Atlantic Cup… Big News & Views…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to everyone!
– Dave


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!

Oceans of Gratitude

Well, we’ve come a long way. We are well past the halfway point of this last part of the last leg, having left behind the most notable landmark, Cape Hatteras! With a bit less than 250 miles to go, we still have some weak weather fronts approaching and some light air to manage, but all in all, we’re gaining on it.

6827_storm2Edge of the Storm

Both of the last couple of days have handed me rather exciting weather systems. Each day delivered a strong thunder and lightning storm mid-morning – and I mean strong. Terrific rain, though not so much wind, only to about 35 knots – but tons of thunder and lightning! It’s incredible and beautiful to watch. At the same time it clearly humbles you in the face of Mother Nature’s potential for fury! In such moments, it’s easy to imagine how such turbulent forces have over eons reshaped mountains, rivers and landscapes.

6826_storm3_550Storm on the Radar … 

We’ve had a great run here with the help of the Gulf Stream. While I am constantly under-sailed because of the threat of storms, the Gulf Stream current here along the coast, adds a couple of knots of speed to my average. I could fly larger sails, but considering the density of storms in the area, I see no need to test my luck any further.

Looking away from the storm

As the final miles roll on, it won’t be long before I make my approach to Narragansett Bay. Right now, I’m hoping to arrive around noontime on Saturday.

Before that happens though, I would like to send out some thank yous to all those that have worked so hard to make this incredible event and journey happen for me.

From the many friends at various ports where I stopped and harbored, to old shipmates like Tim Eades and Jonathan Pond who helped me prepare Bodacious Dream. There was also the steady encouragement from friends like Alan Veenstra and Lynn Duttlinger and the ever-present support of my sister Nancy, my Mom and my whole family.

Of course, the voyage would have been far less rich and well-researched had it not been for the insights and efforts of Tegan Mortimer, our ocean scientist colleague who contributed her many wonderful Science Notes. (Look for a final one tomorrow!)

Seldom mentioned but always behind the scenes with editing, media and web work, bringing you all my stories is Mark Petrakis at Firm Solutions in California.

No doubt there are many I am forgetting to mention here, but for sure, the Bodacious Racing family and its creative leadership are without a doubt the most gracious sponsors once could ever hope to have. I will be forever indebted to them for these wonderful memories. Thank you one and all!

So, leaving my computer below decks, I’m venturing back up top now to sail some and to watch the end of the day pass.

6544_selfie_550Sun of Selfie

This is a special time of day for me… something more than another sunset photo op. On one hand, it gives me a chance to gaze into the skies in search of some telltale indicators of the weather for the night ahead. But it also provides me another opportunity to see and appreciate just where in this world I am and to reflect on the many people who have helped to bring me here.

Soon enough, the journey will be over, but the memories will continue. Thanks to all of you for following along.

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and (the equally grateful) Franklin

Lightning & Hors d’Oeuvres

End of day on Sunday here… over 24 hours now since departing West Palm Beach, heading up the east coast on the last leg of this circumnavigation. The sun has dropped from its scorching height and I’ve come out of my cave – my cave being below decks and out of the sun!

6671_stillwater_55029.593344N, 79.373209W

6673_grounding-wireThere is little breeze today because of a couple of troughs of low-pressure systems. The one coming up should pass through later this evening, as I get a bit further north through the latitudes of Georgia. The one that passed last night though was intense… and delivered a beautiful display of natural fireworks – lightning!

I worry about the damage that lightning can do to a boat, especially one like Bodacious Dream, so yesterday, I invented some lightning grounding leads (the red line in the photo) that may help a little bit – perhaps not with a direct hit, but with any static electricity in the air that might infiltrate the electronics and cause damage. Some expert out there will likely have better advice for me!

I am excited as we head north, and at the same time, a bit sad too at the approaching end of this journey. It’s been kind of like summer vacation from school. You want to see all your friends again, but you don’t want summer to end! Fortunately, summer is just beginning and I will arrive in Jamestown and the U.S. with plenty of great weather to look forward to.

With this being another short leg, I was able to bring along some extra fresh food, keeping it chilled in a cooler left over from the passage through the Panama Canal. Specifically, I’m talking some apples and cheese! I developed a tradition when crossing the Atlantic about a year and a half ago that near sundown, I would slice up an apple, some cheese with some crackers and have myself a bit of a sunset hors d’oeuvres celebration. I am able to do that once again, at least for a couple of days. With the weather this hot, my ice is melting quickly!

As posh as it gets out here … 

I have a few new people to thank for helping to make this great experience happen. I’d like to thank my friends at Rybovich Marina once again made my stay there a pleasure while helping me to get some important repairs done to make this last leg a great passage. Thanks to everyone at Rybovich Marina!

And a thank you to Jeff Mootz of Horizon True, who makes the camera mounts that make steady photographing easier. I had lost an important part earlier in the trip and Jeff forwarded me a replacement. And for those of you looking for a great camera mount for your boat or moving platform, Jeff, an eye doctor by trade, has developed a great one!


So, as I sail north on a gentle Sunday sunset, I continue to be excited as each mile passes, bringing the end to this circumnavigation closer every minute. Stay tuned for some additional reflections in the coming days.

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and (unperturbed by lightning) Franklin
32.49445N , 77.74487W 

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 11.29.35 AMP.S. One of the tracking devices we use on our trip is the one provided by the folks at SPOT Adventures. If you like, you can use it to track our up-to-the-minute position on this final leg by going to the link above.

Bouncy Sunrises & Bumpy Sunsets

It was a sweet Easter out here about 500 miles southeast of Easter Island, (so named by a Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who first encountered it on Easter Sunday in 1722.) It seems appropriate to be in this vicinity at this time. It was my hope to be close enough to make sight of the island or to actually stop there and visit the amazing statues … but just like other parts of this particular dream; it will have to wait for another time.

33.27293S, 105.108964W
33.27293S, 105.108964W (sunset)

This past week brought a good deal of rough weather and uncomfortable sailing, as we weaved our way between a high-pressure system off the Chilean coast and a low-pressure system that pressed in from the West. We chose to run the low-pressure system on the “wrong” side so that we could set up for an entry into the trade winds that are still about 100 or so miles ahead. This put us in weaker winds, but riding on the bigger and more forceful waves which made the going a bit bouncy – to say the least.

31.427674S,101.594474W31.427674S,101.594474W (sunset)

To explain this a little more, the high-pressure (fair weather) system to my right spins counter clock-wise creating winds from the southeast. To my left, the low-pressure (storm) system spins clockwise sending wind and waves towards me from the northwest. It’s a bit like the two spinning wheels that spit out baseballs in a pitching machine, but in this case, I’m the ball! When the two winds – the northwest push from the low and the southeast from the high, converge with each other, there is a resulting transition zone where they diminish. While the stormy (40-45-knot) winds may diminish by half, the waves we encounter are still the size generated by the bigger winds. This has made the sailing super-sized bumpety as we make our way north through the next transition zone of light winds and from there into the trade winds, in another day or so.

33.336974S,106.439005W33.336974S,106.439005W (sunrise)

Hopefully, the worst of the weather for this leg is behind me, and the “champagne” sailing of the trades is ahead of me … so all in all, life is good. I haven’t been able to write much with all the lively weather of the past week, but we do have a number of photographs here of some of the dramatic and beautiful sunrises and sunsets to share with you – the bookends of our days and nights. Hope you enjoy them.

30.50673S,100.3168565W30.50673S,100.3168565W (sunrise)

Later this week, we’ll also share a piece about objects that float in the ocean in the great “harmonic” gyres. These include natural things like seeds that drift across vast stretches of ocean to land on a distant shore … the sorts of things that gave Columbus the idea that there was another continent out there to the West … but they also include totally unnatural things like Nike Shoes and rubber bath duckies! A MOST interesting tale … so stay tuned for that!

30.50673S,100.3168565W30.50673S,100.3168565W (sunrise)

Also coming soon will be an update on this year’s Atlantic Cup Race, sponsored by loud friends at 11th Hour Racing, which starts in less than a month from Charleston, South Carolina. While Bodacious Dream (last year’s winner!) won’t be able to be there, our presence will be felt nonetheless in a number of ways … so log onto the Atlantic Cup website and begin following along. Be sure to vote for your favorite boat and share with your kids their new Kid’s Pages, featuring none other than “Capt. Dave.”

Until later … 

– Dave, Bodacious Dream & (the all-bounced-out) Franklin  27.2291S, 97.61472W
Currently @ 27.2291S, 97.61472W

The Weather Changes like the Weather

Late Thursday night, we passed our 3000-mile halfway point on Leg 3 … always a big milestone! At present, Bodacious Dream and I are sailing in a northeasterly direction trying to position ourselves for some interesting weather that’s between us and the trade winds, which will move us towards the Galapagos Islands.

Saturday, April 12, 2014 – 38.1276S,121.1474W

We’re in a part of the Southern Pacific Ocean that doesn’t get much traffic or attention from weather gurus, so most of the forecast data we use comes from the folks at Commanders Weather – the accuracy of which can vary widely. For example, yesterday’s winds were forecast to be between 12-20 knots, yet most of the day they were from 24-28 knots … a pretty noticeable difference. While they do their best, you can never be certain with weather. So keeping all options in mind, I’ve set up BoDream with the smaller storm sail on the bow for the next few days. As weather’s been a lot on my mind here, I thought I’d talk a bit more about that in this update.

38.545782S, 125.12947W
Cold front waves – 38.520408S,124.282397W

As best I can piece it together, the first upcoming event is a cold front that’s supposed to move up from the south and bring with it winds of 20 knots  – but they could be higher of course, and should the front carry with it squalls and rain storms, you need to prepare for winds up to 30-35 knots. This system is supposed to pass through so that by mid-weekend, the wind speeds should ease down for a day or so … at which point, we will likely encounter another low-pressure system.

Starboard Views – 38.521624S,124.301575W

For this second low system, we’ll go with a different strategy – one that has us trying to race east of it. This is not a typical strategy, because the eastern side of the front is the windier side, BUT if we can get there ahead of it, it may be possible after it passes, for us to capitalize on the prevailing southerly and southeasterly winds that flow up the South American Coast and use them to push us towards the Galapagos Islands. That’s the plan anyway!

Low-Pressure Waves – 38.520591S,124.284739W

At the moment, I’m sailing east and northeast as fast as I can. I’m being cautious of course, given the variables, but the hope is to get as far in front and east of this new low as possible. Now, add to that, the fact that this low system is only FORECAST to develop; at this point, it’s not actually there yet! Credit these kind of projective weather forecasting tactics to the amazing power of today’s computer weather models and satellite imagery capacities.

Rolling Big Ones – 38.520408S,124.282397W

In “predicting arrival date” news … with just under 3000 miles left to the Galapagos Islands, I think back to that same point in the previous two legs and how fun it was to try and predict the arrival date from this far out. My best guess at this point is that I still have two and a half weeks left. The troublesome part is that the last bit of distance, the 200 miles or more south of the Galapagos, is in an area of little or no wind, which I expect will be a bit frustrating for the old salt who smells land nearby. In any case, right now, I’m guessing we’ll make land on April 28th.

In “food” news, at a few days beyond two weeks from New Zealand, I ate the last fresh orange yesterday. I have a few fresh apples left, but whatever else remaining is either canned or freeze-dried. I do have some cheese in wax, which will keep a little while longer; long enough I hope to re-enact a few of my appetizer happy hours from the Trans-Atlantic crossing of a year and half ago when at sunset, I’d slice part of an apple, some cheese and some crackers … and live the good life!

I hope life is good for you all, as well …

More soon …

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin

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Slowing Down to Speed Up

It’s been a busy day here onboard Bodacious Dream. With the pending gybe* around the coming weather system, I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish first thing after sunrise. The most important of these was reefing the sails and changing the setup on the foredeck for smaller sails. Changing sails is how we control the horsepower of the boat. As winds increase, they generate more horsepower from the sails, which means our only way to “depower” is to “shorten” sail by using smaller sails.

Lunchtime ...
A late and modest lunch on the aft deck

At just over two thousand miles from Wellington, NZ, and considering the approaching weather system, it has become time to make our gybe and head north towards our target, the Galapagos Islands. Though that sounds easy enough, there’s more to it than that. It’s not a straight shot to the Galapagos. While it felt good late this morning to gybe and put the Islands directly on our bow, it’s still necessary for us to get further east and catch the prevailing winds before we can make an earnest move to the north. At the same time, a significant low-pressure (storm) system sits directly in our way.

Galapagos ... this way!
The Galapagos are that way!  – 47.16029S, 136.136105W

We’re in the Southern Hemisphere where storm systems rotate clockwise, so the best place to be when one comes by, is behind it to the west and northwest. Our gybe will take us northward as we rendezvous with the storm system that will begin to move SE on Thursday, opening a pathway behind it where we can hopefully use the winds that spin off of it to propel us northward … and then back east over the top of it. If we simply continued to head east, the storm would come down right on top of us.

So, the reason for changing the set up on the bow for smaller sails is to control the speed of Bodacious Dream once the wind speeds start to increase. In this instance, we want to slow our pace to the north to give the storm a chance to set up and begin to move to the southeast, so that we can follow behind it. Right now, I’m trying to hold a steady a pace at 7.5 knots. That’s not so easy though, as the boat really wants to be going 10 knots with the wind and waves behind us. But, if I were to go at the 10 knots, I’d sail smack into the storm. So, it’s a bit tricky out here today … but in the meantime, we have enjoyed another beautiful Southern Ocean day with another lovely and dusky sunset.

Moody sky
Sunset, April 7, 2014 – 46.303469S, 148.377016W

Also, we put up the first half of our Leg 2 photos (Cape Town to Wellington) on our BDX Facebook Page. Click the link or the image below to see those.

Facebook Album
Leg 2 – (Cape Town to Wellington) Album #1 

Thanks, and more soon.

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and the ‘devil-may-care’ Franklin
Currently @ 45.2426S, 133.3764W

(* For the more unsalty among you, A gybe (or jibe) is a sailing maneuver whereby a sailing vessel reaching downwind turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other.)

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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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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

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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Nature’s Music

It’s been a week of good sailing and good distances made. Doing the math, I see that we’ve tracked another 1000 miles this week, leaving Cape Town 5000 miles behind us now!

43.50603S, 137.53928EMoving along … 43.50603S, 137.53928E 

Presently we’re under the Great Australian Bight (Bay) about 940 miles from the southern tip of Tasmania and beyond that, at another 1300 miles, New Zealand. So, the good news is we’re getting there, though not as fast as I’d like. If I might whine a moment, the freeze-dried meals are wearing on me some and every time I look at the chocolate supply it looks evermore depleted! In any case, best guesses for our arrival in New Zealand are now for about the 10th of February.

The weather is starting to stir up again after giving me a week of pretty settled conditions. So it is that the good times pass too quickly and trouble never quickly enough. I’m looking at two cold fronts crossing our route very shortly; the first on Sunday evening and another on Monday evening. These look similar to the ones I dealt with in the western Indian Ocean. Typically, these fronts signal their imminent arrival the day before with a NW wind that eventually builds to 30 knots or so with some showers and rain squalls imbedded in them. As they pass, the winds switch over to the SW, which then clear out and die off. As far as our ability to use the weather to make up distance goes, it is a fairly predictable pattern of moving along quickly and then slowing down. Because I know it’s coming, the slow down can be a bit frustrating just because I’m keen on keeping steady progress towards New Zealand. As one quickly learns, patience is no less difficult a virtue to practice out here, than it is anywhere else!

The good thing about days of calmer weather is that it makes it easier to accomplish ordinary tasks like sleeping, eating, reading and writing. I’ve been able to finish a number of books. Those would be … Long Walk to Freedom (about Nelson Mandela), Losing my Virginity (about Richard Branson,) Incognito (David Eagleman on the brain,) Dreamland (David K. Randall on the science of sleep) and What the Dog Saw (Malcolm Gladwell essays.)  I’ve started a couple more that hopefully will get me through these last couple of weeks.

An interesting dilemma I have (which a lot of people are going through these days,) is whether I like the physical feel of a book in my hands or reading on a tablet like my iPad. I think I’m old-skool enough to prefer having the book in my hand, but then a wave splashes over and I think … you know, this waterproof iPad isn’t such a bad idea after all, is it? And it comes with music at the same time! But out here, that’s not such a selling point, as there’s so much of nature’s music all around me all the time.

dave_b2ct_300Speaking of nature’s music, the sounds that reach my ears are a complex symphony. Allow me to give you a little tour of the sounds around me now. As I sit below decks typing this, the constant push of water against the hull where the bow enters the water sets up a strong rhythm – a surge UP and then a flow back DOWN as the boat powers over a wave. Behind me, in the transom (the back of the boat) there’s a steady cadenza of splashing noises as the water pushes up against the transom. At first listen, you’d swear the stern hatch was open and the water was flowing into the boat, but no, just the sound of it. All along, at any time, you can hear a thud or loud SLAP as a wave comes up against the side of the hull. This throws you at first as you think you’ve hit something, but once you get used to it, you start to miss it, if this sidewinder sound doesn’t come along somewhat regularly.

Back up on deck, and outside of the resonator of the cabin, these sounds aren’t as pronounced, but up top, there’s the squeak of the gooseneck of the boom, at the point where it attaches to the mast. I’ve doused it a number of times with WD40 in the hopes of quieting its complaining cat sounds. There’s a different type of squeak coming from the point where the main sheet connects with the other end of the boom. And of course, there’s the broad billowy sounds of wind in the sails.

sail_b2ct_550Imagine the sound of it … 3.4420118N, 33.224636W (from Leg 1)

Then are the 2 Ottos … our autopilots, that have their peculiar whine as they move back and forth steering the boat. The hydro-generator that I mentioned in the previous post has the most interesting sound; like a wind-up airplane … and as the boat speeds up, the pitch gets higher, until it comes off a surf, which causes the pitch to get lower. As I said, it’s a reassuring acoustic reminder that everything is working and that the boat is moving right along.

Sounds of the Sea

(On the last leg, at one point, I realized I’d lost the sound of the hydro-generator. I went up top and found the unit had become unattached from its mount and was dangling off the back of the boat! Yikes … almost lost it there!)

Oh, and add to the sounds, the incessant flapping of the jack lines. These are the straps of nylon that I tether myself to, and while I am grateful for the added protection they provide, the sound they make can drive you a bit batty in higher winds especially when combined with the snapping of the halyards along side the mast.

All in all, it’s a crazy concert of sounds … very much like the tuning-up session before a classical orchestra starts to play. But then again, once Bodacious Dream is up and high in the water and everything is going well, then the sound grows sweeter and more like when the symphony starts to play!

winch_1.26_550Yesterday’s Light – 38.57215S, 100.361912E

Well, as I said, I’ve got a few cold fronts coming up, so I’ve got to get set for them. At this point, it’s kind of like family coming to visit; you want everything to be ready before they ring the bell.

More later, when the weather has passed.

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin (who occasionally adds his own bouncing percussion to the concert.) 

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