Leg 3 and the Winds of Change

Bodacious Dream and I just departed Wellington, New Zealand set upon Leg 3 of the circumnavigation! We’re very excited to be back at sea! I greatly enjoyed my stay here with all the close friends I’ve made, both recently and over the past two years, but the time has come to head once more beyond the horizon. Bo is looking and feeling good after a major maintenance overhaul – and we’re both all about getting rolling again!

DeparturesBack in the Flow … 

Sailing, as many of you know, is a practice that requires regular adjustments. You must constantly monitor weather, winds, seas and other conditions and then make the necessary changes to your course and trim. This global voyage we are on is no different, though sometimes it happens that the adjustments necessitated are more significant than usual.

After arriving in Wellington, I had to make a trip home to the states for personal and family reasons. It was good to visit with my people and to have that time with each other. But with the trip home, weather issues and other delays along the way, it has become necessary to make some changes to our gameplan so that we might continue in a proper and seamanlike manner.

prow_550The change I am talking about affects the route the circumnavigation will take. Cape Horn, which my good friend Tim Kent calls, the Everest of sailing, has always been on our course for the circumnavigation, as well as a long-held dream of mine to experience first-hand. Unfortunately with the delays, the season has become quite late, and by the time I reach Cape Horn, it would be the equivalent of November 1st in the Northern Hemisphere. Considering this and other factors, it appears that I will have to sadly leave sailing around Cape Horn for another time.

I have decided to head instead up through the Pacific Ocean, which will allow me a stopover in the amazing Galapagos Islands followed by a transit through the Panama Canal. Both of these experiences will be exciting and rewarding and have long been on my list of must-do’s. I’m hoping to arrive in the Galapagos sometime in early May. Once there, I will explore some of the amazing sites that these islands have provided scientists with incredibly unique research opportunities, ever since the days when Charles Darwin first visited on board the H.M.S. Beagle in 1831. I look forward to sharing this amazing place with you all.

Wellington Harbor and that long, low white cloud …

It’s not easy to leave New Zealand, land of the long, low white cloud. I’ve become quite fond of its beautiful landscapes, mountains and glaciers and the many wonderful people who have shown their support to me and to our venture: from David Minors, the great crews at Duffy Rigging, Matty G. at MG Composites to the awesome guys at North Sails and Barton’s Marine. And then there are my friends at the Royal Port Nelson Yacht Club, Chaffer’s Marina as well as a host of others including Lapo and Renata Ancillotti.


Lapo, Renata and I began our friendship about three years ago when Lapo was commissioned to supervise the building of Bodacious Dream. He and Renata have become great friends and Lapo’s genius in the design and construction of the boat continues to amaze me. Many thanks to everyone in New Zealand, and for their part in creating the best Class 40 in the world!

So, as we set off on our journey, change, as it always does, has entered the picture. While the course change was not in our original plan, the lesson we keep in mind is that life is the journey and not the destination. Dreams do come true, though sometimes differently than you planned. And while you may grumble and grouse about it for a while, at some point, you see and accept the way things are … and you realize it’s time to let your sails out and move forward!

There will be more exciting news coming soon.

And thank you for your support and many good wishes!

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and (the newly re-inflated) Franklin

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“Outward Bound” – The Journey of a Lifetime

Outward Bound… when a ship leaves the security of its harbor, pointed beyond the horizon to lands far away. As I write this, Bodacious Dream sits patiently in Wellington Harbor, New Zealand – both of us ready and looking forward to heading outward bound later this week just as soon as the cyclone east of us settles down and moves away, opening the route to another adventure that will ultimately bring us back into northern waters and home to Jamestown, Rhode Island by the middle of this coming summer.

Bodacious Dream
BoDream harbor-bound in Wellington

hiobs_150As I prepare to head outward bound once again, I remember an earlier time in my life. The year was 1978 and I was a 20 year old, free-spirited young man. It was summer and I was headed east to Rockland, Maine to attend a 28-day course sponsored by Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) among the rocky islands of Penobscot Bay off the coast of Maine. As I left Chicago on a plane to Boston, I really felt outward bound, pulled away from the comforts of my life, the security of home, the known paths of my hometown of Chesterton, Indiana and off in search of adventure and carrying the hope of getting to know more of the person that I knew was somewhere hidden there inside of me.

Hurricane Island
An Island of Discoverable Treasures

Just as it happens each time I leave harbor aboard Bodacious Dream, within hours my land-based life falls behind me and disappears and my onboard life begins again. So it was that shortly after arriving at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, I found myself in a new world – a world full of excitement, challenges, among pine-studded rocky islands and laughing, adventurist comrades.

For 28 days, we bounded along rocky shores and climbed cliffs, ran trails and swam in the cold waters of the bay, sailed open boats beyond the horizon and hauled our personal selves to new levels of confidence, skills and self-reliance. We laughed, got mad, grew very tired and hungry, became cold from the water and warmed by the sun, we ate new foods and pushed ourselves beyond limits we didn’t even know existed, only to then touch new limits  even beyond those. We were outward bound in every sense of the word … out beyond our old lives and old limits, out discovering what more of what we were and what more we could be … and give.

Dave as a ladBefore I began this circumnavigation journey with Bodacious Dream, I asked the folks at Hurricane Island Outward Bound School if I could place their name on the sides of the boat in honor and respect to the spirit and ethos of the school. Though my dream to sail around the world single handed was born years before I had heard of Outward Bound or ever attended a Hurricane Island course, the experience of learning that I had the ability not only to pursue my dreams, but to accomplish them as well – that grew out of my experiences at the school. It was there that I realized for the first time that there really were no limits that could prevent me from reaching my dreams.

HIOBSAt some point in our lives, we all find ourselves stalled. Maybe we are young and fresh out of school and haven’t yet found our passion. Maybe we are older and our day-to-day worlds have become stale, or maybe we are just long for new horizons, experiences and change. If you were to ask me what to do about this, my instantaneous response would be to get online, look at the catalog of courses of Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, choose one and sign up – they’re not all 28 days long, some are as short as a week! Trust me … it’s a life changing experience and the stuff you learn will stay with you the rest of your life. It will help to define you, embolden you and set you apart.

I’ve been lucky enough to learn many interesting and unexpected things throughout my life. I would have to attribute much of that ability to advance towards and embrace such experiences, to lessons I learned about life and myself while at Hurricane Island.

So, as Bodacious Dream and I sit here patiently in Wellington Harbor waiting for the hurricane to pass and to open up another door of experience for us, I hope you will find it fun to remember a time in your life when you too were headed Outward Bound… on a new job, a faraway travel, a new dream or the beginning of a new life. Ah, the memories of a lifetime … the memories that fill the sails of a Bodacious Dream.

– Dave and Bodacious Dream

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The Atlantic Cup Shares the Dream

cyclone_lusi_175Here in Wellington, preparations for our departure are complete. Bodacious Dream is ready and waiting to take off on Leg 3 of our single handed circumnavigation, but as has happened before … weather considerations are conspiring to delay our departure! First there was a cyclone named “Lusi” that dropped down on us from up north and then another storm that also delayed our departure.  (You can view the state of the winds at any place in the world (and in near real-time) on the marvelous EarthWindMap website.)

Once the weather stabilizes, Bo and I will depart this lovely place and head east to a waypoint along Longitude 100 West – about a three-week sail from Wellington. Once there, we’ll carefully weigh all the seasonal weather projections and at that point make a final decision as to the prudency of either heading south and around Cape Horn as planned or instead heading north along the west coast of South America to the Galapagos Islands and from there onto and through the Panama Canal. Whichever way it goes, big decisions and big adventures await us. More on all of this very soon!

dave_iconIn the meantime, and in case you missed it earlier, we want to update you on a SUPER cool education initiative being undertaken by our good friends from the Atlantic Cup Race – 11th Hour Racing and Manuka Sports Event Management. 

After what I know has been a particularly harsh winter for many, springtime once again approaches … and as it does, thoughts of another sailing season begin to stir.

Atlantic CupFor the past two years, Bodacious Dream has started its season off by racing the Atlantic Cup, a challenging three-leg event up the Atlantic Seaboard, starting in Charleston, SC, with a stopover after reaching New York City before finishing up in Newport, RI for the inshore leg. With Bo and I being in the Southern Hemisphere, we’ll sadly be missing the fun this year.

I have many fond memories of the past two years, especially last year, where after winning the first two legs sailing double handed with Matt Scharl, I along with a stellar inshore crew held off an incredibly competitive fleet of challengers to win the overall event!

That’s Bodacious Dream from last year’s AC … with the Jamestown FiSH sail!

Another exciting side of the Atlantic Cup is that the sponsor, 11th Hour Racing along with race organizers Manuka Sports Event Management, run by Julianna Barbieri and Hugh Piggin take a very active interest in providing educational opportunities to youth in the harbors into which the racers sail. We have always enjoyed taking part in these “Education Days,” as you know our abiding interest is to share the Bodacious Dream experience, just as we do now with our own educational aids for kids and teachers through our BDX website and Explorer Guides.

gulf_stream_ac_550Learning by raising questions from nature … 

Sharing our mutual interest in providing learning experiences for people and kids, the Atlantic Cup has chosen this time around to combine our efforts with theirs by utilizing some of our Explorer Guides materials to launch their own new KID’S PAGE this year. So, while Bodacious Dream will greatly miss competing in this year’s Atlantic Cup, (truly one of the top Class 40 regattas worldwide,) we are grateful that our presence will be felt in the content on the Kids Page of the Atlantic Cup Site. This chance to continue to influence and educate people and kids, (not to mention seeing myself represented as a friendly cartoon character) – is almost as big a kick and honor as winning the event itself.

Capt. Dave Education Guide
I guess I DO look like that! What do you know. Open their PDF by clicking on the above image.

This is only the latest turn in the story between the Atlantic Cup and Bodacious Dream. Last year, at the request of 11th Hour Racing, I drafted a blog post wherein I tried to capture some of what I have to know about learning and discovery. I titled it … If I knew then, what I know now … and you can find that by clicking on the link. In it I try to make that case that the true test of what you learn will not be a test score as much as it will be the tangible gifts that a new skill or awareness brings to your life and to your relationships with others. Ultimately, we learn best what we learn from each other. Give it a read if you like (and feel free to drop me a line.)

education_Day_550Matt Scharl and I try to stand up to tough questioning … during NYC “Education Day”

Beyond the youth education outreach of The Atlantic Cup, we also support their sponsor, 11th Hour Racing in their efforts to establish dynamic new platforms for “public” education that emphasize the responsible use of energy and resources in the context of competitive sailing. Through sponsorship of winning sailing teams and regattas, advanced sailing and production practices, they help improve the energy profile and performance of racing boats and increase the personal investment of sailors in the health of our waters.


Since the beginning The Atlantic Cup, sponsored by 11th Hour Racing, and run by Manuka Sports Management has endeavored to present the most environmentally responsible sailing race in the United States – with both racing teams and race management working together to create a fully carbon neutral event event and to continue to play a leadership role in redesigning sailing practices and sailing regattas for the 21st Century.

:: Atlantic Cup Kid’s Page :: 11th Hour Racing :: Manuka Sports

So, as I prepare Bodacious Dream for the final 12,000-mile homeward journey, I hope you will follow this year’s Atlantic Cup as well as check out and share their Kids page with the kids in your world. There will be more great information coming from them once the actual race gets underway, but this is a terrific starting point for our younger followers, and those who care about their futures.

– Dave and Bodacious Dream

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Tegan’s Science Notes #5 – Penguins in Africa?

With Bodacious Dream back in the water in Wellington, a quick update from Dave followed below by an earlier but previously unpublished “science note” on African penguins from our ocean scientist colleague, Tegan Mortimer. 

Dave RearickDave Rearick: Wellington, NZ has a worldwide reputation for windy weather. For the past few days though, it has instead offered up absolutely gorgeous days of clear and sunny skies with winds at less than 15 knots. This has made for perfect conditions to test sail Bodacious Dream after the recent work and refit she just underwent. So far, everything is coming together just fine. Our awesome crew has done a great job getting Bo into shape for Leg 3! (See some pics below in slideshow format.)

Today, we’ll begin the sorting and packing of the boat as forecasts are for wet and windy weather to return this weekend. Our hope after that front passes is to get the go-ahead weather window that we need to depart early next week!

Test sailing … Click the arrows to advance, and scroll over to read the captions.

While we get ready for all that and I head off to do some major provisioning, we wanted to revisit some of Tegan Mortimer’s Science Notes, we didn’t have a chance to publish before now.

We are also readying a wonderfully informative science note on “Seabirds,” which includes a list of all the seabird sightings we’ve identified so far on the voyage. But before we do that, we want to focus in on one particular seabird that holds a special interest for people all over the world – and that’s penguins!

During our post-Leg 1 Cape Town stopover in December, we were treated to the unique experience of visiting a large colony of African penguins that reside near the Cape of Good Hope (the southernmost tip of Africa.) While the overall distance from there to Antarctica is pretty substantial, it is still within the habitat range for penguins, for reasons that Tegan will explain in her excellent report. And I’ll be back soon with more.

– Dave

Tegan MortimerTegan Science Notes #5 – Penguins in Africa?

When Dave and Bodacious Dream reached Cape Town and the end of Leg 1 of his circumnavigation at the beginning of the year, he took time to explore some of the many diverse natural wonders of that region.

One of his first trips was to see the penguins. Yes, you heard that right, penguins in Africa! The African penguin is only found along the west coast of South Africa and Namibia, though it is also one of the most common species kept by zoos and aquariums.

penguins_dave_550Dave’s Photo  …

We usually think of penguins as only occurring in the snow and ice of Antarctica, but there are actually quite a few species that live in more temperate habitats along the coasts of South America, Australia, New Zealand and of course Africa. All species of penguins are native to the Southern Hemisphere, so you would never find penguins interacting with Northern Hemisphere species like polar bears and walruses.

penguins_benguela_550The areas in which penguins are found do have something in common though: cooler water. When we look at charts of surface water temperatures around South Africa, we see that there is colder water around the western coast of South Africa and Namibia, in exactly the area that African penguins are found. This is called the Benguela Current. This current carries cold water northwards and creates an upwelling zone near the coast. The South East trade winds then push the surface waters away from the coast which draws the deep cooler water up to the surface.

Cold water carries more oxygen and nutrients in it because it’s denser than warm water. When phytoplankton undergo photosynthesis, they use up nutrients and oxygen from the surface water; unless this surface water is replenished then photosynthesis will stop due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients. This is why upwelling is so important; it continually brings new oxygen and nutrient-rich waters to the surface. High levels of plankton support rich ecosystems of small schooling fish, krill and squid that then help sustain larger predators such as whales, sharks, and sea birds.


African penguins feed on small schooling fish, particularly sardines and anchovies which are supported in huge numbers by the Benguela Current ecosystem. Sardines and anchovies are some of the most important commercial fish species and are caught in large numbers throughout the world. In South Africa, penguins compete with fishermen for these precious fish.

Unfortunately African penguins are considered to be endangered. Their population has declined by about 60% in the last 30 years, which is a very rapid rate. It is thought that a lack of food is the major cause of the decline. This lack of fish is due to both the huge numbers that fishermen remove, as well as environmental fluctuations in fish numbers and distribution.

Earthwatch scientists are active in studying the nesting colonies present on Robben Island; trying to understand their rapid decline and formulate strategies, which will increase their chance of survival. One success so far seems to be the addition of artificial nesting boxes to the colony. These birds typically nest in burrows, but many of their nesting sites have had the naturally thick layer of guano removed for use as commercial fertilizer leaving nothing for the penguins to burrow into. Penguins now seem to actually prefer the nesting boxes, which allow them to be more successful at rearing chicks than if they were in a burrow or out in the open.


It is very easy in this instance to blame fishermen for catching too many fish, which reduces what is left behind for the penguins. It is true that many fishing practices are very destructive, both to fish populations and to the marine ecosystem, but it is also important to remember that the ocean is an ever-changing eco-system. If the lowest levels of the marine food chain (plankton and small school fish) change, we see changes in the higher levels too. Climate change is driving these changes, just as we humans are driving climate change. Everybody has the ability to make a difference by way of the choices we make every day. We all can help to save the African Penguin.

To close things off, here’s a cute internet video that shows the ups and downs of being a penguin.

– Tegan

:: Tegan Mortimer is a scientist with Earthwatch Institute. For more exciting science insights, check out our BDX Explorer Guides or stop by our Citizen Science Resources page, where you can also find all of Tegan’s previous “Science Notes.” We welcome your input or participation on our BDX Learning Discovery efforts. You can always reach us here or @ <oceanexplorer@bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com>

A Storm of Bodacious Videos

While maintenance and repair work continues on Bodacious Dream here in Wellington, I’ve found some time to review the many hours of Leg 2 video and photos I took on the voyage here from Cape Town, S.A.

It’s a Very Wavy World Out There – 42.568808S, 120.320942E

As you may recall, during that 7000-mile leg, we encountered quite a few tenacious storms – or what the weather people call “strong frontal passages.” I compiled some video clips from some of the storms into two briefer and more watchable pieces. I did some simple edits on them … which is all I can manage at the moment. Maybe soon, we can do a cool edit, but even without a thrilling musical soundtrack, you should still be able to get a feel for what it’s like out there on the open ocean when the winds and seas are “up.”

At the same time you are experiencing loneliness and fatigue, you are also carried along by something both energizing and mesmerizing.

To remind you, these cold fronts blew up from the South (Antarctic) and progressed westward providing us with westerly winds that pushed us towards New Zealand. They generally announce themselves by a couple days of northwest wind, which then builds into the 30-knot range as the front passes through, after which the winds switch over to the southwest before gradually fading out.

Dave_Foulies_350One particularly interesting storm I wrote about previously, involved a spin-off of a low-pressure system from a cyclone, which teamed up with a passing cold front to amp up the winds and make our sailing a couple levels more extreme. While the strongest part of this front/low passed rather quickly over a 24-hour period, it was a week-long event of sailing as fast and as far east as we could to get in front of its path, so it could push us along instead of smacking us in the face. In the end, we did make it east of the storm, but just barely. During the height of the storm, we were clocking winds around 50 knots – and you’ll see in one of the video clips, the TWS (True Wind Speed) reading on the instrument panel showed gusts to 40 knots!

No matter how senseless and arrogant we humans are about using up the ocean’s resources and wasting its precious beauty, it’s hard not to think that it is the ocean that will have the final word.

While all of this seems a bit edgy to the uninitiated, rest assured that Bodacious Dream is designed and built to handle these conditions, and in fact, is much more adept at it than I am! It’s specialized and custom-built for such tasks, whereas we humans are generalists who must keep adapting by learning new tricks. At the same time that the tempest tosses you around like a toy, you can’t help but succumb to the storm’s seductive beauty. To be in the center of such oceanic intensity, all the while knowing that there is so much more potential scale and force there yet to be unleashed, is humbling to say the least.

Coming up next, in a few days, will be some video that shows another side of Earth’s majestic powers. I’m talking about the glaciers of South Island, New Zealand. Stay tuned for that, as I think my visit to the glaciers was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life.

Hope you enjoy the videos. I have a lot more footage and will try to compile them into more videos for those of you that have the time to watch.

Thanks and more soon….

– Dave

P.S. As a bonus for those of you who consider yourselves “veterans” of the sea, I have included another video of around 6 minutes in length that is mostly me talking through a week of strategic adjustments that I had to make in order to deal with the storm.

A sailor’s way of thinking about storms

Meeting up with My Mates

New ZealandHello from Auckland, NZ! I’ve driven up north to Auckland to pick up some equipment and to see some friends. I’m trying to get some downtime in between commencing the necessary work on the boat.

Not long after I arrived in Wellington, my “mates” who built Bo right here in 2011, started stopping by the boat. There was Matty G., who was the main foreman on the build, Gordy the main rigger, Lapo A. the uber-brain at BT Boats, along with Matt S. and David M. the electronics specialist as well as David from North Sails. The whole crew of them took over the boat and sent me off for some much needed R&R! I can rest easy though, confident that if anyone knows this boat as well as I do, it’s these guys – and I can see that they are taking to the inspections, maintenance and repairs as if Bo was their very own.

42.4027732S, 169.4447448E
First Sightings of New Zealand … 2.05.14 – 42.4027732S, 169.4447448E

Can’t say the weather in Wellington has been overly welcoming – cold, windy and damp most of the time, but nonetheless, the guys now have the mast and rigging down and out of the boat, in preparation for Bo being hauled out of the water on Friday. This is interesting because when I was initially making up the inspection and maintenance list, pulling apart the rig was not on the list … as I’d had this done in Newport before leaving. But then in talking it over, we realized that was over 15,000 miles ago or about half the sea-going life of Bodacious Dream, who now sports over 32,000 miles of travel under her keel! So, I guess it truly is time to inspect the rig once again!

43.230462S, 136.2241334E
300 Miles West of Tasmania  – 1.27.14 – 43.230462S_136.2241334E

Here’s the action list. We’ll have the mechanics go over the engine. The electronics are being upgraded and non-functioning parts are being replaced, the rigging is being inspected and some of it replaced. Also, we’ve come up with some modifications that we think will help a lot with the handling of lines. Some of the dings and bruises to the boat will be fixed, in addition to some enhancements on the cockpit protection. All in all, a host of mighty maintenance measures to be undertaken by the greatest crew imaginable, on the way to getting Bo all ship-shape for Leg 3, which will begin sometime in early March!

A calm morning after another storm – also 300 Miles West of Tasmania 

In the meantime, I’m going to skip out and see some of New Zealand! So stay tuned for some photos of the many pretty sites of this amazing country. I’m also beginning the upload the Leg 2 photos and videos … so we’ll have those for you soon as well.

Until later …

– Dave (happy in his dry clothes)

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All is Well-ington!

Leg 2Bodacious Dream, Franklin and I arrived in Wellington, New Zealand and the end of Leg 2 of our Circumnavigation on Saturday, just as the day was drawing to a close. Earlier in the evening, with the sun setting, I had pointed Bo’s bow towards the first Wellington Harbor light. From that point – about 3 miles out, we slowly made our way into the large bay. Before too long we were met by Lapo Ancillotti and some other friends on a powerboat, who helped guide us past the reefs and into the marina. What a relief and joy it was to see such wonderful old friends, after so long alone. Lapo and his gang at BT Boats were the builders of Bodacious Dream, so the return to Wellington had special significance for everyone, including Bodacious Dream!

Ocean Odyssey

As my email has been mysteriously unavailable for the past 10 days, let me begin with some highlights of the past week.

It was on a wilting breeze, that we first caught sight of the southwestern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Instead of the forecasted cold front that we had hoped would propel us up the coast and into the passage between the North and South Islands, we fell behind a low-pressure system that took the winds with it, leaving us struggling our way north along the incredibly beautiful coastline. As I explained in the last post, thanks to the generosity of the fisherman aboard “Ocean Odyssey,” (pictured here @ 43.433024S, 169.37806E ) I was able to acquire more fuel to assist us in our northward progress.

Here’s a video I shot not long after that encounter …

Along the Eastern Coast of New Zealand’s South Island 

After a few days of traipsing along behind that low, we met up with a cyclone system coming down from the North Island. After that tossed us around for a while, we bumped into a high-pressure system pushing up from the eastern side of the South Island. Ultimately, we entered the famously windy Cook’s Strait, where 25-knots or so are considered to be a “rather appropriate amount” of wind. As it turned out, here and for most of the last 100 miles, we wrestled with 35-50-knot winds which we had to take right “on the nose” too – not exactly what I was hoping for after 50 days of sailing across the Southern Ocean!

Eastern Coast of New Zealand’s South Island – 43.42444S, 169.328302E

As I approached the northwest corner of South Island, known as Cape Farewell (or Farewell Spit, which we discussed in our last post) – we came upon more of the wondrous bioluminescence, but this time it was doing something different still. The glowing orbs, instead of floating on the surface as before, were now submerged a couple of feet below the surface, giving an eerie sense of depth to the water. The bioluminescence on the latter leg of the trip provided me some of the most amazing sights I’ve ever encountered.

With a hundred miles still to go, there was nothing left to do but “grunt” it out. That’s what the mates here in NZ say. “You just have to “grunt” it out mate!” So grunt it out we did. Hunkering down, Bo and I sailed those last hundred miles in just less than 24 hours. Fortunately, the first leg of about 60 miles we were able to sail without a tack. Through the last 40 miles, Cook’s Strait fully lived up to up to its windy reputation, which made for quite “sporting” conditions with plenty of pounding waves and wet spray everywhere. I took heart in knowing it was the last 40 miles of the voyage and not the first!

As I made the last tack, I began to congratulate everyone … Bo, Franklin and Otto and began to partake of the final cookie from my secret emergency stash, when suddenly – all hell broke loose! With the boat in the middle of the tack, alarms started to go off! I took a quick inventory – the engine was overheating, the autopilot display had suddenly stopped working just as the ferry from Wellington began passing us … though too close for my AIS alarm to announce it. Somehow in the next frantic 30 minutes, I was able to put everything to rest. I shut the engine down, organized the sail trim, reset the course, got the autopilot driving again, shut down the AIS alarm and turned the inside of the boat upside down looking for the spare parts kit for the engine. With Bo bouncing up and down in 30-knot winds and seas and just a couple of miles offshore of the point, I changed the “impeller” (a rotor part) on the engine, then got it restarted at which point all returned to semi-normal. After a moment or two to review what had just happened, I chided (and reminded) myself to never ever congratulate yourself in advance of actually completing the task.

At that point, I wasn’t so much using the engine for propulsion, but rather to charge the batteries so the autopilots and navigation could keep operating, but I kept it going as a precaution when tacking through the heavy wind and seas. I do this because every once in a while, with the autopilot making the tacking turn, the progress of the tack is interrupted by a brutally large wave, which can stall and throw the boat back, taking away the forward motion and the ability to steer the boat. With just a touch of engine engaged, I can usually prevent this from happening. When racing where you can’t use the engine, I would instead use a slightly different but much more demanding (and multidextrous) tacking procedure.

DSCN1996_550Sometimes, time just stops and the world shows its soul. 43.4242114S, 169.33042E

So it was that within an hour, we were pointed towards the harbor in a darkening and misty fog that shrouded all landmarks, at which point the arrival of Lapo and friends was a terrific relief! Once tied up in Wellington Harbor, we quickly cleared though customs whereupon I was handed a cold Heineken beer. Now I could finally count my passage as accomplished! What a relief! Soon there would be a long and extra soapy shower and some grand and uninterrupted sleep!

At present in Wellington, it continues to be cold, rainy and typically windy, but it’s also time to take stock of the work list and to begin making arrangements for getting things done … so I guess I’m now “back to work.”

I’ll share more of the recent days of sailing here shortly now that I have email access. And stay tuned for videos and photos of this amazing leg!

Thanks again for all your support and words of encouragement. It meant an awful lot to all of us.

– Dave, Bodacious Dream, Franklin, Otto and Assorted Salt Monsters of the Southern Oceans

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