Transpac Update – Post-Race Festivities

Well, it’s been quite a week here in Hawaii, since Bodacious IV crossed the finish line in the early morning hours of last Monday, some 10 days, 18 hours and a few minutes from when we started on July 11th in Long Beach, CA.

Bodacious IV in Hawaii
Bodacious IV in Honolulu w/ a lei on her bow.

This past week, in addition to being graciously hosted to a reception by our friends at HAEA (US Hereditary Angioedema Association) for all our efforts, we also celebrated our great finish with good friends, attended the Transpac awards ceremony, began the breakdown of Bodacious IV for transport back to the mainland and on top of all that, we even found some time to relax in the sunshine, eat some ice cream and carry on as tourists!

On Tuesday evening, we gathered at the Hawaii Yacht Club with our friends at HAEA and shared with them our stories. I was truly surprised and honored when I heard what great support all of you Bodacious Friends gave to HAEA. In the past few weeks since we formed this advocacy partnership with them, you contributed over $11,000 dollars to support their great programs. That is a beautiful thing, and I am so grateful for your acceptance of our efforts and of your generous financial contributions.

HAEA Reception in Hawaii
HAEA reception at Hawaii Yacht Club. 

The unique aspect of Hereditary Angioedema is how rare it is. What this means though is that many doctors and hospitals are not even aware of its existence. Just imagine being in an emergency room, not knowing what has happened to you, and being attended to by doctors and nurses that mean well, but just don’t know the first thing about your condition. I learned that this happens often, and that one of the things HAEA does is to be on-call for those doctors and patients to effect the proper treatment. Hooray to all of you for helping to support these amazing folks!

On Thursday evening, we attended the Awards Ceremony for the 2013 Transpac, where our whole Bo IV crew was up on stage to receive our award for third place in Division 6. It was a great moment with a lot of cameras flashing! And just as remarkable and historic, was the moment that Dorade, a beautifully restored wooden yacht built in 1930, was awarded its first place over-all finish award for this year’s Transpac! Dorade competed and won this very same race in 1936, when she was a brand new boat on the yachting scene. Sailing onboard Dorade was our good friend and fellow Class 40 competitor, Hanna Jenner. Hanna and fellow Class 40 sailor Rob Windsor will be sailing as Royal Racing onboard 40 Degrees this summer doing three major races in Europe! Keep an eye out for them.

Bodacious Hands-Free Sailing!

The aloha spirit took a little dip on Friday, as our friends and crewmembers individually began to fly back home to families and jobs, leaving Captain Tim Eades and myself to the task of disassembling Bodacious IV in preparation for her trip by freighter back to the U.S. mainland and then across the U.S. to Newport, Rhode Island.

The process of disassembly of the boat begins with the pulling off of miscellaneous halyards and sheets (lines or ropes), taking off the boom (the long horizontal piece at the bottom of the main sail), disconnecting lots of wiring for instruments and hydraulic hoses that control the sails, and preparing the mast for unstepping (lifting out of the boat.) 

Today Monday, just ahead of a serious tropical storm that is approaching and threatening Hawaii with severe weather, we will take Bodacious IV up to the boat yard where she will be hauled (lifted) out of the water, the mast unstepped, the keel removed (unbolted and dropped), the rudder removed (disassembled and dropped out) and then placed in her cradle on a truck trailer for transport. Once in the cradle, Tim and I will spend the rest of the week padding, packing, tying down, putting away and doing inventory of equipment so Bodacious IV is ready for the 7 day trip across the Pacific, after which there will be another week-long trip across the country to Newport.

The Boom and the Cloud
Aloha Hawaii …

Once Bodacious IV is secured, I too will head back to the states with a stop in California before I head onto Newport myself to begin preparations on Bodacious Dream for the upcoming departure right around October 1st of our Bodacious Dream Expedition Solo Circumnavigation!

Now that the Transpac is over, and our focus shifts to the Global Expedition, we’ll be sending along regular updates as we move closer to our departure date. We’ll start off with our anticipated itinerary, and hope that it and all that follows will get you as excited about following along as I am about making the trip. So, until then, you can view more videos from the Transpac Race on our YouTube Channel, catch up with our photos on Facebook and catch up on our blogs post on both BodaciousDream.com and BodaciousDreamExpeditions.com websites, though all our links are at the bottom of every email.

For now, thanks again!

- Dave and the Bodacious IV Racing Team
Skipper Jeff Urbina, Capt. Tim Eades, John Hoskins, Matt Scharl, Jim McLaren, Chris Pike, Christer Still, John Ayres and Dave Rearick.

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

Transpac Update – Navigating Gambles on Day #7

Greetings from the middle of the bodaciously blue Pacific!

We’re coming to the end of Thursday’s daylight, sunset is an hour away, the winds have set us up nicely and we have been moving very fast all day. Wind speeds have been in the high-teens and boat speeds surf up to 18 knots from time to time … this is surely the experience that brought us here! We’ve got about 775 miles “as the crow flies” to Honolulu, but realistically, a hundred or so more given the gybes that will likely be necessary along the way.

We’ve heard from some people that they don’t quite see or understand all the interesting strategy and navigation that is going on over here, and so they wonder why we are so far away from the rest of the boats in our section. Well, as I said in a previous update, sailboat racing is a meld of both the efficient physical operation of the vessel and the effective mental cognition required for navigation. Navigation is a very large part of the game being played here; just like strategy is in chess.

John Hoskins NavigatorNavigator John Hoskins w/ computers, plotters & charts taped to the table top.

John Hoskins is our navigator/tactician. John’s been racing with us at Bodacious Racing from our beginnings 6 years ago now, and is a highly experienced solo and crew racer on the Great Lakes. John’s primary job onboard BoIV involves balancing three elemental variables and so calculating our best course on an ever-changing game board of possiblities. The three variables are … 1) the weather, 2) the navigation from start to finish and 3) positioning and strategizing our moves when compared to our competitors.

So, while the other eight of us spend our time trimming sails, driving, grinding, changing sails and other jobs that keep the boat moving as fast as it can, John spends his time each day analyzing weather reports, speed reports, position reports and route data – all of this so we can find ourselves at the right spot at the right time and on the right course to have the best angles to the wind and seas, so that we can sail the course faster than our competitors! “Badda bing, badda boom!”

John Ayres
Crew Member John Ayres trimming the spinnaker at sunrise …

This race in particular is rather tricky as the typical course to Hawaii drops down into the trade winds, and then involves a gybe into Hawaii. This year, there is an interesting phenomenon called an “inverted trough” that is is happening a bit south of the rhumb line to Hawaii, but which we feel can provide us better wind from a better direction. And so, that right there is where the “game” has taken us.

Transpac Positions _ 7.19.13

You can see in the tracker screen shot above, how we’ve worked our way south of the pack of our competitors in order to catch up with this better wind and more angled direction into Hawaii. So, while it may look a little odd that we have taken such a different course, there IS a plan at work here. As we’ve been saying today, we’re “all in!” Our bet has been made … and now it’s a run to the finish! If the inverted trough stays with us and the winds lean our way, we’ll make up some time. If other unplanned variables come into play … and there are ALWAYS unplanned variables when dealing with the wind and weather, then it could very well go a different way. For now though, we’re all jazzed here and betting heavily on John’s experience and talent.

Skipper Jeff UrbinaSkipper Jeff Urbina at the helm …

On other daily notes, we haven’t seen too much debris today, but have seen an increasing abundance of flying fish that continue to amaze us as they zip over the waves changing direction quickly, perhaps avoiding predator fish below the surface. Late this afternoon, we also saw a feeding frenzy of tuna and dolphins. The tunas were pretty good size … maybe 60-80 pounders … jumping right out of the water and fully into the air, with the dolphins doing the same thing. We couldn’t tell just what was going on down below the surface, but what an amazing site to see tuna flying through the air like that!

And yes, we’re still eating well, and we have what I have calculated to be a sturdy enough supply of cookies to get us to Hawaii!

We’re hoping for a Honolulu arrival sometime on Monday … and with a bit of luck from the wind and waves, hopefully a good strong finishing position … but regardless of where and when we finish, this has been some just EXQUISITE sailing, and we are all very grateful to have been part of this wonderful race.

HAEAWe also want to thank all of you who have contributed to our advocacy partner HAEA‘s fundraising drive. If you haven’t done that yet, please check out the good work they are doing here, and consider making a contribution.

And thank you all once again for following along with our adventures!

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

Coordinates: +21.37643, -143.51989
SOG (speed over ground) – 11-14 knots
COG (course over ground) – 274 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

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

Race Day is Here!

Well, here it is start day … only it’s 1:00 AM, and both my brain and body tell me it’s time to rest. Matt Scharl, my co-skipper and I spent a long day getting the last items on the worklist done to prepare Bodacious Dream for the start of the race at 2:00 PM (EDT.)

We put the mainsail on and got that all set up, made a trip to the top of the mast to mount the wind instruments, moved the last of the unnecessary equipment from the boat into storage, packed away all the necessary equipment and spent some time studying weather strategies. This is going to be a very interesting race, for which I’m sure each boat will have their own strategies for how to get up the coast through what look to be a series of complex weather changes. A cold front that passed through the Midwest will be reaching us sometime on Sunday, which will force us to make a decision as to which side of the course to take. While we can do some planning in advance, we really can’t make a committed decision until later tomorrow when we see just how the racing sets up.


Point a camera at me, and watch me go …

Sailboat racing isn’t just about going fast; there is so much more to it than that. While you might be going fast, a competitor might be sailing a shorter distance … or, while you are going fast, you suddenly find yourself in a spot where the wind drops off, while your competitor who is sailing more moderately keeps pace with the wind for a longer period of time. Your brain is in constant calculation mode, running all sorts of scenarios, each with their unique set of time, distance and speed variables. Then throw in the predictably unpredictable weather, and you’ll typically find the winner has made the right decision about 55% of the time. As we often say, the boat that wins the race usually made the second-to-last mistake on the race course! Once we get on the water, I will try to share explain our thinking and decision-making process as we go along.

Here’s a passing look at our competition …

All the competitors look ready and strong, and as today turned to evening, everyone gathered over at Icarus, the Class 40 sailed by locals Ben Poucher and Tim Fetsch – two very talented young men who have brought their boat, Icarus back to life, after she was lost and washed ashore a few years ago. They stand to do very well in this year’s race. Anyway, we all shared some laughs before going our separate ways to do our last bits of work and planning for tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning will come quickly, so I’m going to keep this update short. We will hopefully have more to share with you by late tomorrow afternoon.

:: Here’s the link to RACE TRACKERhttp://atlanticcup.org/race-day/leg-one-tracking/

So, stay tuned, watch the tracker, follow the race and enjoy. I hope our efforts bring as much excitement to your living room as it does to us out there sailing. Without you guys watching and following us, it most certainly wouldn’t be nearly as much fun!

Map of the Atlantic Cup Race
Once again, a Map of the Race … 

Be back soon with more … On to New York City then!

- Matt, Dave & Bodacious Dream

Approaching the Atlantic Cup Race!

Well, it’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, we’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. We’ll cross Cape Hatteras, known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” because of its epic history of forceful weather and unpredictable currents before determining our final strategies for approaching New York City. Last year’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.

Map of the Atlantic Cup Race
A Map of the Race …

We’ll then spend a few days in New York City relaxing, doing a fun Pro-Am race and attending an interesting conference called Living on the Edge: The Atlantic Cup Presents Coastal Communities and Climate Change. 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 year’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 Matt’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!

Sailing under the FiSH Sail...
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 … “The Jamestown FiSH Finish Line!”

Bodacious Dream ExpeditionsAlso, this time around and concurrent to our race up the coast, we’ll also be conducting the second in our series of Bodacious Dream Expeditions! On our BDX website at bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com, you can track the race while at the same time 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, we’ll have a whole new set of engaging and subject-specific Explorer Guides (for you to share with the younger folks in your world,) 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 … and don’t forget to go to www.AtlanticCup.org/poll/ and vote for your favorite team … we’re hoping it’s us again this year!)

Thank you, as always for your support!

- Matt, Dave & Bodacious Dream

Bodacious Dream Expedition #1 Baja Recap

So much to catch you up on! So, Bodacious IV is safely secured back in her San Diego slip … her “racing” crew has recovered from a great run from Newport Beach down to Cabo San Lucas, and the “delivery” 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 … 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!

BDX on Facebook

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 … just as we pulled out of the Cabo harbor.

BDX CrewThe 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 “Baja Bash.” 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.

BDX Baja Map
Our BDX map of the Baja

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 Baja CoastThe 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 aren’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 … 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 “real-world” experiences like ours, once connected to the global Internet can play a significant role in that transformation. “Follow your bliss” 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 – 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, we’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 … 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. … Dream on …!

- Dave Rearick