An Interview with Merf Owen, Naval Architect

Dave Rearick of Atlantic Cup Kids interviews Merf Owen, Sailor, Naval Architect and Yacht Designer and principal of Owen/Clark Design, LLC.

merf_owen_550

Dave Rearick (DR): How old are you now Owen, and when did you get interested in sailing?

Merf Owen (MO): I’m 53 and I first started sailing with a sail training organization called the Ocean Youth Club, when I was 16. I was brought up in the middle of England, far from the sea, but before I left school I had decided I would join the Navy, but I’d never been to sea really. So, I thought I had better do some sailing. My first few days at sea were spent in a very famous storm (in Europe) during the Fastnet Race of 1979.

DR: Where is your home office?

MO: I live in Hamble in England, but my company’s office is three hours away in Dartmouth and we also have an office in New Zealand. The Internet is what helps us to all be able to work together and share a working environment and communicate over thousands of miles and many different time zones.

DR: Your work has you travelling and sailing all around the world, how much do you travel?

MO: I spend a lot of time on the West Coast and East Coast of the United States for business and pleasure. In one year I am only in Hamble perhaps 6 months maximum. The rest of the time I’m in the US, Europe and Australia meeting clients, sailing or going to boatyards/conferences etc.

DR: Do you remember a moment in your life where you got your first big sailing break? The first chance to crew on a hot racer, a meeting with a famous sailor or something like that? Can you tell just a bit about how it inspired you?

MO: The first break was sailing with the Ocean Youth Club… it changed my life. My first big break racing was sailing as navigator on the 85’ catamaran Novell Network with an English skipper called Peter Phillips. We took part in the Round Europe Race in 1985. I was twenty two… and inspired by sailing alongside some of the greatest sailors of their generation… Robin Knox Johnston, Phillip Poupon, Serge Madec, Tony Bullimore…. also Peter Phillips himself, who almost won (but came third in the end) in the 1980 Single-handed Transatlantic Race from Plymouth England to Newport RI. He was beaten by Frenchman Phillip Poupon. It was very special to be around these guys on the dock. I thought after this I would be a professional sailor… but I had to make a choice between careers and I chose design and engineering.

DR: I know you sailed the predecessor to the Volvo Ocean Race…

MO: No, I was a skipper on the BT Global Challenge 1996/97, at the time called the Whitbread Race.

DR: What boat did you sail and how did you get the chance to compete in the Whitbread?

MO: My boat was Global Teamwork. I got the chance by applying for the position of skipper with race organiser Sir Chay Blyth, who I knew from my days multihull sailing. Chay had won the double-handed transatlantic race and was the first man to row the Atlantic Ocean. I applied for the job by an email using satellite communication, the same day as I rounded Cape Horn for the first time with another old friend of mine I met racing multihulls. Alan Wyn Thomas. I’m a strong believer that a sailing life and life in general is about meeting people, being stroked by them and stroking others in return. I am from the middle of England, far from the sea, no one in my family sailed and my father was a train driver. I was lucky with the people I met, but I also made the effort to go out and meet people. I think this is important for young people to know: There are a lot of good people out there who will and can help, but you need to go out and not be afraid to ask, get dirty, start at the bottom, and work hard for what you want… that’s the American way too isn’t it?

merf_design1

DR: When did you get interested in Yacht Design and what course of study did you pursue to become a yacht designer?

MO: I left the Navy and put myself through college… to study naval architecture (submarine design actually) with Royal Corps Naval Constructors at University College London. It was during this time, sailing and racing other people’s boats that I began to gain confidence and begin to think that I could design something better than the boats I was sailing.

DR: Are there particular classes a young student should pay particular attention to if they want to pursue yacht design and engineering?

MO: Maths, Physics, computer studies… but you need to get out on the water too. I would never employ a designer/engineer who either does not sail or has not worked as a boat-builder. Yacht design is not just a theoretical engineering subject. One needs passion and the two most passionate types of people I know are boat builders and sailors. Even if you’re not a great engineer/mathematician, there can be a place for you in a yacht design office if you’ve other skills.

DR: In the years you’ve been designing, can you talk us through a simple history of the changes you’ve seen?

MO:I think the students will find it interesting how far technology has come in the 30 years since I started designing boats at the beginning of the commercial computer age. Although my business partner has ‘drawn’ boats I never have. I used an early Apple computer…an SE to produce the geometry, the line drawings, using an early version of the MaxSurf software that we still use.

Engineering was undertaken with Lamanal Software using a Sirius computer I bought from a company called SP. It was very advanced at the time and cost a lot of money. It used actual Floppy discs – 5.25 inch which could hold 600 KB of information. Amazing eh? Jumping forward thirty years and my laptop is many times more powerful than the Cray super-computer I used at University to develop software in Fortran 77. Nowadays the performance orientated yacht designer’s armory of hardware and software on our laptops is comprehensive. We have the ability to model using computational fluid dynamics, weather, performance analysis and engineering that only an America’s Cup team would have had even ten years ago.

merf_design2

DR: How many Class 40 designs have you done and how many of your designs are in the Atlantic Cup this year?

MO: We have just signed a contract on our sixteenth Class 40 that will be built in South Africa. In the Atlantic Cup this year we have two of our boats racing… Dragon, one of our oldest boats, built in 2008 and Longbow, which is a new boat built last year in Rhode Island.

DR: Longbow is your most recent Class 40 design. You designed it specifically for the Atlantic Cup. In simple terms a person without detailed knowledge would notice, what makes it different?

MO: Class 40 began in Europe where the target races are mainly Trans-Atlantic from East to West. Racing sailboats rely on wind to power them. How fast they go, depends on how they perform changes with the different speeds and angles to the wind that they sail. If you sail across the Atlantic from West to East, instead of from West to East, then it’s possible to design a different kind of boat, one that is faster in those winds. Also, on average in the ocean, in the middle of the Atlantic the wind is stronger than it is on the east coast of the United States. Since all the Class 40s designed and built in Europe were designed for the Atlantic Races, we thought it would be a good idea to design Longbow just for the races it will do on the East coast of the USA. The owner of Longbow just wants to race in America, not across the Atlantic… so the boat is specifically designed for the local conditions. It is faster in the light winds that are a feature of sailing in the summer along the Eastern Seaboard between Charleston and Portland.

DR: What do you think makes a boat a good design?

MO: All good sailing boats are easy to sail, hold their direction when sailing with the minimum of input from the sailor/helmsman. We also like our boats to be “pretty”, although beauty is different in the eye of different people. We often use the following phrases when talking with clients/boat builders/journalists. These are phrases that are well-known to describe design, and we are not the first to use them:

“Function follows form…. which means if it looks right, it ‘probably’ is right.”

At the same time as the above, we’re engineers/technicians as well so we also believe that those who fall in love with practice but without science are like a sailor who steers a ship without a helm or compass, and who never can be certain whither they are going. And the great Nat Hereshoff invented a word when he urged designers to: “Simplicate and add lightness.”

DR: Why do the Class 40’s have two rudders when other boats only have one?

MO: Class 40s are so wide that when they heel over in the wind, if they had only one rudder in the middle it would come out of the water and make the boat impossible to steer.

DR: Most people will notice these boats are very wide, what is the reason for this?

MO: Most racing sailboats historically have been designed to a rule that limits the width of the boat and also the performance. Class 40 comes from a genre of design which has a history of unrestricted rule… it’s called “Open Class.” Wider, in general, is faster… so long as there’s enough wind to match the sailplan of the boat and keep it ‘powering along.’

DR: Are the boats considered light for their size?

MO: Yes, they are… not super light because the rule limits their construction to glass fibre… to save cost. They could be lighter if they were built from carbon fibre… nevertheless, compared to your average sailboat, they are light.

DR: How fast can the Class 40’s go?

MO: I have sailed at 22 knots, but I know boats in certain conditions have sailed at 25 knots and even 30 knots… which is 29-35 mph.

DR: What has been the most exciting project you have worked on designing boats?

MO: So many exciting projects and not all of them racing boats… it’s hard to pick one because they’re all exciting and often for different reasons. People you work with also add excitement, as well as the kind of boat. At the moment, we’re working on a high -latitude cruising boat that will visit the Antarctic and the Arctic and it’s built out of aluminium, not carbon fibre. It’s a very exciting project. Of course, my first boat… a 35’ racing trimaran was an amazing project. I’m still best of friends with the three people who helped me build that boat and one of them is my business partner. Kingfisher, our first Open 60 was designed and built in New Zealand for a young girl… Dame Ellen MacArthur (from the middle of England, much like myself). That was an amazing project, both because of the technology and the people. Our eight and most recent Open 60, Acciona was the first racing boat of its type to circumnavigate the Globe without having any carbon/fossil fuels onboard… just solar and water-generated energy… a cool project. And let’s not forget Longbow… a great project, working with good people and a great owner to create a very special and innovative sailboat. It was fun too building her right here in the United States.

DR: I’m sure the computer and CAD drawing has changed your work… what exciting technologies do you hope these young students watching the Atlantic Cup will develop to make the job of yacht designing even easier and boats even better?

MO: 3D printing is beginning to make a difference in how we present projects to a client. Five years ago we were able to use it, at great cost, to show a client what a 40m cruising boat would look like. Today a workable size printer sells for $3000, and we’re just about to buy one for the office. In the future I’m sure we’ll be able to walk clients though a holographic image of a design, either in our office, at the boatyard or at their home. I hope this happens before I retire!

DR: Thanks so much Merf!

 

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.

AC_teams

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.

ft_allen_560

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.

kids_day_560

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.

ocean_world_560

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

tradewinds

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!

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

Stonehenge and Winchester Cathedral

Back again after another long delay. As promised, I want to share my visit to Stonehenge, but before that, I want to let you know about a few new published pieces. First off, Sailing Magazine has published my article on Bodacious Dream and the circumnavigation in their new November issue.

sailingmagSailing Magazine has its home in Port Washington, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan, my home waters. It’s a well-respected magazine that shares the beauty of sailing and racing through photos and stories, along with a lot of great information and advice on equipment as well as boat reviews. We’ll let you know if and when they publish it online, but if you come across a copy of the magazine, check it out!

Hurrican Island Outward Bound SchoolAlso, this month the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) Blog has posted an interview with me where I talk about the circumnavigation, but also about how the time I spent at HIOBS in my teens prepared me for facing the various mental and physical challenges that attend to ocean racing and distance sailing. The new interview on their blog is right HERE! And if you’d like to dip back into the archive, an earlier post from March describes my whole Outward Bound Story.

So now, onto Stonehenge!

When last we left it, Matt Scharl and I had sailed Bodacious Dream to Hamble, England where we finished taking care of her, preparing her for her stay. With a spare day before my return to the US, I drove to Stonehenge, about 45 miles from Hamble. I punched the coordinates into the GPS and followed the gentle, British-accented female voice, turn by turn through the beautiful countryside, trying hard to stay on the “wrong” side of the road! Fortunately, many of the roads are less than two lanes wide, making it much easier to stay in your lane!

stonehenge2

Late in the afternoon, I came over a rise on the motorway and off to the side of the road you could see that great and iconic circle of stones we instantly recognize as Stonehenge. A few more miles drive to the visitor’s center gave me time to reflect on the amazing history I was about to witness.

stonehenge5

The history of Stonehenge has fascinated me since I first learned of it, at some point in my youth and likely through National Geographic magazine. On this day, the broken overcast, grey blue skies and late afternoon light against the bright green rolling hills cast a perfect backdrop for me to explore up-close the mystery of Stonehenge. It was easy to imagine ancient peoples gathering here to commemorate and celebrate events in their community’s lives.

stonehenge1

The building of Stonehenge began some 5000 years ago and evolved over the course of the next few thousand years. The original layout of upright wooden logs was eventually replaced with the large stones moved some 250 miles to the present location. At various times in history, stones were moved or rearranged and additional stones brought in, which modern historians believe provided “healing” inspiration for the people at Stonehenge. The surrounding countryside is dotted with burial mounds and depressions indicating roads or avenues connecting the river to Stonehenge. All these mysterious ruins give sustenance to imaginative debates on what actually happened there… and unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the mysteries remain largely unanswered.

Pictures tell more of the story and in the presence of the intimidating intentions of these ancient people, my staying quiet, listening and feeling the earth seemed the wiser course than going off on wild speculating. The greatest things in life are often not very loud!

DR_stonehengeFinishing my walk around the perimeter of Stonehenge, I drove off again across the English countryside, past the various burial mounds that seem nonchalantly placed in no particular pattern. What had taken place here? Why here? Was there something more significant to this particular plot of land? Was this a place of worship or celebration? There are so many wonders in the world… isn’t it fascinating that we get the chance to exercise such questions and feelings?

winchester2I awoke early the next morning with a plan to return to London and Heathrow Airport for my flight home, but had one more stop to make. Winchester Cathedral is an amazing building and the location of the grave of the famous English author, Jane Austen.

As a builder, I remain forever amazed at the ingenious engineering and workmanship that went into building the great Gothic-era cathedrals of Europe. These astonishing buildings, some over a thousand years old, were built over the course of generations by villages of craftsmen as a testament to their communities, their religion and their skills.

Here are some more photographs of majestic Winchester Cathedral.

winchester1
winchester4
westminster3As I drove off to catch my flight, it occurred to me that perhaps both Stonehenge and Winchester Cathedral stood as monuments to people’s faith and belief in providence. Though each was so entirely different in  design, they felt to me equal in how they spoke to mankind impulse to challenge itself in extraordinary ways. Though Stonehenge stands small in comparison to Winchester, it felt equally grand when you consider the technology and engineering of its time.

So, I will leave you with this last question that still haunts me. We know the history of Winchester Cathedral. Is the historical speculation around Stonehenge similar to it, or might there be something much more intriguing (and still unknown) going on in earth’s history to which we are no longer aware?

For now,

- Dave

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

:: BDX Website:: Email List Sign-Up :: Contact Us :: Twitter :: BDX FB

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.

beagle_300

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

oceanographic_550

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

Dave Interviews the Experts

During my time here in Florida, I’ve been able to get some important repairs done to the boat’s mast. I also caught up with some old friends that live down this way and I delved into the endless well of photos and videos I’ve accumulated in the last 25,000 miles. But now it’s time to depart and to sail the last 1000 miles home to Jamestown, RI.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 1.52.46 PMLast week, just after arriving here in U.S. waters, I met up with an old friend Tim Kent. Back in 2002, Tim competed with his Open 50 in the “Around Alone” race, sailing the world singlehanded. Part of our discussion centered on the tools and technologies that I used to make a journey similar to the one he made 12 years earlier. He told me that from his boat at that time, he was able to send off daily email reports, which was fairly recent technology back then. Now – depending of course on the connectivity (which is pretty darn spotty in the more remote parts of the ocean) – I was able to send videos and photos off the boat. One day before long, it will no doubt be possible for sailors like Tim or myself to stream HD color video and high-quality audio from anywhere in the world. Imagine the windows on the world that will open!

Changes in technology always bring with them very interesting shifts in how we carry on with our daily  routines. How I use electronic navigation hardware and software today is quite different than it was for Tim in 2002. The types of rigging we use on today’s boats are a world away from the heavier and more quickly worn lines that were around in the last century. Perhaps most dramatically, how boats today are constructed and of what type of new materials… is pure progress in action.

capt_dave_ac_215Why not I thought, for the sake of our BDX Learning and Discovery agenda, interview some of my friends who are more knowledgeable than I in specific areas of new sailing-related technologies. So, that’s what I did … and I must say I was knocked out by the results. I would like to share with you here all three of the interviews that I conducted recently with a group of the most skilled folks I know, in the areas of Navigation, Rigging and Composite Technology.

I asked each of them to share with us how recent changes in technology are being applied to and altering ancient methods.

If you are at all interested in the finer points of sailing, I highly encourage you to check out these interviews. Here’s who and what we have.

1) John Hoskins and Matt Scharl each tell us about advancements in sailing navigation systems

JH: “The GPS of course is tied into a host of things… a chart plotter, (this is a computer-like monitor with nautical charts imbedded in it), the wind instruments, sea temperatures, an automatic identification system (AIS), expedition navigation software, and the uplink Sailor 250 satellite for access to the Internet for GRIB files, that store tide and weather information.”

JohnH_150MattS_150

2) Alan Veenstra catches us up on new rigging technology, and how the principles of old are being modified by new lighter and stronger fibers and materials.

AV: “Modern cordage is so strong that it has made traditional hardware nearly obsolete on high-performance sailboats. The current technological revolution is in creating strong, light hardware from composites of carbon, ceramics, and epoxy.”

Alan Veenstra

3) Finally, and in the longest interview, my good friend and chief builder of Bodacious Dream, Lapo Ancillotti takes us on a journey through composite materials technology, from the early days and how advances in that field have brought us to a world where “carbon fiber” is a commonly used term for anything light, strong and amazing.

LA: “3D printing is a suitable technology for light articles and prototype production only, at least until new material like “printed carbon fiber” become available – which might be happening soon… as experiments are already under way!”

lapo_150

So, as I take off here on Saturday, sailing the last 1000 mile up the Eastern Seaboard to Jamestown, RI, I’ll have a lot to think about and reflect upon.

I will follow up here soon with some interesting perspectives of my own. In the mean time, here’s one more video clip of a pod of False Killer Whales that came across my path just north of Cuba. Quite graciously, (though it may be hard for you to see) one of them flaps their tail a bit in what I understood to be a gesture of good luck for these final miles of my journey.


False Killer Whales

More soon,

- Dave, Bodacious Dream and (the compositely constructed) Franklin

:: BDX Website :: Email List Sign-Up :: Explorer Guides :: BDX Facebook