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"raison d'etre"


The NStYA was originated to provide an avenue of camaraderie amongst fellow yachters who ply the unruly waters of Northumberland Strait. The intent was to encourage and promote yachting in Northumberland Strait and adjacent waters and to exercise jurisdiction over all offshore yachting activities sanctioned by NStYA in the Strait area (See Constitution, Article Two).


Where in the World is the Northumberland Strait?

The Northumberland Strait is the stretch of water lying between the three Canadian Maritime Provinces. Prince Edward Island on the north, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to the south.

The Strait is approximately 120 miles long; it varies from 9 to 40 miles in width, and has a maximum depth of approximately 27+ meters (80 ft). For cruising and racing purposes, NStYA has extended its boundaries to include the Miramichi River to the north and the west side of Cape Breton Island to the east. (See the robin egg blue area on the chart).

Except for Prince Edward Island, Pictou Island is the only inhabited "offshore island" on the Strait. All other islands are attached to shore either by sandbars or shoals, and although they all provide lee-side shelter in case of inclement weather, most, for all intents and purposes, cannot be rounded.

Two high and two low tides occur daily, the maximum range is approximately 3+ metres and the average 2+ metres (6 feet).

At it's narrowest point, Abegweit Passage, these tides can sometimes result in currents of more than 4 kts, Many times making it prudent for the sailor to be in the right place at the right time
Fog is a rare occurrence. During the summer months the prevailing winds are from the SW; easterlies usually indicate impending adverse conditions. "Red sky at night, sailors delight; Red sky in the morning sailors take warning" seems to be a good weather vane for the Strait area.

There is presently one ferry service crossing the Strait from Wood Island, PEI to Pictou, NS and return. At this eastern approach, Northumberland Ferries Ltd. have three ferries which require 1½ hours to cross. It is important to note that the ferry crews are very courteous and helpful to sailors on the Strait, they will "go out of their way" to stand clear, but they do have the "right-of-way". (Yellow line on following chart).

At the narrowest point the Confederation Bridge, commonly known as The Link has spanned the gap since it was opened June 1st, 1997. Strait Crossing Inc. (SCI) built the 13 km bridge "the world's largest continuous span bridge", a massive $840 million project. (Blue line on chart).

A closer view of the following chart will show a better perspective:

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