Well, Iâ€™m back in Cascais, Portugal and happily reunited with Bodacious Dream. Sheâ€™s been sitting here patiently since early November, waiting for my return from the visit back home. Fortunately, sheâ€™s been looked in on from time to time by various friends passing through Cascais, as well as by some fine local sailors. All is well with her, though she does seem a bit lonely! Or maybe that’s just me.
It was a great visit back home – a chance to reconnect with family and old friends, and to catch up with my life as I left it back in late June.
We had another grand Thanksgiving this year with 30 or so people gathered for dinner, and another six or eight dropping by over the course of the evening. As a kid, Thanksgiving was held at either our familyâ€™s house or my Aunt and Uncleâ€™s place and at both, there was always a card table set up for the kids to sit at, far away from the main table. That never seemed right to me, so now I make sure that thereâ€™s a seat for everyone at the big table!! This yearâ€™s table was 26â€™ long and extended fully across the living room â€¦ starting in one corner and angled diagonally to the Northwest directly in line with the light of the setting sun. The living room looks out across the waters of Lake Michigan, and with a fireplace at one end of the room, it has always made a perfect place to host Thanksgiving!
Once again, the tables were filled with an embarrassing abundance of food – the main event being the turkey of course, with Great-Grandma Hallâ€™s stuffing and fishermanâ€™s potatoes alongside the many smaller gourmet dishes and extravagant desserts brought by family and friends. As the evening unfolded and the fire burned bright, we were entertained with a wonderful reading by Harry Mark Petrakis from his biography Stelmark, as well as by the mighty musical talents of our friends … from great blues singing to fancy classical guitar and mandolin. Topping off the event was the annual lighting of the big outdoor evergreen Christmas tree. Gabe and Cameron, the youngest among us, were the honored guest lighters this year! There certainly has been so much to be thankful for this year, and there among such a warm and lovely circle, I believe we lived the day well.
Holidays serve a special role in that they allow us to reflect on where we’ve been since last we gathered, and where we might be headed in the year to come.
This past year has been something of a whirlwind … beginning with Bodacious Dream’s launch almost exactly one year ago. After months of outfitting and prepping – beginning in late spring, Bodacious Dream and I along with various (and stellar) crew members journeyed up the East Coast from Charleston, SC to Newport, RI to New York City and to Quebec City, Canada. From there, we raced up the St. Lawrence River and across the North Atlantic to St. Malo, France, and then down the French coast with memorable stays in the port cities of Cherbourg, Caen, Lorient and La Rochelle before turning our attention to the return voyage back into U.S. waters.
The approach of Hurricane Sandy at the end of October caused us to put the crossing on hold, and to leave BoDream in Cascais, Portugal until more stable weather could be anticipated. Now I’m back in Cascais, and planning to set sail later this week, thus completing the circle to Charleston, South Carolina where the whole season of racing began with the Atlantic Cup Race back in May.
Weâ€™re closely following the weather again, and looking for a window to leave Portugal and head a bit south to pick up the trade winds which will take us west towards the Caribbean before swinging up the coast to Charleston. There weâ€™ll set the boat up for the winter, and use the time to complete some work to prepare her for her next adventure. Right now, thereâ€™s another low-pressure storm lurking around the Azores that looks like it will delay my departure until Friday, December 7th.
So, that leaves about 3800 miles or so between Cascais and Charleston, and depending on how fast I can sail, I’m expecting it will take between 14 and 18 days. So, thereâ€™s a pretty fair chance Iâ€™ll be spending Christmas out at sea, which should give me an unobstructed view of any mysterious comings and goings in the sky on Christmas Eve.
To keep things festive, I’ve got one on my favorite Christmas music albums loaded onto my laptop, so I can listen to some sailing Christmas music during the trip. Itâ€™s a great CD for sailors called Christmas Goes to Sea by Lee Murdock. It has some fine traditional sailing songs of the season along with some lovely instrumental tunes! Lee is a great musician, as well as a historian of sea lore and songs. Iâ€™ve been following the talented fellow for over 30 years now. My favorite tune is Blessed Christmas Morn. If you like, check out his work at www.leemurdock.com
As always, Iâ€™ll be giving it my best to deliver updates along the way. I’ve heard from so many of you who enjoyed my earlier sporadic updates. I want you to know how much I enjoy being able to share these adventures with you. So â€¦ stay tuned â€¦ next updates will be from the Atlantic Ocean! Look for them via email when they are substantial enough – or head on over to our Bodacious Dream Facebook Page for more occasional updates. And “Like” us over there on Facebook, if you haven’t already done that. That’ll make it easier for you to follow along.
Until my next update … a fine holiday season to you all!
- Dave & Bodacious Dream