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 – 9.10.12

Good Morning Everyone!!

Well, it’s morning here in Caen, France anyway. Not sure just when you are reading this, since we are all spread around the world these days!

The Normandy Channel Race finished this weekend here in Caen. It was quite a thrilling finish as the first two boats came within just a mile or so of each other at the end. The two young guys on Concise finished just ahead of the Grand Masters on Campagne de France. Everyone was jubilant with excitement. It was fun to be here to see them finish and to hear the stories… and as you might imagine, it was difficult too not to be out there finishing along with the others.

Sailing is an interesting sport. There is so much involved and disappointment is an everyday experience. Sometimes it comes from the wind or lack there of, sometimes from the currents or navigation and sometimes from some newly discovered Achilles heel in your program. But sooner or later, something disappointing is going to happen, and you must be willing to accept it and regain your balance.

Being around Caen for the finish, hearing the stories from friends on other boats and seeing the joy in their faces was good medicine to help offset my disappointment in retiring early from the race. And as with most medicines, the first few tastes are awful, but as the healing begins, new horizons open.

So, onto new horizons!!  At the moment, Bodacious Dream sits at the boatyard in Lorient among the giants of the sailing world: Open 60′s, Class 40′s, 28′ Figaros, 21′ Minis and even Banque Populaire… the 120-foot Trimaran that recently set a record sailing around the world. As Matt and I thought about it, Banque Populaire sailed around the world at an average speed of 19 knots!! That’s the top range speed for Bodacious Dream!! This is a machine to see, and not just in a picture, but to see in person. It’s truly amazing. Matt got some good shots of Bodacious Dream in the shadows of Banque Populaire, so we’ll see if we can’t get one on the website for you!

Soon, I’ll be driving back to Lorient with a car full of the gear we left here in Caen, so I can get settled back onto Bodacious Dream and look for a weather window in the next couple of days to sail to La Rochelle. That’s a trip of about 135 miles, and it will be our base for the upcoming Class 40 World Championships (in French only), in which Bodacious Dream is entered. This group of course races happens over four days, from October 3rd-6th. It’s totally different racing than what we’ve been doing lately – similar to the last portion of the Atlantic Cup. The competition is going to be very tough and exciting. We’re looking forward to an incredible week of sailing.

One of the positive things that came about from retiring from the Normandy Channel Race was that we were able to sail Bodacious Dream south towards La Rochelle, which has opened up my schedule by about a week. So, instead of looking at a week to sail my way to La Rochelle, I only have another day’s worth of sailing. I’m hoping this will allow me time to see some more of France, and maybe even sneak in a trip to Ireland for some Irish music.

So for now, I’ll pack up the car and head west. With Matt and I, there was barely enough room for the two of us, which is why we had to leave some of it in storage. Today, I hope once I get the car fully packed, there will be room still left for me to drive!!

Here’s a picture of the French Bodacious Dream mobile!! Typical of us Gypsy Sailors!

BD Dream Mobile

And that all said, it’s time to live the dream!!

- Dave & Matt

Normandy Channel – BD Update – Retired from Race

Friends, followers and family,

As I write this, it’s about 08:00 on Wednesday morning, and we have just come to the point of Land’s End on the southwestern tip of England. As the sun rose up from the horizon, a beautiful and very fast tri-maran passed us as if we were standing still – and we were reaching at 13 knots of boat speed!

It has been a very difficult morning, as we came to this point because it was the point I had picked to make a decision as to whether or not to continue in the Normandy Channel Race. As you can see by our position, our ability to stay competitive in upwind conditions was made more difficult by a repair we had to make to our sail. We had done the best we could with it, and after hoping that the weather might cooperate or that there might be an adjustment to the course that would make the prospects of finishing more viable, I made the decision to retire from the race. I have to say, this has been one of the toughest decisions I’ve made in quite some time.

Adding to the decision, the weather and routing software we use suggests that the race, without considering adverse currents, would take us at least an additional six days to complete the course. There is also a high pressure ridge that will effectively eliminate any wind in the middle of the Celtic Sea, which is the water between Fastnet Rock and England. With the race rules as they are, and with only enough fuel to motor an additional 60 miles or so at the point of Land’s End, it made sense to sail while we have wind towards a French Port on the Northern Shore.

Matt and I sailed very hard and tried our very best to be competitive. We hope the best for our fellow competitors and that the wind gods will look kindly down upon them.

- Dave and Matt


Normandy Channel – BD Update – Day 3

Hello everyone from the southern Coast of England!!
(50 deg 16.9615 N Latitude/ 002 deg 28.1460 Longitude)

We are about 15 miles South of Weymouth, England where earlier today we played some serious “Etch-O-Sketch” with the GPS Chart Plotter that keeps track of our navigation. We’ve learned some difficult lessons about ocean current here in the past few days. Yesterday, being just outside the grasp of wind put us behind and into an adverse current, and it took another tide cycle before we were able to enter the “Solent” and circumnavigate the Isle of Wright.

Today, again with the Etch-O-Sketch, I was diligently trying to catch the competitor just in front of us, when we noticed a different look to the wind and water. Heading up, we were able to sail into wind, and the competitor just missed it. That started a couple hour battle where the objective was to sail as fast as we could to counter the adverse 4 knot current – though seldom negating it altogether. We started a large circle, which we could see inscribed on the Etch-O-Sketch. Quite amusing, but more interesting is that we never went backwards through the whole, large mile-sized circle!! As we sailed forward at 3 knots, the 4 knot current drove us backwards and around in a loop!

We had a similar experience yesterday when with no wind, we were sent back and forth – east and west, across the entrance to the Solent waiting for wind, before realizing that it not being there at that moment was actually a good thing, as we couldn’t make forward progress, and so would likely have had to anchor and wait for the tide change anyway.

So, it’s been an interesting trip so far, to say the least. Frustrating for sure, as the current has not been our only issue; we have a compromised jib as well. In the recent repair of the batten pockets, somehow the leach cord, an internal trim line, had been severed. The result is that we aren’t as beautifully efficient an upwind sailing machine as we usually are.. and most this race so far, has been light and upwind!

But on the good side.. we are sailing on a beautiful day in the English Channel! It’s sunny with a crisp temperature, but a beautiful 9 knot wind and relatively flat waters. Even though we missed the current cycle last night, we had a beautiful sail through the Solent and around the Isle of Wright.. a famous spot from sailing history as the first America’s Cup race in 1851 was around the Isle of Wight.

Bodacious Dream at the start of the Normandy Race
Bodacious Dream at the start of the Normandy Channel (Photo by Sam Holliday)
In any case, we finally got some wind late in the day and sailed the last ten miles with our new William Blair spinnaker, which looked and sailed beautifully. Once in the Solent, we were able to sync with the tides and sail around the island and out the Western entrance.. all under the beauty of the setting sun and rising moon. Quiet, peaceful, not real fast – but forward – so we were quite happy. Needless to say, these two events make up for the time we spent assessing the latest position reports….Ugh!!

Right now, with the weather in front of us and our inability to sail as efficiently upwind, it looks like we may not finish the race until Tuesday or even later. There is a big high ridge that will block all of us for an extended period of time, not long after rounding Fastnet Rock. Such is the sport of Yacht Racing.

Until later.. hope you all had a great Labor day!! In the U.S. that’s the holiday that marks the end of the summer. And for those of you elsewhere in the northern hemisphere, hope you’ve having a great end of Summer. And for our friends in New Zealand.. winter’s almost over and summer’s on its way!!

- Dave (and Matt)

Normandy Channel – BD Update – Day 2

Hello from the English Channel,

I can say without a lot of worry that this is extremely frustrating. Here we sit with no wind and in about last place. The conditions are either 3 knots of current going east – or now it’s going west, making almost no progress in the direction of the Ile de Wight. At this point, we cannot help but ask, “How did we get here?”

Bodcacious Dream at the start of the Normandy Channel Race

The race started in 10 knots of wind, and we did a small triangle before setting out to the first island we had to round. It was upwind and going pretty well, 5th, until our boat speed took a small but noticeable drop while we were inshore of the competition, sailing lower and slower, we felt we had just sailed out of the wind line and were starting to be effected by the adverse current. We worked our way offshore across the back of most of the boats, fell to 13th, but still felt as though something was wrong. Finally, we decided to stick the boat into the wind and back down to see if something was on the keel and indeed there was a big glob of weeds – and so after some work, we were back up to speed.

As it was getting dark, we sailed back to shore to find that we’d gotten back into about 9th. At that point, we sailed just a bit too far offshore and into an incredibly bad current at the same time the wind started to get light. It took us over an hour (and probably the loss of 5 miles to the competition) before we were out of the worst of it. At that point though, the wind had dropped to under 7 knots. As we continued to go upwind, we could clearly see that our ability to stay with the few boats around us was being compromised.

A small lesson in sail selection: This boat’s intention, as most of you know, is to take Dave around the world next year in a mostly downwind fashion. On closed courses, such as this one, all points of sail are usually touched upon – reaching, downwind, upwind, etc. So far, since the start, we have gone upwind and in light conditions. In such conditions, a flatter sail is preferable – one that attaches to the tip of the bowsprit, which is very flat (think super sonic jet wing to minimize drag) so as to be able to sail close to the direction of the wind. We do not have one of these sails; ours is large and very full for more power (think C130 cargo plane, i.e., slow but powerful flight). Hence, our not so desirable position.

The frustration also comes in knowing we’re on a really fast boat, like a Porsche, but without the correct sails for what we’ve been doing for the last 24 hours (or in the Porsche’s case, sitting on snow.) We know things will change, but will it be too late to get back in touch with the crowd? With this light wind, the only way to get through the Solent (the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England) is to have an outgoing tide. We know the leaders are there now. We are praying that we can get there in 10 hours to have the tide help us through it also, but are worried that they’ll be over the horizon and completely out of touch by then.

In the face of it all, we are sailing and having fun with what we’ve got, but it’s difficult not to have all the same horses that the other boats have. As the trip continues, we’ll work on more ways to get Dave prepped for his big challenge.

- Matt (and Dave)

BoDream News – 9.02.12

Well, here we go again!!

It’s early morning Sunday in Caen, and the last minute preps for the race are taking place.. final stocking of food and clothes onto the boat, return the car.. etc.

It’s time to go racing! There is quite the parade scheduled for today. We leave the harbor around noon, and follow each other out the long canal to the locks, and then out into open water. Our actual start is expected at 5pm – so you can figure we’ll be spending quite a bit of time just waving to people. (BTW, 5pm in France is early morning in the U.S. – so by the time you folks there read this, we’ll already be out to sea.)

Matt and I had quite a bit of fun, right in the middle of everything Friday, when the crowds began to pour into the race village area – which made walking down the sidewalk nearly impossible. At one point, Matt called out to me down below on the boat that someone wanted our autographs! Well, as it turns out, a lot of folks here have a competitor’s sheet for the race crews, and they just stroll around and collect autographs!! All afternoon, whenever we walked the sidewalk, people would stop us and ask for our autographs!! What an interesting turn for a couple of Great Lakes sailors for whom the only autograph we’re usually asked to sign, is a charge receipt!

Anyway, hope you’ll have time to enjoy some tracking of the race. The weather looks to be fairly mild, without too much wind. It’s likely to be a seven or eight day race, but still full of all sorts of interesting navigation problems posed by the many cargo, ferry and fishing boats we’ll pass (as many as 200 per day,) as well as the unpredicatable currents and pockets of wind – and no wind. You’ll likely see lead changes happen often, which should make it all more exciting.

There are some contingencies in place to shorten the race, so we’ll have to see what develops. Matt and I are certainly hoping to at least round Fastnet Rock, one of the legendary pinnacles of sailing.

So for now, we’re packed up and heading to the boat. We’ll have more details to share in a week or so, when we return here to Caen.

In the meantime, here are some links from the Normandy Channel Website, should you care to track deeper. (Hit the small Union Jack icon in the upper right corner to get an English Translation.)

1. General Background on the Race
2. The Course as Viewed by long-time Competitor, Halvard Mabire
3. Dynamic Race Map
4. Rankings

We will also be doing our best to get whatever updates Matt and I can manage to send, up and on the Bodacious Dream website as well as on our BD Facebook page.

And that all said, it’s time to live the dream!!

- Dave & Matt

BoDream News – 8.31.12

Bonjour!!

Hello from Caen, France. The sail from Cherbourg was a Journey Magnificent. We left just after noon on Wednesday with a following breeze and sea, and sailed almost to the harbor entrance at Caen before the winds shut off for the evening, causing us to have to motor in the rest of the way. At around 10:00 pm, we motored into the lock which controls the water in and out of the harbor, and then up the channel to the center of the city (nearly a two hour trip!) – where the stage is set for the Normandy Channel Race which starts this Sunday.

Pierre, a friend of Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron from Campagne de France (our friends and close competitors in the last two races,) made the trip with me. He’s a fun character who not only made the time go by quickly, but made the passage through the locks and bridges much easier, with him interpreting the French language for me. I’m getting better with my French, able now to order food and get what I expect, talk to a cab driver, rent a car, talk with hotel staff and purchase my du pain au chocolat and jus d’ orange in the morning!! Give me another month, and I’ll see what else I can learn.

Pierre at the helm
Pierre at the helm just outside of Caen, France.  

Matt Scharl, my co-skipper, arrived yesterday afternoon ahead of us and was able to scope out Caen and set up things for our arrival. We connected today, reviewed the work list, made contact with the race directors and sorted out our plan of attack for the next few days in preparation for the start. So far, things are looking quite good. Each race we do gets a little easier as many of the tasks we do to prepare for them only need to happen once. At this point, many of those items are in place, and don’t need repeating – so that gives us more time to focus on the race itself.

Bodacious Dream, quietly moored in Caen, France
Bodacious Dream, quietly moored in Caen, France

This race is a rather complicated one in that it starts with a triangle course around some local marks before heading to a mark off the French shore. Then the course heads north to marks along the English shore, then across to Ireland for a couple of marks including the famous Fastnet Rock, before heading back to Caen. At 1000 miles long, there are plenty of provisions to shorten the course or change it to make the sailing fit the time schedules of the race. The last couple of races have had shortened courses, and with the early weather predictions for light winds here, who knows what the final course will be. That will make it interesting – not just for us, but for you following the race as well. So hang tight, and follow our updates on the website and Facebook, as it’s gonna be a fun one.

Special thanks to Pierre for sailing with me to Caen.. and as he announced as he first stepped onboard.. “This is my first time in the U.S.!”

And good luck to all our friends back on Lake Michigan who will be sailing the Tri-State Race. Not unlike our race.. three states, one weekend.. we’re three countries, one week. Hoping the summer warmth remains for you. With a new perspective on Ocean racing vs. Great Lakes racing.. I can tell you that many of those Tri-State Races were just as cold and wild as the North Atlantic was this year.

More Soon!!

- Dave
<dave@bodaciousdream.com>

BoDream News – 8.27.12

As I write this, it is morning here in Cherbourg, France.

The time I’ve been here in Cherbourg has been sweet. I am spending some of it relaxing and lots of it making repairs and modifications to Bodacious Dream, in preparation for our next race, the Normandy Channel Race, which starts September 2nd. That’s this coming Sunday! The time till then is going by very quickly!

So, with the tiller welded and repaired, autopilot instrument replaced, vang reworked, halyards reworked, leaks stopped, new handholds, sails repaired and a lot of other smaller items taken care of, it’s time to leave Cherbourg and sail to Caen for the start of the race.

We’ll be leaving here tomorrow about noon – I hope, as all sailing around here depends on the tides. The two headlands – one to the west and the other to the east have tidal races where the currents run 7 knots or more, and if the wind is against the tide, the wave action is severe. So, you play your passage according to the tides. There is nothing quite as much fun as having the tide going with you, boosting your speed by the speed of the current. So, if we have to motor in light winds at 6 knots boat speed with a 7 knot current, we’ll be making 13 knots. Against it, we’ll just have to wait.

So, the Normandy Race is 1000 miles. We start in Caen and sail across the English channel then along the southern coast of England and out to the famous Fastnet Rock (the last sight of Ireland for emigrants sailing to America) and then back to Caen via one of the islands. I expect this to take us about five or six days, weather pending of course.

Normandy Race 2012

To follow the race, set your sights on www.normandy-race.com. There’s a ton of information and tracking to follow our progress. There is a great line up of competitors, many of whom are the biggest European names in the sport, so we’ll certainly have our work cut out for us to stay ahead of them.

I’ll be sending another write-up on the Quebec-St. Malo race here shortly. Sorry for the delay on that, but gettin’ comfy with these new electronic media thingies takes a bit of time for this ol’ grey-haired sailor!!

Soon,

- Dave
<dave@bodaciousdream.com>

BoDream News – 8.13.12

Bodacious Dream and I are now in Cherbourg, France. We left St. Malo on Saturday with a young man named Julien who was introduced to me by friends on Campagne de France. Julien is a great young sailor with an energetic and fun attitude. Together we covered the 100 miles to Cherbourg in about 15 hours, in what I’d call a very pleasant sail. On the way, we passed the Channel Islands of Guernsey, Jersey, Sark and others. Interesting areas I’ve heard about and read about through history and sailing. Now I’ve been there!!

sunset off sark & guernsey islands
Sunset just north of Sark and Guernsey

I’ll be here in Cherbourg for a couple of weeks before we head to Caen for the Normandy Channel Race which starts on September 2nd. The Normandy Channel race covers 1000 miles of the English coast line out to Fastnet Rock and back to Caen. Again we will be up against some great competitors, many of whom we haven’t yet met, which will make it even more fun.

While here on the Normandy coast and in Cherbourg, I plan to take some time to visit and see some of the historic sites of World War II and the D-Day Invasion. This will be interesting as I remember the stories my Uncle Frank told me of being in the first wave on D-Day.

I’ve been working on more updates on the St. Malo race for you, and will be sharing those here in the next couple of days. In the meantime, if you’re up for a few great short stories, I have a great link for you — let me explain.

Harry Mark Petrakis and his wife Diana have been like a second set of parents to me since I was very young. Dean, their son and I grew up together and Harry was always offering up advice and wisdom as we came of age. Since those years, Harry and Diana have always looked out for me, often finding work for me when times were tough and gave me much of my first starts in construction. Harry has spent a lifetime writing short stories, novels and a major motion picture — A Dream of Kings. His works are regarded as major contributions to literature.

On occasion, Harry writes an essay which is published in a Chicago newspaper, the Sun Times… the series is seven or eight pieces long at this point, and the most recent one was published this past weekend. It was forwarded to me by Mark, Harry’s oldest son and the architect of our web and social media presence. And on an additional note, Diana, the steadfast matriarch of the Petrakis family and the one who has kept watch over us all, celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday!! Happy Birthday Diana!!!

So if you care to read a sweet recollection about the hobos that came thru the small Chicago diner that Harry owned in the 1940′s and that inspired much of his later writing, here’s the link right here.

If you care to read more, here is the link to Harry’s other Sun-Times essays he’s written.. or learn all about his work at http://harrymarkpetrakis.com/

As for me, it’s back to washing more boat parts, creating a work list and making preparations for the Normandy Channel Race… oh, and following up on more stories for you from the Quebec-St. Malo race.

I’ll be back with more stories real soon,

- Dave