BoDream Digest/ Solo-Crossing the Atlantic – Week 1

We are now sailing west of the Cape Verde Islands,¬†some ten days into our first single-handed Trans-Atlantic crossing.¬†In the interest of not filling your in-boxes with too many updates, I’ve decided to send along a kind of weekly “digest” – including some links to longer posts that I made, and that might be of interest to you, especially if you have not been following our oceanic “exploits” on the Bodacious Dream¬†Facebook Page¬†… where our status is frequently updated.

So, if we are going to summarize … we best start at the beginning.

Week 1/ Day 1 Bodacious Dream and I departed Calais, Portugal mid-afternoon on Friday, December 7th and pulled into large seas amid churning waves left over from an earlier storm that we had to wait out. The winds soon weakened, raising thoughts of the need for more fuel to keep the engine going for extended periods. That first day we did about 170 miles, though BoDream can easily do 250, if the winds and directions are good.

Ode to a Kitchen TimerDay 2¬†¬†found us again mired in slow winds, motoring towards the Portuguese island of Madeira. In the meantime, I shared on the Blog and Facebook how I go about keeping time out here, as well as my personal secrets for solo “sleeping,” which included an¬†“Ode to the Kitchen Timer”… You can READ that post¬†HERE!>

Day 3¬†¬†saw the slow winds continue – but when darkness fell, a great stillness descended as well, with the waves growing calm and the water reflecting the stars … making it difficult to tell where the sky ended and the water began. This is a phenomenon I remember happening on the Great Lakes in the spring, when the warm air doesn’t come down quite far enough to touch the cold water … so you have enough wind to sail, but the reflections of the sky, clouds and stars are perfectly clear. They call it¬†“sailing through the heavens.”¬†That is exactly what I saw here, and though I was motoring, and not sailing … it was still an awesome experience.

Day 4  looked to include an overnight stay in Madeira, but that plan was quickly scrapped because of the need to head south quickly in hopes of outrunning a high-pressure system. Getting to the trade winds is what we were there to do, and those fresh winds were ready to push us there.

Over the course of the week, and with the help of our onshore team, we’ve been able to daily post Google Earth/Ocean images of our position, as well as our key speed markers.

BD along the coast of Africa

Day 5¬†…¬†made for a beautiful day of sailing wherein we met up with those fabled trade winds. With the A3 (the ‚Äúasymmetrical spinnaker‚ÄĚ) up and full, the boat turned lively and gave us a lot of lift. It was exciting to finally have enough wind to ‚Äúfly the chute‚ÄĚ and overpower the waves. It was easy to imagine how ancient sailors must have felt blessed by the presence of such winds, and then sadly abandoned by the gods when those winds disappeared. Thankfully, BoDream has a fine new engine – so I am spared the labor of the oars.

Day 6¬†¬†found us sailing well, a couple hundred miles off the coast of Africa. However, in an attempt to get some sleep that night, something both embarrassing and funny happened, that the journalist in me felt obliged to recount … READ that post HERE!>

A Gloucester DoryDay 7¬†¬†had us still moving along quite nicely in brisk northeast trade winds, finally traveling in a “somewhat” southwesterly direction. Nothing like sailing at good speed across legendary waters to bring up memories of what it was that led you to such a moment. In so doing, I recalled the indelible influence that the story of one¬†Henry Blackburn, a Gloucester, Massachusetts fisherman in the 1880′s had on me as a boy … READ that post¬†HERE!>

Week 2¬†…¬†As the new week dawns, we are still moving well, and finally more westerly – though not always in the exact direction that we want to be moving. Sure, we know where it is we WANT to go … but instead of being able to go there in a straight line, the winds demand that you first go to the left and then to the right, and then back to the left – and so on. Crows don’t have this problem – sailing vessels do. It can be a bit frustrating sometimes … but what can you do … this is the Ocean and Mother Earth is in charge, that’s for sure. Me, I’m just trying to accurately read the winds and make the chocolate last.

As this update is being sent, we are in the process of reviewing upcoming weather and wind projections, and so determining our course for the foreseeable future. We’ll keep you posted.

To stay up-to-date with our more frequent reports from the water – the easiest route is to go directly to our¬†Bodacious Dream¬†Facebook Page¬†and if you have not already done so, to¬†LIKE¬†us there. That way you will be able to see¬†(in your Facebook¬†“newsfeed”)¬†our updates (both short and long) as they happen!

I want to once again thank you all for the support you have shown me and our Bodacious Dream this past year. It means a great deal to me. In closing then Рfrom both of us, winging our way to the equator РI want to wish you all a great and peaceful holiday season!

- Dave

@ (+19.1100 – 29.4500)
Wind Speed: 18 to 20 knots
Boat Speed: 9 to 11 knots
COG (course over ground) 245 degrees