One Week till Circumnavigation Time!

Today is Friday, September 20th! That means there are just 10 days left until I depart on my solo-circumnavigation. The days are full from beginning to end with all sorts of things to do … from working on the boat to tracking down equipment and ordering food.

LighthouseToday was no exception as I finished up some small projects, and then spent some time on the computer before going out for another test sail with some of the crew from Bodacious IV. What a beautiful Friday evening sail on Narragansett Bay, not unlike the wonderful open sails that old friends and I used to take Friday nights on Lake Michigan. When I sit here now and think about crossing the oceans, I fall into thinking about how huge Lake Michigan felt back then. Will the feeling be at all similar or will it be something entirely different?

KVH domeThe boat projects are nearly done … well “almost” nearly done. We got the KVH satellite dome back and installed. Later this coming week, I’ll be installing the hydro generator and a new stern hatch. The hydro generator is an impressive piece of ingenuity, which generates electricity directly from the flow of water under the hull. This is one of the initiatives that 11th Hour Racing, our friends that sponsor the Atlantic Cup Race, the first carbon-neutral sailing race in the world, promote to lessen the overall impact of sailing on the environment. Stay tuned for more on that subject, as I put this technology to a real test.

While working on Bodacious Dream, I walk down the dock each day and notice the strange jellyfish that seem to float in the currents as the tide flushes in and out of the harbor. Each day, twice a day at about 6 hour and 15 minute intervals, the tides flow into and out of the harbor raising and lowering the water levels by about 5 feet. Some of the places Bodacious Dream has sailed, the tides range up to 30 feet in water elevation … which as you might imagine stirs up a lot of current as this massive amount of water flows in and out of the bays and nearby inlets.

Truth be told, I’ve grown unreasonably fond of BoDream’s new splashguards …

Today, while walking I took a closer look at the water and had the most amazing time observing the small minnows and fish darting around these translucent jellyfish. These jellyfish just amaze me. They are about the size of a large grape or small plum and their very thin membrane of body has a bluish tint. Actually you can see right through them … and inside, well, I don’t know how to describe it, but there seems to be a small filament of fiber that somehow pulsates and throws off this curious iridescent color. It isn’t just a reflection of the sunlight, but seems to pulsate from within … and I almost think their responses are tied to my being there and hovering over them. Maybe they are communicating with each other or maybe there is some propulsion factor involved, but regardless, the amazing nature of these beauties is a wonder to watch. One thing I better appreciate now is how this life form has managed to survive been for hundreds of millions of years! No easy feat! Guess this is just the beginning of my staring into the mysterious deep! Anyway, here’s video on them to watch!

The Jellyfish beckon … 

I have to keep this short, because with such long days, and more to come, it’s time for some rest … so I can … oh yeah … do it all again tomorrow!

More later.

Dave and Bodacious Dream (and a few thousand of our new friendly jellyfish!)

Trans-Pacific – Day #11 – 100 miles to go!

Day #11 arrives and it finds us in the Islands! 100 miles to go … and we are now into the final hours of the race!

We sighted Maui in a distant haze about 4:30 PM Sunday, and at this point, have passed along most of its length. We seem to be continuing to add miles to our lead, as our Division 6 cohorts all begin to converge on Oahu. Naturally, we’re hoping the winds stay fair for us, and that our navigator extraordinaire John Hoskins and his grand strategy and navigation plan continue to pay dividends.

First Sighting of Maui
First Sighting of Maui

Along the coast of Maui, we saw a pod of whales today. We’re pretty sure they were pilot whales; three of them surfaced and crossed our path; always a joy to see such amazing creatures. We continue to see flying fish, as well as more and more birds and occasionally some dolphins.

Fatigue and endurance are constant factors that arise at this point in a long distance event such as this. Each crewmember has a different level of endurance balanced by different sleep requirements. What makes a team like ours work so well is that some of us get by on less sleep, while others need more. At the same time, some sleep sporadically while others sleep at least a portion of every off-watch!

The Coffee Grinder
The gang gathered around John Ayres at the Daily Grind

When it happens, as it did Sunday, that we encounter unexpected problems, various crewmembers must spend extra time on these chores, while others step up and take on extra hours of duty to give those physically more tired, a chance to rest up.

It would be a very interesting study for a sleep specialist to look at the nine of us in order to map and compare our various behaviors. What is most important to realize when considering the racing lifestyle is that though we have four hours on and four hours off, no one ever gets a full eight hours of sleep. So, unlike our lives on land, where most of us sleep seven or eight hours, and then are up for sixteen or seventeen, out here we are up for four hours and then down for four – assuming of course that you can actually sleep in the available window. Long distance sailing like this … and even more extreme events like the extended singlehanded sailing events that some of us compete in individually, can be among the most physically demanding of sporting events.

Here’s the latest race standings from late Sunday night!

Late Sunday Night Leaderboard

So, here we come HONOLULU! We’re hoping for an early morning arrival … so look for some kind of announcement on the Transpac website and on their Transpac Facebook page. Big kudos to Dobbs Davis and Jeremy Leonard and the Transpac Media Crew for doing a great (and difficult) job!

We’ll post something as soon as we can … so expect some news one way or another – either in your inbox, on our BD CAPTAIN’S BLOG or on our BD FACEBOOK PAGE very soon.

Another big thank you to all who generously gave to our HAEA! It’s never too late to help.

And lastly, a big shout out to Mark Petrakis of Firm Solutions … for his adept handling of the shore-side communications – and making sure that all of this groggy sailor’s missives got out to you as intended!

Ok … more after we land, and after we pop a few cold somethings!

Once more, all of our gratitude for keeping up with us the way you have, and for all your welcome notes and comments.

– The Intrepid Crew of Bodacious IV
Skipper Jeff Urbina, Capt. Tim Eades, John Hoskins, Matt Scharl, Jim McLaren, Chris Pike, Christer Still, John Ayres and Dave Rearick.

Coordinates: +21.05480, -156.06334
SOG (Speed over Ground): 10 knots
COG (Course over Ground): 280 degrees

Trans-Pacific – Gybes & Squalls on Day #5

We are still sailing on the spinnaker and making about 9-10 knots, even in today’s lighter winds. We’re learning too about the “squalls” of the Pacific. Squalls are small, localized rain showers that pop up and create stronger wind in front of them and to their left side. But if you make the mistake of getting behind them or to their right, they shut the winds down. We put some good moves on the first of last night’s squalls, and so found ourselves topping out at 20 knots of speed in 25 knots of wind. And as arrogance will always beat you back, just when we thought we were self-proclaimed experts at squall riding, we found ourselves languishing in the next one. So it is, we keep on learning! Every new part of the ocean you visit, it’s Sailing 101 all over again.

Gang of fourCapt. Tim Eades, John Hoskins, Christer Still, Chris Pike …

Our days are “somewhat” typical … though they never quite seem to begin or end, but for the slow revelation of a sunrise or a sunset. Today’s sunrise was followed in short order by Capt. Tim’s now-famous “BodEGGcious McMuffins” – Canadian bacon, French cheese and a Finnish Egg  on an English muffin. This is becoming quite the morning tradition onboard!

The Coffee GrinderThe Coffee Grinder helps you burn calories after Breakfast …

From there, we just sail … we take our watches with four hours on and four hours off. When you are on, you rotate through the jobs of sailing the boat, steering, trimming the sails, grinding the big winch and monitoring navigation. When you change, it might be your turn to clean dishes, cook, check equipment, take care of personal hygiene or even get a couple of hours of sleep! And then, you start over again. It’s a routine, for sure, but time slips by quickly too. It’s hard to believe we are at the halfway distance point … and maybe a bit more than halfway time-wise.

The one thing that interrupts the routine is the call from the navigator to “GYBE!!” This call sets in motion a number of things … first, the four crew on deck each take to a familiar job … one drives, one will be on the release of the spinnaker sheet (rope that trims,) another will be on the take up sheet (other side of the boat rope that trims) while the fourth will grind the big “coffee grinder” winch. This is the double handlebar configured winch that packs super powers and five gears!

Dave on the Coffee GrinderDave on the Coffee Grinder after lunch, with Matt and Jim …

Everyone in place … ok, here we go! We’re GYBING! The driver turns the boat, the release lets the line go in a timed controlled flow, the trimmer takes up the new line as it comes around and the grinder spins the handles with all the energy he has, to help pull in the new line, at which point, that 2000 square foot monster spinnaker collapses, flutters and then floats around the front of the boat and shifts over to the OTHER side of the boat where it puffs right up again. And all the while, we are wishing we had a fifth set of hands to help with the other lines and such that get pulled and trimmed as necessary. When done right, a gybe is a beautiful maneuver. When done wrong, it’s a bad McMuffin … bit of a hot mess. We’ll probably repeat this same ritual of actions 50 to 70 times between California and Hawaii!!

So, our days continue one after another, mile after mile on to Hawaii. It’s up to us to generate our own excitement and keep our minds keen. That’s where old jokes, good friendly barbs and lots of laughs among great friends come in real handy. Wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!

Until later … we remain … sailing over that “bounding main,”

– The Crew of Bodacious IV
Skipper Jeff Urbina, Capt. Tim Eades, John Hoskins, Matt Scharl, Jim McLaren, Chris Pike, Christer Still, John Ayres and Dave Rearick.

Coordinates: + 25.54130, -137.52511
SOG (Speed over Ground) – 9.2
COG (Course over Ground) – 211 degrees

Trans-Pacific – The First Three Days …

The Transpac Race started for us Thursday, July 11th at 1pm PDT. We left from Point Fermin near Long Beach, CA bound for Honolulu, HI. There are 9 boats in our division (#6.) Each of the vessels is similar to our, Bodacious IV, in that they are all 50 or 52 foot Santa Cruz racers, and each like us, carries a crew of nine. Here’s our team.

The Bodacious IV team just before the start of the race.
The Bodacious IV team just before the start of the race. From L to R … Christer Still, Matt Scharl, Chris Pike, John Hoskins, Jim McLaren, John Ayres, Jeff Urbina, Tim Eades & Dave Rearick.

The first night, we were surrounded by the constant baying of seals … a haunting call in the dark of night, to be sure. We also had a visit from some indeterminate species of mammal. It being dark, identifying it with any accuracy was difficult for us. As our crew is mostly from the Great Lakes, none of us are too experienced with the local amalgam of sea life. Once loose in the vast Pacific, you quickly come to realize how inadequate the paltry range of categories for sea life you carry with you are, when put against the greater varieties of species that actually exist all around you out here. It’s another one of those pay attention calls that nature loves to deliver, once you put yourself out there and on the receiving end of live experience.

Cool and overcast conditions prevailed all the way to Saturday morning, when the sun broke through allowing us to shed some clothes for an amazing day of sailing at around 12 knots of boat speed and essentially down the “rhumb line” (a fixed compass position indicating the most direct route) to Hawaii. We were able to do this, because the Pacific High pressure zone had move to the north and west bringing us these great winds.

Bodacious IVSunday arrived like a gift. We set our spinnakers and went to working our way down the trade wind route to Hawaii, sailing between 14 and 20 knots … in winds coming from our starboard (right) quarter (back corner of the boat) direction. This was giving us steady speeds with a peak speed so far of 17.2 knots!

We saw our first flying fish Sunday, which tells us the water is getting warmer … AND we had a squid fly up on deck as well, during one of our sail changes, and leaving some ink stains on the deck. Ancient mariners used to navigate by such natural signs. They knew that such occurrences indicated they were changing latitudes as the temperatures of the water, smell of the sea, angle of the winds, types of fish and sea life are all somewhat specific to certain regions of the sea … not unlike how various plants and animals on land are recognizably native to particular regions.

Crew spirits are high, lots of laughs and barbs zinging back and forth. And on top of that, we are eating like kings! Dinner Sunday was a delicious Veal Moscato courtesy of Chef Pierce Johnson … our French chef friend and long-time crew member who is sitting out the race this year, but who is remembered fondly at every meal. (If you’re interested, here’s a video interview with Pierce about nutrition on boats.)

A quartet of sailorsAppraising the situation, planning the future …

We started our Sunday with the Code 0 sail up, with a staysail as well. Then we switched to the A3 spinnaker, and later to our A2. The spinnakers are those large billowy (and photogenic) sails in the front of the boat. The various sails have different sizes and shapes to use for different wind angles and strengths.

Also, for our friends at Earthwatch Institute – we’ve been keeping an eye out for debris and wildlife. Not too much to report so far, except for the beautiful and wide-open blue waters of the Pacific as far as the eye can see.

For those of you following along and working out the math problems on the Explorer Guides, you can do another calculation and take a guess at when we might arrive in Hawaii! Send us an email with your predictions.

Thanks to all for your support!

– Dave, reporting from Bodacious IV

On the Eve of the Trans-Pacific!

Bodacious IV It’s been a busy week here in Long Beach, California! The harbor has been abuzz with boats and sailors, spectators and press as we complete our preparations for Bodacious IV to compete in the 107-year old Transpac Race!

We arrived in Long Beach after having developed a problem with the mast during the trip from San Diego, which upended all our well thought-out plans and schedules. After consulting with engineers and technicians, repairs were completed this past Sunday, and since then, we’ve been working to catch up and get back on schedule.

Yesterday, Captain Tim Eades and I were joined by the rest of the Bodacious Racing Team, and we are now at full strength going into the final stretch. The proverbial “list” is now close to manageable, we’ll get in a practice sail today and be ready to rock it come our start tomorrow Thursday at 1:00 pm, PDT!

Boats in Long Beach
Bretwayda, Bodacious IV, Lending Club & The Queen Mary!

There’s an amazing group of competitors and vessels around us here, and we’re expecting some very close racing right up to the finish line. The whole race has a total of 57 boats competing in three sections with staggered start times. This is to help consolidate the finish times in Hawaii by having the faster boats give the rest of the field a head start. The first start was on Monday, and in that start was our friend and fellow Class 40 racer Hanna Jenner onboard Dorade, which is a very special boat, having won the Trans-Pac back in 1936! Another fellow Class 40 competitor, Ryan Breymeier, will be competing in the large trimaran, Lending Club. They have been upgrading their onboard systems in an attempt to set a new multi-hull record time for covering the Transpac course in less than 5 days! We’ll see how they do. We’ll also be keeping a close eye on an old friend, Phil Pollard, who is sailing on Bretwalda 3.

Bodacious Dream ExpeditionsConcurrent to the race, we have also uploaded a Trans-Pacific Expedition discovery “module” here on … this one naturally covers the Pacific Ocean and Hawaiian Islands.
Here we give you background and study guides to help you share with the kids in your world, what’s going on around our daily updates as we venture across the largest ocean on the planet, the Pacific Ocean.

In the “print-ready” Explorer Guides, you can have some fun working out the math problems and reviewing the general knowledge questions. It’s an utterly amazing part of the world we will be voyaging through, so come along and learn about it with us … in real-time!

AC Education Day in NYC
Matt and Dave field some tough questions from the inquisitors in NYC …

Speaking of sharing our experience with a younger generation; this is at the heart of what we do as sailors and humans. On this note, the good folks at the Atlantic Cup and 11th Hour Racing were kind enough to ask me to write a piece for them on the two “Education Days” we had in-between Atlantic Cup race legs. On those two days, several of us skippers had a chance to hang out and share our experiences with groups of city school kids. It was a very special experience. My post is titled, “If I knew then, what I know now …” and you can read it right HERE!

The folks at the Transpac have also done a good job enhancing the online experience for you, as well. Here are some of the various ways you can follow the action.

Transpac 2013• The Transpac Website is here
• The Yellowbrick Race Tracker is here
• Their Facebook Page is here

Of course, we will (in our own inimitable way) be keeping you updated here on our Bodacious sites and on our Facebook page as well.

So, that’s about it … there’s a LOT of excitement coming up in these next couple of weeks of hard racing. We’re hoping to cover the 2250 miles in 10 days or so, after which it will be time for a few days of rest and relaxation in Hawaii before heading back into the thick of things in preparation for the circumnavigation aboard Bodacious Dream in the fall!

HAEAWe hope you’ll take time to follow us on this grand race and adventure, explore our expedition materials and also support our good friends at the Earthwatch Institute … and if you can, help out our partners at the U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA) who are working hard to find a cure for all those affected by that disease. So … until the next update, all the best to you, from all of us onboard Bodacious IV!

– Skipper Jeff Urbina, Captain Tim Eades, John Ayres, Chris Pike, John Hoskins, Christer Still, Jim McLaren, Matt Scharl & Dave Rearick

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Final Day)

I apologize for the delay in getting out this final daily update. Soon after arriving in San Diego at about 09:00 on Friday morning, and not long after the grey of dawn turned into a bright morning, we were swept up in a whole series of events – clearing customs, getting to our dock, cleaning up the boat, sleeping and eating, working out the logistics of getting the crew home; all of these an everyday part of boat life.

As we sailed the last 100 miles up the coast on Thursday, we kept a vigilant eye out for whales, but were probably a bit north of their playground for this time of year. The crew was lively and having fun with the anticipation of arriving at our destination. We did some shipboard chores, played music and enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere the calmer weather provided for us.

Blessed with a clear and simple sunset on our last night, we began to mark off miles to San Diego. 

As darkness spread, the increase in light rising from Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego seeped into the night sky and caused the slow disappearance of the many softer and more distant stars that simply aren’t bright enough to pierce the luminous glow that rises from our big cities.

Last Sunset

I have seen this many times now and have found this transition from the open ocean (and sparsely populated areas) into more densely populated areas, something of a passage between two worlds – the ancient one and the modern one … the entirely natural one we were born into and the world that has been entirely made and remade by us. These two aspects of our lives seemed perfectly illustrated by the harbor seals laying in the sun on the big salty red navigation marks that guided our boat into San Diego harbor.

Looking back on the week, this first test expedition was a wonderful time for all of us onboard. Our days and nights were filled with lots of laughter, friendship and excitement as we scanned the horizons in search of interesting things to share with you all.

I am a little disappointed we did not see more whales. We did see many whale spouts, but few were close enough to see in more detail. Friendly visits though from seals and dolphins and the occasional mysterious sighting of large fins in the water kept us intrigued and excited. The sea is full of such breathtaking wonders … and yet the world above the sea proved to be just as intriguing – especially that solitary visit from that friendly seagull (video)!

I’ll have more to say soon about what we learned about what lies ahead. 

One thing we know though … is that our NEXT Expedition will be aboard our dearly missed Bodacious Dream … and that will be the Atlantic Cup Race that begins May 11th, starting in Charleston, SC where we will be racing BoDream to New York City and then around to Newport, Rhode Island.

We’ve also got more things to share with you from the last week in the coming days, so  please stay tuned fort that.

For all of us on Bodacious IV, Capt. Tim Eades, Dave Hardy, Heather, Jonathon Pond, and myself, as well as all our crewmates onshore … Mark Petrakis, Rob Forney, Nancy and Rick Usrey – we thank all of you Bodacious Dreamers for being there and allowing us to share all of this with you.

Dream on … !

– Dave Rearick

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day7)

Bodacious IV landed in San Diego yesterday (Friday) morning around 9am … all safe and sound.

The final leg up the coast was great … with photos and videos of that to come. Fortunately, no crew members were lost. In fact, some of them even found themselves in a new world of fun … a little like having their own reality show … which I guess kind of applies to everyone – to some extent … at least to the extent that the days of our lives are precious and unique and that the time we spend sharing them with wonderful people are even more special. Many new and lasting friendships were made on this voyage … and if the whales decided to remain mostly out of sight … it’s not as if their presence wasn’t felt. We are excited for the next expedition.

Much to do today … and tonight calls for some serious sleep … but come Monday, we’ll have a proper media-rich update for you … with lots more to follow in the coming week.

Thank you again for following along … we all appreciated it so much!

Have yourselves a great weekend!

– Dave


BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day6)

The heavy weather of last night subsided this morning and we got in a pretty pleasant day of sailing and making miles northward towards San Diego. “Heavy weather” is a sailor’s way of describing windy and wavy conditions. While the conditions weren’t actually stormy, we did spend a lot of time sailing in 25 to 30 knots of winds with ocean swells running as high as 3 meters (or 10 feet) … throwing thick spray into the air and water across the decks.

Day View/ Night View
Day View/ Night View

As we get closer to San Diego, excitement builds among the crew in anticipation of the end of the passage. The Bo IV crew has been such a blast to sail with – right from the very beginning … but now, as we are approaching the end, we are all doing a lot of math trying to outguess each other as to how many miles we averaged over the last five hours, or what our average speed has been for the day, or what’s been our best distance made in 24 hours and of course, how many hours left until we finish. These are all fun things sailors like to do with numbers … that also underscore the need for them to have good math skills … especially if you are ever going to win any of these guessing games with your fellow crew members!

(So, have you figured out the difference between a knot and a mile per hour? That’s one of the bonus questions on our Explorer Guide for Math, if you want to check that out.)

QUESTIONS: Alongside questions of math, we have also had quite a few questions sent to us, that center on what goes on here, onboard a ship like Bodacious IV over the course of a near weeklong voyage.

For instance, people ask “How do we sleep?” “What we do at night?” “Do we stop somewhere?” “What do we eat?” “How do we stay warm?” Well, to each of those questions, there are various answers. So, let me respond to some of them.

SLEEP: Typically, we sail all through the night without stopping. To do this, we break the night into two watches with each watch lasting three hours. After three hours, a new watch comes on and the old watch goes off to sleep for three hours. We sleep in what we call bunks or berths. These are narrow beds below decks and often at different levels, depending on the design of the boat. They are narrow, so that you don’t get tossed around in heavy weather conditions like we had the last few nights. This system works well for keeping people rested and alert when you are sailing over a longer period of days. Then there are other trips where you might stop every other night in a harbor, and so pass the time more leisurely. But even in those situations, there would still be a watch system to ensure that someone at all times is in charge of the boat and its safe operation. (You can see a few bunks in the photo below.)

Jonathan Gearing Up for Foul Weather
Jonathan gears up for foul weather

FOOD/HUNGER: Eating is determined by a number of factors – the most important of which is having food available when you are hungry. But sometimes we have to wait until both crews are ready to eat, so that we can eat simultaneous to our changing watch. We eat primarily for energy, so depending on the level of work being called for, or how hot or cold the weather is, this can change what we eat and how often. When the weather is particularly rough, we often are only able to prepare sandwiches or snack foods. We steer clear of junk food as healthier whole grain breads, meats, fruits and vegetables give us more honest nutrition boosts and just a better and more energetic overall feeling. There is a good deal of math involved here too, as we calculate the energy, the food, the people and what their needs are, as each crew member has different dietary and calorie demands.

FOOD/ TEMPERTURE: Temperature also has a big impact on our diets. When it’s cold, people need to burn extra calories to stay warm … some people of course more than others. As we had heavy dew at night and temperatures down in the 40s, it wasn’t easy to stay warm, dry and alert when your body is trying so hard to find calories to burn. So you eat more when it’s cold out, so your body can keep burning calories and staying warm doing so. Can you see how important eating properly is and how math here too plays a role in the proper food fueling of a chip’s crew? And we haven’t even talked about cooking temperatures and times, and the math involved with doing all that.

To learn more about onboard nutrition, the video below is of an interview I recorded back in Cabo San Lucas with Chef and Master Provisioner Pierce Johnson (and noted nautical gourmand Jonathan Pond.)

Onboard Nutrition w/ Pierce and Jonathan

STAYING DRY & WARM: We also wear special clothes to help keep us dry and warm. Our base layers absorb the moisture from our body so that our skin feels less damp and wet. These materials are often a type of polyester mix of fabrics that have what are called “wicking” characteristics … meaning that they capture the moisture that evaporates from our bodies through sweat and transfers them to the outer layer of the cloth thus pulling moisture away from our bodies into an outer layer where it can evaporate. On top of those base layers, we wear fleeces and on top of those, our foul weather gear. In the old days, they used to just take cotton coats and soak them in wax or oil, so they would repel water when the waves and rain splashed on you.

Dave all duded up for foul weather
Bring it on!

Modern technology has developed a range of materials that have such small holes in them that even the most microscopic part of water (when it’s in a liquid form like rain or ocean water) can’t penetrate through the holes. At the same time though, when moisture is in an evaporated (vapor) form, like the steam from a teapot or like your warm breath in icy air … that no longer liquid moisture can flow out through the holes. Water can’t get in, but vapor can get out! Pretty cool – or warm – depending on how you look at it. So, with these special clothes, we get the help we need in order to keep ourselves warm and dry in windy and wavy conditions – just like we’ve experienced the last couple of days.

SAFETY: In addition to the foul weather gear, every crew member also wears what are called Personal Flotation Device (or PFDs.) These are automatically inflating life preservers that you wear like a jacket and that have built into then a harness and tether. We clip ourselves to the tether which runs the length of the boat, and prevents us from falling off the boat in rough conditions. Concerns for safety are obviously a very important part of our daily routine on the water. Respect for the power of the ocean must always be foremost in any good sailor’s mind. (In the photo below, Tim and Jonathan model the latest in PFD and tethering fashion.)  

PFDs and Harnesses
im and Jonathan in their safety gear

HEADING FOR HOME: We’ll be drafting more detailed summaries not long after arriving in San Diego … but a few words before we land. Knowing what an incredible area this is for whales, we really hoped we’d have seen some whales here the last couple of days, but we haven’t. I think it may well be that they don’t like the heavy weather any more than we do … and so stay longer in the calmer climes below the surface. We did have a lovely visit today from a seagull though. He flew right up behind me and landed on the corner of the boat, just to my left. He traveled with us for a couple of hours before heading off to who knows where. We always feel these moments are special when nature comes to visit us instead of us coming to visit it. Here’s a short video of that encounter captured by Heather.

A Seagull’s Visit

As to the bigger wild life, we never say never though here in the Bodacious Dreamtime; so we will continue to keep an eye out for more whales, dolphins and other wildlife on this last part of our trip.

Again … thanks for following along.

– Dave R., Tim, Heather, Jonathon and Dave H.

Google Earth/Ocean BDX 6Time: 05:00 PST
Coordinates: 32 18.714’ N 117 07.944’ W
Boat Speed: 6.8 knots
Course: 323 degrees

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day5)

Bodacious IV, with all crew onboard, pulled out of Turtle Bay Wednesday evening … at about 20:30 hours as the winds were dropping off from 30 knots to 20. We headed towards the east side of Cedros Island and then across the bay towards the shoreline, rounding it just about sunset.

Sunset near Punto San CarlosSunset off Cedros Island

With the exception of the “lee” of Cedros … (lee being the side opposite of the wind … or the windward side) … we have been in powerful winds for the last 24 hours. It’s what we like to call out here “cold ‘n wet” … with very little sunshine to dry things off. Sometimes being on the water is all about the water part, which makes you happy as a sunfish, when the warm light returns. And then there’s the wind – no shortage of that … and all at around 28-32 knots. And if forecasts hold, it’s looking like it just may continue this way to San Diego.

The Bo IV Crew (4 out 5, anyway)
apt. Tim, Jonathan, Heather & Dave …

The Bo IV crew is just great. We’ve found so much to laugh about. Captain Tim is a hoot, and he and Jonathon have a regular routine going. For those of you who followed along with my Trans-Atlantic crossing back in December, there was the night when my PFD (personal floatation device) fell off the counter above me while I was asleep on the floor, causing me to shoot up and commence mortal combat with a giant and imaginary squid monster! (Click HERE for the link to that yarn.)

Anyway, this morning while I slept, my “pals” Captain Tim and Jonathon attempted to recreate that same event and video it while they did. The devious pair used a long pole that had a sponge and lines dangling from it that Tim then hovered over my sleeping head while Jonathon manned the camera … both of them a good safe distance away from me, just in case their prank incited a mad flurry of flailing arms and swinging knives. In the end, their game was only partway effective. Nevertheless, I will sleep with one eye open the rest of the way.

Capt. Tim & Dastardly Jonathan
The Pranksters … Tim and Jonathan

We were visited by some sociable dolphins today, and I got a clip of them alongside, as well as some fun shots of water splashing up and over the boat in the heavy breezes … some nice sunsets too. We’ll get those up for viewing as soon as we can.

I know boat talk can get confusing sometimes. It was (and still is sometimes) that way for me. Just to remind you then, the starboard is the “right” side of the boat (when facing front) – so when we say starboard tack, we’re talking about the wind coming over the right side of the boat, and when we say port, the wind would be coming over the “left” side of the boat. Here’s how I remember the difference … “Green + Right + Starboard“… all with a long number of letters. “Red + Left + Port” … all with a short number of letters.

Pondering David
Can’t remember what I was thinking here … something “deep” I’m sure.

As I send this off, our coordinates are 29 41.036′ N, 115 42.783′ W tracking up the Baja coast in 25 knots of wind, on a sea full of water and a sky full of stars. We’re doing 6.5 knots of speed on a course of 283 degrees when on starboard tack and 013 degrees when on port track.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you might want to download Google Earth and then copy/paste the current coordinates (29 41.036′ N, 115 42.783′ W) right into the search box, and it’ll swoop you right to where we are … (just like the photo below.) There are other cool things there too, that other people have put there for you to see. We’ll add our own Bodacious photos and videos too before long … once we have had a chance to dry off.

Google Earth
Google Earth/ Ocean

So there you go … and here we are … tacking back and forth left and right up the coast on our way towards San Diego.

Be back soon …

– Dave R., Tim Heather, Jonathon and Dave H.

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day4)

We arrived in Turtle Bay (Bahia de Tortugas) at about 10:30 am today, Tuesday – a neat spot on the trip north. It’s a bit more than halfway north from Cabo San Lucas and a nice respite for us … as the winds so far have been strongly against us.

This small village has just a few conveniences. Most important to us is the ability to refuel, so we can continue motoring north as the winds are still forecasted to be against us … or at best, light and variable.

Within minutes of arriving at the anchorage this morning, we were approached by the local service that brings fuel out to you on the boat. Señor Enrique came first with his small launch to see what services he could provide and then, after leading us to a good anchoring spot, returned after a few minutes with a boat that is part fuel tanker. We took on nearly 85 gallons, which will be enough for us to make it to San Diego over the next three days.

Turtle Bay Fuel Service
Señor Enrique’s Welcoming Launch

While we had hoped to perhaps see some turtles here in Turtle Bay, we haven’t had such luck. We’re forever hopeful though to see more of the fascinating wildlife that abounds in these waters.

Approaching Turtle Bay
Approaching Turtle Bay …

The time at anchor here has been good, as we’ve gotten a chance to make a few repairs and fine-tune a few things that hadn’t worked out the way we wanted. Bodacious IV looks to be ready for another challenging night of winds, before forecasts say they will settle down Wednesday.

Anchored in Turtle Bay
nchored in Turtle Bay … a moment of stillness

After dark tonight we’ll head out around the point and Isla Natividad, and then make a course to the East of Cedros Island before crossing the Bay and continue up the coast. Off the north end of Cedros Island we will encounter competing currents that will cause the wave pattern to be very confused. With the level of particularly strong winds we’ve been seeing the past three days, we will probably have a few hours of uncomfortable sailing tomorrow … before things settle down.

Google Earth - Turtle Bay
Position in Turtle Bay: 27 41.099’ N, 114 53.169’ W

We’ll keep you posted on our progress, and hope to share more videos and photos with you tomorrow.

For now, at anchor in Turtle Bay – comfy with a dinner of chicken breast and ravioli. Desert? Think I’ll try the cookies!

In the meantime … below is a video of an interview with Bo IV’s engineer, Dave Hardy, shot back in Cabo San Lucas, about the science of ship masts … what keeps them up, what kind of loads they can bear … and what kind of mathematics you need to know to figure that all out.

Dave R. & Dave H. talk Masts and Mathematics …

Also … in case you hadn’t seen these yet, we want to remind you about the six “Explorer Guides” that are a part of this site and which you might use to help you engage with the kids in your world around various subjects (Math, History, Wild Life, Sailing Glossary, Environment and Geography) all of which intersect in some way with what is going on and around Bodacious IV and our Baja Expedition. Here’s a link that suggests ways that you might “Get Involved” and use them … and here’s a link to the Math guide page.

Explorer Guide/ Math

Thanks for keeping watch on us!

– Dave R., Tim, Heather, Jonathon and Dave H.

Baja Coastline
The forever beautiful Baja coastline …