In late June, my good friendÂ Kevin FinneganÂ joined me for the 1200-mile tripÂ from Newport, up to Nova Scotia and back down the St. Lawrence River toÂ Quebec City. Matt joined me there, along withÂ Mark ZaranskyÂ andÂ EmmaÂ Creighton. The four of us made up Bodacious Dreamâ€™s crew in theÂ TransatÂ Quebec – St. MaloÂ RaceÂ - that took us from Quebec City back out the St.Â Lawrence River and across the North Atlantic, finishing in St. Malo, France!Â There were many great memories from that time – the pearlescent luster ofÂ Beluga whales, a windless night surrounded by playful whales sounding andÂ breathing and the six days of endlessÂ jib reachingÂ at near 20-knot speeds. WeÂ finished respectably â€“ in the middle of the fleet – not bad considering ourÂ 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 weeksÂ before moving on to Caen, on the Normandy Coast, for the start of theÂ Normandy Channel Race.Â In my spare time, I had a chance to explore theÂ French countryside and witness some of the World War II history that is such aÂ significant part of this regionâ€™s heritage.
The Normandy ChannelÂ Race proved a ratherÂ frustrating experience, asÂ Matt and I were unable toÂ stay competitive due toÂ issues with our jib in theÂ lighter than expected airs ofÂ the race. With that holdingÂ us back, we retired earlyÂ from the race after havingÂ sailed across the EnglishÂ Channel, around the Isle ofÂ Wight, along the southernÂ coast of the UK and out toÂ Landsâ€™ End – one of theÂ great historical markers inÂ the sailing world. Once onÂ our own, we sailed down the western coast of France, past the famousÂ JumentÂ LighthouseÂ (pictured here in this well-known photo,)Â and made our way toÂ Lorient, the center of short-handed and large trimaran sailing in France. MattÂ and I were like wide-eyed kids in a candy store pulling into Lorient in the weeÂ 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 fromÂ New Zealand to compete in theÂ Mondial World Championships.Â For fourÂ days we raced hard all day long. We had our good races and won one of themÂ from start to finish, but we had some not-so-good ones too. In the end, weÂ finished a respectable 9thÂ in the world. Naturally, weâ€™d have loved to haveÂ finished in the top three, but the sailing was exceptional and many newÂ friendships were made. After all, how unimaginably lucky were we in the firstÂ 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 toÂ head for home waters on the other side of the Atlantic. I had just finishedÂ preparing her for the long trip, when we were forced to change our plansÂ because ofÂ Hurricane Sandy. So instead, we set sail for the wonderful port ofÂ Cascais, Portugal where Bodacious Dream waited for me to return from a jauntÂ back home forÂ Thanksgiving.
On December 7th, just about a month ago, we departed from Cascais headingÂ for North America. Our only stop was a brief one on the island of Madeira forÂ more fuel and provisions. At that point, we could see from weather and windÂ forecasts, that this was going to be a longer than anticipated trip across theÂ Atlantic.
22 days later, we slipped into the island harbor of Antigua at 2 AM in theÂ morning. Finally coming to rest under a bright and full Caribbean moonÂ seemed an appropriate and fitting finish to the big leg of our trip.
Iâ€™m now more than half way through the last leg of the trip, on my way backÂ to where we started this journey. There remains less than 400 miles to goÂ before I cross my tracks and â€śclose the loop.â€ť With the end of the voyageÂ almost in sight, it feels very much like time to thank the many wonderfulÂ people who have been such an important part of this whole journey. RatherÂ than name you all individually, I am simply going to salute and thank you allÂ collectively for your part in all of this – whether you sailed, helped out or justÂ followed along with our story. Whatever role you played, I deeply appreciateÂ your support.
Once we close the loop, Bodacious Dreamâ€™s navigation system will show a bitÂ more than 14,600 miles of sailing, since she was launched a year ago. InÂ sailorâ€™s years, thatâ€™s around about FIVE seasons of sailing – all completed inÂ TEN months!
So now â€¦ just a little more wind and weâ€™ll be heading back to Charleston forÂ the next phase of the Bodacious Dream! After all, come May, weâ€™ve got toÂ return to defend our success in the Atlantic Cup Race!
Rollinâ€™ along towards home, and wishing you all the best!
- Dave and Bodacious Dream