Transpac Update – Back in the Lead on Day #9!

Saturday was another day of fast downwind sailing! What incredible fun we are having … though at times I can’t help recalling my Dad saying, “Too much of a good thing isn’t such a good thing.” Hopefully, Dad wasn’t referring to open-ocean sailing when he said that!

We’ve been on this latest gybe all day now and we keep a constant vigil on the tracker to see how we are converging with Horizon, which is north of us and still slightly ahead. Perhaps, by the time you read this, that will have changed! It seems to us at least, that with each passing hour, we catch up a little bit more … but it will still be right down to the wire as we approach the Hawaiian Islands, where the Moloka’i Channel winds may whip up peaks of powerful waves. We are also heading now into a large area of lighter winds around the islands. This is where the race may very well be won or lost.

chris, christer and tim Chris Pike, Crister Still and Tim Eades

Reflecting a moment on this great expanse of water, a few thoughts for you expeditionary-minded followers. The Pacific Ocean makes up 46% of the water on the earth, and its total mass is near equal to all the Earth’s land masses put together. That’s a LOT of water obviously, but out here, you can feel that immensity all around you and at all times. We haven’t seen a speck of land, since we lost sight of California. I think I said once, that a six-foot tall person standing on deck, can see approximately six miles before the curve of the earth falls away. If you view it from all sides of the boat, we can see in circles of about twelve miles in diameter … and we’ve sailed now about 2000 miles inside that small moving circle of perception. This means that so far, we’ve seen about 24,000 square miles of water! What we’re rolling on top of here is big BIG! If you were to look at an ordinary student globe, that much water stretched the length of the Transpac route would be about the width of a string!

Waterline
Take me down to the Waterline

The water has grown steadily warmer the farther south and west towards Hawaii we go. In the change of temperature, we’ve seen a lot more flying fish, and a lot less seaweed and kelp of the sort that you find close to the California coast. Just today, we started to see some birds too. Imagine if you were an ancient navigator – no GPS, no cell phones, no computers and even a sextant or compass. As the water temperature warmed and the flying fish became more ubiquitous, you would take them as cues for your navigation. I also find myself looking out and imagining I’m one of those ancient navigators who has none of our modern instruments, and who is forced to ask how this voyage compared to any I had been on previously, or to accounts that might have been given to me by others who had sailed these same waters before me. I also look at these seas, at the sky and across the water, and compare it in my senses and memory to the Atlantic Ocean that I crossed in Bodacious Dream back at the end of 2012.

Mast Displays
Though it’s fun to dream of being an ancient navigator, we are who we are … and modern navigators and sailors use electronic instruments to help us navigate and sail our boats. On our mast we have three big displays that you can see from the cockpit. They show us the boat speed (we call that the “fun meter!”) Presently, our top speed has been 21.4 knots … set last night! Under boat speed, you can see our compass heading and below that, our wind speed. These are all important readings that help us stay fast and on course.

cockpit displays

We have six other instrument displays in the cockpit that show us other information that the navigator sends up to us, and that we consult in the course of our sailing. It’s really pretty amazing all the technology that we are using at the moment to get the absolute peak of performance out of this incredible boat.

It’s been comforting not to see much debris the past few days, but that just means we are moving farther west and south of the big Pacific gyres of debris. We do keep a lookout every day just to add to the data we share with the scientists at Earthwatch, who are part of a growing alliance of scientists and concerned citizens who are seeking better ways to preserve and protect the Earth’s oceans.

A view from the fridge ...Meal Plan complete, the “improv” phase begins …

While sailing well is our primary goal here, there are always maintenance chores that have to happen each day as well. We must manage and prepare our meals, take care of personal hygiene, check steering cables for wear and tear (just like checking the tires on your car.) We must also check the boat for any worn equipment and frayed lines. We “roll” our halyards and lines … meaning we tighten or loosen them regularly so they don’t rub or wear too much in the same place, which might lead to breakage. We had one line part earlier in the trip. Today we had to repair a large tear in our spinnaker with some special cloth tape that is made just for that job, and tonight, we found a short in the electrical system and had to rewire that. All is well though, but these are just some of the many things that need to be tended to daily, to keep a floating enterprise of nine people intact and safe for the duration of a long race such as this.

Well, that’s enough to consider for one sailor’s log, not to mention the fact that we are less than 250 miles from Honolulu and by the time you read this, we will be in our last 24 hours of sailing. Checking again this morning, the Race Tracker leaderboard (copied below) looks to have tipped back in our favor (yay!) … so, while we are not home yet, it indicates that the strategy decision of the past few days seems to be working out pretty well. So, ready or not Div 6 … we are b-aaack!!

Also, be sure to keep a lookout for our HAEA-logoed spinnaker as we approach Diamond Head and the Transpac finish line.

Transpac Leaderboard
Div 6 … Bo IV up top again … July 21, 7AM …

So, that’s it … until later … thank you again for all your great support!

- Dave & the new ancient mariners of Bodacious IV!
Skipper Jeff Urbina, Capt. Tim Eades, John Hoskins, Matt Scharl, Jim McLaren, Chris Pike, Christer Still, John Ayres and Dave Rearick.

COORDINATES: +20.18681, -152.05674
SOG (Speed over Ground): 12 Knot Avg.
COG (Course over Ground): 270 Degrees

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

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

Bodacious Dream Takes First Leg of Atlantic Cup Race!

BODACIOUS DREAM captures the first leg of the Atlantic Cup Race! … 1st across the finish line in New York City at 21:06:15 EDT! Total Elapsed Time to Finish … 79 hrs. I min. 15 secs.

Atlantic Cup Finish in NYC
New York, New York – Such a winderful town! 

Braving all manner of obstacles, the guys managed to hold onto the lead position all the way from around Cape Hatteras, NC! Way to dream it and live it … Dave Rearick & Matt Scharl … and the whole Bodacious Dream Family!

Bodacious Dream  - 1st Place in 1st Leg of Atlantic Cup
For real … Statue of Liberty in lower left

#121- Lecoq Cuisine2nd across the finish line at 21:14:43 – (That’s an insanely skimpy 8.5 minutes behind Matt & Dave in a 3 day and 4 hour contest! Respect!) Then #90 – 40 Degrees finishes in 3rd position, arriving at 22:01:12.

An AMAZING finish to an amazing race! Congrats ALL around!

Bodacious Dream  - 1st Place in 1st Leg of Atlantic Cup
Dave and Matt practice hailing a cab …

Bodacious Dream - 1st Place in 1st Leg of Atlantic Cup

(More to come soon … you can be sure!)

Once again, thank you everyone … for your ongoing confidence and support!

- Matt, Dave & Bodacious Dream

Changing w/ the Seasons – Big Plans for 2013!

I’ve been back home here in the Midwest on the shore of Lake Michigan for about a week. Late winter here has been on the dismal side – cold grey days with rainy snow and an ice shelf a few hundred yards out into the water. But I know this lake, and I know it won’t be long before the season changes.

Lake Michigan

While Bodacious Dream rested in Charleston, South Carolina after her trip across the Atlantic, I spent a few weeks in San Diego, CA helping my friend, Captain Tim Eades prepare the striking 52’ Bodacious IV (a fellow ship to Bodacious Dream) – for a couple of big ocean races on the West Coast of the U.S. this summer. The first of these races will be the Newport Beach, California to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Race – an 800-mile race that begins March 23rd.

You know, when you’ve been sailing for a while, and especially after sailing a boat like Bodacious Dream across the world’s oceans, you learn that sailing isn’t about forcing the environment to adapt to your boat, but rather about staying responsive – about trimming your sails and adjusting your helm to the changing forces of the environment around you. Not much different on land. The change of the date for the Global Ocean Race, that I was entered in this fall, to the fall of 2014 has allowed us to adjust our plans and use this year to take Bodacious Dream in a unexpectedly fantastic direction!

Here’s how this year of living bodaciously is shaping up.

We’ll start the summer racing Bodacious Dream once again in the Atlantic Cup Race on May 11th, that runs from Charleston, SC to New York City and then to Newport, RI. It was such a great event last year, and this year, with even stronger competition, it promises to be even more fun! Our media coverage on this race will be a big step up from last year!

After the finish of The Atlantic Cup, we’ll stay in Newport to begin preparing Bodacious Dream for a trip around the planet! Yes, that’s right … Bodacious Dream and I are going to sail around the world! I will follow the same course that the famous races take, but … without the race, I’ll be doing it in a less formal way. This will allow us to create a dream itinerary, but also to take advantage of all sorts of unexpected opportunities that might arise.

We’ll be outfitting Bodacious Dream with a state of the art satellite communications system, which will allow us to upload photos and videos right from the water! This will enable us to share with the world the full bodacious experience online – both on Facebook and on the web through our Bodacious Dream website, as well as on a new website we are currently building … called Bodacious Dream Expeditions!

From the beginning, one of the cornerstones of Bodacious Dream has been to share that Dream with the wider world … and now, working with our partners at the Earthwatch Institute, we will be able to explore, highlight and capture what we see as we go on our global expeditions, at the same time we allow you a “window” through which to join us, and to share in the discovery of the many oceanic wonders we’ll encounter along the way.

The racing format, as exciting as it is, limits our ability to do much more then concentrate on sailing quickly from one harbor to the next. This new expedition format will give us the chance to follow the winds of our curiosity as we explore the sea around us, and then to share that story with you – wherever in the world either of us might be at that moment.

Bodacious IVOur first expedition is coming up very soon here – at the end of March! While Bodacious Dream remains docked in Charleston, we will take the opportunity to run our first Bodacious Dream Expedition aboard Bodacious Dream’s fellow ship, Bodacious IV, as we sail her back to San Diego, California, after she completes in the race to Cabo San Lucas.

Onboard with me will be a crew of 4 talented and seaworthy friends. We’ll be armed with a couple of video cameras and a full satellite communications system that we’ll use to upload media reports via videos and photos as we move up this gorgeous stretch of Pacific Ocean coast line, teeming with all sorts of marine life. This setting will provide us a great opportunity to experiment with making our “expedition” as rich and full of fun and insights as we can.

A big part of the Bodacious Dream has always been to reach out to young people and to foster new and more experiential ways of learning. Along with these Expeditions, we are developing an engaging set of explorer study guides intended for kids of all ages (and adults too!) – to play with and learn more about the marvels to be found along the coastline and ocean waters of the beautiful Baja Peninsula.

We’re working right now putting the finishing touches on those materials and the Bodacious Dream Expeditions website, and we hope to have it ready before the end of this week. In the meantime, come visit (and “Like” us) at our brand new Bodacious Dream Expeditions Facebook Page. We hope that once you – our adult friends – see what we’re doing, that you’ll want to share this bodacious opportunity with the spirited youngsters around you. After all, happy and involved young kids are the future of any better world we might imagine, and guiding them to an understanding of the amazing wonders of the natural world, we feel, is a responsibility that we all share.

Golden Caribbean Sunset

Bodacious Dream and I look forward to having you onboard with us. So, please send along any questions or thoughts you might have. This new expeditionary direction is far more collaborative than competitive racing might allow for – so we encourage you to jump into the boat with us, right here at the start and help us shape what comes next. If you are a parent or adult friend, a teacher, or sailor, a lover of adventure – or if you know others who share a similar spirit … pass this on and let’s open the idea to the larger world. We all know that’s where the big fun awaits.

Thank you so much.

- Dave and Bodacious Dream

BoDream News/ Home Again!

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. 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 eerily quiet when I stepped onto the dock.

Charleston Harbor

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 … 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.

Gulf Stream Currents

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, 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 Thursday day and night with the wind 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 over the motor for the final approach to Charleston.

So, after tucking Bodacious into her Charleston berth, and saying my farewells, I left yesterday on a flight back to the Midwest. Now that I’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 longer 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 spice 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 of 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 who are engaged in some very exciting ocean science programs.

And don’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 exciting race and to defending our second place overall finish of last year. 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 the 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

Bodacious Dream Update (7.05.12)

BIG NEWS!  Bodacious Dream is now entered in the Transat Quebec—St. Malo race which starts on July 22nd!!

After much thought and consideration, we decided to enter the race. Not only will this be good fun, but it will give us the opportunity to make the trans-Atlantic crossing in order to get to France for our other races later this summer.

Check out the race web site at.. www.transatquebecstmalo.com

The race requires a crew minimum of 3 and we are going as a team of 4. Along with Matt Scharl, who you met during the Atlantic Cup Race, we will be adding Emma Creighton, www.emmacreighton.net , a fellow competitor and skipper of Initiatives in the Atlantic Cup and Mark Zaranski, a long time friend and crewmember of Matt’s.

We will be a great and fun team. And, at this point, the only American entry. I’ve heard from so many of you about how much fun it was to watch the racing in the Atlantic Cup, so I hope we will be able to provide you the same fun this time.

My good friend, Kevin Finnegan has just arrived here in Newport to help me transport Bodacious Dream around Nova Scotia, Canada and then back west up the St. Lawrence Seaway to Quebec City for the Start. We are rushing to try to leave the harbor here on July 4th figuring the trip will take us about 8 days—hopefully not too much motoring. We hear this is a wonderful and beautiful passage, and are looking forward to it. I’ll send more pics from the trip later!!

MORE EXCITING NEWS: The announcement of our sponsors.

William Blair, a Chicago based Global Investment and Asset Management Company will bring a great presence to our program.

Earthwatch Institute, an international environmental group that links support to scientist and educators in the environmental field. We will be providing them with raw data and observation while at sea that will be used by scientist and teachers to help with ocean health and awareness.

So… Bodacious Dream is sporting a new look today as we head out to sea.

Bodacious Dream

Hoping those of you in the USA had a great July 4th holiday and everyone is having a great summer…..or winter – if you’re in the southern hemisphere. I’ll send a more detailed update on the whole race in a week or so.
- Dave