BoDream News/ The Solo Crossing in Photos & Videos

I returned last week from a quick road trip back to Charleston, to attend to some details with Bodacious Dream’s winter stay. Traveling back through the wintery Midwest was a little voyage in itself. Along the way, I had a few speaking engagements as well, which were great fun … more on those later. After that, I returned to catching up on months of undone chores, and reconnecting with friends and family. Leaving things as best I could, I boarded a plane yesterday in Chicago, and today I’m settling in … as best I can, to the warm Southern California sunshine.

I came here to San Diego to help the captain of Bodacious IV, crewmate Tim Eades, put the boat together, after it was shipped from Chicago to San Diego. Bo “IV” will be participating in two races on the West Coast this summer. The first will be from Los Angeles down to Cabo San Lucas in Baja, Mexico, and the second will be the Trans-Pac, from SoCal to Hawaii. For those of you that followed the last Trans-Pac, we hope to finish it this year!

I won’t be sailing in the Cabo race, but will be helping to bring the boat back up to San Diego, where we will use the opportunity to try out some new and better video and satellite gear and also to initiate some educational adventures for kids. I’m really looking forward to this trip. I took the same route a few years back, and we saw all sorts of incredible wildlife and interesting sea conditions.

As most of you know, BoDream and I landed in Charleston back on January 12th, after a little more than a month-long solo-crossing from Cascais, Portugal. In the time since then, I’ve downloaded a bunch of photos and a few videos from the trip, and I wanted to share some of those with you, in case you cared to see some of what I saw along the way.

Though, I’ve included a handful of photos here, there is also a complete set of direct links below, so you can see everything there is to see at this point – with more still to come!

Atlantic Sunrise After nights moving around with only a few lights to keep me from stepping off into the watery deep, the arrival of the sun each morning was always a source of joy.

Dave all Decked Out!This is what you might call … functional fashion for my times; a cap, a fleece, a headlamp and a personal floatation device.

Watching the Waves
On a long voyage, especially a solo one, you spend a lot of time watching waves, getting to know their little idiosyncrasies, and trying to second-guess whatever it is you think they might be telling you about what’s coming just over the horizon.

Next is one of the videos from the trip – this one shot just north of the Turks and Caicos Islands, a few days past New Year’s and after leaving Antigua.Near Turks and Caicos Islands

There’s another video which along with this one, I’ve uploaded to our Bodacious Dream YouTube Channel, and also posted on our Bodacious Dream Facebook page.

Mysterial Moonlight Trail
It truly is  a magical world out there on the open water, full of wonder and no small share of danger. These photos were taken while things were mostly calm and I had time to gaze upon how amazing things were. What I have no photos of are the times I was being tossed around like a sock puppet or getting my face and body pummeled by relentless jets of seawater. But that’s the way it should be. Heck, I wouldn’t want to put a dent in anyone’s idyllic reveries of life on the water – not even my own! And the fact is that no matter HOW beautiful you (or I) might imagine the ocean to be, the truth is that it’s even more beautiful than that.

So, if you want to check out the complete set of photos and videos, here are the links …

:: PHOTOS :: 
FACEBOOK – Atlantic Crossing Photo Album (Part One)
FACEBOOK – Atlantic Crossing Photo Album (Part Two)

These are “public” albums, so you should be able to see these albums, even if you have not joined Facebook.

If you prefer though, all the photos have also been put into a set on the photo site, Flickr.

FLICKR – BoDream Atlantic Crossing (Complete Set) 
(If you view in slideshow mode, click “show info” to see the captions.)

:: VIDEOS ::  
And once again, here are all of our 7 Videos …

YOUTUBE – Bodacious Dream YouTube Channel.

While you’re there, check out the new preview video trailer for the 2013 Atlantic Cup Race, where during the top montage, you’ll hear Matt Scharl’s voice, after which, I’m the first talking head you’ll see.

And that’s it for now. We’ll be back before long with news of some exciting plans for 2013 … but until them, thank you as always for your stellar support, and onward into a healthy and peaceful new year.

– Dave and Bodacious Dream

BoDream News/ Home Again!

At 4:00 am on Saturday morning, wrapped in a very dense fog, I tied up in Charleston Harbor, and so completed what has been for me a lifelong dream – a dream that began on December 7th, when Bodacious Dream and I departed Cascais, Portugal. Usually, there would have been a lot of shipping traffic present in Charleston, but I suppose because of the fog and the hour, it was eerily quiet when I stepped onto the dock.

Charleston Harbor

The two days prior to that however, had been more challenging than I anticipated, with some very intense seas.

I arrived in West Palm Beach on Wednesday for a quick pit-stop, where I washed off the salt, took a nap, did some refueling and got a real American cheeseburger and fries with a friend. Thursday morning, I began the 365-mile last leg of the trip to Charleston, and quickly ran into difficulties with twisty and unpredictable Gulf Stream currents that at the start gave us a solid knocking about.

The Gulf Stream, as you may know, is like a river in the coastal ocean that runs northbound at 3 knots. I got to “jib reaching” along at a pretty good pace with its help … but the wave pattern was also temperamental, to say the least … so the 3-knot boost was in this case, something of a mixed blessing.

Gulf Stream Currents

When you have a strong current like the Gulf Stream (the darkest red in the photo,) if the winds blow “with” the current, the seas are pretty steady. If however, the winds blow “against” the current, then the waves can get very steep and choppy … with the friction of the wind against the current making for very chaotic motion. I spent a good part of Thursday day and night with the wind mostly against the current, with one wave coming across another one that is going at a right angle to it … which yanks the boat into a corkscrew-like motion. Let me tell you, even a few hours of this can be pretty rough on the stomach!

For the rest of the time, the sailing was pretty fast, until the end, when the winds slowed and the waters grew glassy still (it reminded me of Lake Michigan sailing,) and I had to kick over the motor for the final approach to Charleston.

So, after tucking Bodacious into her Charleston berth, and saying my farewells, I left yesterday on a flight back to the Midwest. Now that I’m back home again in Indiana, I wanted to take a moment to express my deep gratitude to all of you for your ongoing interest and support of our adventurous dream.

We chose Charleston for the late winter and early spring so that we might make some modifications to Bodacious, and add some new equipment that will make her better suited for the longer races we have planned. One thing we’re looking to do is to upgrade our satellite communications, which will allow us to send photos (and videos!) directly from the boat – so that we can really spice up these updates!

Back now on a real Internet connection, I am starting to upload photos and videos, the best of which I think you’ll enjoy. I recall one video I took sailing down a mid-ocean highway of shimmering moonlight. All along the way, I kept wishing I could show you what I was seeing. Sharing such memories and experiences is always a special part of the experience for me.

We have other aspects of the Bodacious Dream “Project” that we’ll be advancing as well in the coming months, including initiating some collaborations with our friends at the Earthwatch Institute who are engaged in some very exciting ocean science programs.

And don’t forget, the first race of the summer begins on May 11th, right in Charleston – The Class 40 Atlantic Cup Race! (Charleston to NYC to Newport.) We’re looking forward to an exciting race and to defending our second place overall finish of last year. Check out this new video trailer for the 2013 Atlantic Cup Race. (I’m the first guy you “see” talking in it, alongside my BD crewmate, Matt Scharl. BoDream (#118) is identifiable in the action by the name “Fish” on the mainsail.)

As we move forward, we’ll be keeping you informed of all these developments through emails, but also on Facebook where we happily gained many new fans over the past month. That Bodacious Dream Facebook Page link, as always, is here.

And thank you again for your tremendous show of support this past season. It has made the trip SO much more rewarding knowing that you were there, following our progress and rooting us on.

I’ll be returning to Charleston before too long, so if you happen to be down there – come look us up. There’s always a chance you can reach out and touch BoDream’s bowsprit and gain yourself some of her Bodacious Luck!

– Dave and Bodacious Dream

BoDream News/ Edge, Excitement and Fanfare!

4:00 AM – Dark of night still and it’s kee-razy out here! I just came flying into the western entrance to the Providence Passage – the route that slices the Northern Bahamas and Southern Bahamas. With the A5 (the small spinnaker) up and the wind building … 18 … 20 … 23 … 25 … we’re flying along doing 15 knots and under control with Otto (the auto-pilot) driving, but with me getting a bit edgy. For boats, 8 to 10 knots is considered pretty fast. For most boats that is. For a boat like Bodacious Dream, 8 to 10 might be like doing 75-80 in your car … not so wild … but up it to 12 and then 15 and the whole experience amps up big-time. You feel the immense force of wind and water power as it lifts the boat right out of the water and up on a plane. Your body can’t help but get tense, as the ocean begins to throw waves at the boat, which spray back towards the cockpit … like a firehose in your face.

Check out the video here – shot during sea trials down in New Zealand (for a BIT of the feel) …

BoDream in Early Sea Trials

So, I’m in this altered state – and then 3 ships show up almost at the same time. I’m sure their radar and AIS (Automated Identification System) were wondering what the hell is going on here … this boat is flying past us and can’t hold a steady course. Around that point, with the wind shifting 10 degrees back and forth, I finally called “Chicken!” – and decided I’d best roll up the A5.

I’m not sure where the upper limits are with these chutes yet, and whether the limit is the boat or me, but they are buggers to roll at 20 knots. But, I made the argument to myself, “Hey, you’re tired, it’s blowing 25, you’re sailing at 15 knots, there’s 3 ships after you, two more on the radar and three light blips on the horizon … and you don’t know if you can get this thing rolled up? Good time, I’d say to give it a try! And if you can’t, well, we can figure out how to bail out of here, because hitting a freighter is NOT on the bucket list!”

Well, I got it rolled up all fine, and commenced sailing under the mainsail alone at 9-10 knots – until I got past those freighters.

65 miles to West Palm. Right now, I’m seeing 8 freighters around me. I’ve figured out that this is a staging area, and they’re all just sitting here … moving a couple of knots in one direction or another … so even more important NOT to hit one. My friend Alan would never let me live that down … “You hit a freighter that wasn’t moving!?”

So … half a can of coke and two cookies to get me through the next few miles and into clearer water. Really … how much fun can one guy have?!

A DAY LATER – As I write this, I’m mid-way through the Providence Passage that separates the Northern and Southern Bahamas. This is a highly trafficked area, as commercial ships and private vessels travel through it to open ocean and down to where I came from or across the Atlantic. After the excitement of last night, the day passed fairly uneventfully except for a couple of cruise liners passing. At night and close to port, they generally aren’t moving much as the distance between ports of call for them is short, and so what they typically do is to leave the port around sunset and arrive in the morning, which means finding a calm place to basically “float” for the night.

I was sailing through and keeping a pretty good pace, and the ship in front of me seemed to be doing about the same speed. For a few hours, I wasn’t catching up, so I stopped worrying about him. Then things changed, and I began gaining on him quickly. I knew what that meant. They were a cruise ship that had stopped for the night.

As I got closer, I could see the colored lights and soon enough my AIS (Automated Identification System) showed their symbol, and identified the ship as the gigantic “Disney Dream.”

Within a half hour or so, I was sailing past them when all of a sudden, the sky lit up with fireworks!! The explosives shooting up from the upper decks of the Disney Dream only lasted five minutes or so, but I thought … “How thoughtful of them to recognize my passing, and to give me such a grand salute for sailing across the Atlantic alone!”

Disney Dream

Laughing inside, I picked up the radio mic and called over to the Disney Dream and thanked them for such a great salute, and how nice it was of them to do that in honor of my long voyage. A few moments later, they replied…“You’re welcome Captain! Glad you enjoyed it!”

So there you have it … as ships … or dreamers … pass in the night … always a touch of respect! I’ll have to send the captain a note and a Bodacious Dream hat!

DAWN – Down to the last few hours of fast sailing here. Crossing from the Bahamas to the Florida coast and then up to West Palm Beach and the Rybovich Marina. I’m right in the Gulf Stream now, which is like a river in the coastal ocean that runs northbound at 3 knots. Because of the wind angle, I have to sail slightly west towards the coast of Florida before I can gybe towards West Palm Beach. If I were to gybe now, at about 20 miles out of Ft. Lauderdale, the current would push me past West Palm Beach. Imagine walking across a treadmill “sideways” … you go forward and sideways at the same time.

Gulfstreaming it!

Right now, I’m sailing at 15 knots of boat speed with the small A5 chute up. It’s rather exciting, but once I gybe, this will be the clearest indication of the difference between boat speed and speed over the ground. At that time, I’ll be sailing with the current, so 15 knots of boat speed plus the 3 knots of current and my speed over the ground (not through the water, that’s still 15) will be 18 knots! Some fun!

@(+26.1700 -79.3700)
Wind speed: 22 knots
Wind Direction: 105 degrees/ south of east
Boat Speed: 11-15
Excitement Level: 12.5
Edginess: 15
Boredom: 0
Cookies: All Gone

As always, many thanks for hanging in with me this whole time. We’re back in home waters now!

– Dave and Bodacious Dream

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

BD Atlantic Crossing / What Really Happens #2 (Nighttime)

I am sitting in the boat’s cockpit on a dark clear night with the moon not up yet. I watch a vessel slowly passing on my port side, a couple of miles away. We’re going in the same direction on this Saturday night, and I begin to wonder about them. Are they a freighter, a private yacht or perhaps something more exotic … maybe a research vessel? There is little indication on the AIS (Automatic Identification System) – so, it’s up to me to imagine … which soon leads me to wondering what you are all doing on this Saturday night … this the “Twelfth Night” of Christmas.

Over the years, I’ve had the fun of attending a few memorable Twelfth Night dinner parties, and even hosting a few myself. I’ve always regarded the date as the end of the holiday season, and a time to take down the lights and dismantle the decorated tree. I guess this year, I will have to leave it to someone else to pull the plug for me, as I am alone again tonight with the ocean.

Night Sea

Life onboard turns into something of a routine when the weather is as steady as it is, especially so when the course is a direct line for 500 miles. It always takes a day or two to settle in, and to slow yourself to the pace of the boat, but once that’s done, you find yourself addressing many of the same tasks you did the day before and at about the same time. Tonight for instance, at about 5:00 pm, with the sun sinking and the heat dissipating, I grabbed my book and my nightly treats of cheese, apple and crackers and I read a few quick pages. The particular book I’m reading now is about building the “Maltese Falcon,” one of the largest private sailing yachts in the world. Routinely, about this time, I mark the time of day and make an entry in the ship’s log. The sun set a bit earlier today than yesterday, indicating I’m moving north at a fair clip. I notice too it’s a bit cooler tonight as well and I’m sure, within a day or so, I’ll be wearing a jacket at night and maybe even digging out my stocking cap. Presently, I’m close to 500 miles north of Antigua where I had marked the New Year.

I always wait until it’s sufficiently dark out before I allow myself to think about my evening meal. Tonight, about 8:30 I scrounged through the freeze-dried selection, and pulled out a Mexican chicken and rice selection. For some reason, that choice proved inedible to my taste, and so I reluctantly chose another, sweet and sour pork. I’m almost out of propane to heat up water, so I have to convince myself I’m hungry enough to tap the little that remains. Oftentimes, you’re not really hungry, but you know you need to fuel the body. Still, forcing yourself to consume such a meager meal while recalling fabulous Twelfth Night feasts of the past, takes a bit of mental persuasion!

I generally follow dinner with a walk around the boat to look over the fittings – then a review of the latest navigation reports, and some calculations as to how far away the destination is, and when I might likely arrive. I finish up with another entry in the logbook on the day’s happenings – 5 ships spotted today … 2 rather close.

Back up on deck, I scan the horizon for the twinkle of a light that would indicate another ship. I don’t see any. You can’t look directly at the horizon, as some of you know; you have to use your peripheral vision, which is more sensitive to low light, to pick up the faint lights away on the horizon. If you look directly at the lights, you’ll miss them. Only if you look above the horizon, will you notice them. Try it next time you’re out at night.

As it’s a quiet night, I soon turn to working on my nap routine. I’ve had to shorten my naps to 10 minutes duration since leaving Antigua. At the speed I’m traveling and with more ships nearby, they can come up quickly and surprise you. So, through the rest of the night, until the morning comes, I’ll be taking my mini-naps, reading a little, starting the engine to charge batteries, nibbling at leftover dinner, followed by my midnight cookie … and another nap. When the sun clears the horizon, I’ll make note of that in the log and check the distance to the destination again … and so begins another day on the water.

So, what are you doing tonight I wonder? Hopefully something fun.

– Dave and Bodacious Dream

Antigua to the Bahamas
@ (+22.2000 -70.3500)
Boat speed: 9.5 knots
Wind Speed: 14 -20  From 110 South of East
COG (Course over ground):  318-325 degrees
Bearing to way point at Northwest Passage Bahamas:  318 degrees
Distance to way point:  376 miles

BD Atlantic Crossing/ Happy New Year from Antigua!

Happy New Year from Antigua!

I’ve been here now for a few days and have had some time to relax, sleep and enjoy the hospitality of this lovely island. It didn’t take long to make friends around here, and to connect with some old friends as well. By mid-afternoon after I’d arrived here, a dingy approached Bodacious Dream, and driving the dingy was one of the organizers of the Quebec-St. Malo race, in which we competed back in August. What fun it was to catch up … and how fortunate I was to have a personal tour guide around Antigua.

With it being the New Year’s holiday weekend, other friends from Quebec graciously invited me to join them for both the annual “Nelson’s Pursuit Race” – and for New Year’s Eve dinner as well. The 18-mile Pursuit Race is a fun one that they hold every New Year’s Eve here in Antigua. There is a handicap format to the race, with the slower boats being given a good head start, while the faster boats subsequently start at staggered times that match up to the handicap time allowances. This makes for great fun, as the fastest boats in the race, of which there were a few very large and very fast boats, have to try and catch up to the slower boats, and only get credit when they pass one of them. To top it all off, in honor of the Admiral Nelson’s pursuit of the French fleet in 1805, the slowest boat, called Old Bob, flies the French flag and fires a cannon at each boat that passes it. We had such a fine time on our boat, Ciao Bella. Many thanks for a great time to my friends from Quebec, Canada!

Ciao Bella out of Quebec
Ciao Bella down from Canada …

New Year’s Eve here was a grand spectacle at the Nelson Boat Yard, which is a National Park here in Antigua, much of it a restored fort and boat works from the early days of sailing ships. The actual midnight moment was celebrated with fireworks bursting from the cliffs over the harbor accompanied by a symphony of boat horns and revelers that continued long into the New Year.

But now, with some good rest under my belt, it’s time to head north through the Caribbean towards Charleston, South Carolina. It’s a 1400-mile long course from here to Charleston, but there are places to stop along the way, so I’ll probably break the trip into a few different segments. The first segment is likely to be a short hop to St. Thomas in the British Virgin Islands, then on towards the Turks and Caicos Islands, though I haven’t been able to find a marina there that can accommodate the 10’ draft (the lowest point) of Bodacious Dream – so that’s still a tentative stop. (If anyone knows the region, and has some advice to offer, I’d greatly appreciate any local knowledge!) From there, I’ll sail up through the Bahamas and possibly stop for a few days in West Palm Beach to visit our friends at the Rybovich Boat Yard – before continuing on to Charleston.

Some sweet trade winds sailing ...Some sweet trade winds sailing …

The weather looks favorable from here to the Bahamas. At that point, we begin to get into the zone where the cold North American currents mix with the tropical systems, and so weather forecasting becomes more unpredictable. So, my plan is to move up to West Palm Beach, and then to reassess the weather at that point, before heading farther north. With some luck and fair weather though, I’m hoping to arrive in Charleston by the 10th of January.

Tomorrow I’ll spend the morning gathering the last of my provisions, charts and other items – and pack the boat with the intent of heading out of the harbor about noon. I’ll try to keep you informed during my long nights on watch, as to any interesting things happening.

This trip will be a lot different than crossing the open ocean, as there will be a lot of navigation required around and past islands and reefs – but that will also provide me with interesting scenery at various waypoints along the route.

So, I want to thank you all so much for following along with this adventure. Once I got to shore, it was a great pleasure to catch up on the many notes that you all sent. I’m glad that you find the stories entertaining enough to provide a little diversion from the regular news of the day.

So, with that … it’s time for us to get ready – both to sail the final legs of this journey – and to make our way into a brand new year. 

From us out here in the warm tropical air, a wish to all of you, wherever in the world this finds you – a most happy, peaceful and prosperous new year!

– Dave and Bodacious Dream