Transpac Update/ A Memorable Day #4!

Did I already say we are in thick of it NOW? Because we still are! Spinnaker’s up, surfing and sailing along our desired tactical course to Hawaii. Every hour or so we go over the numbers, courses, wind predictions and plot. We then work, rework and play out the routing software hoping we will find ourselves in the right place at the right time. Sailboat racing has increasingly become a hybrid mix that melds the very analog physical act of sailing the boat with the goals of a digital video navigation game. But you know what? That only adds to the fun of it all!

So far today (Monday), we’ve touched speeds in excess of 19 knots (!) – with a 12 knot average, and we’ve clicked off in excess of 270 miles! We have now less than 1250 miles to go, but as we’ve described in past updates, we can’t always sail the course as the seagull flies, and so will inevitably have to gybe several times to get to where we’re going, which may extend our total distance by as much as another 100 miles. Minimizing this extra distance by sailing the rightest and tightest course is all part of a winning strategy of sailing less distance as fast as you can versus your competitors who are trying just as hard as you are to do the very same thing! Too much fun that as well!

Chris Pike and the HAEA logoChris Pike at the helm w/ the HAEA logo on the boom!

We had some big excitement today. As we were sailing along under the spinnaker and “negotiating” among ourselves on whether or not to change to a stronger spinnaker in the heavier winds, or to keep up the faster spinnaker and risk blowing it out … all of a sudden – BANG!! … our tack line parted! The tack line is the rope that holds one corner of the spinnaker to the tip of the bowsprit at the pointed bow of the boat. As soon as that line blew, that flapping spinnaker turned into the biggest damn flag in the world!

We all jumped into action … dropping our gourmet lunches and scrambling to pull the spinnaker, rig a temporary tack line – and hoist in its place the heavier, stronger spinnaker. It took only about 10 minutes I suppose, but soon enough, we were back up to speed and racing pretty quickly. We then spent some time putting a plan together to make a proper repair, which required someone going out to the very end of the bowsprit to make a quick attachment of a block and re-rig a new, stronger tack line … all the while Bo IV kept sailing along at 12 knots! With the help of a climbing harness attached to a halyard, one of our guys worked his way to the tip of the sprit, made the repair and returned successfully. We won’t worry anyone’s family or friends by saying just who that person was. … All is fine in the life of a sailor! Peace and calm the whole day long!

Solo Ship ...

Since that incident, we’ve been flying along all day today with no issues, although we did have to make frequent adjustments to the tack line and halyards, so as to spread the wear points out across more sections of the lines.

The other less exciting news, and a bit more worrisome as well, was the appearance today of marine debris. We saw notifications of debris locations from other competitors, and started plotting those locations. (In fact, we heard that the speedy trimaran Lending Club ran into a telephone pole … but come to think of it, it was the telephone pole that ran into Lending Club, wasn’t it?)

So it was today that suddenly and out of nowhere, we spotted debris ourselves. Today’s tally: three fishing buoys, one large piece of plastic in a “T” shape, one large log about 15 feet long and one smaller narrow log about 8 feet long and 8 inches in diameter. There is much talk about marine debris, and there isn’t much that can be done about it other than doing our best as humans to prevent trash from entering the oceans in the first place. Much of this debris we understand is from the tragic tsunami in Japan, but it is still a worrisome thing for us as we move along. The good news is that for the moment, we are for now out of the identified debris field.

Pacific Currents

At the same time, as you can see in the image above … (and which is explained in more depth in our Bodacious Dream Expedition “Knowledge” Explorer Guide,) we are now fully in the strong North Equatorial currents that will take us deeper into the “convergence zone,” where we will likely see more of the debris that circulates in these now-infamous Pacific “gyres.”

Race-wise, as far as our position in the “Div 6” standings goes, we are still maintaining a slight lead … but the swift Horizon is always right on our tail. According to the Transpac Race Tracker … here’s the current leaderboard.

Leaderboard _ 7.16.13

So, as I write this, night is falling on Bodacious IV out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean … oh, right about here …

Google Earth Marker - 7.16.13

… where we hope for clearer skies soon and some of those pretty twinkling stars to steer by!

- The Crew of Bodacious IV (Skipper Jeff Urbina, Capt. Tim Eades, John Hoskins, Matt Scharl, Jim McLaren, Chris Pike, Christer Still, John Ayres and Dave Rearick.)

Our Day #4 Deets:
Coordinates: +27.35445, -134.40693
Boat speed: fast, fast, fast … 12-14 knots with surges up to 16 & 17 knots
Course over the ground: 258 degrees
Dinner tonight: Ousso Buco (Man, we are well fed! AND we still have plenty of cookies!)

BoDream/ Transpac Update – The First Three Days

The Transpac started for us last Thursday at 1pm PDT. We had a soft wind start, which created challenges for our breaking free of the California coast. Winds stayed light and variable through Friday afternoon, when they gradually shifted “aft” … which opened up our sails and allowed us to pick up speed.

The Bodacious IV team just before the start of the race.The Bodacious IV team just before the start of the race. From L to R … Christer Still, Matt Scharl, Chris Pike, John Hoskins, Jim McLaren, John Ayres, Jeff Urbina, Tim Eades & Dave Rearick.

The first night, we were surrounded by the constant baying of seals … a haunting call in the dark of night, to be sure. We also had a visit from some indeterminate species of mammal. It being dark, identifying it with any accuracy was difficult for us. As our crew is mostly from the Great Lakes, none of us are too experienced with the local amalgam of sea life. Once loose in the vast Pacific, you quickly come to realize how inadequate the paltry range of categories for sea life you carry with you are, when put against the greater varieties of species that actually exist all around you out here. It’s another one of those pay attention calls that nature loves to deliver, once you put yourself out there and on the receiving end of live experience.

Cool and overcast conditions prevailed all the way to Saturday morning, when the sun broke through allowing us to shed some clothes for an amazing day of sailing at around 12 knots of boat speed and essentially down the “rhumb line” (a fixed compass position indicating the most direct route) to Hawaii. We were able to do this, because the Pacific High pressure zone had move to the north and west bringing us these great winds.

Bodacious IV

Sunday arrived like a gift. We set our spinnakers and went to working our way down the trade wind route to Hawaii, sailing between 14 and 20 knots … in winds coming from our starboard (right) quarter (back corner of the boat) direction. This was giving us steady speeds with a peak speed so far of 17.2 knots!

We saw our first flying fish Sunday, which tells us the water is getting warmer … AND we had a squid fly up on deck as well, during one of our sail changes, and leaving some ink stains on the deck. Ancient mariners used to navigate by such natural signs. They knew that such occurrences indicated they were changing latitudes as the temperatures of the water, smell of the sea, angle of the winds, types of fish and sea life are all somewhat specific to certain regions of the sea … not unlike how various plants and animals on land are recognizably native to particular regions.

Crew spirits are high, lots of laughs and barbs zinging back and forth. And on top of that, we are eating like kings! Dinner Sunday was a delicious Veal Moscato courtesy of Chef Pierce Johnson * … our French chef friend and long-time crew member who is sitting out the race this year, but who is remembered fondly at every meal.

A quartet of sailorsAppraising the situation, planning the future …

We started our Sunday with the Code 0 sail up, with a staysail as well. Then we switched to the A3 spinnaker, and later to our A2. The spinnakers are those large billowy (and photogenic) sails in the front of the boat. The various sails have different sizes and shapes to use for different wind angles and strengths.

Our A2 also sports the logo of our advocacy partner, HAEA … and we are very proud to fly it. It might seem ironic that we are flying it out here in the middle of the ocean, where only a few of us can see it. But when you think of how many people there are who have never heard of this rare genetic disease, perhaps it’s not so ironic after all. I mean, you can see the photo here, and we will fly the sail all the way to Hawaii in hopes that awareness will have grown by the time we reach Diamond Head.

HAEA - The US Hereditary Angioedema Association
http://www.haea.org/donate/race

Position-wise … because this is after all a race, it looks like we have moved from 3rd position in our division (#6) into a tie for 1st with Horizon … which is great … but there’s still a long way to go. That said, we’re feeling great and Bodacious IV is performing beautifully.

Leaderboard  - 7.15.13

So looking ahead … here are some pointers …

The easiest way to follow the race is via the Transpac Race Tracker – and if you have a tablet, download the “Yellowbrick” app … as the tracking works even easier with touch control. On the Leaderboard, Bodacious IV is part of “Division 6″ … competing against eight other 50′ and 52′ Santa Cruz racers! What a once-in-a-lifetime thrill for all of us!

Briefer but more regular updates can always be found on our Facebook Page.

Also, for our friends at Earthwatch Institute – we’ve been keeping an eye out for debris and wildlife. Not too much to report so far, except for the beautiful and wide-open blue waters of the Pacific as far as the eye can see.

We have approximately 1450 miles to go … so those of you following along on BodaciousDreamExpeditions.com and working out the math problems on the Explorer Guides, can do another calculation and take a guess at when we might arrive in Hawaii! Send us an email with your predictions.

Thanks to all for your support!

- Dave, reporting from Bodacious IV

* On the chance, that the subject of sailing + food interests you, here’s a Bodacious Dream Expeditions video of chef Pierce Johnson (along with Jonathan Pond) talking about food and nutrition at sea and during races … <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fuGlzt0MTw>

BD News/ On the Eve of the Transpac!

Bodacious IV It’s been a busy week here in Long Beach, California! The harbor has been abuzz with boats and sailors, spectators and press as we complete our preparations for Bodacious IV to compete in the 107-year old Transpac Race!

We arrived in Long Beach after having developed a problem with the mast during the trip from San Diego, which upended all our well thought-out plans and schedules. After consulting with engineers and technicians, repairs were completed this past Sunday, and since then, we’ve been working to catch up and get back on schedule.

Yesterday, Captain Tim Eades and I were joined by the rest of the Bodacious Racing Team, and we are now at full strength going into the final stretch. The proverbial “list” is now close to manageable, we’ll get in a practice sail today and be ready to rock it come our start tomorrow Thursday at 1:00 pm, PDT!

Boats in Long Beach
Bretwayda, Bodacious IV, Lending Club & The Queen Mary!

There’s an amazing group of competitors and vessels around us here, and we’re expecting some very close racing right up to the finish line. The whole race has a total of 57 boats competing in three sections with staggered start times. This is to help consolidate the finish times in Hawaii by having the faster boats give the rest of the field a head start. The first start was on Monday, and in that start was our friend and fellow Class 40 racer Hanna Jenner onboard Dorade, which is a very special boat, having won the Trans-Pac back in 1936! Another fellow Class 40 competitor, Ryan Breymeier, will be competing in the large trimaran, Lending Club. They have been upgrading their onboard systems in an attempt to set a new multi-hull record time for covering the Transpac course in less than 5 days! We’ll see how they do. We’ll also be keeping a close eye on an old friend, Phil Pollard, who is sailing on Bretwalda 3.

Bodacious Dream ExpeditionsConcurrent to the race, we have also uploaded a Trans-Pacific Expedition discovery “module” onto our learning website, BodaciousDreamExpeditions.com … this one naturally covers the Pacific Ocean and Hawaiian Islands.
Here we give you background and study guides to help you share with the kids in your world, what’s going on around our daily updates as we venture across the largest ocean on the planet, the Pacific Ocean.

In the “print-ready” Explorer Guides, you can have some fun working out the math problems and reviewing the general knowledge questions. It’s an utterly amazing part of the world we will be voyaging through, so come along and learn about it with us … in real-time!

AC Education Day in NYC
Matt and Dave field some tough questions from the inquisitors in NYC …

Speaking of sharing our experience with a younger generation; this is at the heart of what we do as sailors and humans. On this note, the good folks at the Atlantic Cup and 11th Hour Racing were kind enough to ask me to write a piece for them on the two “Education Days” we had in-between Atlantic Cup race legs. On those two days, several of us skippers had a chance to hang out and share our experiences with groups of city school kids. It was a very special experience. My post is titled, “If I knew then, what I know now …” and you can read it right HERE!

The folks at the Transpac have also done a good job enhancing the online experience for you, as well. Here are some of the various ways you can follow the action.

Transpac 2013 The Transpac Website is here
http://transpacyc.com/
The Yellowbrick Race Tracker is here
http://yb.tl/transpac2013
Their Facebook Page is here
https://facebook.com/TranspacRace

Of course, we will (in our own inimitable way) be keeping you updated here on our Bodacious sites and on our Facebook pages as well.

So, that’s about it … there’s a LOT of excitement coming up in these next couple of weeks of hard racing. We’re hoping to cover the 2250 miles in 10 days or so, after which it will be time for a few days of rest and relaxation in Hawaii before heading back into the thick of things in preparation for the circumnavigation aboard Bodacious Dream in the fall!

HAEAWe hope you’ll take time to follow us on this grand race and adventure, explore our expedition materials and also support our good friends at the Earthwatch Institute … and if you can, help out our partners at the U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA) who are working hard to find a cure for all those affected by that disease. So … until the next update, all the best to you, from all of us onboard Bodacious IV!

- Skipper Jeff Urbina, Captain Tim Eades, John Ayres, Chris Pike, John Hoskins, Christer Still, Jim McLaren, Matt Scharl & Dave Rearick

BD News/ Transpac 2013 – Coming Up!

Greetings from Long Beach, California … where warm and sunny days abound! We’re now moving into the final 10 days of preparations for the Trans-Pac Race - 2225 miles of open-ocean sailing from Long Beach, California to the Honolulu, Hawaii. This is one of the great ocean races in the world. Though it stands as a pinnacle of racing for sailors along the western coast of North America, the event also attracts sailors from around the Pacific and around the world. For those of you that were with us two years ago, this is the same race we sailed then on Bodacious 3, but which we had to abandon due to a crew member’s injury.

While Bodacious Dream is back in Rhode Island getting ready for our global circumnavigation this fall, I’ll be joining back up with my good friends of Bodacious Racing days onboard the Santa Cruz 52, Bodacious IV. This great group of folks has shared amazing sailing experiences in all corners of the world. A number of them – John Hoskins, Jeff Urbina, Jim McLaren, John Ayres, Matt Scharl and myself are all Great Lakes Singlehanded Society members. On this run, in addition to Capt. Tim Eades, we will also be joined by Chris Pike, formerly from New Zealand and by Christer Still, formerly from Finland! This is going to be one wide world of fun race to be sure.

HAEAThis time around we are also proud to be sharing the platform of Bodacious IV with our friends at HAEA, the US Hereditary Angioedema Association. This is a hereditary blood disease with profound effects, notably swelling that involves the throat, because it can close the airway and cause death by suffocation. Because it affects very few people, it is rarely encountered by healthcare professionals and is often misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly. Pam King, wife of crew member Chris Pike has been working with this rare disease for many years and has been very involved assisting this patient advocacy organization to help build awareness of the disease. We welcome Pam and the HAEA on board and hope that you will take a moment to look at their website, http://www.haea.org to learn more about this disease and then to perhaps join us in supporting the development of a cure, by making a donation to HAEA here.

As always, our good friends at Earthwatch Institute will be following along with us as we sail these amazing waters of the Pacific Ocean. We’ll be doing our best to post photos and daily updates about the amazing things we will see along the way. We’ll also have video cameras onboard too … so hopefully, once we arrive in Honolulu, we’ll be able to share with you some exciting footage of us roaring downwind and mixing it up with the trade winds across the Pacific!

The Trans-Pac race began in 1906, and this will be its 47th running. It starts off at Point Fermin, just north of the harbor of Long Beach, California, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles and from there, the course takes us across to Honolulu, Hawaii where we will finish in view of the famous Diamond Head Point.

Diamond Head
Diamond Head … Aaah!

The race course, as I said, is 2225 miles long with the first obstacle being Catalina Island. Our first day of sailing will be “on the nose” as we maneuver around the northern tip of Catalina Island. Once we clear Catalina, we will continue southwesterly as the winds slowly turn more to the East, and we begin what we call “footing off.” This is when the angle of the wind becomes more open and a little less “on the nose.” As the winds back off the bow, the boat gets faster and faster. We call this part of the race, the “slot car” event! If you remember toy racing cars that zipped around slotted tracks, it’s like that. During this run, the boats all seem to be sliding along on a parallel course, making fast time as they push deeper into the trade winds towards Hawaii.

Towards the middle and on through the end of the race, we will all be pretty much downwind sailing with our biggest sails up, gybing (turning back and forth across the wind) to keep in line with the best winds that come out of squalls that are common in this part of the ocean. These squalls aren’t the same sort of squalls you experience on the Great Lakes where winds can reach 100 mph. These are more open ocean squalls with winds that can build up to 30 or 35 knots … but for short periods. Such intermittent winds are manageable in these boats, and if you can stay with them, they will provide you extra boosts of speed … somewhat like being “turbo-charged” … or for you Star Wars fans, like blasting into hyperspace! But for only for as long as you stay with the squall!
Molokai Channel Approach to Honolulu.

The last stretch of the race is through the Molokai Channel towards the finish. This is the channel between the islands of Oahu and Molokai where some pretty wild winds funnel, making the last stretch of the race quite a fast run. With the finish near, winds up and the boats cranking out double digit boat speeds, you can imagine how high the sailors’ spirits will be!

Molokai Channel
Molokai Channel

We hope that you’ll find this race exciting to follow and to enjoy with us. With the additional eight crew members onboard, I’m expecting to have more time to report back to you and so bring more of this race right into your living room, so that you can all ride the excitement with us the whole way!

We’ll be bringing you more details on the race and how to track us as we get closer, so stay tuned!

- Dave and all of us on Bodacious IV

BoDream News/ Taking Care of Bodacious Business

An update here to catch you up on things, which have been moving along pretty much non-stop since the end of the Atlantic Cup Race. I had to head back home to the Midwest to deal with those things that pile up when you’re away – laundry, bills, storm debris, cars and such. During that time, Bodacious Dream has been sitting patiently on a mooring in Jamestown, RI waiting for my return.

This past weekend, I drove up to Jamestown from Charleston, SC, where I had left the spare gear and sails that we didn’t take with us on the race. I had to sort and pack that all up, along with BoDream’s “cradle” which we shipped by trailer truck up to a marina in Portsmouth, RI.

Anybody who sails knows there’s never a shortage of stuff … only a shortage of places to put it all.

Stuff
Your classic “stuff” photo

Yesterday, I sailed BoDream up to the Portsmouth marina where she was hauled out of the water, so that we can start preparations for our trip around the world … coming up at the end of the summer! More on that soon!

Once the truck arrived, I was down there to unload it and assemble the cradle, unstep (take down) the mast, supervise hauling the boat out of the water and get everything put away and secured before I leave to head west.

Haul Out
BoDream hauled out of the water …

The Cradle
Here she is being lowered into her cradle …

While she’s “up on the hard,” there are a number of projects that need to be completed to prepare her for sailing those much longer distances. Some of these include adding back-up wind instruments to the top of the mast, a hydro-generator to produce alternate power and improving the satellite communication mounts.

TranspacWhile I’ll get these projects started, I’m also leaving today for the next adventure, which will be helping to sail Bodacious IV in the upcoming Trans-Pac Race which runs from Long Beach, CA to Honolulu, HI! This great race starts for our team on July 11th, and I’ll be sending out more detailed information on what’s going on with that in a week or so.

So that’s the up-to-the-very-minute news update!

Coming up soon though … a final recap of the Atlantic Cup Race that covers some of the more exciting points of the racing, as well as a great selection of photos and videos. I hope to have that together for you in a couple of days. In the meantime, you can see our “best-of” Atlantic Cup photos here & videos here.

I’d like to finish with a few shout-outs.

First off, good luck to the all the Great Lakes Single-Handed Sailors who are racing the Solo Mackinac Races, taking place on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron right NOW through tomorrow! Many good friends and dedicated sailors out there. I remember all the great times participating in past races … and all I can say is I’m envious of them all! If you would like to follow along, here’s the link for the live race tracking.

Also, you might want to keep track of our friends and fellow Atlantic Cup competitors, Hannah Jenner from 40 Degrees and Rob Windsor from Dragon as they finish up their Atlantic Crossing aboard 40 Degrees. You can find them on their Facebook page at Royal Racing. I’m told they will have some very exciting video uploaded once they arrive, as a videographer, Will Lyons, who worked on the TV show, Deadliest Catch, and who shot much of the great Atlantic Cup footage, is sailing along with them to bring their story alive in video. I can’t wait to see what they create.

Until the next update then, enjoy your summer! Thanks again for your many good wishes, and we’ll be back in touch soon!

- Dave and Bodacious Dream

Atlantic Cup Inshore Racing & Last Day Recap!

The 2013 Atlantic Cup is over and Bodacious Dream had a fantastic run of it … placing first in the two offshore legs and a respectable second in the third element, the inshore series, which combined to put us at the top of the leaderboard and first overall in this year’s event!

Sunday was the last day of the competition, and it arrived with weather similar to how it was for Saturday’s last race, which we won. Wind speeds were again between 18 and 25 knots with an overcast sky, though fortunately no rain.

Boats at the dock
Sunday morning before start – Photo by Billy Black

Racing in “sporting” conditions like these is always challenging … physically as well as mentally. The decisions come even quicker and the pure physical energy needed to handle sails in such wind jumps exponentially. Along with that, your chances of making mistakes that can cost you places, goes up as well. Often these regattas are won by whatever boat makes “the second to the last” mistake. There were plenty of mistakes made out there on the water, and we certainly had our share.

Lecoq Cuisine, Icarus, Bodacious Dream & Gryphon Solo 2
Lecoq Cuisine, Icarus, BoDream & Gryphon Solo 2 - Photo by Billy Black

One such costly mistake happened on the last turn to the finish during Saturday’s final race. We were chasing down Lecoq Cuisine who had the lead, when they had a problematic spinnaker takedown while rounding the mark. Their spinnaker caught the water and began dragging behind the boat, which allowed us to pass them and continue on to win that race. This is all part of what makes racing so exciting to watch, but what also makes it painful when it happens to you or to a tough and valiant competitor.

Going into Sunday’s races, we remained in the overall lead, but again we had to keep even or ahead of Lecoq Cuisine in the day’s two races in order to preserve it. Our plan was simple … race hard, not let Lecoq get ahead of us and solidly cement our place at the top of the standings.

Bodacious Dream & Gryphon Solo 2We started the first race in a very good position with water ballast in place for the long starboard sail to the first mark off Beavertail Point. I’m pretty sure we were the only ones with water ballast loaded, as we saw Bo surge ahead when the heavy gusts of wind hit, leading the entire fleet around that first mark in what was a rather tricky, high wind gybe. This is a maneuver that can really go wrong if everyone doesn’t do their job exactly on cue.

We pulled that mark off perfectly, and then set up our Code 0 sail, an asymmetric sail designed for a broader angle to the wind. With the sail up and rolled, ready to be deployed, we delayed the decision to deploy it as the winds were still in the high 20’s. All of a sudden, on its own, the Code 0 unfurled and took to the wind, jamming the furling line in the process. This meant we suddenly had way too much sail area up. Crewmember Ryan Scott and I moved quickly to the foredeck to get the sail partially furled and dropped back to the deck where we got it under control. Not only can a problem like this cost you places in the race, but it can cost you personal injury and broken gear as well. We were lucky and only lost three places on that one. We stashed the sail below, but it remained unusable for the rest of the race.

We sailed extra hard for the rest of that particular leg and rounding the next mark, we were again headed upwind – certainly one of Bodacious Dream’s very good points of sail. With Lecoq ahead of us after the Code 0 mishap, we set to sailing the upwind leg as perfectly as we could, and so were able to pass them halfway up that leg! Now back in third place, we chased the leaders all the while keeping Lecoq behind us. We jib reached down to the last turn mark, where we had Bodacious Dream doing over 19 knots across Narragansett Bay. Quite the thrill for all of us that was! Later, we learned that the camera boat was having a tough time keeping up with us! We turned the last mark, set our A3 spinnaker and sailed to the finish, taking a third behind Gryphon Solo 2 and Icarus, but leading Lecoq and gaining one more point on them.

Bodacious DreamLeaning in … - Photo by Billy Black

Our confidence was high going into the second and final race, and we got a great start which put us ahead of the fleet to the first turn mark … at which point we made a tactical error, which dropped us behind three boats and into fourth place. Frustration almost always leads to determination, and we got our focus together enough to pass two boats on the way to the next mark – one of which was Lecoq! In second position now, we saw that our job was to sail perfectly around the course and to stay ahead of Lecoq. In similar circumstances on Saturday, we did just that, even nearly pulling ahead of Icarus at one point. As we crossed the finish line in this final race of the competition, we knew we had done the job, and cleanly won the overall event with a solid second position in the inshore series, on top of our two closely fought victories in the offshore legs.

Worn out, tired, beat up by the windy days of racing, we were all elated and feeling victorious on our return to the harbor. My abiding appreciation to our hardy inshore crew: Jay Hansen, Jay Cross, Christer Still, Skip Mattos and Ryan Scott, and of course to Matt Scharl for his stellar tactics and fortitude on the offshore legs, all of which combined to bring Bodacious Dream to the podium at the awards ceremony Sunday afternoon to collect her first prize overall in the 2013 Atlantic Cup!

Bodacious Dream on the podium
On the Podium … Photo by Billy Black

Not only that, but thanks to you, our loyal fans, we also carried the vote for the “Most Popular” team! What an extra kick that was!

My heartfelt thanks to all of you Bodacious Dreamers out there for supporting us, following us and sharing in this great event.

My congratulations as well to an amazing international group of competitors who gave it their all with some consistently great sailing. The special camaraderie that we all shared here in American waters makes this event a standout event worldwide. We send out a challenge to our friends across the oceans to come prepared for some great racing next year!

All the teams on the podium
The Teams on the Podium … Photo by Billy Black

A special thanks to Julianna Barbieri and Hugh Piggen of Manuka Sports Management and 11th Hour Racing for making this event a truly spectacular one!

That’s it for the moment. It’s time to go give Bo a wash-down and find her a place to stay for a couple of weeks, while I head for home to catch my breath and recover from the amazing events of the last three weeks.

We’ll be adding photos to our Facebook page and right here on our website soon … and I’m sure I’ll have another story here in a day or two, so stay tuned for more coming right up!

- Dave & the Bodacious Dream Team!

Bodacious Dream WINS the 2013 Atlantic Cup Race!

In what was an amazing finish to an amazing day’s racing to an AMAZING three-week long competition, Bodacious Dream today was declared the winner of the 2013 Atlantic Cup Race!!

Bodacious Dream at the finish line!
Bodacious Dream at the Jamestown FiSH Finish Line

The competion through all three legs of the event was non-stop … and every victory was hard-won and well-deserved. Huzzah to all seven teams and to the Atlantic Cup Race organizers … and HUGE congrats to co-skippers, Dave Rearick and Matt Scharl, to the great inshore crew and to the whole Bodacious Dream Team!

Today proved to be another incredible day on the water. It is in the nature of these competitions, that fortunes can change so quickly … and going into this last day, it was still a wide-open race – with #118 Bodacious Dream leading #121 Lecoq Cuisine by just ONE point, followed by #116 Icarus NINE points behind BoDream. So, the pressure was on everyone!

BB_fleet
The fleet at the start – Photo by Billy Black 

Icarus had an incredible day, winning both Sunday races, which after their one first and two seconds yesterday, made them the clear winner of the inshore leg of the competition. Congrats to the inshore ninjas of #116.

Bodacious Dream & Icarus
#118 Bodacious Dream & #116 Icarus - Photo by Billy Black 

Throughout both of today’s races though, Bodacious Dream held rock steady, rarely slipping position. With the exception of a 6th place finish in the second Saturday race, Bodacious took one of the top three positions in all the other 4 inshore races.

Lecoq Cuisine had to outpace Bodacious Dream today if they were going to grab the prize, but they couldn’t do it, finishing today’s races in 4th and 5th position respectively. Remember it was Lecoq Cuisine, who finished just 8.5 and then 5 minutes behind Bodacious Dream in the two offshore legs of the race. Throughout the competition, they proved themselves great sailors and awesome competitors – and much respect goes their way.

Atlantic Cup Leaderboard
• Here for you are the results of today’s two “inshore” races.

:: FOURTH Class40 inshore race: 1st-Icarus 2nd-GryphonSolo2 3rd-Bodacious Dream 4th- Lecoq Cuisine 5th-40 Degrees 6th-Pleiad 7th-Dragon

:: FIFTH Class40 inshore race: 1st-Icarus 2nd-Bodacious Dream 3rd-GryphonSolo2 4th- 40 Degrees 5th-Lecoq Cuisine 6th-Dragon 7th-Dragon

:: Overall Atlantic Cup Race Standings: http://atlanticcup.org/race/2013-results/

That’s about it for now. We’ll be back to you here soon with commentary, photos and videos  and a real wrap-up soon!

Remember, more frequent updates can always be found at the Bodacious Dream Facebook Page!

And one more big thank you for following along, and for all your good wishes and excitement. It makes a big difference when you’re pushing hard out there, to know you have such super support in your corner.

- Dave, Matt and the Bodacious Dream Team

BoDream holds “slim” lead after 1st day’s “inshore” races!

Atlantic Cup Start Leg 3Well, that was ONE wild and exciting day on the water, full of great and very close racing! The first day of the Atlantic Cup‘s “inshore” leg played out against dark skies, white caps and strong winds. There were three races today that produced many lead changes and a mad mix of finish placements. Mistakes were frequent from everyone … so just when you thought you’d lost the race, someone else would make a mistake … and bam! – you were right back in it!

Through it all, our crew was unstoppable – even though at times it was more like hand-to-hand combat than sailing! But they never gave in, and every time we did things right, Bo just kicked up her heels and danced! Huge smiles all around … though everyone’s pretty whooped and sore at the moment. But it’s an exhilarating feeling too … being that focused and in sync with each other. Thanks to all the guys (Jay C., Jay H., Christer, Skip & Ryan) for giving it their all. We’ll be back and fighting again tomorrow!

So, here’s the RECAP! At the end of the day today, #118 Bodacious Dream was ONE “squeaky” point ahead of #121 Lecoq Cuisine and nine points ahead of #116 Icarus third place.

After finishing 3rd and 6th respectively in the first two races today, we kept BoDream holding steady through the third race, outlasting and finally passing Lecoq Cuisine and GryphonSolo2 to win the last contest which put us back in the overall lead.

Atlantic Cup Start Leg 3

The final two (and deciding) races, right back here in Narragansett Bay, RI … are set for tomorrow Sunday, starting at 11 am EDT. (See below for links to tracker, etc.)

Atlantic Cup Leaderboard • So, here are today’s “inshore” results:

:: FIRST Class40 race: 1st-Lecoq Cuisine 2nd-Icarus 3rd-Bodacious Dream 4th- GryphonSolo2 5th-Pleiad 6th-Dragon 7th-40 Degrees

:: SECOND Class40 race: 1st-Icarus 2nd-Dragon 3rd-Lecoq Cuisine 4th- GryphonSolo2 5th-40 Degrees 6th-Bodacious Dream 7th-Pleiad

:: THIRD Class40 race: 1st-Bodacious Dream 2nd-Icarus 3rd-Lecoq Cuisine 4th- GryphonSolo2 5th-Pleiad 6th-40 Degrees 7th-Dragon

(Replays of all three of Saturday’s Races can be found here!)

• And here are the go-to links for tomorrow’s final day of racing:

:: Overall Atlantic Cup Race Standings: http://atlanticcup.org/race/2013-results/

:: LiVE Atlantic Cup Race Tracker: http://atlanticcup.org/race-day/leg-three-tracking/

:: LiVE Atlantic Cup Audio Commentary: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/atlantic-cup-inshore-series

Watching the live race tracker and listening to the live audio commentary is definitely the way 2 go!

:: Bodacious Dream Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/BodaciousDream

And that’s it for now … rest is calling! Onward to the final two races!

Good luck to all the competitors! … And thanks to all of you!

- Dave & the Bodacious Dream Team

Atlantic Cup Leg 3 – Inshore Racing!

It’s Friday in Newport, Rhode Island and the weekend forecast for Leg Three of the Atlantic Cup looks to be for some spectacular sailing … and for some not-so-great weather. Saturday will likely dip into the 50’s with a strong chance of rain, Sunday in the 60’s with a little less rain predicted – and the winds both days up there close to 20 mph. So, it looks to be a challenging and a bit of a wild event for sure.

A number of people have asked me about the difference between “offshore” and “inshore” racing. So, I thought I’d try my hand here at explaining what makes them different … and how inshore action adds to the overall scope and excitement of the competition.

“Offshore” racing is open-ocean racing – from a starting point to an ending point, and it’s what we did on both Leg One (Charleston, SC to NYC/ 640 miles) and Leg Two (NYC to Newport, RI /240 miles) of the Atlantic Cup.

Atlantic Cup Recap of Leg Two – NYC-Newport …

“Inshore” racing is course racing, and it’s what we’re doing this weekend on Narragansett Bay. As it involves so many quick and difficult maneuvers, each of the boats will have up to 6 crewmembers onboard. As Matt Scharl had to take off for the Midwest (Thanks Matt for an incredible job!) for this next leg, I will be joined by Jay Cross, Jay Hansen, Christer Still, Skip Mattos and Ryan Scott – stout-hearted competitors and experienced seamen, each and every one!

There will five races over two days … with all seven boats in each race – and assuming we complete all five races, each team gets to keep their best four finishes. These are typically very short races, 15 miles or so in overall distance on a mapped-out course around a series of buoys in the bay, with the legs themselves often less than 2 miles in length.

Race markerHere’s how the races are set up. There are a number of “marks” of the sort that the government places in harbors everywhere, so that ships and boats can navigate around them and so avoid rocks and shallow areas. These, along with other marks that the race organizers place in the water (like the one to the left,) are all the potential markers for the course.

At the start of the race, the AC Race Committee notifies us of the particular course they want us to run, and they give us a sheet with all the marks in order for that particular race. An easy example might be a triangle race around three marks finishing back at the start. Another race might be 10 marks, that on the sheet looks like one of those Chinese string games we played as kids!

The scoring of the Atlantic Cup is based on a high-point total with the offshore legs each weighted at double points, while the inshore legs are each weighted in single points. Essentially, the inshore races with only one times the points will still equal half the available points in the entire competition … so it remains very important to do well in these inshore races. As far as the bottom-line on scoring goes for us, for the inshore leg, Bodacious Dream has only to stay next to Lecoq Cuisine to finish in the lead. We don’t necessarily have to win a single race to take the title – but you can be sure we’re going out there to win them all!

The scoring here is pretty complicated I know, but this is what makes sailboat racing so interesting; it’s not just about going fast and winning. There is a lot of strategy involved – which you saw in abundance on Leg Two. Inshore racing works with a whole other set of variables, which add up to intense and non-stop action. For example, tomorrow we may well be changing sails before each turn. Changing sails is similar to changing gears in a car race … except it involves a heck of a lot more physical work! That’s also why the expanded crew … to handle all the additional work required to put the boats through paces that two-person crews can’t possibly do.

Here’s a shot from last summer’s Class40 World Championships – where you can see some of the intensity (and ballet!) that goes on with a larger crew!

Inshore RacingClass40 Championships 2012

So, here’s how a typical turn might play out. Let’s say you have a jib sail, the small triangular sail, up on the front of the boat, and you are going to replace it with the spinnaker, the larger, often colorful and billowy sail better for going downwind. You’re sailing at 7.5 knots (making each mile about 8 minutes long,) so this first leg will take you about 15 minutes before you need to make the turn of the next mark. At about the halfway point, you start to set up for your change. The new spinnaker is hauled up onto the bow of the boat (it weighs about 35 pounds!) Next you pull the sheets (ropes) around to tie onto the sail, and then next you move the halyard (the rope that pulls the sail up to the top of the masts) into position and hook it onto the spinnaker. When the boat arrives at the perfect spot – maybe 100 yards from the mark, everyone breaks into motion. The guy at the mast is hauling up the halyard, the guys in the cockpit are pulling in the sheets and setting up the corners of the spinnaker, the driver is driving the boat and the trimmers are still trimming the jib! Oh, and I forgot to tell you that there is usually a boat on either side of you doing the very same thing, but trying to do it faster than you are. If you’ve timed it right, the sail is at the top of the mast at just the moment your driver turns around the mark at which point, the sail (gloriously) fills with air, the guys in the cockpit trim it in and you sail away – except now you are going 10 knots, which means the next turn is only 12 minutes away, which means you no sooner finish one sail change than you are back setting up for the next – which is pretty much what you are doing the whole time you are on the water.

At the same time, you still have to think in terms of your overall position on the race course. Positioning for inshore racing involves finer adjustments and much less distance between boats – which can get hair-raising sometimes too.

Inshore racing
Leaving NYC Harbor

So, to sum it all up … this weekend is going to be quite a thrill! The winds will be solid, the rain will be often, we will likely get wet before we grow tired, cold and frustrated – but at the same time, we will be loving it all and going for it each day in every race!

FacebookWe hope you’ll be able to follow us on the Race Tracker (once live, the link will be here,) on our Website, on our Facebook Page or on Twitter – updates to which we’re expecting will be coming fast and furious.

Stay tuned for more!

- Dave & the whole Bodacious Dream Team

Atlantic Cup Leg Two Win! – The Day After …

It’s been a slow morning here in Newport. I’m tired and relieved, my hands are sore and my joints are stiff, and I’m feeling a few assorted aches in places I’ve never felt them before, but put all that against the thrill of winning the Second Leg of the 2013 Atlantic Cup, and it all feels well worth it!

In case you hadn’t heard, Matt Scharl and I aboard Bodacious Dream were first across the “Jamestown FiSH Finish Line” at 8:14 PM EDT last night. And boy, what a race … and what an incredible bunch of competitors!

Atlantic Cup Finish Line
Crossing the Jamestown FiSH Finish Line! (Photo by Billy Black)

The 14 of us have proven to be a absolutely tireless group of competitors on the water, and an equally dedicated group of friends off the water. Last night, after waiting on the dock for 45 minutes for all the boats to cross the finish line and tie up (Yes, all 7 boats finished the 240-mile course within 45 minutes!) – we all wandered over to a nearby restaurant for burgers and a round of friendly jabs and stories; a bunch of smiling, sleepy, squinty-eyed, wind-burnt faces all laughing about our lives!

Atlantic Cup Dinner
A mighty toast was clearly in order for this crew! (Photo by Billy Black)

With a race as brief and intensely competitive as this one, you have to stay on yourself to run hard the whole time, so that when any opportunity to advance presents itself, you are right there to grab it!

In the early part of the race, on our way south along the Jersey Coast to the turn mark off of Barnegat’s Lighthouse, we kept ourselves busy trimming the sails, driving the boat and managing the course. Being in the lead at that mark only meant that we had to pay particularly close attention to where our competitors were heading, and so try to position ourself between them and the finish line, still some 200 miles away. This is not always as easy thing to do as it sounds.

Later that night, as we moved north, the rain grew heavier so that keeping track of the lights of our competitors, mixed in with those of commercial fishing boats, became a big challenge. We watched as three of the boats headed to the west and three stayed with us. When morning came, we saw that Gryphon Solo II had shifted across the racecourse and had captured the lead from us. At that point, weather conditions became more intense, as we tried to position ourselves relative to Gryphon Solo II, but also somewhere where other boats couldn’t get past us. This kind of thinking doesn’t sound completely rational I know, but protecting second place was important for us, as the scoring for this race is cumulative over three events, not just one. At the same time, we were keeping an eye out for any opportunity to recapture first place.

That opportunity came as we approached Block Island. The important decision to go either right or left around Block Island is always a tricky but crucial one.

Atlantic Cup
Here is where we were around Block Island …

Currents and wind shifts play a big roll in your decision-making process. For us, the decision was to once again try to protect second place. Once Gryphon Solo II telegraphed their course and their decision to go to the right (east) of Block Island – (which seasoned local sailors will most often do) – we choose to stay with three other boats and head west around the island. A number of factors lead to that decision; wind, current, tides and that repeated urge to preserve second place all played a part … not to mention the fact that I had incorrectly entered a navigational point into the GPS, which lead us down a wrong path for a while. In a race of this speed and distance, there’s no downtime … you’re either ON it or your not.

Once we committed to our plan to head left of Block Island, the opportunity presented itself to take over the lead once again. We worked some Midwest hoodoo to slip past Lecoq Cuisine, and then proceeded to sail as fast and furious as we could towards the finish, hoping that Gryphon Solo II had lost some ground coming around the eastern side of Block Island. For an anxious hour or two, we sailed hard, scanning the misty rain for sight of Gryphon Solo II. When they finally emerged from out of the fog, it was to our right and in a position slightly behind us, at which point we knew we had first place in hand!

From there on, our first (and second!) order of business was simple enough … to keep going as fast as we could and to get to the finish line before anyone else. Just about an hour later, we entered the narrowing Narragansett Bay and crossed the finish line; exhausted, elated and excited at winning Leg Two of this incredible 2013 Atlantic Cup. This was also a repeat performance of our unexpected win last year! Matt and I are so very grateful for our great good fortune so far in the race.

Matt & DAve in Newport
Once again, two happy and pretty whomped fellas … (Photo by Billy Black)

We hope you enjoyed watching the race on the tracker or following the updates on Facebook … and that you managed to ride the excitement and uncertainty that the race provided with its ever-changing position changes and close finishes.

Today Monday is an official slow-way-down day. We’re heading down to the boat to do some sorting and cleaning … before meeting up with friends, finding a nice comfy chair and resuming our storytelling!

Matt & Dave
Taking a breather at the finish … (Photo by Billy Black)

A big thanks to everyone who’s been a part of this, including our sponsors Jamestown FiSH, The Earthwatch Institute, as well as The Atlantic Cup Race organizers and staff and the many race sponsors. Thanks to Elizabeth, our onboard media person, who kept you up-to-date with our progress and with photos. Also a major bushel of thanks to Mark Petrakis over at Firm Solutions, for managing our online activities and our social media. Mark is the magic hand behind all the news you get!

More recaps in the coming days, as well as updates on preparations for this weekend’s inshore racing leg. It’s not over yet!

For now though, thanks again to all of you!

- Matt, Dave & Bodacious Dream