Sailing the British Isles

I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve sent news of Bodacious Dream and the ongoing adventures. As many of you know, Matt Scharl who sailed with me in the double handed events Bodacious Dream raced had prepared Bo for sailing to Europe to compete in the Route du Rhumb race. Upon arriving in Europe, for personal reasons, Matt decided to withdraw from the Route du Rhumb and asked if I could come over and meet him in Ireland and help sail Bo to Hamble in England.

Matt met me at the airport in Finet, Ireland where we had lunch with the family who housed him for the time he was there. After lunch, we headed to the boat and sailed south off the southwest coast of Ireland past Fastnet light, the most famous lighthouse in the Irish Sea, on to Lands’ End and then down to the island of Guernsey which is part of the Channel Islands.

7612_guernsey_560Arriving in Guernsey at low tide …      

Guernsey retains its own sovereignty but is loosely connected to the UK and is English speaking. From Guernsey, we sailed north through the Alderney Race, which is a very strong tidal stream current between the Channel Islands and the Cherbourg Peninsula of France. These were very historic waters and we could feel the past rising up all around us. At times we were moving with a 5 to 6 knot current… and fortunately, in the right direction!

7645_alderney_560Sunset in the Aldeney Race

Very early in the morning, we entered the Solent, which is a strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England, where we worked our way through the fog past thousands of boats before tying up about dawn among some the boats of other Class 40 sailing friends.

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Bo tied up in Hamble, England

As we wandered around the yard getting our bearings and looking for breakfast, we stopped and talked with the sailors from Concise 8, a new radically-designed Class 40. We looked over Swish which will be sailed in the RdR by a South African friend, Pippa Hutton-Squire. Not long after that, a car pulled over, rolled down its window and to our surprise, it was our friend Miranda from Campagne de France! Miranda will be sailing CdF in the RdR and her partner, Halvard will be sailing against her in his new version of CdF2. You may remember we sailed against them in the Atlantic Cup, the Quebec-St. Malo race AND the Normandy Channel Race in 2012.

By the end of the day, we’d settled into the Compass Point B&B. That evening, we wandered across the street… actually a cobblestone lane… to the King and Queen Pub for dinner. Within ten minutes of arriving, we’d made friends with the proprietor Janet and we found we had a dozen or so mutual friends. Turns out The King and Queen Pub in Hamble is one of the main land-based stopping points for many an adventuring sailor!

7679_K&Q_560The King & Queen Pub in Hamble

In the past week, I’ve had the pleasure to meet many new sailors and reconnect with old friends. I’ve heard some great stories and shared some great local music, had a traditional English Roast dinner on Sunday as well as a peas with salmon dinner. This is a sweet little village where most the homes are centuries old, which means that things are just the way they are. Sometimes you step up and over a threshold to enter a building, other times you have to step down to enter. Sometimes the doors aren’t quite high enough and sometimes the lights aren’t bright enough… but it’s merry, it’s old and it’s England. Quite a nice place to finish up a 4-day sail!

7683_hamble_560The Merry Ol’ Town of Hamble 

So, Bo is doing quite well. She is cleaned up and sitting patiently waiting for her next trip. In the meantime, with my work pretty much done and a day or so left before my flight, I’m going to make a side trip to Stonehenge. Stonehenge is that famous stone circle in England that has always captured my imagination. It’s only an hour’s drive away so it’s something I don’t want to miss. I will share that experience with you early next week.

Until then, thanks for staying tuned. More to come soon.

- Dave

Sailing through Summer

I apologize for the long lapse in communication. There were quite a lot of things that needed tending to in my absence. But that said, the last few weeks back home on the shores of Lake Michigan, have been most relaxing. Though I can’t help but keep bouncing things off him, Franklin’s been enjoying his time off too. Lake Michigan, in case you’ve never seen it up close is over 300 miles long and up to 90 miles wide and all of it is fresh water. It’s much like the ocean with its waves and storms, but without the salt and tides. The wildlife may be a lot less diversified, but the water is drinkable!

franklin_INFranklin’s swinging into summer…

As I work through the piles of photos and videos, I’m also looking at opportunities developing - some writing projects for sure. There will likely be some talks scheduled soon too, so I will keep you posted. One interesting item out now; our friends at North Sails, who provided the great sails for Bodacious Dream, have published a story about the sails and the boat. You can find it here at this link.

:: http://www.na.northsails.com/tabid/1945/default.aspx?news_id=5557

Reading the North Sails story got me thinking a little more deeply about saiIs. I haven’t waxed much about sails before… so let me take a moment to do that now.

sails_NSPhotos taken of a sail check in Wellington, NZ after 30,000 miles

Sails are the engine for sailboats, just as wings are for airplanes. The proper shape for a sail is very important in producing the speed to race the boat fast, but the shape is also necessary to keep the boat under control in various sorts of weather conditions. Advancing sail technologies and materials is a constant and ever-evolving craft, and North Sails always does a fantastic job of delivering the best. I understand their new generation of sails for the boat is even better than the last one! Way to go North Sails!

Now that I’ve pulled the sail out of the bag, so to speak, let me carry on just a bit. Many people think that sails just catch the wind and you get blown along. That’s partly so, but not the whole truth. Sails work with the air flowing across their surfaces… just like airplane wings do. If you take a closer look at sails, you’ll see the sail has a curve to it; as wind approaches it, the wind splits in two. One current flows across the front from the mast to the back of the sail, which is pretty much a straight line, while the other flows across the back of the sail. Since the sail is curved outward, the wind is forced to flow the longer route across the curved cloth of the sail.

Lift_560Wind flows over a cambered section of sail…

The two winds meet up at the back edge of the sail… and since the wind on the outside has to travel a longer distance over the same time period… (even though it may be just inches longer,) it has to flow faster to catch up to the wind flowing across the shorter distance of the front of the sails. Faster flowing wind creates low pressure; slower flowing wind means higher pressure. So what happens then is that the high pressure on the flatter side of the sail (or wing) pushes up to fill in the lower pressure on the other side. You could also say that the lower pressure on the backside of the sail (or the “top” of an airplane wing) sucks the other side up… or as we say in sailing, it “lifts,” (also a term from airplanes,) the sailboat forward, which is essentially how we sail (or fly.)

It is working with the science of these constant but dynamic factors that has led to all the many refinements we have seen in both sailing and flying over the last 60 or 70 years, always leading to ever sleeker, ever faster models. This exemplifies the great cycle of discovery that draws on observation, experience and experimentation to arrive at new learnings and designs … one of the enduring principals of the Bodacious Dream.

Ok, I’ll end it there. Hope your summer goes well. More coming soon. Stay tuned!

- Dave & Franklin

A Map to the “Treasure”

I know I repeat myself, but thank you once more for following along on our journey around the world. There are so many people without whom this voyage could not have happened in the way that it did.

As I write this, Bodacious Dream is getting some fresh maintenance from the great folks around Narragansett Bay - namely Hall Spars and Rigging, Hinckley Yachts, North Sails and others.

dr_100For now though, I am heading back home to the Midwest to recoup my energies and put back in order the parts of my life that were paused for the circumnavigation.

Before I do that though, I wanted to leave you with a map of where the “treasure” is buried. And by treasure, I mean links to the bounty of sweet fruits and memories of the journey… that were the words we wrote, the photos we took and the videos we shot, as well as the various learning and discovery initiatives that we undertook, and all of which when combined, form an online trove of storied artifacts.

BDX_treasure_map_560

1) LEG RECAPS

First off, all our circumnavigation content resides on BodaciousDreamExpeditions.com

circum_leg_iconBelow are the summary recaps for all four legs of the circumnavigation (plus the pre-circum period) which can be found directly at the following links.


:-: Pre-Circumnavigation 
- Prior to October 2013 – Newport, RI
:-: Leg 1 – 10/02/13 – 12/03/13 – Newport, RI to Cape Town, S.A.
:-: Leg 2 – 12/21/13 – 2/08/14  - Cape Town to  Wellington, New Zealand
:-: Leg 3 – 3/26/14 – 5/1/14 - Wellington, NZ to the Galapagos Islands
:-: Leg 4 – 5/07/14 – 6/14/14 – The Galapagos Islands to Newport, RI 

2) OUR BLOG UPDATES

bdx_logo_70Our many blog posts can all be found in reverse chronological order on the Bodacious Dream Expeditions website at bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com/live-updates/. These posts are are also sub-divided by “categories” of subject matter AND by “date.” Select any category or month to see a list of relevant results.

3) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

dave80Upon arrival back in Newport, I began to gather and respond to some of the more frequently asked questions that were put to me over the course of the voyage. We consolidated them all together on one page, which can be found right here!


4) 
CIRCUM PHOTOS

facebook-icon_30Links to our many photos can be found here on our Circum Photos page, while our actual 18 Photo Albums, broken down by “Legs,” can be found here, on the Albums page of our Bodacious Dream Expeditions Facebook Page.

flickr-icon_30For larger format photos in one complete set, you can also view a curated 123-photo “best-of” slideshow over on Flickr.


5)
 CIRCUM VIDEOS

Youtube_iconA selection of our videos from the Circumnavigation can be found on our Circum Videos page, but all of the videos we have uploaded so far can be viewed on our Bodacious Dream Expeditions YouTube Channel.

6) TEGAN’S SCIENCE NOTES 

tegan_70Throughout the voyage, our Earthwatch scientist, Tegan Mortimer provided us wonderfully insightful science “notes” in support of wherever in the world we were and whatever we were encountering. There were eleven of these reports in all, on a wide range of subjects and a list of those can be found right here!

7) CITIZEN SCIENCE RESOURCES

citizen_scienceTegan was also responsible for helping us set up a wonderful Citizen Science Resources Page, where folks could learn all about the amazing online resources that presently exist to help lead you into the world of citizen science projects. Our various sightings were also added to the Bodacious Dream Expeditions Projects Page on iNaturalist.

8) CIRCUMNAVIGATION EXPLORER GUIDES

bdX-100Learning and Discovery have always been a primary intention of the voyage. To that end, throughout the expedition, we encouraged those of you who were following our adventure to explore more deeply the wonders and beauty of the natural world that we were traversing by referencing our custom-made Explorer “Study” Guides/ Worksheets. There were eight guides in total and can be found at the links below, where they can also be downloaded in printable form.

:-: Our Watery World
:-: Wind & Weather
:-: Math
:-: Sea Life
:-: Oceanography
:-: Glaciers
:-: Sailboat Glossary
:-: Mentor Guide

9) EXPERT INTERVIEWS

Over the course of the voyage, it was also my pleasure to conducted three sets of interviews with some very knowledgeable friends and sailors, each of whom is an expert in some area of sailing. For true devotees of the art and science of sailing, I think you will find these interviews most enlightening. Thanks to the guys for their participation.

:-: Sailing Navigation - interviews w/ John Hoskins & Matt ScharlJohnH_150MattS_150

:-: Rigging Technology - an interview w/ Alan Veenstra
Alan Veenstra

:-: Composite Materials Technologies - 
an interview w/ Lapo Ancillotti
lapo_150

And I think those are the key links. Feel free to contact us with follow-up questions. And we’ll keep you posted when we add anything new and of note.

And a very happy summer to all!

- Dave Rearick

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Grand Happenings & More FAQs

bermuda3_250What a beautiful night it was… followed today by an exciting morning on the sea! Under a lovely sunset last evening, after we finished off an amazing banquet of BBQ ribs, fresh corn on the cob and French fries, prepared by our very own Chef Pierce, we spent the night cruising in spectacular conditions with 15-20 knots of tailwinds pushing us along at a 10-knot average under a sky full of stars!

The night before, Monday was equally sweet and starry as well… but when it was over and the sun rose, we had a rather laughable morning when we discovered that the head (toilet) and holding tank were clogged and full! After seven fairly experienced mechanics made a few cautious attempts at unplugging the cranky system, it was heroic Jon Pond who finally (and carefully) stepped up and cracked the deck opening and let loose a geyser of ugly stuff! It’s a longer story than that, but one not really well-suited for recounting without some beers nearby… but let’s just say that next time you run into one of us, ask for the complete audio version.

tunaAfter our speedy night last night, sunrise this morning, found us about 130 miles out of Narragansett Bay. We were just crossing over the continental shelf when one of the fishing rods suddenly whined to life, signaling something hefty on the line! Bruce Dickinson and Dave Brayman took to the rod and pulled up a most beautiful White Marlin, probably about 3 feet long and 50 pounds. As Marlin is not a good eating fish, Bruce with great finesse, eased the hook out of the fish’s mouth and set her free. Not too much later, our luck was even better as they caught a beautiful 8-pound Yellowtail Tuna. This was the perfect size fish for a bit of morning sushi not to mention dinner tonight for the whole crew – all done with little or no waste… sustainability in its true definition.

dolphin_lgAs if that wasn’t enough action for one morning, soon we were blessed with a visit from a pod of dolphins… all swimming and cavorting… with one feller in particular who showed off with some great aerial skills.

Yay for the sea when it comes to life like that, leaving you once more humbled by the wondrous gifts it effortlessly brings forth!

Today is once again warm and beautiful and we’re sailing at a good pace that should have us into harbor just after sunset tonight. Here’s to hoping for an uneventful rest of the passage from Bermuda to Newport!

So let me return to my appointed task of answering some of those questions I am most frequently asked, that I began here in Monday’s post. Let’s start here.

:: Many folks have asked me… What was the most beautiful or memorable part of the journey?

This is rather difficult to pin down to one specific answer, so let me pick five things. Then again, depending on how long I’m given to ponder the question, those five choices will likely change. But for now…

biolumin_plankton_2001) You’ve often heard me tell of the beautiful bioluminescence I encountered at several points along the way that more than a few times left me awestruck. That certainly ranks in the top five.

2) 
Storms in the Southern Ocean, especially the cyclone that we outran elevated the raw force of that tempest to something of a spiritual level for me.

3) The first sighting of the snow-capped mountains of the South Island of New Zealand after the generous fishermen of Ocean Odyssey gave me additional fuel was inspiring.

nz_mts

4) The colors of the sunset that same night still plays on the big screen in my mind, as perhaps the most majestic of the many sublime sunsets I witnessed.

5) I don’t think I’ll get over the sense that some mysterious symphony was being played out on the wings of the sea birds as they crisscrossed back and forth behind me, sewing up the wake I’d made through their ocean.

:: Another frequently asked question is… How can you be alone for that long?

I know that many people have different levels of comfort with being alone. Some work with people all day, every day and can’t wait to get home to the quiet of their house; others don’t feel comfortable being alone for even a few hours. For me, being alone is something that I have always been comfortable with and enjoyed. I’ve worked alone on construction projects, spent time traveling or driving across county… and of course, have spent a considerable time alone sailing on either Lake Michigan or the oceans.

dave_strawhat_550

I think we all need occasional contact with other people and I’m no exception to that. I almost daily communicated through emails with friends and family and every few days, took a minute or two to make a phone call on the Iridium satellite phone. Still being alone has always come naturally for me and it has allowed me to build that contrasting view of life that allows me to better appreciate the times in my life when I’m wrapped in human company, as I am now on this brief trip.

Also, being alone gives me the chance to connect more peacefully with myself and to discover and experience without so much distraction, the various thoughts and feelings that rise up from within me. This trip certainly provided me ample opportunities for such experiences and reflections, which I hope before long to transcribe and share in longer book form.

:: I’ll finish for now, with this one… What was the scariest part of the circumnavigation?

This isn’t quite so easy question to answer either, because I think I know what most people want to hear for my answer. It’s only human nature to want to hear an amazing tale of a wild tempest that nearly takes your life. But for me that wasn’t the case. While there were indeed several amazing and ultra-challenging storms, which demanded some of the toughest heavy weather sailing I’ve encountered in my life, even during those times, I never felt scared.

Dave in Foulie

Strange as it may seem, those were the moments that I had sought out and prepared myself and Bodacious Dream to handle… and we did so with good fortune. Edgy? Very much so… and for days on end, I felt as though every sense in my body was pumping at 125 percent. Alert to every motion of the boat, every sound, even every change in the pitch of the wind, my mind and body processed huge amounts of sensory input to help me keep Bodacious Dream trimmed and sailing within the flow of an agitated ocean.

I’m sure to some all that seems like it would qualify as a recipe for scary, but remember, I was in a world I had grown fairly comfortable with and that I knew quite well. Take me out of that comfort zone and put me in some other world that I don’t know… and I can tell you a different story about being scared. Brain surgery, police and fire rescue, combat, raising kids even … would all scare me in more conventional ways, but being in the folds of the sea, while it can be very edgy, never pushed my scare button. I will admit though that I was on the edge of my seat for much of the voyage… as each moment out there is a one-of-a-kind roller coaster ride!

38.57215S, 100.361912E

Ok, well getting back to the present moment, I don’t want to miss the wonder and beauty of the last 100 miles of sailing with good friends on a friendly ocean day. Conditions on the East Coast will likely change dramatically in a couple of days as Tropical Storm “Arthur” builds and moves up the coast this weekend. It will be nice to be ashore for once, watching it instead of running from it.

- For now, DR signing off as part of the no longer odious and the very well fed crew of Bodacious IV under the stalwart leadership of Captain Tim Eades!

A Fun Jaunt & some FAQs

Greetings from onboard Bodacious IV, where at the moment, a stellar delivery crew and I are sailing on a beautiful cracked open reach at 9 knots! We’re returning Bodacious IV back to her home in Jamestown, RI post her competing in the Newport to Bermuda race last week. Our team here includes the likes of Captain Tim Eades, Jonathon Pond, Rob Plotke, Dave Brayman, Bruce Dickinson and “Chef” Pierce Johnson. It’s great fun to be with these guys again and sharing the sailing, the comradery and the gentle warm winds off Bermuda. We hope to arrive in Jamestown in a few days, in enough time to catch the July 4 fireworks over the Newport Harbor!

0800_BoIV_550
L to R … Dave, Pierce and Bruce… as Dave and Bruce fish for our dinner.

This last week before flying to Bermuda, I visited with friends over the course of making my way back home to the Midwest for a couple of days. Now while Franklin was a great listener, his conversation and range of opinions was well, limited. Fortunately, most people I meet are full of questions. Of the many questions I get asked about the circumnavigation, there seem to be a group of more common ones that I expect might be of interest to some of you as well. So, what I thought I’d do here is answer three of those frequently asked questions, and then answer three more a few days from now, in the next update. OK?

:: Most frequently, I get asked about sleep. What’s the longest time you got to sleep on the trip?

Dave's Alarm ClockAs I’ve explained before, I try to sleep in 15-minute increments. That’s the length of time it would take for another vessel that is beyond my field of vision and just over the horizon, to get to me. So, the vast majority of the time, I sleep in 15-minute intervals (with the help of my egg-timer) and in areas like the coast of Florida, I might even cut that back to 10-minute naps. I know that doesn’t seem like much time to sleep, (and it isn’t) … but you do get used to sleeping in sets of 4 to 5 of these naps with just a few moments awake in between to check the boat and horizon. In our day-to-day lives, we sleep 8 hours, so we can be up for 16 hours. I take these naps so I can be up for an hour or two during which I’m constantly looking for any opportunity to take additional naps, so that I’m most able to function if something important comes up and requires my time. I do think there were times in the deep Southern Ocean where I might have slept for as long as 45 minutes, but such periods were few and far between. I’m sure I never slept more than the 45 minutes at any one time during the entire voyage.

:: What was the longest time you went without seeing another ship?

ocean_odyssey_300The trip between Cape Town, South Africa and Wellington, New Zealand was 52 days, and I remember I saw one long tanker about three days out of Cape Town and then didn’t see another ship until I met up with the friendly fishermen of the Ocean Odyssey who lent us a hand off the South Island of New Zealand. The Southern Ocean is considered some of the most remote waters in the world and you often hear the remark, which is true, that the closest humans to us in those waters are the folks on the Space Station maybe 50 miles above our heads! From New Zealand to the Galapagos would have been the next longest time at 35 days and the last ship I saw out of New Zealand was that first night after I left NZ!

:: What’s it like to be back among so many people having been alone for so long?

dave_300Of course, coming back into Jamestown and being greeted by so many family and friends was a wonderful experience… but the hum of activities that followed and that kept me moving continuously the last couple of weeks has kept my mind from wandering much or encountering too many emotions of the sort that typically arise for people who have gone through long and challenging experiences. From adventurers who have thrown their all into achieving arduous goals to veterans of wars who have fought intensely for their comrades and their own safety, once the extraordinary conditions disappear and life returns to a more everyday pace, it sometimes happens that an energy “hole” appears… one which can sometimes suck you into some type of depression.

So far, I’ve had little time to ponder or integrate the full scope of what happened to me or what it might mean for me in the months ahead. I do know there have been times where I felt an increased sensitivity to things back on land, not yet having built up the usual calluses that help insulate you in the course of living day-to-day life. I have found myself having to manage urges to leave crowded situations, while at the same time, wanting to move closer to people and group situations. It’s pretty interesting and so far, I think I’m doing pretty well. I will stay on the lookout for interesting or challenging shifts as I move further away in time from the completion of the adventure.

So, back to the present… as we sail along listening to great music, eating Chef Pierce’s amazing cooking, telling stories and waiting for Dave and Bruce to catch us a main course for dinner tonight, I will write up another set of answers to more questions I’ve been asked. So, stay tuned for that, and I promise I will answer the one question everyone seems to ask me… “What was your scariest time out there?” But for now, I’ll leave you in suspense on that one.

From about 570 miles southeast of Newport, RI.

- Dave, among the great crew of Bodacious IV led by Captain Tim Eades

Where We Love is Home

Hello from Terra Firma, Indiana! It’s over a week now since Bodacious Dream and I arrived back in Jamestown, RI. That was Saturday the 14th, and what an incredible day it was!

arriving_550

I pulled into the dock just after noon to a great welcome from a special gathering of friends and family, including my wonderful 83-year-old mother who made the trip all the way from San Diego, CA!

mom_400We celebrated the completion of the circumnavigation right there on the dock and then after a toast (or two) and more hugs than I can count, we wandered up the road for a bite to eat at the Ganny, more officially known as the Narragansett Café.

It was a great time… so many happy faces… but now even a week later, I find myself waking up and not sure of where I am.

The next day, Sunday was a perfect New England coast day, and with some friends and family we sailed Bodacious Dream up the Bay to the Hinckley Boatyard. The sail was a perfect reach in 10 knots of breeze. Bodacious Dream sailed as smooth as can be, and my Mom even got a chance to steer her and enjoy the wind and sun.

friends_big_550

Monday morning came early, and it was time to start the maintenance on the boat. I began to take her apart and by noon, we had the rig down, the keel off and had her sitting up in her cradle. She will be on the hard for the month of July for some much needed rest and rejuvenation! When lunchtime came around and my good friends at Hinckley, who had helped me to prep Bo last fall, honored me with a boatyard cookout! Thanks guys!

hard_550

With Bodacious Dream securely at rest, I jumped back to the Midwest for a few days to mow the lawn and catch up with all those things that come a little undone when you’re gone for so long. But, I’ll be back end of the week to hit the worklist on Bodacious Dream and to get her ready for returning to the water at the end of July.

franklin_250In the meantime, we’ve got four Leg 4 photo albums up that you can view… (1) The Galapagos to Panama, 2) Crossing the Panama Canal, 3) Panama to West Palm Beach and 4) The Arrival.

Also our friends over at The Jamestown Press ran a great story you can view HERE!

In addition to all that, we’ve begun putting up pretty comprehensive “RECAPS” on each one of the four legs of the trip. Start with Leg 1 right HERE if you like. And I will keep going through the folders of photos and videos I captured to find the more exciting stuff to post.

newportbermudaIn the meantime, if you’re interested in following along on some good racing, my friends of Bodacious Racing are racing Bodacious IV in the Newport to Bermuda Race. They’ve had some good sailing, but there has been some really calm conditions with not  much wind. I understand too that they had some electronic wiring situations and that has slowed them down some. The leaders are starting to cross the finish line on this one, but you can check into race tracking by following this link right HERE! (Note: Bodacious IV is in “Class 8” and our friends in the Class 40’s are sailing double handed in “Class 14.”)

glss-logo-2aBack in my home waters of Lake Michigan, many of my solo sailing friends are competing in the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society’s Solo Mackinac Race.  About 28 boats started on Saturday and they are struggling upwind along the Michigan coast as of early Monday morning.  My good friend Joe Turns on Renaissance seems to have beaten the winds and taken a commanding lead in that race, I also follow closely Geronimo, my old boat and good friend Herb Philbrick….best of luck to all the guys in both these world class races. The link for that is right HERE!

OK, I’ll leave it at that, got some errands to run … but I’ll be back with more soon.

And one more time, thanks again for all your incredible support!

- Dave, Bodacious Dream and (lost to the World Cup) Franklin

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Closing the Circle/ Home at Last!

arr_triptychBy the time you read this, I will be docked in Jamestown Harbor and my single-handed circumnavigation will be complete. (To the right and below are a few cellphone photos of this morning’s approach.)

It is hard to believe that this voyage is at a close. It truly does seems like only last month that I slipped the docks in Jamestown, and now – I am working my way back into the very same docks, and bringing to a close this around the world chapter of my life. What a time, what an adventure… what a journey it has been!

arr_4
Arrival Day … June 14, 2013

Last night as I was going along, I suddenly realized I was being escorted by a dozen or so dolphins. They stayed with me for over two hours and just swam alongside… occasionally breaking the surface as they danced around. Perhaps they thought of me as a mother ship of some kind… or maybe they were just there under the light of the full moon to make sure I got home safely. Either way, the experience was amazing and quite moving for me.

I’ve been kept busy the past few days with numerous sail changes, in response to a series of active weather fronts through which I had make my way.

5352_darkhorizon
A recent weather front

In quieter moments, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the completion of this voyage. Quite the range of feelings for me to navigate there… from elation and excitement at nearing the end to restlessness and uncertainty when gazing into the future.

5172_ripples_550

Several of my sailing friends have emailed to ask if I understand any better what was going through the mind of the great Bernard Moitessier as he approached the end of his circumnavigation. The story if you don’t know it is a good one, and goes like this. There was a British-sponsored solo around the world race in 1968 that was ultimately won by the great Robin Knox-Johnston. In the final return to the Atlantic leg of the race, the Frenchman Moitessier, who after 7 months at sea was running very close to Knox-Johnston, and had a good chance of winning the race and the prize money – suddenly changed course and set sail for Tahiti! It’s a crazy story, with many even more unpredictable twists involving the other participants. (If you’re interested, there is a good documentary film about it all called Deep Water… and this very well-written magazine piece from Lapham’s Quarterly.)

Anyway, my long-story-short answer to the question posed by my sailor friends is yes, I most certainly have sometimes felt that way… I think this much time alone at sea changes you in ways that are not immediately apparent … and yes, I can now better understand why one might want to do such a thing… but as for me, it is time to go home!

It’s been nearly 9 months (256 days) since I left Newport on October 2nd of last year, outward bound around the world. Now, it’s time to allow family and friends help me celebrate this accomplishment that has taken me the better part of a lifetime to reach. I guess it just goes to show, if you really want to do something bad enough, you will find a way to get it done! Don’t let your dreams fade away.

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Nose forward and steer …

So, for now, with that last quarter mile sailed and the journey around the world completed, a new journey begins – a more reflective inward journey to translate some of my thoughts and feelings about this miraculous world and its unfathomable oceans… as seen from the deck of a sailing ship. I will finally have time too to review all the many updates and stories that we told, all the science notes that we published and all the guides and tools to learning and discovery that were also such a big part of the expedition.

lil_daveSo stay tuned! After I rest some, I will get round to downloading more photos and videos, and I’m sure I’ll have a few of those fresh perspectives to share with you as well.

Thank you again one and all for your great kindness and unflagging support all along the course of this journey.

In gratefulness, I step back onto the shore of a new dream.


- Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin
(who is off looking for a TV to watch the World Cup)

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Tegan’s Science Notes #11: Voyages of Discovery

citizenscienceThe ocean is one of the last unexplored frontiers on earth. We know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the bottom of the ocean. For thousands of years, humans have been undertaking voyages of discovery. Whether the goal has been to find land beyond the horizon, to map the ocean currents or to find new animals unknown to science, the ocean has always been and will continue to be a deep source of knowledge which will always change the way we view and understand the world around us.

Today, science is moving in many new directions at once, and a great civic awakening is happening as everyday people armed only with some time and a passion to explore begin to help shape the future of scientific discovery. I have spoken many times in my previous “Science Notes” about what’s happening in the area of “Citizen Science,” but in this post, in recognition of Dave’s incredible feat of single handedly circumnavigating the globe, I’d like to look back at the relatively brief history of oceanic exploration.

The Great Voyages

Until quite recently scientific knowledge of the oceans was very limited. During the 1700s and 1800s, the British Royal Navy dominated the world’s oceans, which made surveying coastlines and mapping the oceans a practical priority for both the navy and for commerce. It was during this period that accurate navigation (and mapmaking) became gradually more dependable in locating precise positions on the earth, using a combination of latitude and longitude, celestial readings and chronometers. Many of these survey voyages carried additional passengers who acted as naturalists collecting botanical, biological, and geological samples which greatly expanded European scientific knowledge of the natural world.

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The most famous of these ‘gentlemen naturalists’ was Charles Darwin. I referenced him before in my science note on glaciers, as he was first and foremost a geologist. Over the course of the five years from 1831-1836 that the HMS Beagle surveyed the coastlines of the southern part of South America and tested the accuracy of 22 chronometers at pre-determined points, Darwin was collecting copious observations and samples of geological, biological and botanical nature in these far-fling regions. It was Darwin’s unique ability to weave his observations together into a theoretical whole that so challenged the accepted thought of the day and elevated the Beagle’s second voyage into one of the most famous scientific voyages made in history.

darwin_200Nearly 40 years after Darwin sailed on the Beagle, a dedicated scientific expedition set off on board the HMS Challenger with the aim “to learn everything about the sea,” – a lofty goal indeed! Findings from this Challenger Expedition laid the groundwork for what would become the science of oceanography. Over the course of five years, Challenger traveled over 70,000 nautical miles conducting scientific exploration with freshly designed equipment and discovering over 4,000 new species of plants and animals.

Mapping the Ocean

captain_cook_200No one person has explored and mapped more of the ocean than James Cook. Captain Cook came from humble origins but his skill at mapmaking and navigation led him in 1769 to be put in command of the HMS Endeavour on an expedition to Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun. Cook’s mapmaking skills were so accurate that an early map of Newfoundland was used for more than 200 years after he drew it and differs little from modern satellite images.

cookmap_300After visiting Tahiti, the Endeavour continued west to locate the famed “Terra Australis.” There Cook mapped the entire coastline of New Zealand before continuing east to Australia as the first European to land there. Over the next 12 years, Cook would make three voyages on board the HMS Endeavour and HMS Resolution, which explored and mapped previously uncharted areas of the world. As well as providing accurate charts for navigation, Cook’s expeditions also carried scientists who made important observations, especially related to botanical discoveries.

newport_300There is a second special connection of Captain Cook’s expeditions to Bodacious Dream. Both his ships, the HMS Endeavour and HMS Resolution are fairly certainly believed to lie as wrecks at the bottom of Narragansett Bay! The Endeavour, after coming out of Cook’s service, was renamed the Lord Sandwich and is one of several vessels which were sunk to blockade Newport Harbor during the American Revolutionary War. The HMS Resolution was sold and rechristened La Liberté, a French whaling vessel, which was damaged in Newport Harbor in the 1790s and left on the shore. Efforts are ongoing by the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) to map and locate not only the Endeavour but also other shipwrecks in Rhode Island waters. You can visit their very informative website, and learn about RIMAP’s work right here, or go to the page on the sunken ships here.

Marshall Island Stick Charts

stick_chart_300Not all voyages of discoveries (that we know about) were made by Europeans. The Polynesians and Pacific Islanders had been navigating the South Pacific for thousands of years and likely explored the entire region, an area of over 10 million square miles, well before the period of written history. Along the way, they developed a complex system of navigation, which used stars, the sun, the moon, planets, weather, winds, currents, tides, and natural phenomena like bird migration to help them to travel between the many islands.

An important addition to the history of ocean mapping was the discovery of “stick charts” used by seafarers from the Marshall Islands. These are deceptively simple grids made from small sticks and coconut fronds, which represent the major ocean swells in the South Pacific, with small shells showing the location of islands. The charts showed how the swells interacted with the island shores, the undersea slopes, and currents coming from different directions. While the stick maps were easy to construct, it took many years of study to be able to accurately interpret the real ocean dynamics which they represented.

Mapping the Gulf Stream

As you are well aware from Dave’s journey, the Gulf Stream is a major current in the North Atlantic, which carries warm water from the Caribbean north to the northeast Atlantic and is the strongest surface current in the Atlantic. The impact that the Gulf Stream can have on the length of voyages is tremendous. The first reference to the Gulf Stream is found in a written account of Ponce de Leon’s voyage from Puerto Rico in 1513. American fishermen and whalers plying the waters off the American colonies knew of the current in the late 1600s.

franklin_300It actually took the insights of none other than Benjamin Franklin, the colonial deputy Postmaster General to make clear the existence of the Gulf Stream when in 1769 he published a chart that showed the direction of the flows. His chart of that time is still remarkably accurate. You can read more of Franklin’s very interesting writing about the Gulf Stream and other marine topics in NOAA’s historical archive right here.

Pathfinder of the Seas

Before the late 1800s, there were few comprehensive charts that showed wind and currents across the whole globe. This changed owing to the efforts of one man, Matthew Fontaine Maury.

maury_200Maury joined the US Navy as a young man in 1825 and was posted to the Naval Observatory in 1842, where he began to study ocean currents. By studying and compiling thousands of ships logs he was able to map and calculate the speed of ocean currents based on the deflection of ships from their intended path. He was able to produce maps of average ocean speeds for much of the ocean, which allowed vessels to dramatically reduce the length of their voyages. Maury was nicknamed the “Pathfinder of the Seas” and was integral to the creation of international cooperation in producing accurate hydrological charts for all mariners. He is also referred to as the father of the modern oceanography as well, and his book, The Physical Geography of the Sea, published in 1855, is one of the first books on oceanography.

Modern ocean mapping: Satellites, robots and sonar

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Even today, we have only begun to map the ocean. Fortunately, today we have technologies that help us to see below the waves, to scan the ocean floor, to analyze the composition of the water, and to observe how the currents work in real-time. Satellites use the reflectivity of the ocean surface to measure chlorophyll content and sea surface temperature changes. Unmanned robots explore the depth of the ocean collecting readings of temperature, pressure, and salinity. Sonar is used to create high-definition maps of the sea floor. Computers are used to model the movement of currents, the future conditions under changes to currents, temperature and sea level.

Check out these cool websites: Perpetual Ocean and Ocean Motion.

“Standing on the shoulders of giants”

Modern science knows so much more and can do some much more than our predecessors could ever have imagined, but our greater knowledge is only possible because of the amazing feats of those ‘giants’ who set off to explore the world and to challenge the commonly held beliefs and superstitions of their day.

Darwin and the rest, they figured out how the world worked in a more complete sense. Today we are finding out how in flux the natural world is, and how delicate is the balance necessary to sustain life. We now can see with factual accuracy just how fast the natural world is changing.

Every observation Dave logged on iNaturalist (click to see all his sightings listed) or eBird is an important scientific finding, which adds to the wealth of scientific knowledge, now being collected by citizen scientists all over the world. Collecting the type of data needed to understand the broad scale patterns of change occurring all over the globe is increasingly difficult for individual scientists to collect on their own, but by relying on citizens (like you!) to help collect this vital information, it becomes easier to approach important questions.

No matter who or where you are, YOU too can be a scientist!

LOGOS1

Join an Earthwatch Expedition. Join iNaturalist or eBird yourself and start tracking what you see around you.

LOGOS2Build a Secchi Disk and use the Secchi App to record your data. Download the mPing App and record your weather. Join Zooniverse and be a scientist from the comfort of your couch. The possibilities are endless!

Explore, discover, and most importantly… have fun!!

For myself, I would like to say that I have had a great time sharing my enthusiasm for the natural world with all of you over the past nine months. Thank you to those of you who reached out and contacted me with thoughts or questions. Keep the Bodacious Dream going and get out and discover!

Wishing you fair winds and following seas,

- Tegan Mortimer 
teg.mortimer(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Oceans of Gratitude

Well, we’ve come a long way. We are well past the halfway point of this last part of the last leg, having left behind the most notable landmark, Cape Hatteras! With a bit less than 250 miles to go, we still have some weak weather fronts approaching and some light air to manage, but all in all, we’re gaining on it.

6827_storm2Edge of the Storm

Both of the last couple of days have handed me rather exciting weather systems. Each day delivered a strong thunder and lightning storm mid-morning – and I mean strong. Terrific rain, though not so much wind, only to about 35 knots – but tons of thunder and lightning! It’s incredible and beautiful to watch. At the same time it clearly humbles you in the face of Mother Nature’s potential for fury! In such moments, it’s easy to imagine how such turbulent forces have over eons reshaped mountains, rivers and landscapes.

6826_storm3_550Storm on the Radar … 

We’ve had a great run here with the help of the Gulf Stream. While I am constantly under-sailed because of the threat of storms, the Gulf Stream current here along the coast, adds a couple of knots of speed to my average. I could fly larger sails, but considering the density of storms in the area, I see no need to test my luck any further.

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Looking away from the storm

As the final miles roll on, it won’t be long before I make my approach to Narragansett Bay. Right now, I’m hoping to arrive around noontime on Saturday.

Before that happens though, I would like to send out some thank yous to all those that have worked so hard to make this incredible event and journey happen for me.

From the many friends at various ports where I stopped and harbored, to old shipmates like Tim Eades and Jonathan Pond who helped me prepare Bodacious Dream. There was also the steady encouragement from friends like Alan Veenstra and Lynn Duttlinger and the ever-present support of my sister Nancy, my Mom and my whole family.

Of course, the voyage would have been far less rich and well-researched had it not been for the insights and efforts of Tegan Mortimer, our ocean scientist colleague who contributed her many wonderful Science Notes. (Look for a final one tomorrow!)

Seldom mentioned but always behind the scenes with editing, media and web work, bringing you all my stories is Mark Petrakis at Firm Solutions in California.

No doubt there are many I am forgetting to mention here, but for sure, the Bodacious Racing family and its creative leadership are without a doubt the most gracious sponsors once could ever hope to have. I will be forever indebted to them for these wonderful memories. Thank you one and all!

So, leaving my computer below decks, I’m venturing back up top now to sail some and to watch the end of the day pass.

6544_selfie_550Sun of Selfie

This is a special time of day for me… something more than another sunset photo op. On one hand, it gives me a chance to gaze into the skies in search of some telltale indicators of the weather for the night ahead. But it also provides me another opportunity to see and appreciate just where in this world I am and to reflect on the many people who have helped to bring me here.

Soon enough, the journey will be over, but the memories will continue. Thanks to all of you for following along.

- Dave, Bodacious Dream and (the equally grateful) Franklin

Lightning & Hors d’Oeuvres

End of day on Sunday here… over 24 hours now since departing West Palm Beach, heading up the east coast on the last leg of this circumnavigation. The sun has dropped from its scorching height and I’ve come out of my cave – my cave being below decks and out of the sun!

6671_stillwater_55029.593344N, 79.373209W

6673_grounding-wireThere is little breeze today because of a couple of troughs of low-pressure systems. The one coming up should pass through later this evening, as I get a bit further north through the latitudes of Georgia. The one that passed last night though was intense… and delivered a beautiful display of natural fireworks – lightning!

I worry about the damage that lightning can do to a boat, especially one like Bodacious Dream, so yesterday, I invented some lightning grounding leads (the red line in the photo) that may help a little bit – perhaps not with a direct hit, but with any static electricity in the air that might infiltrate the electronics and cause damage. Some expert out there will likely have better advice for me!

I am excited as we head north, and at the same time, a bit sad too at the approaching end of this journey. It’s been kind of like summer vacation from school. You want to see all your friends again, but you don’t want summer to end! Fortunately, summer is just beginning and I will arrive in Jamestown and the U.S. with plenty of great weather to look forward to.

With this being another short leg, I was able to bring along some extra fresh food, keeping it chilled in a cooler left over from the passage through the Panama Canal. Specifically, I’m talking some apples and cheese! I developed a tradition when crossing the Atlantic about a year and a half ago that near sundown, I would slice up an apple, some cheese with some crackers and have myself a bit of a sunset hors d’oeuvres celebration. I am able to do that once again, at least for a couple of days. With the weather this hot, my ice is melting quickly!

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As posh as it gets out here … 

I have a few new people to thank for helping to make this great experience happen. I’d like to thank my friends at Rybovich Marina once again made my stay there a pleasure while helping me to get some important repairs done to make this last leg a great passage. Thanks to everyone at Rybovich Marina!

And a thank you to Jeff Mootz of Horizon True, who makes the camera mounts that make steady photographing easier. I had lost an important part earlier in the trip and Jeff forwarded me a replacement. And for those of you looking for a great camera mount for your boat or moving platform, Jeff, an eye doctor by trade, has developed a great one!

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So, as I sail north on a gentle Sunday sunset, I continue to be excited as each mile passes, bringing the end to this circumnavigation closer every minute. Stay tuned for some additional reflections in the coming days.

- Dave, Bodacious Dream and (unperturbed by lightning) Franklin
32.49445N , 77.74487W 

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 11.29.35 AMP.S. One of the tracking devices we use on our trip is the one provided by the folks at SPOT Adventures. If you like, you can use it to track our up-to-the-minute position on this final leg by going to the link above.