Looking Back & Signing off on 2016!

Here on the shores of Lake Michigan, we’ve experienced our first snows, which put an end to the suspense as to when the mild fall would move over so that winter could get on with it. I’m usually fine with snow, at least up to half an inch, but 3 inches forces you to reconsider and put aside the flip-flops and boat shoes. My winter chukkas now sit prominently near the front door.

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It was a great summer season, but like most of them, it passed too quickly. With that in mind, there are a few things I’d like to catch you up on.

As most of you know, The Atlantic Cup Race and the Atlantic Cup Kids Program took up much of the first half of my year. It was an amazing experience for me and for the many kids who came down to the docks. I’d like to share with you a new great pro-looking  Atlantic Cup Kids program video up now on YouTube. You may notice an older, white-bearded guy rolling the cart and hoarsely singing – that would be me. Forward it or share it and help spread the word!

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My personal thank yous go out to the many people who helped with the program, who gave time and energy to the kids, and those of you who supported it financially. We are very grateful for all your support.

This fall, we also learned the Atlantic Cup had accomplished something quite amazing that you won’t read about on the front page of the newspaper; so this time, I’m going to loudly ring our own bell! Owing to the hard work of the entire race staff, led by our sustainability expert, Brian Funke, and with the inspired support of 11th Hour Racing, The Atlantic Cup became the FIRST sporting event in the USA to receive an ISO 20121 certification for sustainability. Let me explain just what this means. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) develops and oversees an international certification process, which many companies go through to meet or exceed certain performance standards to become ISO accredited companies. It’s a very rigorous certification process and I find it just way cool that The Atlantic Cup, and no other event - not the US Open or Wimbledon, not even Major League Baseball with the Cub’s “green” Wrigley Field, has EVER received this certification.

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This is a result of the hard work, commitment and leadership of Julianna Barbieri and Hugh Piggin at Manuka Sports Event Management who run the Atlantic Cup Race as well as the entire staff and all the competitors who each believed in our collective responsibility to serve and maintain our environment. As a proud member of that team, I want to extend my congratulations to everyone associated with the Atlantic Cup. Here’s a link to the whole story: http://www.atlanticcup.org/sustainability

And, if that bar isn’t high enough for you, The Atlantic Cup is also the only regatta world wide to achieve platinum level status in sustainability from Sailors for the Sea - a leading conservation organization that engages with sailing and boating communities toward healing the ocean. 

A couple other notable events took place this summer. We had another great Mackinac Race (my 30th) – spending 30 hours sailing from one storm cell to another. I don’t recall seeing so many thunder and rain squalls and rapid wind shifts in any of those previous years. Here’s a video I shot after a night of getting knocked around big time!

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Lake Michigan continues to be a seductive and unpredictable demiurge. Today however she looks calm and relaxed, her edges white with the froth of toppling wavelets as she absorbs the spinning snowflakes.

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Back in August, I played the role of Official Observer for Scott Wolford’s world record marathon swim attempt. This young man…(51 years old – Ha!) was planning to set an unassisted, world record of 120 miles by swimming from Chicago to Michigan and back. I was proud to be invited to help with his efforts and record the event for official review.

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Unfortunately, the weather stopped Scott after about 19 miles, but with the energy he exhibited climbing back on the boat, I’m certain his efforts next summer will produce a new world record.

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Besides being a crazy good swimmer, Scott is dedicated and committed to teaching children about the environment and clean water. His children’s book, Gino the Minnow is legendary. Check out Gino’s or Scott’s sites on Facebook. Gino the Minnow or Scott Weston Wolford. Now there’s a good Christmas present idea for your kids.

The rest of the summer here on the Great Lakes included a few other races and some very pleasurable sails with friends. My days of late have been filled with various types of work; an article I penned for Sailing Magazine - a kind of beginner’s guide to shorthanded (or single-handed) sailing is right HERE in November’s issue.

Out of the water, a custom-made kitchen cabinet package I designed and built was just  installed in a special use residence in Evanston, IL. And then there was Thanksgiving… where as each year for the past 20 or so, my house becomes full of family and friends. It was an especially great year to be together and to be thankful for each other.

We look forward to the coming New Year with great hopes for the completion and publication of my book Spirit of the Dream, which is undergoing final edits. We also hold our hopes high that we will stand up and dedicate our collective energies to tackling the many challenges that our world, our environment, our kids and our families must face.

May your holidays be grand and may our light shine bright in the New Year!

And as the French say, Au Revoir (meaning “until later”)

- Dave and Franklin

Atlantic Cup Update – Curious Kids & Racing Ships

I’m writing this from one of my favorite places in the world, the State of Maine! We had beautiful weather this week after a rainy weekend. Hey, it is June in Maine and it is just beautiful out here! And on top of that, today June 9th is our third and final Atlantic Cup Kids Day here in Portland. What a ride it’s been!

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The Atlantic Cup once again presented by 11th Hour Racing has been going great! The racing from Charleston ended with a very challenging finish in the light winds and strong currents of New York Harbor. The Spanish entrant, #123 Tales won the leg in a record-beating 72:48:03 finishing 90 minutes ahead of #145 Eärendil (74:21:43), followed 30 minutes later by the all-female team of #118 Oakcliff Racing, with Liz Shaw and Libby Greenhalgh racing my old boat, previously named Bodacious Dream. What a great showing for their first time sailing together!

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The race up from New York City (from the Brooklyn Marina more specifically,) to Portland gave the sailors a real workout. After rounding a virtual mark off Nantucket, they sailed downwind in heavy air – 25-30 knots reaching speeds of over 20 knots before the winds eased. Once again Tales II, followed by Eärendil crossed the finish line first.

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Equally exciting was watching the finish line from our makeshift race offices as three boats, #95 Talanta, #118 Oakcliff Racing and #128 Toothface entered the inner harbor and jockeyed for third place. In the final few yards, Toothface edged out the others to take third place. Now that was great racing!

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Over on Facebook on the Atlantic Cup Kids page, there is a live feed with me commentating on the finish, though our view was distant from the action. We’re not at the professional level yet, but hopefully we’re good enough for you to follow the closing action.

The inshore series begins this Friday the 10th. As far as Kids Days goes, we had a great success in Charleston with nearly 600 kids, Brooklyn brought us well over 100 kids and in Portland, we’re expecting at least 200 kids today – with many more expected for the Inshore Leg on Friday and Saturday at the race village in Ft. Allen Park.

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Among the exciting things in store for Kids Day will from Presumscott School’s 3rd grade students, who have been studying lobsters this semester and will be presenting their resulting program for us. I’ll have more on that soon. One interesting thing I just learned from these students is the Gulf of Maine is warming up faster than any other body of water in these latitudes.

el_galeon1Our office here on the Maine Wharf is in the middle of the working waterfront of Portland, Maine right next to a beautiful tall ship named El Galeón from Spain.

The waters surrounding us here are those of Casco Bay, and its estuary where the fresh rivers waters meet the ocean and its tides. The great interaction between the two bodies of water creates a rich and nutritious environment for sea life.

portland-head-lightI’ve prepared a work sheet on the Casco Bay region based on some great information from the very knowledgeable Abby Doane over at Friends of Casco Bay. It’s amazing how important the unique environments of each of the harbors we’ve sailed from are to the overall health of the ocean. Read my Education Guide about Casco Bay - which you can find RIGHT HERE!

So, as we move into the last phase of the Atlantic Cup, for which I’m a proud ambassador for 11th Hour Racing, I very much appreciate so many of you following along with us, learning with us and helping us move our activity-based learning agenda forward into the future. I only wish I could share with each of you the enthusiastic laughter and great questions from the kids who toured our race villages.

fan_fav1Stay tuned for another update after the end of racing on Saturday. It promises to be an exciting final leg. In the meantime, please take a minute to visit the Atlantic Cup Kids page and vote for your favorite team! We have a great trophy for the “Fan Favorite” to present at the awards presentation on Saturday.

And then head on over to our Atlantic Cup Kids Facebook page… and catch up on the posts and photos since the start of the race on May 28th. And while you’re there, LIKE us if you like … so you can stay in the loop moving forward!

Until later…
- Capt. Dave

Casco Bay Estuary/ Portland, Maine

heron casco bayPortland, Maine is surrounded by legendary Casco Bay, which marks both the finish line of the second leg of the Atlantic Cup Sailing Race which began in Brooklyn, NY – and also the site the final two days of inshore course racing.

Portland is Maine’s largest metropolitan area and home to 25% of the state’s population. Casco Bay, the water around Portland is an estuary, defined as the tidal mouth of a river where fresh water streams of rivers mix with tidal waters of the ocean. Three major rivers, the Fore River, Royal River and Presumscott River along with many smaller streams are the sources which feed fresh water into the Casco Bay Estuary.

casco2Bound by Cape Elizabeth, Cape Small and Half Way Rock, the entire watershed embraces 42 different local communities and is designated as one of 28 “Estuaries of National Significance.”

In 1631, the first English settlers arrived on the Portland Peninsula, which was called Machigonne by the indigenous peoples. 150 years later, George Washington commissioned the building of the Portland Lighthouse. To this day, the oldest lighthouse in Maine shines seaward 24 miles and guides sailors from all corners of the world, not the least of whom are the 2016 Atlantic Cup competitors who hail from Spain, Sweden, France, England and the United States.

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casco_est1Atlantic Cup sailors know intimately how important ocean health is and the Casco Bay region is a prime example of an amazing, healthy cycle of diversity that coexists with the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to over 850 species of marine life from microscopic plants and animals to migrating birds, seals and pilot whales.

Because of this, these waters are known as the “Nursery of the Sea” – where baby marine animals can find shelter and food in the nutrient rich waters. In the spring, over 50 islands in Casco Bay provide shelter to over 150 species of water birds and their newly hatched young. Is it any wonder that I love it so.

For most of the 1800’s and 1900’s, there have been environmental pressures on the Casco Bay Region. Industries found the flowing rivers convenient for disposing their waste. Chemicals used for tanning horse hides to make leather, lead used in the canneries and metal foundries and the spillage of coal and gasoline all found their way into the water and still remain to this day in the soils of the river beds. Today, nitrates from farm fertilizers, storm water runoff, sewage and ocean acidification continue to pose threats to the health of the estuary.

Casco_300x78Fortunately, effective education initiatives and conscientious citizenship such as that practiced by the “BayKeepers” – who are part of an incredible group called “The Friends of Casco Bay.” Check out their site to learn more how they are working to tackle these challenges and help us all be better stewards of our environment.

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The beautiful Maine coast with its deep forests of spruce, pine, fir and many deciduous trees has long been a haven for summer visitors. The many island and granite shorelines provide beautiful landscapes for lobster dinners and clam bakes. Swift tides ranging from 12 feet to 30 feet constantly flush and wear away at the granite shoreline, cleansing the waters, and yet the ever-present pressure imposed by mankind continues to challenge the ocean’s natural ability to renew itself.

The Atlantic Cup Race, presented by 11th Hour Racing expends a significant effort to maintain a carbon neutral footprint through its recycling and sustainability practices, making it second to no one in the world of yacht racing and professional sports. Check out this video from 2013, when the whole sustainability issue in racing was first introduced.

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We hope if you are there for the inshore leg of the race, that you will take notice of the powerful and beautiful Casco Bay that surrounds you.

How Boats Sail!

There are few things more beautiful than the sight of a sleek boat full sail skimming across the water. But how does it all work? How do nature, science and human design come together to enable a sailboat to move in so fluid a way?

greek_boat_300From ancient times onward, using wind power to move boats required being tuned into the ways of nature and how its many forces might be harnessed to serve human purposes. To that end, boat builders have always relied on observation and calculation, tradition, testing and passed down refinements to build their boats.

Today though, with all the incredible advances in physics, engineering, computing technology and material science, boat building (and especially racing yacht building) has become a most exciting and cutting edge industry.

Merf_200To help us get up to speed on boat building today, I asked an old friend of mine, one of the world’s top racing boat naval architects, Merf Owen of Owen Clarke Designs to field some questions about his life designing boats.

You can find my whole interview with Merf RIGHT HERE, but for now, let’s imagine that I asked Merf to design a new Class 40 racer – to say, compete in the Atlantic Cup – a vessel much like the Class40 I sailed around the world a few years ago.

weatherMerf would first want to know how I intend to race the boat and where in the world I plan on sailing it? My answers to these questions help provide him with guidelines for particular factors he will need to consider in designing my boat. When he learns where I want to sail the boat, he will ask a meteorologist (a weather scientist,) to study the weather patterns in those areas and so provide him with weather data (percentages of light, medium or heavier winds and the general wave patterns resulting from them.) Merf will use this information to optimize the design for those regions of the world and for the type of sailing and racing I want to do.

Once Merf has gathered the information he needs, he designs the shape of the hull and the “sail plan.” The hull of course is the “body” of the boat, and the sail plan is the combination of mast and sails and rigging that “power” the boat. He must align his design to the laws of physical science laws in arriving at the best shape for the hull, so that it will move through the water and waves with the least amount of “drag,” to avoid anything that slows a boat down – (like dragging your feet while riding your bike.)

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One hundred years ago, a boat designer would carve the model of a boat from a wooden block – using their experience and creative instincts to determine the best shape of the hull. This model would then be converted into hand-drawn blueprints. Today, computers automate much of this process, but Merf still must exercise his intuitions and creativity to course-correct the computer output he receives.

iom_cfdAs Merf progresses with his design of the hull shape and sail plan, he can test his work using powerful computer simulation software, which shows him where modifications might help to improve performance. When he’s happy with the design, Merf emails his digital designs to the builder and the fun of boat building can commence!

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Once the builder reviews the design drawings, there’s much that needs to happen. You can just imagine the many things they have to figure out, and how many of them require a solid understanding of mathematics.

How much space do they need in their shop to build the boat and parts? How many layers of fiberglass cloth will be needed? How many gallons of epoxy resin? How many screws? How many people will they need to hire? How long will it take? How much is it going to cost? All of this is must be carefully figured out in order to develop a solid project plan that includes realistic cost estimates.

boat_moldOnce the build plan is in place, more advanced math or “engineering” phase comes into play. First the builders have to build molds in which the boat parts are cast. These molds have to be engineered strong enough to withstand people moving them around and walking on them as the boat is being built. While science, math and engineering are requirements for getting all of this correct, seasoned builders also rely on practical or “seat of the pants” engineering to build the best and strongest molds.

Once building begins, technical engineering drives the process. Structural engineers and designers figure out the details of the composite structure – the number of layers of fiberglass cloth that offer the strength to handle the “loads” (weight and forces) that various parts of the boat must support.

pulleyHere again, an understanding of physics is necessary. A rope or “line” turning through a block is a good example. The line pulls a lot of weight and when it turns around a pulley, it changes the direction of the load. The pulley has to withstand these loads and not break loose from its mounting. All these loads and attendant forces have to be calculated so that the size of the block, bolts and composite materials can withstand these always changing loads.

halyard_200An even more complex set of calculations is necessary when it comes to the mast, which must support the power of the sails through the supporting cables called “shrouds.” There are many calculations to consider in how the shrouds spread the loads across the entire hull. All this has to be worked out so the boat and mast won’t fail in a powerful storm, yet still remain light enough to be competitive on the racecourse. There are always trade-offs to consider between strength and weight when making these important calculations and decisions.

Once construction of the hull begins, workers lay the layers of fiberglass cloth in the mold and then a lightweight core of balsa wood followed by additional layers of cloth to meet the stated engineering requirements. A layer of plastic is then laid over the mold and the edges sealed, at which point a vacuum pump sucks all the air out of the mold. This forces the materials together tightly as an injection system pumps epoxy resin into the mold, filling in the voids and soaking the cloth.

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In a few hours, the chemical reaction of the liquid epoxy hardens, creating the strong, hard shell of the boat. To further strengthen the epoxy, the whole boat is put into a large oven and “cooked” at a specific temperature for a period of time. Chemical engineers figure out the specific formulations of the epoxy resins, the temperatures they work at and the time it takes them to harden.

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The mast and sails require similar engineering and science know-how. Sails are designed to work like the wings of an airplane – only vertically instead of horizontally. Most people think the wind just blows a boat along, but this isn’t exactly correct. It is the shape of the sails that produces power by allowing the wind to flow along the cloth thus creating pressure differences, which actually “pull” the boat toward the wind. Nowadays, the sails are made from composite plastics and the engineering of their strength and flexibility so that they can bend with the forces of the wind and sails and not break. The mast itself is made in a similar way as the hull of the boat, with cloth and epoxy resins.

Bodacious DreamWhen the body of the boat is complete, the real fun can begin. The mast and boom, the sails and the rigging are mounted and the boat is launched. Finally, it’s time to take it test sailing to see how the sailplan and the rest of the boat work together.

Once on the water, powerful onboard computers receive signals from multiple sensor devices that monitor everything from the angle and speed of the wind to the shape of the sails and the speed of the boat. These numbers are compared with computer-generated models to determine how well the boat is performing. Even with all this technical help though, the human sailor still must make the strategic refinements necessary for the boat to outpace its competitors and win a race.

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An experienced sailor today must master many skills. They must be conversant in many subjects before they can compete in a race like the Atlantic Cup. They need to have learned meteorology and how to anticipate changes in wind directions and speeds. They need enough knowledge of oceanography so that they can track currents and tides and how they dynamically shift and flow around a harbor or coast. They must have also learned how to work with computers so they can program, interpret and manage all the information the computers are capable of providing. And of course they must know their math and engineering, so they can keep the boat moving safely. Some good handyperson skills come in real handy too when called upon to fix things that break in the middle of a race (or when far from land.)

Bringing a boat into existence takes the work of many people with many different skills. Designers like Merf lead teams of skilled engineers, scientists and builders who all take pride in the building of fast and beautiful boats. And finally, there are the sailors, who use their wide range of technological skills and sailing instincts to help them win races like the Atlantic Cup.

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ragon, which Merf designed and will be co-skippering in the Atlantic Cup

Next time you hear your teachers (or parents) talk about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education – you will be able to relate that to how it applies to the artful science of boat building.

SCIENCE: Weather science, chemical science, computer science, human physiology science
TECHNOLOGY: Computers, monitoring instruments, sail designs and shapes
ENGINERERING: Computers, composites, hardware, pulleys, loads, masts, sails and building
MATHEMATICS Lots and lots of math. Numbers, computer calculations, engineering load calculations, speed calculations, parts and construction time calculations, cost and business calculations. Endless Math! (The more math you’re able to do in your head, the easier it will be to make these decisions.)

Earth’s Oceans – Learnings & Celebrations

AC_logo_200Well, it’s down to the last month before the beginning of the Atlantic Cup Race! Things are heating up as the organizers of the race are excitedly putting all the pieces in place for the start of the competition in Charleston, South Carolina on May 28th.

There are some exciting new entrants that have been added since my last update, including Liz Shaw and Libby Greenhalgh – the first all-female team – which is a super exciting first for this race. Also, I have it on good source that there are even a few more competitors to be announced soon! So, stayed tuned for that or follow the Atlantic Cup on their Facebook page, as well as following us on our newly launched Atlantic Cup Kids Facebook page.

The quality and the size of this year’s field, is going to make it very difficult to pick which boat I want to vote for as my favorite. Once you review the entrants, I hope you’ll consider casting a vote for your favorite. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it’s a big boost to the sailors to have folks rooting for them in that way. You can easily cast your vote on the Atlantic Cup Kids Page.

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I’ll break down the competition more in my next update. In this one, I want to share a bit more about our live learning events that will take place at all three of the race harbors.

Charleston, South Carolina, where the race begins is providing us with a huge warm welcome for their Kid’s Day, which will be May 26th. We’ve got over 500 kids scheduled to visit us so far. This really charges me up – the idea of having 500 unique opportunities to engage young, growing minds to learn more about the ocean and how we co-exist with it more sustainably. After all, the ocean covers 75% of the surface of our planet. We are connected to it (and a part of it) at the most fundamental of levels.

So, in early May, I’ll be visiting John Miller, who is helping us round up the kids and classes through the Charleston School District. At that time, I will have a chance to visit and talk with some of the classes prior to the Kid’s Day event at the harbor.

Casco_300x78A couple of weeks ago, I made a similar visit to Portland, Maine and received a very enthusiastic response to our presentation and program. I met with a great group of dedicated local folks who call themselves “BayKeepers” and who are part of a wonderful group called “The Friends of Casco Bay.” Check out their site to learn more.

While in Portland, I also visited three schools. It’s not easy to keep your presentation on track when the kids are peppering you with more questions than you have time to answer! Many thanks to the teachers and students at Bayview, Ocean Avenue and Hall Schools for allowing me to spend time with them. With Kid’s Day 1 in Portland full to capacity, we’re looking for more local schools and kids programs to join us on Kids Day 2 where the highlight will be watching the inshore racing from Ft. Allen Park. Of all the places I’ve sailed and raced, this location promises to be one of the best ever for watching boats race. So, let me know if you are familiar with schools in any of the three cities that might want to come down to the harbor and join the fun.

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Our stay in New York City at the end of Leg One is going to be great too. We’ve got a lot of high school kids visiting us there which is challenging me to find more advanced math, science and engineering learning points with which to engage them. Fortunately, sailing is filled with so many opportunities to expand your knowledge and understanding. Anyone care to explain the trigonometry involved in celestial navigation? Or how about determining the working loads of various winches, blocks and lines? The list of things to learn is endless.

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Since much of our program is about the oceans, we’ve also uploaded a NEW Education Guide to the Atlantic Cup Kids Page – an updated version from Bodacious Dream Expeditions that we call “Ocean World.” There’s a wealth of information there about the amazing world of the ocean. It’s a great and fun read and we encourage you to share it (along with the other Guides on that same page) with the kids in your world.

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When I’m on the water, I have this wondrous experience of feeling more directly connected to points all around the world. A few bags of groceries and I can go anywhere I want. From Charleston to France is a couple weeks. From there to South Africa a month. Then there’s New Zealand, Japan, China, Russia, Italy, Germany, India, Indonesia, Alaska, Peru… and on and on you go. Where would you like to go if you were setting sail on an ocean adventure? Drop me a note at Dave@AtlanticCup.org and tell me your dream port-of-call.

So, that’s it for now. Come visit us at the Atlantic Cup Kids Facebook page. I recently posted a cool visual explanation of one of my favorite things… bioluminescence. And while you’re there, give us a LIKE if you haven’t already done so, so that as we move forward, we can keep you in the loop. … More exciting stuff coming soon.

franklin_16 - Cap’n Dave
with trusty Franklin by my side! (For those of you who’ve been asking where he’s been.)

P.S. And you can sign up for Kid-specific Mailings at the newsletter signup and by selecting AtCup KiDS News! We’ll start sending those closer to the race.

Atlantic Cup… Big News & Views…

red_sailIt’s been quite a while now since I last updated you. Winter arrived, the holidays passed and soon the snows will pass too and behind them, spring, along with that ol’ sailing spirit, will rise again!

Going back in my own memory, the spring of 2012 and 2013 were marked for me by the excitement of the Atlantic Cup Race… and this year will be no different! The Atlantic Cup is coming up soon (May 23rd – June11th) but this year with a few notable changes. Starting again in Charleston S.C., the first leg will still end in New York City, but the second leg instead of ending in Newport RI will conclude in Portland, ME, where the inshore leg will happen. This course change will add a whole new challenge for the race competitors as they negotiate the coastal waters of Cape Cod on their way to Portland.

dave_acThe other change, and a very exciting one for me, is that this year I’m heading up the Atlantic Cup Kids Program. I won’t be racing the Atlantic Cup this year. Instead I will be getting kids, students, parents and teachers up-to-speed and excited about all that’s happening. We want them of course to follow the race, to get to know teams and to come visit the Race Villages, but in addition we are also going to expand the broad educational agenda that began while we were sailing around the world. We hope to help inspire kids to embark upon their own journey to learn about the sport of sailing, but also about oceans, the environment and how they might live a more sustainable lifestyle as they grow into young adults and the leaders of tomorrow.

new_logo_300We’re all grateful at the Atlantic Cup for our friends at 11th Hour Racing who once again are the presenting sponsors. I’ve had an amazing time being one of the “Ambassadors” for this insightful and inspiring organization.

So, here are some things to watch for and some actions you might take to help me share the Atlantic Cup Kids Program with young people everywhere and specifically with the young people in your life.

1. We’ve started a new Atlantic Cup Kids Facebook page - so please go there and “like” the page. Liking it is a helpful pat on the back for us and will also keep you informed with updates to your Facebook timeline.

1182. Check out the enhanced Atlantic Cup Kids Page on the Atlantic Cup website. There you will find a fine of set of Education Guides in place and new ones like the just published Wind and Weather guide, which in the time leading up to the race will be followed by other new guides. In addition, from the AC Kids page you can also find information on the sailing teams, and vote for your favorite team! Also, you will find a link to sign up for the AtC Kids mailing list which will get you news and updates in your email inbox.

3. Reach out and help the kids in your life navigate the guides and contents of the AC Kids Page and the Facebook page, so that they can learn and follow the race on their own.

4. If you know of teachers, adult mentors, scout leaders or other kids groups, please spread the word and point them to our pages. We want to make this information fun, valuable and available to kids everywhere, especially to those living inland and out of sight of the oceans.

5. If you’re in Charleston, New York City or Portland or will be during the Atlantic Cup stopovers, please come on down and visit the race village. If you know of schools in those areas, contact them here by email so that they can visit and take part in the great activities we have planned for visitors and kids.

 Here’s a video of kids visiting in Charleston, SC in 2014.

Thank you for lending whatever support you can to our efforts. 

So then, let’s get on and talk about the race itself!

Many of you have told me how exciting Atlantic Cup Class 40 racing is and how much fun it was to watch Bodacious Dream come to life on the race tracker. I fondly remember getting calls in the middle of the night from friends telling me they couldn’t get off the computer watching us eek out another close win. This year, we expect the racing to be just as exciting.

123There are a couple of brand new boats which will challenge each other to showcase their designer’s talents, along with our old friends on their proven  rides. Some of the boats to watch for are Longbow 143, a brand new boat from Merf Owen and the Owen Clark Design Team. Tales II 123, a brand new boat from Botin Design in Spain and Campagne de France, a brand new design from the Anglo-Franco team of Halvard and Miranda. I’m excited to see these new designs sail but will also be rooting for old friends on equally fast boats… Pleiad Racing 39 and Dragon 54Toothface II 128 and Ahmas 127, both third generation Akilaria’s will be battling for a podium place alongside the full field of nine boats. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, my favorite, ol’ #118 will be back, skippered this time by sailors from Oakcliff Sailing. It’s going to be a great year on the water.

39I know I’m going to miss the racing, but I’m going to have more than my hands full with energized kids hungry to learn more about the ocean, weather, sea life as well as the many real dangers the ocean faces and that threaten its future sustainability. 

Helping the oceans back to better health is a mission we can and should all embrace.

So, please take a minute to like the kids Facebook page and to sign up for email updates from the Atlantic Cup Kids Page… and let’s take the kids sailing, racing and learning together.

Thanks to everyone!
- Dave

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P.S. For those of you who have wondered, I have been working steadily on the book about my solo circumnavigation sailing adventure, and I’m happy to say it’s almost done! Stay tuned!

Summer’s End … Fall’s Launches!

Two years ago this week, I was filled with anxiety as the clock ticked down to my departure from Jamestown, RI bound around the world. Looking back, what a short ride it was to completion on June 14th of last year! While there are always new things turning up in my world, it’s always fun to look back and see the connecting eddies of life that converge around us.

• If you followed along, perhaps you recall the name of Joe Harris who aboard Gryphon Solo 2 sailed alongside Bodacious Dream as we exited Narragansett Bay that beautiful afternoon. The air was crisp and the spray of the sea tart. What a beautiful day it was!

BoDream and Gryphon SoloPhoto by Billy Black

Well, Joe is feeling his own pre-departure anxiety these days. That’s because he’s into the last month of preparation of Gryphon Solo 2 to depart Newport, RI  November 10th on his own circumnavigation of the globe! But Joe’s journey will be a tougher one than mine. Joe’s going for a record-breaking, non-stop lap around the big blue marble. He’ll be doing this in his own Class 40, affectionately known as “GS2.” No stops, no rest, below the famous capes and hopefully faster than the present record of 137 days and 20 minutes! Amazing and dangerous… but if anyone can do it, Joe can!

Joe HarrisI know many of you have written telling me how much you miss the reports from Bodacious Dream. Well, here’s a chance to get the rush again! Join up for Joe’s updates and follow him. It promises to be action-packed and filled with excitement! Click and sign up @ www.gryphonsolo2.com and get caught up with Joe so you can ride along with him around the world!

And yes, though I won’t have Bodacious Dream to sail alongside GS2 as Joe heads out, I’ll be on the docks in Newport, probably waxing philosophically, and imagining as others have in the past… of the adventures Joe will experience. Good on ya’ Joe!

tegan_200
• In other news, remember Tegan Mortimer? The always-fun scientist who kept us up on the science of the ocean as we spun around the world? Well, on November 3rd, Tegan sets off on a great adventure called “Expedition Ascension 2015” – an all-women scientific expedition to study the ways of the ocean. The voyage departs from the Ivory Coast of Africa and moves across the Atlantic to South America. Tegan will be keeping us posted on her adventure and you can follow along with her on the website @ www.oceantalk.org/.

Dave-Rearick-Trash.jpg-300x180• These are dramatic times as it becomes clearer the impact humans are having on the ocean, and as we begin to raise our voices louder against the destructive winds. Back home on the Great Lakes, as an Ambassador for 11th Hour Racing, we are spreading the word about plastics in the water. This summer, I spent time convincing other sailors to adopt a no disposable water bottle lifestyle. We were instrumental in making progress and in not using thousands of water bottles on this year’s Mac Race alone. Here’s a link to my write up about it… www.11thhourracing.org/press/dear-fellow-sailors/.

I hope you will consider joining us in these efforts, even if you never leave shore. There’s little if any reason to use disposable water bottles. Yes, sometimes we have no choice, but in those situations, we have a responsibility, that if you use it, to recycle it away when you are done!

DR_stonehenge1• Then there’s the bOOk! Most everyone I meet along the way, on the docks, on the streets, in the airports and at the lumberyard want to know how the book is coming. When is it going to be ready? Well, the bulk of the manuscript is written and is now getting edited. I’ve got a few more chapters to write and some things to rewrite – so hopefully in time for the holidays, I will get them printed and into your hands. So, stay tuned!

For now, here’s a book excerpt that relates what it felt like leaving Jamestown two years ago!

“My friend Joe Harris sailed alongside in his boat Gryphon Solo II, a kin to Bodacious Dream. Joe and I harbor the same dream—to sail around the world alone. We’ve carried our dreams for years, setting them aside as changes in life came and went, as flows of finances stalled and inspirations faded. Day after day, battling alone to keep our dream from wearing out like an untended hull in an old wooden boatyard. I was on my way, and I felt for Joe and what he must be feeling. I’d been there before, watching friends start world-girdling races with me left behind, tethered ashore.

We tacked back and forth on the fresh, cool sea breeze flowing towards shore, pulled in under the rising air heated by the warm sun on the dark land a few miles inland. Class 40 sailing boats are quick and responsive. Sailing at 8 knots comes easy for Bodacious Dream, and it wasn’t long before Joe and I cleared the guiding lights of the harbor – Brenton Reef to our port and Beavertail to our starboard… when my radio kicked up with Joe’s voice.

“Bodacious Dream, this is Gryphon Solo II.”

“Go ahead Gryphon Solo, this is Bodacious Dream.” (Standard radio communication between radio operators.)

“How you doing over there Dave?”

“Going along just fine Joe, how about you?”

“Doing great, what a beautiful day to depart on huh?”

“Yup.”

“You should be able to bear off and head towards Bermuda now.”

“Oh, ok… so, what’s the course for Bermuda?”

I was embarrassed to not know this; I hadn’t the time in the previous few days to look up this simple but important fact—the compass heading of my first course around the world! In a frantic, last minute fight with electronics and communications; I added a stop in Bermuda, a 600 mile, 4 day sail away, giving me the chance to make sure the electronic gremlins had been properly exorcised and the communication systems were working properly.

“150 degrees there Admiral!” A nickname Joe occasionally used for me.

With great relief, I adjusted my autopilot Otto’s course down 20 degrees, a bit further off the wind point, allowing me to ease the sheets trimming the sails. Bodacious Dream had been heeling (tipping up) more than necessary, sailing tight on the wind, and needing a reef (shortening the sails). Soon she leveled out and picked up speed to 10 knots, sailing off for Bermuda as graceful and nonchalant as a beautiful, confident woman along the Champs-Élysées. Joe sailed parallel for a while longer, then, with a personal, silent wave of respect, bore off and tacked back toward the bay. My only companions now were the eyes and lens of Billy Black as he continued to take a few final photos.”

As fall comes to my friends in the Northern Hemisphere and spring to those in the Southern Hemisphere, I hope you’re all prospering and enjoying the beauty and wonder of your world.

Remember, “Stay connected— keep your toes in the water.”

- Dave, Franklin & Bo (in absentia.)

Springing Forward

I know it’s been a while now since I’ve been in contact! Sorry for the absence. Back home on the shores of Lake Michigan, winter was a cold one, but I have to admit, I didn’t really mind the cold and snow… well, not too much! Spring is moving right along and summer is almost upon us!

So… the news! There are a number of exciting things going on as the spirit of Bodacious Dream continues into the future. Let me catch you up!

• Remember our good friend Tegan Mortimer? Tegan is an ocean scientist who provided us with a number of amazingly interesting and well-researched “Science Notes” on many of the unique experiences we encountered while sailing Bodacious Dream around the world. Well, Tegan was recently selected to join an all-women’s crew sailing from the Ivory Coast of Africa to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic and then onto Brazil. Along the way, they will study marine debris in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. In my opinion, the expedition leadership made a perfect choice in selecting Tegan. Her enthusiasm and spirit are only matched by her passion to share her knowledge and experience. http://exxpedition.com/crew/ascension2015/

As the spirit of Bodacious Dream ventures into the future, my hope has been to seek out others who share our love and passion for this earth and the oceans and to bring their stories to light. Tegan is a perfect example of such a brilliant an concerned person. We  look forward to her sharing a few stories with us in the coming months. Tegan is also looking for sponsors and supporters and would welcome your comments and interest as well

capt_dave_ac_125• Next up, The Atlantic Cup 2016 has pulled me in… (though, it should be said, I went quite willingly) into their circle! Through my earlier involvement with the Atlantic Cup Kids pages and the cartoon character of me, their offer to have me take on the Atlantic Cup Kids Educational Outreach Program was something I couldn’t refuse. I am presently signing up schools, kid’s organizations and others to take advantage of the program offered in the harbors.

Over the years, The Atlantic Cup has made the competing boats and their crews accessible to kids and students and encouraging them to more closely touch, listen, learn and feel the environment around them. The young girl in this video says it all to me when she exclaims… ”This does not belong in the ocean!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ee2mdGbQEY

The Atlantic Cup moved the race to an every other year format last year and 2016 promises to be an even bigger event with more international competitors. My plan is to continue and increase the number of visitors to the boats and to develop an online presence for schools and students who are unable to access the physical harbors, so that remotely, they might experience the race, learn about the ocean and share in the experience. We’ll be adding more online learning materials and Tegan has promised to do a few more science notes as well! If you’d like to involve your kids, students or young people, please let us know… you can contact me at dave@atlanticcup.org.

gryphon_solo2• As for sailing news, I’ll be competing with my friend Joe Harris onboard his Class 40, Gryphon Solo 2 in the Marblehead to Halifax Race in early July….and with my old friends on Geronimo in the Chicago to Mackinac race in the middle of July. I’ll update you more on those races as the time comes near.

• As for myself, to pay the bills, I’ve been doing some work both around the house and around town. Though you know me as a sailor, I also spent many years as a carpenter. I’ve been building some custom windows and furniture and helping on some boat projects. I’ve also been taking a few hours out of each day to write up the story of the solo-circumnavigation aboard Bodacious Dream. The book, with the working title, The Spirit of the Dream, is coming along quite well. Hopefully, before next winter, the entire book will be available!

In fact, if you’d like to read an excerpt of the book, you’re in luck, because I have a chunk of it RIGHT HERE!

• One other very exciting thing to tell you! Last month, 11th Hour Racing announced their Ambassador Program for 2015. It was a great honor for me to be included alongside such notable sailors as Charlie Enright, skipper of Team Alvimedica and the Rolex Yacht Women of the year 2014, Stephanie Roble. Altogether, there are 14 of us who will share their passion and stories with 11th Hour Racing; Tom Burnham, Brock Callen, Andy Green, Jamie Haines, Erika Heineken, Peter C. Henderson, Andy Horton, Anthony Kotoun, John Mollicone and Anderson Reggio.

The 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Program is a community of professional sailors committed to ocean health. The Ambassadors represent varying boat classes but all are respected leaders in the sailing industry. These high-profile athletes are committed to the adoption of sustainable practices in their daily lives, at their personal sailing events and regattas, and to inspire others in their spheres of influence, including the next generation of sailors.

11th Hour Racing works closely with the ambassadors to drive change within the sport by creating dialogue, leading by example, and ensuring youth sailors are educated and energized to protect and care for our oceans. You can meet all 14 of us here: http://11thhourracing.org/ambassadors

So, whew! I guess that’s enough for now, isn’t it? I hope your summer plans are for a great one.

- Dave, Franklin & Bo (in abstentia!)

Dave’s Upcoming Talks in the Midwest…

Greetings to all from the frozen Midwest!

I’ve just returned from a road trip to and from California in a cargo van and wound up arriving home in the middle of a blizzard brought on by Winter Storm Linus! Even at the slow pace of 40 mph in the deep snow, covering the 5000-mile round trip in 6 days of driving time was quite a contrast to ocean-traveling the same distance which would have taken five weeks! On the open road, I sure missed Otto and Franklin!

So, I’ve been having a lot of fun recently speaking in public and talking about exploring the world with kids and tying it in with our ongoing relationship with The Atlantic Cup Kids Page … and their work with my tales of the ocean. Here are some photos from recent events.

room_seminar_550 Ready for the Kids Exploring the World seminar at Strictly Sail in Chicago.

knots_550 Knot Tying station courtesy of The Atlantic Cup Kids

alex_seminar_550Alex points out South Africa on the large globe at the Chicago Seminar

In my last update, I promise a list of my upcoming talks. So here goes!

Saturday, February 14, 2015: Michigan City, IN @ 1:00pm
I will be talking at the Michigan City Yacht Club. This is my home club for the past 30 years or so. I spoke to my friends there in the spring of 2013 after returning from crossing the Atlantic singlehanded. The story will continue with the circumnavigation, bringing everyone up to date with the journey! The talk is scheduled in the afternoon at 1:00 pm so we’ll be finished in time to spend the evening with your valentine. Contact coop@mcyc.com for more information and reservations.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015: Chicago, IL @ 6:00 pm 

(From their Website) Chicago Sailing, Inc. is proud to invite you to an evening of sailing adventure with our close friend, Dave Rearick. Dave will present an in-depth recap of his recently completed 25,000-mile solo circumnavigation aboard ‘Bodacious Dream’, a high performance 40-foot sailboat. Join us the evening of February 17 to meet Dave and learn just exactly how large this planet is and what it takes to traverse it successfully. Dave’s passion for sailing is infectious and his story is captivating. Reserve today by calling 773-871-7245.

(By the way, if you’re in the Chicago area and you’re interested in getting in on the fun of sailing and don’t know where to turn, Chicago Sailing is a great option. Come to the talk on the 17th and meet the staff and other sailors who have learned or enhanced their skills on Chicago Sailing’s fleet of charter boats.They offer introduction to sailing courses as well as advanced classes and charters. More at http://www.chicagosailing.com)

Saturday, March 14, 2015: Racine, WI @ 12:30 pm
The United States Power Squadron District 20 will be holding their spring conference in Racine, Wisconsin. If you’re a member of the Power Squadron, I’m sure you would enjoy this event. For more information, contact admiralbill@sbcglobal.net

Friday, April 17, 2014: Chicago, IL
The Cruising Fleet of the Chicago Yacht Club will be having their Meet the Fleet event at the Monroe Street Station in Chicago. I will be regaling them with stories of sailing the open ocean and the wonders of cruising the destinations l visited when circumnavigating. This event is open to Chicago Yacht Club members and their guests. For more information Contact: info@chicagoyachtclub.org

There are a few other events in the planning at this stage; I’ll let you know when they are firmed up. If your organization or school would be interested in having me come speak to them, please contact me.

eilberg_award_550

And here’s a photo of the Eilberg Award, presented by the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society for seamanship. It’s an honor to be included with such notable names in Singlehanded Sailing as Steve Pettengil, Tim Kent and many others. Thanks friends!

So, for now, back to the snow shovels! More soon! Information that is, not snow!

- Dave 

Walking to the End of the Year

What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time, I was sailing in the Southern Indian Ocean having left Cape Town, South Africa bound for Wellington, New Zealand – alone aboard Bodacious Dream on the desolate sea at Christmas time, but fully alive and living my dream. Maybe some of you remember those Christmas posts. The year before that, found me in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean bringing Bodacious Dream home to the U.S. from Portugal. While holidays at sea often bring up emotions of sadness and loneliness, being away from family and friends – for me, it’s also an occasion for gratitude, and a chance to focus on the surrounding natural beauty and so by-pass the distractions of our crazy world.

Dave_Franklin_550Dave, Franklin and Christmas Dinner 2013!

This year I’m home in Indiana enjoying the holiday season closer to family and friends. I will admit though that on occasion, and most often late at night, my thoughts wander back to the dark wide-open ocean under the grand canopy of stars. There is always that essential beauty and power in nature which if you allow it to work its magic, can reconnect you to life in all its splendor.

indian_ocean_550
A Southern Ocean Sunset

Enjoying Christmas as I do, I find myself re-playing a few favorite tunes from one of my favorite holiday albums, Christmas Goes to Sea by Lee Murdock. I especially like the song about the Christmas Ship – which tells the tale of the schooner Rouse Simmons that brought Christmas trees down from the northern end of Lake Michigan to Chicago in the early 1900’s.

lee_murdock_200Another favorite, Blessed Christmas Morn, is about leaving harbor on Christmas morning … and the feelings of the departing sailor who was leaving behind his folks who were growing old. (The link to the sing is here!) …

(Click on the “listen” box to the right and then close the popup windows - click “leave the page” and you should be able to listen to the music. :)

Those of you that followed Oakcliff Racing, (Class 40 #118 formerly named Bodacious Dream) know the young men from Oakcliff did an amazing job, winning their section and placing second overall in the first running of the RORC Trans-Atlantic Race! Congrats goes out to that crew for such a great performance. As I shared with them, Bo knows where she’s going. Get her going in the right direction and she will make her way. Bodacious Dream always showed me her spirit and her urge to lead—not just on the racecourse and across oceans, but in life as well. She has done so once again, leading these young men on the great adventure of their first trans-oceanic crossing … and taking a top prize at the same time!

In keeping with the spirit of Bodacious Dream and leading forward, we are starting to ramp up our future. The book that everyone keeps asking me about is coming along, slowly, but coming. I now understand why it takes so long to get books written! I hope to have it done this spring. In the meantime, Franklin and I along with a 4’ inflatable globe have been asked to do a number of talks. Some of these are specifically for kids of all ages and Franklin and I agree, these are the most important talks. Once again, it’s kids we need to help lead forward. I’ll send out another note soon with upcoming dates should you be nearby and care to attend.

Atlantic CupAdvancing our interest in sharing with kids, and carrying on the Bodacious Dream, we will this year be  expanding our involvement with The Atlantic Cup, by collaborating with 11th Hour Racing on their their Kids Pages and their educational outreach program. This is going to be great fun as Manuka Sports Management seeks to expand the reach of the learning programs tied to the Atlantic Cup.

So, there’s a lot going on for us in this coming new year, but what I’m looking forward to most now is what has become a tradition for me over the past 25 years – that of taking a midnight walk on Christmas Eve wherever I am.

bd_winter_225This year, I’ll be at home and will walk the chilly shores of Lake Michigan where my learning of the natural world began some 50 years ago. This walk will be different than the past few years when I walked laps around Bodacious Dream’s deck – but no less significant. Regardless of where on the globe Christmas finds me, if you are near, you’ll most likely hear me humming Silent Night. (Lee Murdock does an especially nice version of this on his CD as well. The link to that song is here!)

So, I’ll leave it at that … and close by wishing you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays … and to one and all, an especially full and wonderful New Year! May it be healthy and full of wonder!

- Dave, Bodacious Dream and the snow-lovin’ Franklin