliceet Harbour, Maskells is surrounded by steep rolling hills and is protected by a sandbar stretching across the entrance.

Maskells unspoiled beauty makes it a popular sanctuary for boaters and is one of the most used anchorages on the lake. Enjoy a swim in the crystal harbour or sit back and watch bald eagles soaring above the tree tops.

Maskells Harbour to Crooked Cove – 6 Hours

Sail out of Maskells Harbour and down the Bras d’Or through the Barra Straight – past the village of Iona and beneath a raised bridge. See the Highland Village living museum on the south facing hillside. Navigate the coastline into a beautiful and largely untouched part of Cape Breton Island and drop anchor in crooked cove.

Crooked Cove to Crammond Islands
– 6 Hours

Head out toward the incredibly scenic Marble Mountain with a 1-hour stop for lunch and to venture for a short hike to a clifftop vantage point. The sailing continues to the Crammond Islands where you’ll spend a night close to the beach – with easy access to explore the sandbar.

The Crammond Islands are separated by a deep channel which leads to a protected basin south of the sandbar. These islands were once farmed, and foundations of the old homestead can still be seen.

Crammond Islands to St. Peter’s

Venture into the second largest community on the Bras d’Or and meet the friendliest wharf manager in the world – Jerry! Take a few hours to view the village and enjoy lunch. Walk down to see the locks where boats make their way into the Bras d’Or from the Atlantic Ocean.

The passage from St. Peter’s to Big Lake, known as St. Peter’s inlet, offers several anchorages – like the one behind Beaver Island off Sampsonville – with good all around protection; but take care picking a spot to anchor. The passage is intricate and best left to those familiar with the area.

St.Peter’s to Ben Eion and Eskasoni

Head down the South side of the Bras d’Or for a stop at the newest marina on Cape Breton Island, before cruising across Easy Bay to the McPhee Islands. The nine islands are part of the Eskasoni First Nation and include a unique heritage destination on Goat Island where visitors can learn about the Mi’kmaq culture.

Eskasoni to Maskells Harbour

After a night in West Eskasoni Harbour – keeping well clear of the rocky shoal extending westward from Big Island – head back to Grand Narrows. On the return trip, be sure to dock in Iona and visit the Highland Village Museum; a trip back in time to when Scottish settlers first arrived on Cape Breton Island. Enjoy a lunch at the local Iona Heights Inn, and try some Jill’s Handmade Chocolates. Continue on to the anchorage in Maskells Harbour for another glorious night on the Bras d’Or – before returning home to Baddeck Harbour.

We Are Eager to Welcome You

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