At 4:00 am on Saturday morning, wrapped in a very dense fog, I tied up in Charleston Harbor, and so completed what has been for me a lifelong dream – a dream that began on December 7th, when Bodacious Dream and I departed Cascais, Portugal.Â Usually, there would have been a lot of shipping traffic present in Charleston, but I suppose because of the fog and the hour, it was eerilyÂ quiet when I stepped onto the dock.
The two days prior to that however, had been more challenging than I anticipated, with some very intense seas.
I arrived in West Palm Beach on Wednesday for a quick pit-stop, where I washed off the salt, took a nap, did some refueling and got a real American cheeseburger and fries with a friend. Thursday morning, I began the 365-mile last leg of the trip to Charleston, and quickly ran into difficulties with twisty and unpredictable Gulf Stream currents that at the start gave us a solid knocking about.
The Gulf Stream, as you may know, is like a river in the coastal ocean that runs northbound at 3 knots. I got to “jib reaching” along at a pretty good pace with its help â€¦Â but the wave pattern was also temperamental, to say the least … so the 3-knot boost was in this case, something of a mixed blessing.
When you have a strong current like the Gulf Stream (the darkest red in the photo,) if the winds blow “with” the current, the seas are pretty steady. If however, the winds blow “against” the current,Â then the waves can get very steep and choppy … with the friction of the wind against the current making for very chaotic motion. I spent a good part of ThursdayÂ day and night with the windÂ mostly against the current, with one wave coming across another one that is going at a right angle to it … which yanks the boat into a corkscrew-like motion. Let me tell you, even a few hours of this can be pretty rough on the stomach!
For the rest of the time, the sailing was pretty fast, until the end, when the winds slowed and the waters grew glassy still (it reminded me of Lake Michigan sailing,) and I had to kick overÂ the motor for the final approach to Charleston.
So, after tuckingÂ Bodacious into her Charleston berth, and saying my farewells, I left yesterday on a flight back to the Midwest.Â Now that Iâ€™m back home again in Indiana, I wanted to take a moment to express my deep gratitude to all of you for your ongoing interest and support of our adventurous dream.
We chose Charleston for the late winter and early spring so that we might make some modifications to Bodacious, and add some new equipment that will make her better suited for the longerÂ races we have planned. One thing we’re looking to do is to upgrade our satellite communications, which will allow us to send photos (and videos!) directly from the boat – so that we can really spiceÂ up these updates!
Back now on a real Internet connection, I am starting to upload photos and videos, the best of which I think you’ll enjoy. I recall one video I took sailing down a mid-ocean highway ofÂ shimmering moonlight. All along the way, I kept wishing I could show you what I was seeing. Sharing such memories and experiences is always a special part of the experience for me.
We have other aspects of the Bodacious Dream “Project” that we’ll be advancing as well in the coming months, including initiating some collaborations with our friends at the Earthwatch Institute whoÂ are engaged in some very exciting ocean science programs.
And donâ€™t forget, the first race of the summer begins on May 11th, right in Charleston – The Class 40 Atlantic Cup Race! (Charleston to NYC to Newport.) We’re looking forward to an excitingÂ race and to defending our second place overall finish of last year.Â Check out this new video trailer for the 2013 Atlantic Cup Race. (I’m the first guy you “see” talking in it, alongside my BD crewmate, Matt Scharl. BoDream (#118) is identifiable in the action by the name “Fish” on theÂ mainsail.)
As we move forward, we’ll be keeping you informed of all these developments through emails, but also on Facebook where we happily gained many new fans over the past month. That Bodacious Dream Facebook Page link, as always, is here.
And thank you again for your tremendous show of support this past season. It has made the trip SO much more rewarding knowing that you were there, following our progress and rooting us on.
I’ll be returning to Charleston before too long, so if you happen to be down there – come look us up. There’s always a chance you can reach out and touch BoDream’s bowsprit and gain yourself some of her Bodacious Luck!
- Dave and Bodacious Dream