There’s something magical about presenting my story to young people, stepping into the large room, setting up my equipment, rolling out my charts, and inflating the large globe showing only landmasses and water before steadying Franklin on the podium. In those few moments, the worries in my world vanish, and I take on the responsibility of inspiring the next generation.
On February 15th, The Discovery School asked me to be the Author of choice for their “Read-a-Thon” and to talk to a couple of hundred students; my first talk since Covid shut down in-person presentations. Zoom presentations were fun, but different from being there and feeling the students’ lively interest in the story.
As the students enter the gymnasium, their eyes absorb the wonders I’ve set up. A few are bold enough to ask questions, while others quietly observe me. In each student, I see myself–young, energetic, excited about new things, and full of dreams. I know the magic ingredient for all of us is “hope.” I am a dreamer, but the “hope” that dreams can come true kept me working through struggles throughout my life. Now looking beyond Franklin, the laptop and screen, and beyond the white-bearded Author, these students see “hope” somewhere on their horizon.
Leading up to the Read-a-Thon, my good friends at The Harrington Foundation donated a hundred books for the students. The chance for the students to read Spirit of a Dream and meet the Author added an exciting conclusion to the past weeks.
As I set up, Lisa, the librarian, and one of the teachers showed me three poster-size displays the students made of the ocean’s wonders. The teacher explained that they had been talking with the students during the weeks leading up to my presentation about the struggles with the ocean and Great Lakes environments. But, when they asked the students to make these boards, they asked them to put those worries behind them and draw what they felt were the wonders of the oceans. At that point, the value of “hope” became relevant to all of us. These students, looking forward to the future, see the Ocean and Great Lakes for the beautiful places they are. Their “hope” for a solution inspires me.
In the end, there were more hands up with questions than I had time to answer, and my time with the students was over. I walked away with renewed “hope” that the young generations coming forward will keep us vigilant and help us improve our world. And hopefully, one day, they will inspire their children and join them, inspired by the wonders of the Oceans and Great Lakes.
Do you know a young reader? Share your copy of Spirit of a Dream with them. I wrote it for both of you.
I suspect you, like me, have been challenged by the surrealistic world brought on by this COVID-19 situation.
While I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about what the the future might look like, I’ve also spent an equal amount of time wandering through memories of the past to divert my attention from the stressing news.
May I help you divert your attention? Please join me for a “World Premiere” that you will not be hearing about on TV… but it is a world-changing performance nonetheless. I’m talking about the video release of a new song, composed by my friend Johnny V and based on my adventure circumnavigating the globe.
So, the backstory on this is that this past February, my old musician friend, Johnny V and I joined up for a Concert and Storytelling Session at the Brewery Lodge in Michigan City, IN.
It was a magical night in that cozy joint. Plagiarizing Pete Hamill, the place was aptly stocked with the color of life – food and drink, world-girdling sailors, artists and electricians, accountants, dreamers, laughter, and itinerant songs.
A pair of worn boots by the back door tell an authentic story. John Carpenter from Thunderclap Recording Studios captured the evening as it unfolded. The people, the music, and the stories are the priority. As always, the treat is at the end as Johnny unveils his newly written song, Spirit of a Dream.
Take a moment if you would, to turn away from today’s stress and drift away with Johnny and I as we weave a simple tapestry of what keeps us passionate about life.
The whole show is around two hours long, but feel free to stop and start so as to savor the whole experience. If you are one of those who goes for the center of a cinnamon roll first, Johnny’s Song, Spirit of a Dream begins at about 1:55:00. But really, you’ll want to circle back and watch the whole thing.
Find Johnny V a.k.a John Vermilye on Facebook… and please visit our Spirit of a Dream website to learn how you can order a copy of the book from Amazon or better yet, its publisher Seaworthy Publishing.
Hello everyone! … Spring is on the calendar even if it’s not in the air yet. Amazing it’s April 6th and it’s too cold to work on boats in the Midwest. I have to say in my earlier years, I recall sailing Geronimo down the coast with a beard of ice hanging off the bow pulpit.
So, while avoiding boat work this weekend, you might enjoy reading the April issue of Cruising World. There’s a familiar face on the front cover and an article by the very same writer on the inside. The article tells the story of last fall’s sail across the pond (the Atlantic Ocean) aboard he 33-foot sailboat Hope to Ireland, Scotland, Norway and Sweden. It’s fun, and I think you’ll enjoy it and the photos. Bruce Carter took most the images, and there are some great shots. I bought a few copies of the magazine at the local Barnes and Noble, so I know you can find it there if someone hasn’t bought them all up yet!! You can also find them at some West Marine Stores and get it online at this link.
I hope reading that article will tide you over until the much-anticipated release of my book, Spirit of a Dream. Spirit of a Dream is in the process of being published at the moment, and we hope it hits the shelves by the end of summer. Stay tuned for continuing updates on the release date.
Also, stay tuned for Atlantic Cup Kids updates. I’m presently talking with multiple classrooms in Portland, Maine. It is so much fun inspiring the imagination of students. Today I learned about Needle Fish from the students at Hall Elementary School.
Stay the course – spring is coming. I’ll fill you in on what’s happening in the next update. If you can’t wait, you can always follow us at www.atlanticcup.org
What a great couple of Mac Races that we wrapped up a few weeks ago. We had some very good and highly competitive sailing on Defiance though our results don’t express quite the same enthusiasm.
The Chicago-Mac turned tough once the forecasted cold front arrived Saturday night about midnight. Just prior to the north wind shift, a squall hit with 40 knots of wind. Sunday was spent beating upwind to the north end of the lake in 20 knots of gusts. While the conditions were challenging, the lake was as majestic as ever. A number of boats dropped out of the race and a few of our toughest competitors were among them. We were fortunate to work through the challenges, only parting (breaking) two halyards (the rope that pull the sails up the mast) in the process.
The Port Huron-Mac had its own challenges. From the start to Cove Island was a 150-mile upwind battle between Natalie J, Heartbreaker and Defiance. Our crew worked extremely hard and consistently to best our competitors to the turn at Cove Island. Unfortunately, the following leg was downwind, which isn’t our strong suit. However, the fun of it all was the last 60 miles as the winds built to a hard 25-30 knots and the sailing was extremely exhilarating. We had Defiance surfing at 20 knots at one point. During the peak winds, it was too edgy to allow Maciek to video, but as it eased off some, he got his chance. Here is a video from a bit later as the winds eased down to 18-20. Still fun to watch.
I want to thank the crew of Defiance for giving it their best as regard’s 11th Hour Racing‘s efforts for sustainability. The crew joined in the effort with gusto, though not quite so enthusiastic about boringly pumping filtered water, but everyone made the effort and were rewarded with less than half a bag of garbage once we reached the island. Hats off to you guys! The lake thanks you too!
So, what’s next? Well, August 1st, I will join the vessel Hope along with her owner Dr. Michael Leland, along with Bruce Carter and Mike (Moose) DeBone in St, John’s Newfoundland, Canada. We will continue Hope’s voyage across the Atlantic, following in the wake of the Vikings legendary passage to Dingle, Ireland. From Dingle, we will hop around Ireland, traverse Scotland’s Caledonia Canal and then cross the North Sea to end up in Hanan, Sweden for the winter. Next summer, Dr. Leland plans to return along the Viking’s western route via Iceland, Greenland and the Canadian Maritime Provinces.
It’s been a busy summer trying to keep all my irons in the fire, but for the next few weeks, sailing will take precedence. To my clients and creditors, I hope you can survive till I get back! More than that, I hope you’re all having a great summer as well, and I look forward to sharing Hope’s stories as they develop.
For everyone who has asked about “the book,” the final edits are in and we’re now looking for a publisher! Hope to have it in your hands soon.
Here on the shores of Lake Michigan, we’ve experienced our first snows, which put an end to the suspense as to when the mild fall would move over so that winter could get on with it. I’m usually fine with snow, at least up to half an inch, but 3 inches forces you to reconsider and put aside the flip-flops and boat shoes. My winter chukkas now sit prominently near the front door.
It was a great summer season, but like most of them, it passed too quickly. With that in mind, there are a few things I’d like to catch you up on.
As most of you know, The Atlantic Cup Race and the Atlantic Cup Kids Program took up much of the first half of my year. It was an amazing experience for me and for the many kids who came down to the docks. I’d like to share with you a new great pro-looking Atlantic Cup Kids program video up now on YouTube. You may notice an older, white-bearded guy rolling the cart and hoarsely singing – that would be me. Forward it or share it and help spread the word!
My personal thank yous go out to the many people who helped with the program, who gave time and energy to the kids, and those of you who supported it financially. We are very grateful for all your support.
This fall, we also learned the Atlantic Cup had accomplished something quite amazing that you won’t read about on the front page of the newspaper; so this time, I’m going to loudly ring our own bell! Owing to the hard work of the entire race staff, led by our sustainability expert, Brian Funke, and with the inspired support of 11th Hour Racing, The Atlantic Cup became the FIRST sporting event in the USA to receive an ISO 20121 certification for sustainability. Let me explain just what this means. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) develops and oversees an international certification process, which many companies go through to meet or exceed certain performance standards to become ISO accredited companies. It’s a very rigorous certification process and I find it just way cool that The Atlantic Cup, and no other event - not the US Open or Wimbledon, not even Major League Baseball with the Cub’s “green” Wrigley Field, has EVER received this certification.
This is a result of the hard work, commitment and leadership of Julianna Barbieri and Hugh Piggin at Manuka Sports Event Management who run the Atlantic Cup Race as well as the entire staff and all the competitors who each believed in our collective responsibility to serve and maintain our environment. As a proud member of that team, I want to extend my congratulations to everyone associated with the Atlantic Cup. Here’s a link to the whole story: http://www.atlanticcup.org/sustainability
And, if that bar isn’t high enough for you, The Atlantic Cup is also the only regatta world wide to achieve platinum level status in sustainability from Sailors for the Sea - a leading conservation organization that engages with sailing and boating communities toward healing the ocean.
A couple other notable events took place this summer. We had another great Mackinac Race (my 30th) – spending 30 hours sailing from one storm cell to another. I don’t recall seeing so many thunder and rain squalls and rapid wind shifts in any of those previous years. Here’s a video I shot after a night of getting knocked around big time!
Lake Michigan continues to be a seductive and unpredictable demiurge. Today however she looks calm and relaxed, her edges white with the froth of toppling wavelets as she absorbs the spinning snowflakes.
Back in August, I played the role of Official Observer for Scott Wolford’s world record marathon swim attempt. This young man…(51 years old – Ha!) was planning to set an unassisted, world record of 120 miles by swimming from Chicago to Michigan and back. I was proud to be invited to help with his efforts and record the event for official review.
Unfortunately, the weather stopped Scott after about 19 miles, but with the energy he exhibited climbing back on the boat, I’m certain his efforts next summer will produce a new world record.
Besides being a crazy good swimmer, Scott is dedicated and committed to teaching children about the environment and clean water. His children’s book, Gino the Minnow is legendary. Check out Gino’s or Scott’s sites on Facebook. Gino the Minnow or Scott Weston Wolford. Now there’s a good Christmas present idea for your kids.
The rest of the summer here on the Great Lakes included a few other races and some very pleasurable sails with friends. My days of late have been filled with various types of work; an article I penned for Sailing Magazine - a kind of beginner’s guide to shorthanded (or single-handed) sailing is right HERE in November’s issue.
Out of the water, a custom-made kitchen cabinet package I designed and built was just installed in a special use residence in Evanston, IL. And then there was Thanksgiving… where as each year for the past 20 or so, my house becomes full of family and friends. It was an especially great year to be together and to be thankful for each other.
We look forward to the coming New Year with great hopes for the completion and publication of my book Spirit of the Dream, which is undergoing final edits. We also hold our hopes high that we will stand up and dedicate our collective energies to tackling the many challenges that our world, our environment, our kids and our families must face.
May your holidays be grand and may our light shine bright in the New Year!
And as the French say, Au Revoir (meaning “until later”)
The Atlantic Cup! What a great way to start off the summer! The race was a great event, the competition was fierce and the camaraderie as always, the best. You can learn more about the race, review the results and see great photos and videos on The Atlantic Cup website. And while racing was themain event, my focus was on the Atlantic Cup Kids Program - and what a great time we had! While it was my first time coordinating the program and much of my days were spentpondering variables and fretting over possible disasters, when the actual events happened, they were just amazing. As one visitor remarked to me, “This is ‘epic!’ – and it was!
I spent the beginning of the year making arrangements, contacting teachers in our three cities to explain our program and visiting classes of kids to talk about the ocean, sustainability and to excite them about the Atlantic Cup and our Kids Program. When it came time for the first actual Kids Day event in Charleston, SC, I was grateful that we had strong plans in place, because that morning, there were nearly 600 students from over 10 schools who came to visit us! It was tremendoussharing the various learning activities and watching the kids take their first steps onto a boat – many of them for the first time ever! John Miller did an amazing job of coordinating and arranging for the students from theCharleston School System to attend – exceeding our limit of 400 students by 50 percent! John explained that no sooner did he open it up for attendance, then he had 600students sign up… and he had to close down enrollment.
Many thanks to our great staff and our volunteers and the support from 11th Hour Racing, all of whom rose to the occasion. We had five learning stations— 1) “Whale Blubber and Plankton”run by Sailors for the Seas,2)“Sustainability” with Brian Funke, 3) “How Boats Float” by Meredith “Megatron” Caroll, 4) “Knot Tying”and 5) “The Ultimate Adventure” - where kids were able to visit one of theboats and talk with the skippers.
When the day was over and we paused to consider the level of success, it became clear to me that no matter how anxious I was about getting everything right, the sight of so manylaughing, inquisitive kids was all the proof I was looking for. Check out our Photo Albums on our Atlantic Cup Kids Facebook Page Photos Page.
As the boats raced into the Brooklyn Marina, so did the Kids program. Brooklyn presented us with something of a challenge. The Marina we had expected to be operating out of was not yetfinished with construction, and so we had to move into facilities that prevented us from allowing kids to actually get on the boats. But in spite of that disappointment, the great Atlantic Cup staff, 11th Hour Racing, the skippers and ourvolunteers once again put together a great program. Hundreds of fourth graders showed up, even recognizing me as Captain Dave and peppering me with questions. We finished the day giving a group of high school students a better understanding about the inner workings of the marine industry, and where within it, they might pursue vocational opportunities.
Portland, Maine was the last stop of the Atlantic Cup Race and where we had another few hundred kids attend the program. One of the most inspiring parts of the Portland event,were the third grade students from Ocean Avenue School who after spending a semester in an “Expeditionary Learning” program studying lobsters, created an entirestation of their own to share their acquired knowledge with us and all the other students. It was very inspiring to watch students teaching other students!
On Day 2 and Day 3 in Portland, while the boats competed on the inshore courses of beautiful Casco Bay, we set up an entire area of the race village dedicated to kids and learning. Here we saw many kids, along with their parents, taking advantage of the interactive learning opportunities, trying their own hand at knot tying, picking up whalebones, learning about sea mammals and the ocean.When all was said and done, over 1000 students took advantage of the 2016 Atlantic Cup Kids Program. And at the end of the race at the Awards Ceremony aboard the replica old Spanish Galleon named El Galeon, we presented the Kids Favorite award to the crew of Talanta.
We were all inspired by these amazing students and by their energetic teachers who helped us to make all this happen. Many of the students we talked with had never been on or even seen a boat before,and only knew about the ocean from school. We’re happy to say we’ve now touched the lives of over 1000 young people and likely helped change the way they will in the future regard their relationship tothe oceans that sustain all our lives.
For me, I was most inspired by a young girl who I found looking sad and frustrated at the knot tying station. When I asked her how she was doing, she said she couldn’t tie knots. I asked her ifshe had tried and she shook her head and looking down said, “I can’t do it.” Together we started with the figure-eight knot. After she accomplished that, we tried the clove hitch andthen moved onto the bowline. Each time she tied a knot, her smile grew bigger and more confident. When she finally pulled off the hardest one, the fisherman’s bend, we jubilantlyhigh-fived each other… and I watched her walk away, ready to take on the world! I suspect one day she’ll be one of those who will patiently do the same thing for some other young kid.
Thanks to all of you who followed along and supported our adventures with the Atlantic Cup Kids Program. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. As the season progresses here, we’ll find somenew avenues to channel our energies and to showcase our educational programs. Stay tuned for more updates on that.
And if you haven’t done so already, please like our Atlantic Cup Kids Facebook page. This is useful forattracting sponsors, who can help us to advance our efforts. Who knows, one of those sponsors might be you! Besides that, you’ll see some really cool pics of kids (of all ages) having the time of their lives!
And a special thank you to all who helped out… especially Sam, Anthony (AT), Meredith (Megatron), Julianna, Hugh, Jen, Brittany, Sarah, Jen, Billy, Susan, Michelle and Steve as well as all theskippers, teachers, administrators and the many volunteers who showed up and pitched in with such great enthusiasm. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone … so, thank you too! And big thanks to 11th Hour Racing for their help and support with The Atlantic Cup and our Atlantic Cup Kids Program. Until later, - Dave
P.S. If you know of a school which might enjoy a presentation by Captain Dave about his circumnavigation, the ocean, sustainability, sail-craft and other fun things, please contact medirectly at… email@example.com
I’m writing this from one of my favorite places in the world, the State of Maine! We had beautiful weather this week after a rainy weekend. Hey, it is June in Maine and it is just beautiful out here! And on top of that, today June 9th is our third and final Atlantic Cup Kids Day here in Portland. What a ride it’s been!
The Atlantic Cup once again presented by 11th Hour Racing has been going great! The racing from Charleston ended with a very challenging finish in the light winds and strong currents of New York Harbor. The Spanish entrant, #123 Tales won the leg in a record-beating 72:48:03 finishing 90 minutes ahead of #145 Eärendil (74:21:43), followed 30 minutes later by the all-female team of #118 Oakcliff Racing, with Liz Shaw and Libby Greenhalgh racing my old boat, previously named Bodacious Dream. What a great showing for their first time sailing together!
The race up from New York City (from the Brooklyn Marina more specifically,) to Portland gave the sailors a real workout. After rounding a virtual mark off Nantucket, they sailed downwind in heavy air – 25-30 knots reaching speeds of over 20 knots before the winds eased. Once again Tales II,followed by Eärendil crossed the finish line first.
Equally exciting was watching the finish line from our makeshift race offices as three boats,#95 Talanta,#118 Oakcliff Racing and#128 Toothface entered the inner harbor and jockeyed for third place. In the final few yards, Toothface edged out the others to take third place. Now that was great racing!
Over on Facebook on the Atlantic Cup Kids page, there is a live feed with me commentating on the finish, though our view was distant from the action. We’re not at the professional level yet, but hopefully we’re good enough for you to follow the closing action.
The inshore series begins this Friday the 10th. As far as Kids Days goes, we had a great success in Charleston with nearly 600 kids, Brooklyn brought us well over 100 kids and in Portland, we’re expecting at least 200 kids today – with many more expected for the Inshore Leg on Friday and Saturday at the race village in Ft. Allen Park.
Among the exciting things in store for Kids Day will from Presumscott School’s 3rd grade students, who have been studying lobsters this semester and will be presenting their resulting program for us. I’ll have more on that soon. One interesting thing I just learned from these students is the Gulf of Maine is warming up faster than any other body of water in these latitudes.
Our office here on the Maine Wharf is in the middle of the working waterfront of Portland, Maine right next to a beautiful tall ship named El Galeón from Spain.
The waters surrounding us here are those of Casco Bay, and its estuary where the fresh rivers waters meet the ocean and its tides. The great interaction between the two bodies of water creates a rich and nutritious environment for sea life.
I’ve prepared a work sheet on the Casco Bay region based on some great information from the very knowledgeable Abby Doane over at Friends of Casco Bay. It’s amazing how important the unique environments of each of the harbors we’ve sailed from are to the overall health of the ocean. Read my Education Guide about Casco Bay - which you can find RIGHTHERE!
So, as we move into the last phase of the Atlantic Cup, for which I’m a proud ambassador for 11th Hour Racing, I very much appreciate so many of you following along with us, learning with us and helping us move our activity-based learning agenda forward into the future. I only wish I could share with each of you the enthusiastic laughter and great questions from the kids who toured our race villages.
Stay tuned for another update after the end of racing on Saturday. It promises to be an exciting final leg. In the meantime, please take a minute to visit the Atlantic Cup Kids page and vote for your favorite team! We have a great trophy for the “Fan Favorite” to present at the awards presentation on Saturday.
And then head on over to our Atlantic Cup Kids Facebook page… and catch up on the posts and photos since the start of the race on May 28th. And while you’re there, LIKE us if you like … so you can stay in the loop moving forward!
Portland, Maine is surrounded by legendary Casco Bay, which marks both the finish line of the second leg of the Atlantic Cup Sailing Race which began in Brooklyn, NY – and also the site the final two days of inshore course racing.
Portland is Maine’s largest metropolitan area and home to 25% of the state’s population. Casco Bay, the water around Portland is an estuary, defined as the tidal mouth of a river where fresh water streams of rivers mix with tidal waters of the ocean. Three major rivers, the Fore River, Royal River and Presumscott River along with many smaller streams are the sources which feed fresh water into the Casco Bay Estuary.
Bound by Cape Elizabeth, Cape Small and Half Way Rock, the entire watershed embraces 42 different local communities and is designated as one of 28 “Estuaries of National Significance.”
In 1631, the first English settlers arrived on the Portland Peninsula, which was called Machigonne by the indigenous peoples. 150 years later, George Washington commissioned the building of the Portland Lighthouse. To this day, the oldest lighthouse in Maine shines seaward 24 miles and guides sailors from all corners of the world, not the least of whom are the 2016 Atlantic Cup competitors who hail from Spain, Sweden, France, England and the United States.
Atlantic Cup sailors know intimately how important ocean health is and the Casco Bay region is a prime example of an amazing, healthy cycle of diversity that coexists with the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to over 850 species of marine life from microscopic plants and animals to migrating birds, seals and pilot whales.
Because of this, these waters are known as the “Nursery of the Sea” – where baby marine animals can find shelter and food in the nutrient rich waters. In the spring, over 50 islands in Casco Bay provide shelter to over 150 species of water birds and their newly hatched young. Is it any wonder that I love it so.
For most of the 1800’s and 1900’s, there have been environmental pressures on the Casco Bay Region. Industries found the flowing rivers convenient for disposing their waste. Chemicals used for tanning horse hides to make leather, lead used in the canneries and metal foundries and the spillage of coal and gasoline all found their way into the water and still remain to this day in the soils of the river beds. Today, nitrates from farm fertilizers, storm water runoff, sewage and ocean acidification continue to pose threats to the health of the estuary.
Fortunately, effective education initiatives and conscientious citizenship such as that practiced by the “BayKeepers” – who are part of an incredible group called “The Friends of Casco Bay.” Check out their site to learn more how they are working to tackle these challenges and help us all be better stewards of our environment.
The beautiful Maine coast with its deep forests of spruce, pine, fir and many deciduous trees has long been a haven for summer visitors. The many island and granite shorelines provide beautiful landscapes for lobster dinners and clam bakes. Swift tides ranging from 12 feet to 30 feet constantly flush and wear away at the granite shoreline, cleansing the waters, and yet the ever-present pressure imposed by mankind continues to challenge the ocean’s natural ability to renew itself.
The Atlantic Cup Race, presented by 11th Hour Racing expends a significant effort to maintain a carbon neutral footprint through its recycling and sustainability practices, making it second to no one in the world of yacht racing and professional sports. Check out this video from 2013, when the whole sustainability issue in racing was first introduced.
We hope if you are there for the inshore leg of the race, that you will take notice of the powerful and beautiful Casco Bay that surrounds you.
Well, 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.
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.
A 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
It’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.
The 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.
We’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.
2. 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 listwhich 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.
There 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 39and Dragon 54. Toothface II 128andAhmas 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.
I 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
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!