BoDream News/ Closing the Loop – A Year on the Water

It’s another quiet and starry night at sea. While it may be beautifully serene, it is quieter than I’d like it to be. The wind has dropped down below 10 knots, and I’ve had to start the engine and motor sail in order to stay on a pace that keeps me content. You can lose days and even weeks at sea waiting for the wind, which is just fine by sailors, so long as they haven’t made plans and have commitments on land that cannot wait indefinitely.While in a bit of a trance staring into the deep darkness of the moonless night, I cannot help but reflect on what an amazing year this has been, and how it’s coming to a close … like a countdown clock, with each tenth of a mile clicking off on the GPS.
It was just a year ago that I had returned to New Zealand to continue sea trials of Bodacious Dream, after her successful launch in December 2012. Through January, we sailed her around Wellington Harbor; testing electronics, sails, equipment and other various functions, so that any problems could be addressed there. We even entered a local race of 140 miles from Wellington to Nelson on the South Island. That course had us sailing through the famous Cook Strait that separates the North and South Islands. Cook Strait is famous for its crazy winds – and it did not disappoint – delivering a fat 50-knot blow in the dark of night as we were returning to harbor. As we had hoped, BoDream easily withstood that test.
As January 2012 came to a close, we prepared Bodacious Dream for the trip to her home North Atlantic Ocean waters. With great flair and fun, we floated her over to a Dockwise yacht transport ship where she was secured along with other boats making the trip across the Pacific Ocean to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She fit in nicely under the watchful eye of the 130-foot long Endeavor, one of the grand dames of sailing yachts! These unique Dockwise ships (pictured here) flood themselves and then float the boats into the center of the ship. Once divers secure each of them in place with blocking and cables, the water is pumped out and the boats all sit high and dry, secured and ready for the long distance crossing.It was March when Bodacious Dream arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, where with the help of close friends Tom McDermott, Laurie Sampson and Tim McKenna, we sailed her the short 40 miles to West Palm Beach where we took a slip at the Rybovich Marina, where I commenced preparations for our summer of racing and travel.The Rybovich Marina is like a southern home to us, and our starting point for what has been a most remarkable season of sailing and racing encircling the Atlantic Ocean. As I write this, I am about 400 miles from the Rybovich Marina, where I will be closing the loop to our year on the water. Sailors have a special fondness for the notion of closing loops. On this watery round planet, circumnavigations are what it’s all about … whether we are talking small lakes, bigger lakes, islands, oceans or even the great globe itself.In May of last year, I sailed Bodacious Dream up to Charleston, South Carolina to compete in the Atlantic Cup Race with my fellow sailor Matt Scharl. Matt and I did the two offshore legs, taking a third in the first leg from Charleston to New York City, and a first in the second leg from New York City to Newport, RI, which put us well above our own expectations, and I think everyone else’s too! Solid racing in Newport with a team of local friends and sailors enabled us to finish second overall for the Atlantic Cup Race!

In late June, my good friend Kevin Finnegan joined me for the 1200-mile trip from Newport, up to Nova Scotia and back down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City. Matt joined me there, along with Mark Zaransky and Emma Creighton. The four of us made up Bodacious Dream’s crew in the Transat Quebec – St. Malo Race - that took us from Quebec City back out the St. Lawrence River and across the North Atlantic, finishing in St. Malo, France! There were many great memories from that time – the pearlescent luster of Beluga whales, a windless night surrounded by playful whales sounding and breathing and the six days of endless jib reaching at near 20-knot speeds. We finished respectably – in the middle of the fleet – not bad considering our relative lack of experience with both our boat and Class 40 racing.

From St. Malo, I sailed on to Cherbourg with my French friend, Pierre. I stayed there a couple of weeks before moving on to Caen, on the Normandy Coast, for the start of the Normandy Channel Race. In my spare time, I had a chance to explore the French countryside and witness some of the World War II history that is such a significant part of this region’s heritage.

Jument LighthouseThe Normandy Channel Race proved a rather frustrating experience, as Matt and I were unable to stay competitive due to issues with our jib in the lighter than expected airs of the race. With that holding us back, we retired early from the race after having sailed across the English Channel, around the Isle of Wight, along the southern coast of the UK and out to Lands’ End – one of the great historical markers in the sailing world. Once on our own, we sailed down the western coast of France, past the famous Jument Lighthouse (pictured here in this well-known photo,) and made our way to Lorient, the center of short-handed and large trimaran sailing in France. Matt and I were like wide-eyed kids in a candy store pulling into Lorient in the wee hours of the morning, to tie up alongside these majestic sailing yachts.

From Lorient, I sailed on to La Rochelle and met up with a crew of friends from New Zealand to compete in the Mondial World Championships. For four days we raced hard all day long. We had our good races and won one of them from start to finish, but we had some not-so-good ones too. In the end, we finished a respectable 9th in the world. Naturally, we’d have loved to have finished in the top three, but the sailing was exceptional and many new friendships were made. After all, how unimaginably lucky were we in the first place; nine months out of the boatyard and finishing in the top ten of a World Championship Race?

With our racing schedule concluded, it was time for Bodacious Dream and I to head for home waters on the other side of the Atlantic. I had just finished preparing her for the long trip, when we were forced to change our plans because of Hurricane Sandy. So instead, we set sail for the wonderful port of Cascais, Portugal where Bodacious Dream waited for me to return from a jaunt back home for Thanksgiving.

On December 7th, just about a month ago, we departed from Cascais heading for North America. Our only stop was a brief one on the island of Madeira for more fuel and provisions. At that point, we could see from weather and wind forecasts, that this was going to be a longer than anticipated trip across the Atlantic.

22 days later, we slipped into the island harbor of Antigua at 2 AM in the morning. Finally coming to rest under a bright and full Caribbean moon seemed an appropriate and fitting finish to the big leg of our trip.

Dave & BoDream in AntiguaDave & BoDream in Antigua (Thank you Kevin Johnson!)

I’m now more than half way through the last leg of the trip, on my way back to where we started this journey. There remains less than 400 miles to go before I cross my tracks and “close the loop.” With the end of the voyage almost in sight, it feels very much like time to thank the many wonderful people who have been such an important part of this whole journey. Rather than name you all individually, I am simply going to salute and thank you all collectively for your part in all of this – whether you sailed, helped out or just followed along with our story. Whatever role you played, I deeply appreciate your support.

Once we close the loop, Bodacious Dream’s navigation system will show a bit more than 14,600 miles of sailing, since she was launched a year ago. In sailor’s years, that’s around about FIVE seasons of sailing – all completed in TEN months!

So now … just a little more wind and we’ll be heading back to Charleston for the next phase of the Bodacious Dream! After all, come May, we’ve got to return to defend our success in the Atlantic Cup Race!

Rollin’ along towards home, and wishing you all the best!

- Dave and Bodacious Dream

BoDream News / Packin’ Up & Headin’ for Home

It’s Thursday afternoon, as I write this. The Mondial Worlds ended Saturday night, five days ago, and it’s only stopped raining for a few moments since then. Most of the crews left Sunday, and their boats followed shortly thereafter. It being early fall here in La Rochelle, the energy about town has quieted from a month ago when I first arrived. Some of the restaurants have even begun to help me reintegrate into the American life I’m headed back to, by closing early… around 9:30pm!! I had grown accustomed to grabbing something to eat at very late hours.

It’s time now to sort and pack the boat, and get ready to leave myself. Being a traveling sailing program, I’ve acquired many things over the summer – from all sorts of extra gear to new electric tools, due to the different electrical system over here. The race sponsors help arrange storage and moving of gear from one port to another by truck or container – which helps for racing, but since I’m sailing home, much of the gear needs to come with me. Here in La Rochelle, I emptied the contents of the boat into a storage locker, and am now retrieving everything including some things I’ve acquired since the races… like bottles of French Red Wine!!

Deep in the Belly of the Stuff
 Deep in the Belly of the Stuff…

On Monday, with it still raining, and before beginning to repack, I took the time to wash out the boat from one end to the other. The rain keeps coming, so the inside is still struggling to dry, while I keep bringing stuff onboard that’s gotten soaked between the car and the boat. Good thing the dehumidifier is less than a year old. The other task at hand is to set up sails for the trans-Atlantic sail home. The mainsail is up at this point, and I have two jibs I have yet to set up. Whenever the rain stops for a moment, I’m going to take care of that.

Sails and the Lady in Waiting
Sails and The Lady in Waiting..

This push to get the boat ready, is also to give me a chance to leave here this weekend, and to take in some touring of London and Ireland. I hope when I return, that the weather will have changed, at which point, I can do some quick shopping for food, say some goodbyes to friends, untie the dock lines and point the bow west and head for home. This trip will be a solo trip all the way – partly for training purposes, partly to qualify for the Global Ocean Race and partly just for myself. My solo dreams of long ago began with reading about those who sailed solo across the Atlantic. It will be a real treat for me to retell those stories in my memory, as I sail the 3500-4000 miles from La Rochelle to Charleston, SC.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to sailing from France west to North America. Many of the boats this time of year are headed more south than I am, to the Caribbean for the winter. In that case, they will likely sail south to the Canary Islands and Madeira, before hooking onto the trade winds and sailing west. That trip is approximately 4500 miles long. I hope to find a weather window that allows me to sail to the Azores, and then across, which shortens the route by 1000 miles, but also comes with the threat of heavier low pressure systems which may mean lighter or no wind days.

 Using Google Maps to Get to the New WorldUsing Google Maps to Get to the New World..

But the first goal of this trip is to get clear of nearby Bay of Biscay and then past Cape Finisterre, at the northern tip of Spain. It’s a toss-up, but some recent looks at the weather pattern, suggest I might get the weather needed. For the next week though, predictions are for a rather intense low pressure system which could bring wind and rain to the area. That makes it a good time to head to Ireland, and hopefully find some great Irish music and learn a wee bit about the country.

So, one last adventure to be had – Ireland and London – before heading for North America, hopefully Charleston, SC – or else, somewhere in Florida. From there, I will begin the ramp up in preparations for the Global Ocean Race, which starts about a year from now. There are lots of things to do to make the boat ready, and that will take up my winter, and then come spring – lots of sailing solo to train for the race.

I’ll pass along another quick update before I leave France, and then hopefully, there will be some updates along the way as I head west. Until then, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the fall weather, and if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, spring is here and summer isn’t far behind!!

 - Dave

BoDream News/ Around the Last Mark..

Well… a tough day on the water, for sure. With a regatta like this, such top-level competition and an “all in” attitude, you stand to either win or lose a lot.

We started the day in fifth place… a point or two behind one tough competitor and a couple of points ahead of another. We didn’t come to do “just ok,” so we showed up today to race hard, take all the chances necessary and hope, when we had our bets placed, our cards would come up the way we wanted.

In a regatta like this, on the final day, the leaders take few chances and try to retain their lead, and those behind, pull out all the stops and take all the risk. So, what’s to lose in moving from fifth to something less, compared with what’s to gain in moving from fifth to third maybe?

So, first race, we came at ‘em. Hard-pressed on the line for a great start, but you can’t be over the line before the start gun – so the trick is to try to hit the line with great speed just at the time the gun goes off. If you’re a second early, you have to go around – which is what happened to us. Unfortunately, that second early cost us about three minutes, as we had to turn around and restart… essentially giving everyone else a head start. Three minutes later, we were back, hard at work trying to make up ground and we did. We made up a lot of ground, but… ran out of runway as they say. In the end, we took a tenth I think, and so lost points to our previously trailing competitor.

Rounding the last mark..

Determined to do better in the second race, we pulled out our upwind code zero at the start and led the fleet to the first mark – first around… downwind to the second mark, at which point the winds began to die a bit and to shift abruptly. We were able to stay very close while rounding the second mark… but in the next upwind leg, the winds took a 50 degree shift away from our covering position, and that cost us dearly. We went from second or third to somewhere around twelfth, in a matter of a few minutes. I’d have to show you how that works on paper, but it works and it’s a really hard pill to swallow when it happens to you. We worked back a few places, but THEN it got exciting!!

Coming into the last mark before heading into the short distance to the finish, we came shoulder to shoulder with another competitor. There are some rather complicated rules in sailboat racing, and one of them is a rule about two boats being overlapped at a mark rounding. If that’s the case, the outside boat has to give the inside boat room to round the mark. We came in as the inside boat… requesting room to round the mark, but the other boat contested our overlap and refused to give us room. With nowhere to go, our two boats each holding steadfast to their beliefs, came side-by-side with each other and collided! Needless to say, there was a lot of contention as to who was right. Fortunately for us, there were two jury boats close by to witness the incident, and they confirmed our “rights” with regard to the rules. Pretty exciting, but nobody wins anything this way… so while other boats slip past, you’re left to untangle boats, rigs and egos.

Third race – at this point, with nothing left to lose, we took off with every intention of taking home another first. Unfortunately, the shifting winds did a similar thing to us once again, and our “all in” bets were lost. We rounded the first mark in an embarrassing last place… but we worked hard and finished back in the middle… but, that was also the end of the regatta, and when the final totals were made… we ended up in 10th place.

Still, I remind myself that these are fortunate days, exciting experiences and exceptional people to be sharing them with. If you write it out… tenth in the world doesn’t look so bad, does it? Well… nonetheless… this has been one of the great regatta’s I’ve ever had the chance to sail.

Next up is a bit of time to put the boat back into offshore condition, and then head for home… North America, that is. I’ll send an update soon as to the plan to sail for home – solo – across the Atlantic, and be home in time for Thanksgiving!!

Thanks for hanging with us through all this. it means a lot to all of us.

- Dave and the Bodacious Crew

 

BoDream News/ The Vagaries of the Wind

Class 40 Worlds: Day Three… 

The day started pre-dawn once again, but this time under clear skies and a gentle 8-knot wind. We left the harbor and paraded out to the starting area. Once the wind settled in, the Race Committee set up another “Banana” Course and the starting sequence began. The first start was another general recall, as the boats crowded the line, which blocked the view of the judges, forcing another restart.

Once past that, the race was on. We performed well upwind rounding the top mark in good position, and leaned hard into the downwind portion of the race before rounding and heading back up the course. Numerous position changes followed, with boats crossing closely in tacks and gybes. As we came to the finish, we were able to hold off one of the top competitors, but lost a position to another, leaving us with a seventh place finish. Certainly not as good as we’d have liked, but the third through eighth positions were really a matter of a few boat lengths. We are definitely showing that Bodacious Dream is a solid contender, and when we get the trims all lined up, we are very fast.

Staying ahead of the FleetStaying ahead of the fleet



After the lunch break, we were off again on a long harbor course. Unfortunately, as we set out, the wind began to die, and as we rounded the first mark and headed towards the second mark of the course, the wind completely shut off. We’d positioned ourselves well among the stronger competitors, but it was up to the vagaries of the wind to determine who would be where when it filled in. We’d like to believe we were in the top five, but the wind never filled in and by the end of the day, the race committee abandoned the race and soon shut down racing for the day – and we all headed in. A long day on the water and only one race to show for it, but that’s what dealing with Mother Nature is all about.

Tomorrow is the last day of racing. We’re hoping for at least a couple of races, so we can improve our standings overall. Regardless, I’m really pleased with the way the boat has performed, with the exceptional talent of the crew and their light-hearted can-do attitudes and with the overall intensity of the racing. Coming in the top third of a World Championship Regatta is still something to be very proud of!

Check out our Facebook Page for an excellent album of photos of Bodacious Dream taken on Wednesday by a fine photographer here named Christophe Breschi.

And here again, is the photo of the crew from yesterday.. this time, with everyone identified by name.

 Our Illustrious BD Crew..
Bill Dalbreth, Jerome DeVos, Oliver Scott-Mackiem, Phillip Airey, Richard “Bicky” Bicknell & Brett Elliot


Expect another update, at the end of the day tomorrow. Best to all!

- Dave & the Bodacious Dream Crew

 

BoDream News/ A Wire 2 Wire Win!

Class 40 Worlds: Day Two..

This morning came on rather harsh. Winds were up to 30 knots as we left the harbor under a solid rain. With the schedule of the locks and tides, we were concerned that they might get us out there, and then not be able to hold a race because of the conditions – but all went smoothly; we cleared the harbor, again pre-dawn, and got the day underway. This morning came on rather harsh. Winds were up to 30 knots as we left the harbor under a solid rain. With the schedule of the locks and tides, we were concerned that they might get us out there, and then not be able to hold a race because of the conditions – but all went smoothly; we cleared the harbor, again pre-dawn, and got the day underway.

Three races today.

Race One was a distance race that kept us on our toes. The initial information on the racecourse was that it would be the same one as yesterday – so we set up all the navigation necessary under that information. At the last minute, before the starting sequence, they changed the course to an entirely different one that sent me scrambling to work out the new set of angles and winds. At the same time that we were tacking, we were also putting on and transferring the water ballast, which left the guys up on deck working like mad to sail the boat!

We had a great start and held our own with the leaders, but on the third leg, had a bad reach plan and lost a number of places. The guys just dug in, and as they say in New Zealand, “grunted it out” and we worked our way back into sixth place by the finish.

By the time of the Second Race, the winds scaled back and down to about 12 knots. The race committee called for a windward/leeward or as they say in France, a “banana course.” We got off to another good start on this, but missed a shift sequence, and so fell a bit behind. Then the wind shut down to single digits, and they shortened the course, before we had a chance to work our way back out of the corner we were in. Not even sure any of us kept track of how far back we were on that little go-round.

Zigging and Zagging in Traffic..
Zigging and Zagging in Traffic..
In Race Three, we were determined to make a difference. We got up there in the start while the other leaders fought for the other end of the starting line. We hooked into the proper shift sequence, and made huge gains on the other boats, all the while sailing faster and higher in the water. We were really feeling like our systems were clicking, and the boat was responding beautifully. We rounded the first mark ahead of everyone, and from there on; we were able to hold that lead all the way to the finish! A great win for the crew, and a convincing one at that!
Our Illustrious BD Crew..
Our Illustrious Crew… Bill Dalbreth, Jerome DeVos, Oliver Scott-Mackiem, Phillip Airey, Richard “Bicky” Bicknell & Brett Elliot
.
Back at it tomorrow, early pre-dawn again. The weather is questionable with a forecast for lighter winds, but our hope is for a sea breeze fill in the afternoon, which will allow us to get in some more good racing.

The guys are really great people to sail with, and they don’t let disappointments get them down… they just keep going right after the rest of the fleet, picking them off one by one as they can.

More tomorrow. Thanks for keeping tabs on us.

- Dave and the Bodacious Dream Crew

BoDream News/ It Begins with a Bang!

Wow… what a great day of racing!! With 18 boats in the event, the racing is extremely top-notch and in very close quarters. It’s been totally full on from the starting gun through to the end of today’s races, with leads changing all the time.

We left the dock at 7:15 this morning just before sunrise, because of the tides and the lock/harbor entrance schedules. The first race went off at 9:00 am.

There was a slight time delay, but as the starting sequence of five minutes began, the boats began to work out their starting strategies and positions. The way sail races begin is with a five-minute countdown… you can’t cross the starting line until the gun goes off at the end of the five-minute countdown… so you try to position your boat so it’s at full speed to take maximum advantage of the winds and smoothly hit the timing of the start.

Class 40 Worlds at the Start

We started at the front of the pack, but quickly enough there was a general recall… meaning the line judge wasn’t able to see all the boats clearly, and so they restarted the race. On the second start, we were in an equally perfectly position with a clear lane for a fast start. We held our position and were the second boat around the first mark… working hard with winds in the high teens and low twenties. We went back and forth with the leaders the whole time, but ended up in fifth position just a boat length behind Mare – one of the race favorites, but all of the boats were very close in their finishes.

The second race was a long distance harbor race with 7 marks and about 25 miles to the finish. Again, we started strong and held onto a top position working our way up to third rounding the last mark. Confused by the translated sailing instructions, we misunderstood which mark would be used for the finish, and hoisted our A3 spinnaker, when we should have used our A4. With the boats as close as they were, this miscalculation cost us three positions, and so we ended up that race in sixth position.

Bodacious Dream in the Class 40 Worlds

Though we weren’t up front, our finishes were still quite respectable within the fleet of 17 boats.

It was a day of great sailing and of demanding performances under a variety of conditions. One leg across the harbor at 8 miles long went by so quickly, it was almost a shame. With Bodacious Dream skipping through French waters at speeds between 17 and 21 knots, it only took 20 some minutes!! All in all, it was a great thrill, and we are all very excited about racing again tomorrow.

Given this was our first time racing as a crew, and that we only had a couple of quick hour-long practices, we are confident we will continue to get better as the regatta continues. And I have to say, what a thoroughly great group of guys to sail with – happy, fun, energetic and excited to be taking part in a World Championship.

We’ll continue to try to bring you updates from the water as best we can. Until then… time for some much needed rest before the pre-dawn boat call tomorrow.

- Dave and the Bodacious Dream Crew

P.S. In addition to our own BoDream Facebook Page, the Class 40 Association has a Facebook page too, which while it is in French, looks like it will have lots of photos. We’ll pull the best ones… (i.e. the ones of BoDream anyway!) and post them on our FB page.

Class 40 Worlds: Day One Updates

Mondial Class 40 World ChampionshipLa Rochelle, France where the Class 40 World Championships is 7 hours ahead of U.S. Central Time – so, as this is posted, it is 7:45 pm in France.

Below are the live messages sent during our night from Dave during Day One races.

Day One: Hour 4: Great first event. Tight group among the top five. We were fifth, but only one boat length behind Mare in fourth, and maybe five boat lengths total difference between second and fifth places. We’re feeling good!

Day One: Hour 9: Great second race. We were in good position for a podium finish, but we used the a3 spinnaker instead of  the a4, and lost three places. We are in sixth position at present,  but there are eighteen boats and we stay solid up front.  Tomorrow will be great.

BoDream News/ It’s Regatta Time!

Well, here we go! Class 40 Worlds about to begin!

The boat’s as ready as she has ever been. We’ve got some new sails, and even a special new one – a light-wind Code Zero, at the encouragement of Matt Scharl and the guys at North Sails! We’ve got a great crew with a great attitude, so we’re really looking forward to some mighty good fun racing against some of the best sailors in the Class 40 world!

Today was another one filled with last minute scrambles, as we worked our way through the “scrutinizer’s” list and the sail declarations. (All sails must be approved for the Class.) We worked right up to the end of the day when the Skipper’s meeting was held – and of course, it was all in French, so we were a bit unmoored – but thanks to some English-speaking French folks and our old’ buddy, Google Translate, we got the basic info we need to be competitive out there.

 Dave wondering what they’re talking about.

I’m off for a quick night of sleep here, and at the same time I’m thinking how different this event is from our last few races. This one is a real “Regatta” – a multi-day series of races all pretty formally structured. There will likely be 10 races over 4 days, and it is the cumulation of all the scores that will determine the winners. This is very different than say the Normandy Channel Race, where there is one start and one finish and the winner takes all. In this regatta, you can conceivably win the entire event without winning a single individual race; consistency is what counts!

The other interesting difference is that it’s late at night; I’m tired and looking towards a 6:45 am start.. not unlike the other events.. but this one is different, in that we’ll be off the water by 6 in the evening, and so able to enjoy some fine French cuisine and a good night’s sleep before the next day’s races. This is in sharp contrast to the long distance races where meals are freeze-dried filler and rest is taken in an alternating combination of catnaps and Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses!!

So, we plan on keeping you as informed as possible. Hard to say how well our communications will function until we’re on the water – but we’ll do our best to keep the BD website, as well as Facebook and Twitter updated. Hopefully, there will be lots of fun news to share over the next four days.

And thanks so much for rooting for us, and for following along with our racing!

- Dave and the whole Bodacious Dream Crew

BoDream News/ Chasing Sails & Ramping up to Worlds

Hello Again!! Still in France!!

We’re getting ramped up here in La Rochelle for the Mondial Class 40 World Championships that begin this Wednesday. The crew arrived yesterday and Richard “Bicky” Bicknell has been here for a couple of days helping to organize the program for us. He, along with Bill Dalbreth have pulled this team together. Bicky has the North Sails Loft in Auckland, NZ and has, with the help of his team, made the sails for Bodacious Dream. Also on the team, we have Phillip Airey, Brett Elliot, Jerome DeVos and Oliver Scott-Mackie. Six from New Zealand, one from Holland and one American – an international team for sure!!

As could be expected, shipping hassles have plagued us once again. The shipper wanted 505 euros to make the last two hour trip from Bordeaux to La Rochelle with our battens! But thanks to years of integrating creative hauling techniques into my repertoire, I was able to skirt that hurdle. Using ingenuity and some “outside-the-boat” thinking, I lashed the bundle to the top of my small rental car and drove them back to La Rochelle. This slight diversion in Bordeaux was preceded by a few tours of some lovely chateaus and vineyards, so the time was well-spent. It’s a real treat wandering through chateaus that are four and five hundred years old and still producing wines from their estate grounds.

Alternative Shipping Techniques

Our shipping hassles were not over just yet. Last Monday was spent driving from Nantes south to Niort looking for the shipping company and our sails. They were to have arrived a week ago Friday in La Rochelle, but for some reason hadn’t yet shown up. What better person to trust to get them here but myself! The hour and a half drive to Nantes didn’t sound like a big deal.. only once I arrived, there was no terminal and I spent the next few hours finding an outlet for the shipping company, while the shippers, Peters and May tried to locate it as well. Long about noon, I found out the sails were in Niort, (when spoken in French, it sounds exactly like “New York” – so you can imagine the spike in my heart rate at initially hearing that!) Niort I soon learned, was another hour and a half back towards La Rochelle. After their lunch break ended though, we found out the sails were actually onboard a truck already in La Rochelle and scheduled to be delivered soon. A long day of chasing, but eventually the sails did arrive and we were able to mount them and head out of the harbor at 5:30 pm for a short hour look at them.

Tomorrow will be the typical scrutinizing program, and we’re hoping everything goes well. We got in a short practice on Sunday afternoon and another today. The challenge is that we only have two and a half hours of access to the La Rochelle harbor with the dramatic tide ranges I mentioned previously. Just enough time to set the main, do some testing of sails, maybe a mark rounding or two and head back in. Much like many regattas, we’ll start the first races strong, though not well-practiced and hope to get better over the course of the regatta!

We’re expecting some exciting racing from these top crews and boats that have gathered here. Mare, Comiris, Phoenix, Picoty and others are all here and we’re all looking forward to a great season finale of a regatta. Right now, the weather for the first day looks pretty windy with lighter winds predicted for the remainder of the week.

I’ll be trying to text updates from the boat, and get them up on Facebook as soon as possible, so you can follow our progress. If you aren’t yet on Facebook or Twitter, I guess now might be a good time to sign up.. don’t feel bad.. I’m new to them too!

You can also go to the site for the Mondial World Championships, but it’s in French and doesn’t have a translate button (unless you use the Chrome browser, I am told - but even then, the site content looks to be pretty minimal). They may also provide news on the Class 40 Web site – and we’ll let you know if they do.

Otherwise, take care and more very soon!

- Dave

BoDream News/ Preparing for the Race – 9.27.12

Hello Everyone,

Wanted to send a short note to get you up-to-date on Bodacious Dream and the upcoming World Championship Regatta. I’ve been finishing up preparations of the boat for competing in the race that begins here in La Rochelle next Wednesday, October 3rd.

Last week, we hauled Bodacious Dream out of the water at the local yard to do a complete check and a wet-sanding of the bottom prior to the racing. This to make sure that the underbody is super smooth, reducing any drag and making us as quick through the water as possible.

Haul Out...

This week has been spent tacking new battens and sails that we first had to get through customs and into our hands. With the help of Adam from Peters and May shipping, it was far easier than the frantic time we had trying to get our spinnaker prior to the Normandy Channel Race.

My crew of 5 begins to gather this weekend, and we’ll get in some practice time on Sunday and Monday.  Some of these guys were involved in the launching and testing of Bodacious Dream in New Zealand, and so getting them reacquainted with the boat is job #1. During our practices, we’ll get to know the courses for the races, and try to get a feel for the local winds and currents – all of which will be crucial to our posting good results in the races to come.

The boats are starting to arrive in La Rochelle, and we’re all looking forward to some top-notch racing and very competitive action. I’ll be back with more in just a couple of days.

- Dave