The Atlantic Cup Race is coming up like a rocket! Bodacious Dream is almost ready. Matt Scharl, my co-skipper is finished planting his fields and is joining me here in Charleston today where weâ€™ll spend the next few days before the start of the race on Saturday finishing our preparations and mapping our strategy to match the weather forecasts. The boats are all gathered now at the Charleston City Marina. I was one of the last to arrive, having been up the Wando River at the City Boat Yard where Bodacious Dream was cozied up for the winter. Thanks to the great crew there and at High and Dry Boat Works for all their hard work getting through the routine maintenance list on Bodacious Dream. If you are in Charleston and need boat work done, these are the people to see!
Like a FiSH out of water …
With the maintenance completed, Bodacious Dream and I left the boat yard Wednesday morning and headed down the Wando River to Charleston. Itâ€™s a great trip – about two and a half hours – along the winding river with beautiful salt marshes and some nice homes mixed in with ocean-going shipping facilities.
Along the Wando …
As you get close to Charleston, you come upon the famous Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. This bridge brings a smile to my face every time I drive over it, cross under it, or jog up it. On each occasion, depending on the light, it changes personalities with all sorts of shifting angles, reflections and shadows. Last week I crossed over it at sunset and the entire right side was burning bright pink in the fading light.
A pretty darn bodacious bridge …
Had my hand at a bit of photo fun as I passed under it, framing the bridge’s suspension wires with the rigging of the boat.
Once beyond the bridge, we went by the Charleston Maritime Center, which is where the Atlantic Cup Race will start at 2pm Saturday afternoon. From there, we glided around the corner to the City Marina where the other competitors are docked – flags flying and all! And right in the middle of them, the flag of our sponsor â€¦ Newportâ€™s own, FiSH!
I had a chance to meet some of the new competitors this year and reconnect with old friends and fellow-sailors. The great thing about this bunch of competitors is the incredible camaraderie. End of the day is typically time to figure out where everyoneâ€™s meeting up for dinner â€¦ but last night, I headed back to my hotel to take a nap, and try to bank up on some rest.
I hope youâ€™re looking forward to this race and our next “expedition” as much as we are. Weâ€™ve got a whole new Atlantic “Cup” Coast expedition in place over on BodaciousDreamExpeditions.com â€¦ with new “Explorer Study Guides” for you (and the kids) to check out. Actually, everyone can learn something on this trip â€¦ the Atlantic Seaboard is such a treasure of natural and historical wonders â€¦ and we tried to cram a bunch of that info into the Guides, which Iâ€™ll also be referencing in my daily updates.
A sample section from our “Environment” Explorer Guide …
Also, this past week, we outfitted Bodacious Dream with fast onboard satellite Internet (whoot!) â€¦ so expect more photos and videos along with insightful race commentary from the now well-seasoned duo of Matt & Dave!
You can expect three to four days of exciting racing on the way to New York City. Once the race starts, you’ll be able to track the competitors and check out the standings via the race tracker at www.AtlanticCup.org. And weâ€™ll be keeping you up-to-date on whatâ€™s happening with us onboard Bodacious Dream on both of our Bodacious Dream websites as well as on our BDX & BD Facebook pages. On our BDX YouTube Channel and on Twitter too @BodaciousDream. Lots of ways to find us!
And of course, if you havenâ€™t already, check out the polling page on the Atlantic Cup website where you can vote for your favorite team (hint … hint – you don’t even have to register – just click on BoDream!)
Well, itâ€™s just about time now; the start of the Atlantic Cup Race is less than two weeks away! Bodacious Dream is in Charleston, SC getting the finishing touches of maintenance she needs to be as quick as ever, while my co-skipper, Matt Scharl gets the last of his corn and soybean crops in so he can join me in Charleston for the final preparations.
Atlantic Cup Trailer 2013 …
Just as we did last year, Matt and I will team up again against some of the best sailors in the world in this great American race up the Atlantic Coast. Our first leg, starting on May 11th, will be the 648-mile long run from Charleston, SC to New York City. Once on the water, weâ€™ll have to make tactical decisions on whether to venture out to the Gulf Stream and gain additional speed from the fast moving currents, or stay closer inshore where there might be more wind; this is always a tough decision. Weâ€™ll cross Cape Hatteras, known as the â€śGraveyard of the Atlanticâ€ť because of its epic history of forceful weather and unpredictable currents before determining our final strategies for approaching New York City. Last yearâ€™s race found us in pursuit almost all the way before settling into third position, finishing in New York City under the glow of city lights, the Statue of Liberty and the famous re-building of the World Trade Center.
AMap of the Race …
Weâ€™ll then spend a few days in New York City relaxing, doing a fun Pro-Am race and attending an interesting conference called â€śLiving on the Edge: The Atlantic Cup Presents Coastal Communities and Climate Change.â€ť Then on May 18th, we start the second leg which takes us out to a turn buoy off the coast of Virginia before heading north up along the coast and into Newport, Rhode Island. Those of you who stayed up late to follow last yearâ€™s finish on the tracker know what a nail biter that one was. We rounded the buoy in fourth place, and went with a clever strategy of Mattâ€™s that took us out to where we were the furthest east boat of the fleet. The course and wind shifts put us into the lead going into Narragansett Bay where the winds and tide turned against us as we struggled to sail to the finish, while our two closest competitors made up time and ground on us. The best part though was that we still finished ahead of them and everyone else on that leg!
Bodacious Dream under the FiSH sail … (photo from Atlanticcup.org)
Again this year we will be sponsored by our friends at a great restaurant in Jamestown, Rhode Island named Jamestown FiSH. If you ever get the chance, go – complete comfort and style … with incredible seafood, great burgers and a knockout wine list. We thank them for their great support not only to us, but also to the Atlantic Cup which this year will name the finish line in Newport … â€śThe Jamestown FiSH Finish Line!â€ť
Also, this time around and concurrent to our race up the coast, weâ€™ll also be conducting the second in our series ofÂ Bodacious Dream Expeditions! On our BDX website atÂ bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com,Â you can track the race while at the same timeÂ augmenting the racing experience by discovering and learning more about the many wondrous natural and historical elements that make this particular course so legendary: the incredible Barrier Islands, the powerful force that is the Gulf Stream, the untamed weather of Cape Hatteras and the rapidly changing urban coastal environment around big cities like New York City.
For this voyage, weâ€™ll have a whole new set of engaging and subject-specificÂ Explorer Guides (for you to share with the younger folks in your world,)Â which are full of fun facts and interesting questions and problems to work out. Here’s how to Get Involved! So, set your compass and your calendar for May 11th and the Atlantic Cup … and join the expeditionary force!
(Oh â€¦ and donâ€™t forget to go to www.AtlanticCup.org/poll/Â and vote for your favorite team â€¦ weâ€™re hoping it’s us again this year!)
So much to catch you up on! So, Bodacious IV is safely secured back in her San Diego slip â€¦ her â€śracingâ€ť crew has recovered from a great run from Newport Beach down to Cabo San Lucas, and the â€śdeliveryâ€ť crew has dispersed back to their homes following the completion of our very first “Bodacious Dream Expedition” back up the Baja Coast to San Diego. And what great fun we all had!
Not being onboard for the NHYC Cabo race, I got to follow the race tracker as Bodacious IV got off to a slow start in light winds. But soon, the winds picked up and Bo IV began to work her way through her section up to second place in boat-for-boat competition. Her corrected finish was fourth. Great job guys! This proved a great test run for the upcoming Trans-Pac Race to Hawaii in July. Reports from the Bo IV crew are that the boat holds steadily fast when heading off the wind, which 75% of the Trans-Pac race is â€¦ so excitement is really building for that race.
Once Bo IV was docked in Cabo, the delivery crew took charge of the boat, setting her up and provisioning her for Bodacious Dream Expedition (BDX) #1 – the first in a series of learning and exploring adventures along the way to the even greater adventure of my sailing Bodacious Dream around the world later this year!
Did you get a chance to follow along with any of the Expedition on our BDX website or on our BDX Facebook page? Over the course of the week, we published 7+ daily updates with photos and videos sent right from the boat and posted to both sites. (All these materials (plus more to come soon) will remain available for viewing at your convenience at the above links.
Joining me onboard Bo IV for this trip were Captain Tim Eades, Jonathon Pond, Heather Pond and Dave Hardy. What an amazing group of folks they are! We set off on the morning of Saturday, March 30th to a fare-thee-well wave from a humpback whale â€¦ just as we pulled out of the Cabo harbor.
The Bo IV Crew, Tim, Jonathan & Heather w/ Dave Hardy on camera
The coast of the Baja is notorious for its incessant winds, referred to by sailors as the â€śBaja Bash.â€ť Well, we proved no exception to that rule, quickly getting hit with 20 to 30 knots of wind right on our nose the whole way. We followed local directives to stay in 60 feet of water along the coast, which kept the winds and waves somewhat under control.
Day by day, we worked our way up the coast; laughing, telling stories, sharing our lives and watching the wonders of the Baja Peninsula unveil themselves to us as we rounded each corner of coastline. We saw a number of whale spouts, but none of the whales proved brave enough to come visit us up close. We did see a few dolphin stampedes, watched and recorded a feeding frenzy as the dolphins pushed bait fish to the surface where pelicans feasted in a rolling boil of water. We were visited by some fun-loving seals, and watched them play in the waves, body surfing alongside the boat like kids at a waterpark. All this amidst the magical cycle of sunsets, sunrises, fogs, and winds kept us all constantly engaged and inspired.
Prior to the voyage, our BDX onshore team and I had drafted up a cool map and a set of six “Explorer Study Guides” specific to the nature and wild life of the Baja Peninsula, as well as guides for sailing terms and math. Along the way then, I wrote daily updates (not always easy in 30 knot winds) and sent them along with photos and videos to our onshore team who promptly posted them to the BDX website, to Facebook and to our BDX YouTube Channel. We also responded to several questions that were sent to us, and gained hundreds of new followers over the course of the week.
Midway on the journey, we stopped in Turtle Bay to refill our fuel tanks and refresh, taking the afternoon off from the winds. Leaving again that evening, we worked our way along the inside of nearby Cedros Island before crossing the bay back towards the Baja mainland and continuing northwards.
The rugged Baja Coastline
The night before landing in San Diego, we watched as light rising from Tijuana and San Diego seeped into the night sky causing the slow disappearance of the many softer, more distant stars that simply arenâ€™t bright enough to pierce the luminous glow that rises from our big cities. I have observed this phenomenon many times now, and often find this transition from the open ocean into more densely populated areas, something of a passage between two worlds – the ancient one and the modern one â€¦ the entirely natural one we were born into, and the world that has been entirely made and remade by us.
Knowing that we were on an expeditionary and documentary “mission” kept the crew busy scanning the horizons in search of interesting things to share with our online audience. For myself, the experience opened my eyes to just how unique and amazing such open-water exploration experiences can be, and how many things that I have perhaps taken for granted, might be newly framed and better communicated to people everywhere, who have not had the pleasure of a lifelong conversation with the great waters of the world and with their many breathtaking wonders. And then of course, there is the world ABOVE the sea too, which more than ever proved to be just as intriguing. Especially memorable was a solitary morning visit from a friendly seagull, which our ever-alert crewmate Heather managed to capture on video.
The boat was often abuzz with discussions of what else we might do to better help young people to connect more with this limitless world. It seems that we are just at the beginning of a great transformation in models of education, and that â€śreal-worldâ€ť experiences like ours, once connected to the global Internet can play a significant role in that transformation. â€śFollow your blissâ€ť is what Joseph Campbell famously said. Having taken that advice long ago, I now see a different sort of joyful opportunity that exists in sharing my experience with curious youngsters wherever in the world they might be. How many kids are there out there who have never even once thought what it would be like to stand aboard a sailboat as it slices through the water? So many unimagined possibilities yet to explore.
With these expeditions, we are also looking to build more “professional” scientific, educational and media alliances … such as the one we have recently initiated with the Earthwatch Institute. If you have a moment, you might want to take a look on our website at our Explorer Guides and our Mentor Guide â€“ and if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please let us know. We are entertaining all kinds of new ideas for this newest bodacious initiative that we will begin to fold into our future plans for upcoming Bodacious Dream Expeditions.
Speaking of which … our NEXT expedition will be back aboard Bodacious Dream during the Atlantic Cup Race that begins May 11th, which starts in Charleston, SC, and where we will be racing to New York City and then around to Newport, Rhode Island. On this 2nd expedition, weâ€™ll have the added excitement of the race to track plus many interesting elements of the Atlantic Ocean to explore – the currents of the Gulf Stream, the impact of weather and the history and geography of the cities on the constantly changing Atlantic coastline. As it is also a race â€¦ and a very competitive one at that, there will be a little more adrenaline in the mix this time. It will be interesting to see if we can keep all that excitement and interest contained … and uploaded to the web!
In closing then … for all of us on Bodacious IV, the racing crew and our stellar expeditionary crew as well as our onshore team and dear friends and spouses, we thank all of you Bodacious Dreamers for being there and for allowing us to share all of this with you. …Â Dream on â€¦!
The Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas Race is almost done and Bodacious IV has done well. Itâ€™s been quite a struggle with the light winds; the first day saw them only make 100 miles progress. On a normal day, Bodacious IV can easily sail close to 200 miles! Right now in Cabo, it’s Thursday at 16:20 PST and from what we can tell, Bo IV is within 15 miles of the finish, and we expect her here within two hours.
The Bodacious Dream Expeditions crew and I are heading down to the finish line area now to watch and greet the guys. They have sailed a great course and race, and if things hold out, they will have finished as the second boat in their section, but we’ll have to wait until the ratings are calculated to find out their final corrected position. A great accomplishment for what is really only their second serious race with the boat! Congrats to all the guys … to the drivers … Jeff, Christer, Chris, Matt and Alan and to the trimmers … John, Phil, Jim and Tim!
:: The Upcoming Bodacious Dream Expedition!
With the relative slowness of the race, we probably wonâ€™t likely start our BoDream Expedition until Saturday the 30th. Weâ€™ve got some things we need to do onboard before we take off – such as stock provisions, fuel as well as clean and change the prop from a racing prop to a more efficiently powered prop for motoring purposes. And naturally, we want to give Bo IV’s Captain Tim Eades a chance to rest up a bit! So, once the dockside celebrations are over for Bodacious IV, the deliver crew and myself will hit the boat and start cleaning and preparing for the trip while the racing crew relaxes and refreshes.
Moving forward to the actual Expedition game plan, our Bodacious Dream Expeditions website is almost complete with information on the Baja Peninsula Expedition.
The Live Latest Updates page on the site is where ALL new posts will go first … and it will carry the chronological stream back to the start.
Our Bodacious Dream Expeditions Facebook page is also ready to keep you updated as well. For those of you who do Facebook, that will be an easy way to keep up with the daily updates. So, LIKE us over there … to receive those updates in your newsfeed.
:: Explorer Guides
Back on the BDX site, we’ve uploaded our six “Explorer Guides.” These are our youth-focused study guide worksheets, in a variety of subjects relative to the Baja and to sailing. They’re pretty cool … even if do say so myself! (Thanks to our great team!)
So, here’s one way you might get more involved. If you have any kids in your vicinity, we encourage you to be a “mentor” by sharing with them the unique and fun opportunities that the expedition offers, and working with them on some of the questions and problems the guides pose, AND by following us along as we make our way north. Thereâ€™s also a printable map of our route to keep daily track of our progress. I’m betting there are even a few questions there that will give the adults a challenge too. (How do you calculate the difference between a knot and statute mile?)
:: A Little Expeditionary How-To
Here, by way of example, is how I would share the Expedition with my young friends Brett and Harry. (This how-to stuff can all be found on the BDX website at “Mentor Guide” page.)
â€˘ First off, Iâ€™d show them the website and help them read through the front information pages.
â€˘ Then, Iâ€™d go to the “Expedition Overview” section and print out the Baja Peninsula page. This is a few pages of information about the Baja Peninsula and should be quick and easy reading. At the end, is the Baja map to Baja MapÂ to print out. I would put the map up on the refrigerator, so we could mark off and keep track of the progress each day … as the daily updates come in from Bodacious IV.
â€˘ Next, Iâ€™d go to the “Explorer Guides.” These subject-specific worksheets are designed to be printed out and used for fun exchanges with the kids. A bunch of the questions can simply be answered by referring back to the information contained on the Baja Peninsula page. In addition, you can have fun figuring out other problems posed about distances, speeds and how we navigate.
â€˘ Then each day, probably in the early afternoon, Iâ€™d check the site for the latest daily update on the Live Updates page. There will be photos from the boat, stories about our day and maybe a video or two about fun things we do or see along the way. Youâ€™ll be able to plot our course, figure out where we are and follow right along with our progress.
Beyond that, the rest is pretty much up to you. Be curious, ask questions, do some addtional exploring on your own and strike up conversations!
My broader hope in all this, is to find new ways to share the wonders of the majestic ocean, the excitement of sailing as well as the pure fun of sharing new experiences with you. We would like nothing more to awaken dreams in the minds of youngsters, such that one day we may see them (and you as well) out on the ocean and exploring the wonders of the Earth on their own.
It certainly began that way for me. Such are the nature of big dreams!
Well, itâ€™s getting exciting around here! The Newport Harbor Yacht Clubâ€™s Race to Cabo San Lucas is just a few days away. The Captain of Bodacious IV, Tim Eades and I brought Bodacious IV up from San Diego where she has been for the last month getting ready for the race. It was a 70-mile trip and we left at the crack of dawn in a thick marine layer of fog â€“ motoring all the way up to Newport Harbor. The sun burned off much of the fog by afternoon, and though it was a motor trip, Tim and I had a chance to relax a bit and to reflect on the enormous amount of work accomplished in the last month.
With great help from many of the folks in the San Diego Area, we were able to take Bodacious IV from a â€śtaken apart and shippedâ€ť state to fully-rigged and race-ready. The great folks at Driscollâ€™s Yard helped with the heavy work of installing the keel and rudder, stepping the mast and launching the boat. The gang from Rigworks handled much of the rigging and tuning, while Patrick and the guys at North Sails helped to make the sails just right for the boat. Then there was Russell at Seatech who helped us with the watermaker â€¦ in addition to the many other good folks in the area who played a part in bringing Bodacious IV back to strong racing form. Many thanks to everyone!
Bodacious IV in the foreground, Dorade second (winner of the 1938 Trans-Pac) and behind her is War Path â€¦ previously sailed as the famous Nitemare of Chicago and the Great Lakes. All are here preparing for the Cabo Race at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
Now onto the race itself! The race is an 800-mile race from Newport Harbor, California to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – down along the coast of Baja, Mexico. This is one of those classic California races and the lineup of competitors is pretty significant. Follow the crew of Bodacious IV right here on the Newport Harbor Yacht Club Cabo â€ťRace Tracker.â€ť
While I wonâ€™t be onboard for the race this time, I will be heading down to Cabo to help return the boat to San Diego, which will mark the beginning of our new adventure â€¦ Bodacious Dream Expeditions! … a series of fun, periodic voyages of discovery and learning as we move towards sailing Bodacious Dream around the world!Â Our plan right now, depending on conditions of course, is to leave Cabo on March 29th. In preparation for the expedition, we have launched a new Bodacious Dream Expeditions website and a BDX Facebook page as well to help us to share the 5-6 day experience with you and also to help bring fun facts and information to kids .. and people of all ages. If you have kids in your life who you think might find this of interest â€¦ we encourage you to follow our progress with them. Check out these new pages!
As if to genuinely welcome Bodacious IV and us back to the Pacific Ocean, Tim and I had a special treat on our trip up from San Diego, when we encountered two whales frolicking along the coast. What a beautiful sight to see them swimming along in such immense majesty and grace. During our expedition up from Cabo, we hope to have and share more of these magnificent experiences with you.
And finally â€¦ with spring knocking at the door back home in the Great Lakes, Iâ€™ll be back in the Midwest this weekend at Crowleyâ€™s Yachtapalooza, giving another talk on Saturday, March 23rd at 10:30 am. Yachtapalooza is a great event that takes place at their lakeside boat yard on the South Side of Chicago. Theyâ€™ll have all sorts of displays and information or just hang with other sailors and catch up on a winter full of stories. Following my 30-minute talk, theÂ Great Lakes Singlehanded SocietyÂ will be introducing solo sailing to anyone who is interested. So, if youâ€™re looking to get into some of this crazy solo sailing stuff, that would be a great place to start. Hereâ€™s the full Â Yachtapalooza Schedule of Events.
Hope to see some of you there. If you are, be sure to come say hi!