In late June, my good friend¬†Kevin Finnegan¬†joined me for the 1200-mile trip¬†from Newport, up to Nova Scotia and back down the St. Lawrence River to¬†Quebec City. Matt joined me there, along with¬†Mark Zaransky¬†and¬†Emma¬†Creighton. The four of us made up Bodacious Dream‚Äôs crew in the¬†Transat¬†Quebec – St. Malo¬†Race¬†- that took us from Quebec City back out the St.¬†Lawrence River and across the North Atlantic, finishing in St. Malo, France!¬†There were many great memories from that time – the pearlescent luster of¬†Beluga whales, a windless night surrounded by playful whales sounding and¬†breathing and the six days of endless¬†jib reaching¬†at near 20-knot speeds. We¬†finished respectably ‚Äď in the middle of the fleet – not bad considering our¬†relative lack of experience with both our boat and Class 40 racing.
From St. Malo, I sailed on to Cherbourg with my French friend, Pierre. I stayed there a couple of weeks¬†before moving on to Caen, on the Normandy Coast, for the start of the¬†Normandy Channel Race.¬†In my spare time, I had a chance to explore the¬†French countryside and witness some of the World War II history that is such a¬†significant part of this region‚Äôs heritage.
The Normandy Channel¬†Race proved a rather¬†frustrating experience, as¬†Matt and I were unable to¬†stay competitive due to¬†issues with our jib in the¬†lighter than expected airs of¬†the race. With that holding¬†us back, we retired early¬†from the race after having¬†sailed across the English¬†Channel, around the Isle of¬†Wight, along the southern¬†coast of the UK and out to¬†Lands‚Äô End – one of the¬†great historical markers in¬†the sailing world. Once on¬†our own, we sailed down the western coast of France, past the famous¬†Jument¬†Lighthouse¬†(pictured here in this well-known photo,)¬†and made our way to¬†Lorient, the center of short-handed and large trimaran sailing in France. Matt¬†and I were like wide-eyed kids in a candy store pulling into Lorient in the wee¬†hours of the morning, to tie up alongside these majestic sailing yachts.
From Lorient, I sailed on to La Rochelle and met up with a crew of friends from¬†New Zealand to compete in the¬†Mondial World Championships.¬†For four¬†days we raced hard all day long. We had our good races and won one of them¬†from start to finish, but we had some not-so-good ones too. In the end, we¬†finished a respectable 9th¬†in the world. Naturally, we‚Äôd have loved to have¬†finished in the top three, but the sailing was exceptional and many new¬†friendships were made. After all, how unimaginably lucky were we in the first¬†place; nine months out of the boatyard and finishing in the top ten of a World Championship Race?
With our racing schedule concluded, it was time for Bodacious Dream and I to¬†head for home waters on the other side of the Atlantic. I had just finished¬†preparing her for the long trip, when we were forced to change our plans¬†because of¬†Hurricane Sandy. So instead, we set sail for the wonderful port of¬†Cascais, Portugal where Bodacious Dream waited for me to return from a jaunt¬†back home for¬†Thanksgiving.
On December 7th, just about a month ago, we departed from Cascais heading¬†for North America. Our only stop was a brief one on the island of Madeira for¬†more fuel and provisions. At that point, we could see from weather and wind¬†forecasts, that this was going to be a longer than anticipated trip across the¬†Atlantic.
22 days later, we slipped into the island harbor of Antigua at 2 AM in the¬†morning. Finally coming to rest under a bright and full Caribbean moon¬†seemed an appropriate and fitting finish to the big leg of our trip.
I‚Äôm now more than half way through the last leg of the trip, on my way back¬†to where we started this journey. There remains less than 400 miles to go¬†before I cross my tracks and ‚Äúclose the loop.‚ÄĚ With the end of the voyage¬†almost in sight, it feels very much like time to thank the many wonderful¬†people who have been such an important part of this whole journey. Rather¬†than name you all individually, I am simply going to salute and thank you all¬†collectively for your part in all of this – whether you sailed, helped out or just¬†followed along with our story. Whatever role you played, I deeply appreciate¬†your support.
Once we close the loop, Bodacious Dream‚Äôs navigation system will show a bit¬†more than 14,600 miles of sailing, since she was launched a year ago. In¬†sailor‚Äôs years, that‚Äôs around about FIVE seasons of sailing – all completed in¬†TEN months!
So now ‚Ä¶ just a little more wind and we‚Äôll be heading back to Charleston for¬†the next phase of the Bodacious Dream! After all, come May, we‚Äôve got to¬†return to defend our success in the Atlantic Cup Race!
Rollin‚Äô along towards home, and wishing you all the best!
- Dave and Bodacious Dream