2020 Good News Wrap-UP!

Over the next few weeks, the sun will reach the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.4 degrees south latitude, marking the winter solstice, after which the holidays will pass, and the New Year will be upon us. I’m sure many of you, including myself, will be glad to see the turbulence of 2020 fade in our wake and the promise of new opportunities rise on our bow.

Giving respect to the past and future, I’d like to share with you three happenings from this year. First, the Chicago Maritime Arts Center’s efforts, second, fun with 8th-grade students, and last, well…I’ll keep you in suspense.

kidsThe pandemic slowed all of us this year and forced us to pivot and find new directions. The Chicago Maritime Arts Center, where we introduce young people to building a boat they launch and learn to row, took on the pandemic challenges and continued to provide programs for underserved young people in greater Chicagoland. My hat’s off to Toby and Patrick for realizing that education need never stop. Together they developed a season of adjusted programs with fewer students and social distancing and successfully carried on throughout the summer reaching over fifty students and the accompanying adults. CMAC now looks excitedly forward to 2021.

One of the positives of CMAC is something none of us expected. Each program is chaperoned by coaches, adults and parents of the students. While our focus is teaching the students to use tools, row a boat, and navigate the new world of water and ecology, hidden in the success of CMAC is the adults’ enlightenment. We all know how hard it is to teach something you don’t know. Imagine leading young people to new opportunities without knowing these opportunities exist yourself. It never occurred to us that the adults were gaining a fresh perspective and understanding of the water along with the young rowers. The adults and young mariners, each in their own way, returned to their communities to lead and engage their peers with what they’d learned. While I believe we change the world by guiding young generations of people, we are never too old to learn.

I find the changes we accomplish through CMAC incredibly important. I hope you see that importance as well and will consider joining the effort. 2020 was tough on us. Covid restriction reduced our ability to hold our annual fundraiser. But 2021 promises to be better, and CMAC hopes to find a home base to significantly increase our ability to provide programs to the broader community. We all know a home base’s expense will require us to spend more time asking for donations. Simply put, we need a few angels to help us engage the youth of Chicagoland. Click here to find ways to join and options to help.

My second message involves the eighth-grade students and teacher, Tobi Guthrie, of LaPorte Middle School, LaPorte, IN.

As the students around the country ended their 2019/20 school year in remote learning, we also experienced our own disruptions and difficulties with making remote learning work for the students. Attendance for Zoom classes was down in every school. During our Atlantic Cup Education Program efforts, we worked hard to provide teachers an attractive option. Many of those teachers remarked that our presentations to their Zoom classrooms led to increased attendance.

Tobi Guthrie, a teacher at LaPorte Middle School in LaPorte, IN, and I have discussed using Spirit of a Dream, my book on the circumnavigation, for her reading classes. As the second wave of the pandemic quickly turned Indiana back to remote learning, Tobi asked her students if they’d like to read Spirit of a Dream and meet the author during the remote learning term. The answer was an overwhelming “yes.”

As fate would have it, Joe Janson at Seaworthy Publishing, returned to me eighteen books that had come back from bookstores for restocking. Tobi’s Novels Class has eighteen students. No more evident a reason was necessary, making the rest of the story obvious. Our first Zoom classroom meeting was a great success, confirmed by a ton of questions from the students. Next week, I will visit again via Zoom and update the reading, and I expect I will be once again bombarded with even more questions. What fun!

noteSpirit of a Dream is a thrilling read for adults–sailors or not. But when I wrote the book, I envisioned what Tobi Guthrie is doing; engaging young people in the story and to learn how we all fit in the planet’s ecosystem. It’s working. On my desk, I keep a note from a third-grade reader who stated, “Your book is the most engaging book I have ever started reading.” I hope we can all inspire young people this year; they need our help to continue to learn in this changing world.

Spirit of a Dream makes a wonderful gift for students, both young and old! And yup, that’s a blatant plug.

So, on to the last and most fun futuristic news.

During 2012 and ’13, one of Bodacious Dream’s most formidable competitors was Joe Harris on another Class40, Gryphon Solo II. As I wrote in Spirit of a Dream, Joe and I held, clearly in our souls, the same dream of sailing singlehanded around the world. Joe, on Gryphon Solo II, accomplished his dream the year after I did on Bodacious Dream. Fulfilling those dreams did little to satiate our desires to sail the oceans of this planet.

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In 2019 as Joe was close to selling Gryphon Solo II, he learned of a new, doublehanded, circumnavigation race titled the Globe 40. Joe signed up, and this fall asked me if I’d join him as crew for some of the legs of the race. The rules provide for the changing of crew for different legs of the race.

In October, we held a crew practice in Portland, Maine, and since then, Joe, Rob Windsor, and the crew at Maine Yacht Center have been working hard to prepare GS II for the start scheduled for June 2021. Not unexpectedly, we learned this week, that the pandemic will delay the start of the race until 2022. But, the excitement remains high among those of us joining Joe for this adventure. The race will start in Tangiers, Morocco, and make stops at some fascinating ports of call around the world. The Mauritius Islands in the Indian Ocean, Auckland, NZ, Bora Bora, Ushuaia, Argentina, Recife, Bazile before finishing in Cascais, Portugal. Join the excitement. Click on both Joe’s Page and Globe 40 to receive the regular updates.

I hope we’ve all found a way to combat the pandemic and effect some small change in our personal worlds. Let’s continue to look closer to home to help inspire the young people of our communities. The pandemic doesn’t have to make you miserable; use it to inspire and affect change for the future.

Best to you all, and have an excellent 2021

- Dave and Franklin

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Last Day CMAC Boating Skills and Ecology Course 2020

CMAC Boating Skills and Ecology Course 2020 Wrap-up

The weather was beautiful last Friday, the final full day of the course. Armed with their newly learned skills, our students were ready to venture beyond their horizons. I learned long ago that our limits are never fully fixed. Once we stretch them past the familiar, beyond their “back yards,” we define new back yards. For these young mariners, their back yards now include the waters in and around Chicago and Lake Michigan.

lagoon_crew1 Upon arrival, we let our students know that we were going on an extended expedition. We headed to the far end of the lagoon, through the channel under Lake Shore Drive and out to the mouth of Jackson Harbor, and for the willing, out into Lake Michigan. The students turned to look in the direction of the underpass of Lake Shore Drive and inquire, “beyond there?” “Yes!”

Excitedly, the young mariners don their PFD’s and take to the boats; some in kayaks, some in rowing boats. Even the adult chaperones join us for this expedition. Within a few minutes, our home dock fades from view, and our gaze turns towards the big water.

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Each mariner gains a personal perspective on this journey. Some like “O” become waterbugs, darting back and forth in his kayak as if he were running around the playground. Others struggle with balancing the power between the arms in their growing young body. Each stroke brings new confidence and skill. One by one, we reach the harbor entrance, and the more adventurous mariners push their bows out to the unknown to have a look around at the wide-open horizon.

We return in time for lunch after which we commence an afternoon of fun competitions. Most notably, two-person teams row across the thoroughfare to the other dock, tie up their boat, hop in a kayak, and return, splashing and cheering the entire way.The teams dramatically complete the challenge within seconds of each other.

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Saturday is our final half-day; a chance for the mariners to display their new skills to parents and coaches. As the students arrive, we ask them to grab their PFD and go to the other dock to bring the boats over to the yacht club. We stay behind, allowing the young crews to manage on their own. Showing no trepidation, the mariners arrive at our docks and tie up their crafts.

As we gather to review what we have learned over the week, we ask each student what they learned. The answers come quickly… tying knots, water quality, rowing, kayaking, how to tie up a boat… etc.

It’s vital to help identify for these young mariners what they’ve accomplished in addition to what they’ve learned. I hint with a question, but before allowing them to answer, I explain that just six days ago, the students had never been in a boat before, and this morning, the adult instructors trusted you to go to the other dock, alone, and get in a boat and row it over here.

For a young person, testing horizons and the limits of their freedom is often hindered by an adult concerns and reservations. Today, these young students earned those new freedoms and a better understanding of a new environment.

On a personal note, I can hardly remember back to when I first rowed a boat, or the first time I sailed the Sunfish alone. The first time I crossed Lake Michigan is a bit clearer to me, but still, long enough ago that the details and thrill of that accomplishment are muted. While my back yard and playground have expanded to the entirety of the earth’s oceans, my time spent with these students returned me to the memories of the first time I rowed a boat, and the camp instructor who yelled at me for “windmilling” – a term I would soon learn meant flailing my oars.

Returning to that time in my life with these young people brought back a flood of joyful memories. When I began this story, I asked,”Have you got a minute?” So, have you? Remember your first accomplishment as a kid? Come back home and share it with the next generation. They need it now more than ever.

- Captain Dave

Day 3 & 4 – CMAC Boating Skills & Ecology Course

The Chicago Maritime Arts Center course continues with our young mariners now having learned knot-tying and rowing skills, and with those skills, their comfort on the water has soared. Learning about displacement by loading an aluminum foil boat with golf balls has taught them how and why boats float.

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Learning how to make face masks from our favorite T-shirts has taught them about self-reliance. With these newly acquired achievements, it was time to learn more about the watery world we play in and around.

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As we gather on Day Three, the students eagerly practice their rope skills. Steve’s display of rope tricks yesterday, has the young mariners’ intent on learning the magic of “throwing” a figure-eight knot. After each student meets the challenge of tying a bowline, we talk about “water” and the expedition we will take today. Our journey will be to row out to the buoy on the far side of the Jackson Park lagoon and then down to the end of the furthest docks to collect water samples for testing.

We begin our introduction to ecology by gaining an understanding of the phrase “ecosystem.” I take time to explain what the word “system” means – that many parts of our environment work in harmony, and as parts work or don’t work, their interactions change the system.

One of our instructors, Jay, asks the students where the oxygen they breathe comes from, and they eagerly respond, “the trees and grass.” Jay questions, “How do the trees and grass get the oxygen?” The students answer, “They make it.” I explain that trees are nature’s best means to collect and store solar energy. Sunlight is absorbed by the leaves, while water and soil provide the nutrients that enable the tree to grow. Oxygen is one of the by-products; the wood, to build our boats, is another.

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When asked, “Where does the water come from? “Lakes and rivers… and rain!” are shouted replies. “Where does the rain come from?” “Clouds and storms,” come back the response. After answers to a few more questions, we have identified our surrounding ecosystem. Sunlight hits the ocean, plankton in the ocean photosynthesizes oxygen and evaporation creates clouds. Clouds roll over land, condense and the moisture falls as rain. Rain washes the soil, quenches the trees and plants and allows them to grow and make oxygen. The water runs off the land into the rivers and lakes and then flows back to the ocean. This circle of life is a “system” – our “ecosystem.” We explain that when humans disrupt the system with bad actions, we change the system and change the environment, Our young scientists already understand the problems attendant to climate change.

After identifying parts of the ecosystem around the harbor, we board our boats and head out on our expedition to collect the water samples we will then test after lunch. The excitement of going farther afield in the boats is enhanced by the additional aim of learning more about water.

After a fine lunch, Jay dives into water sampling. We set up each student with a test kit while Steve tabulates the findings. After dipping test strips in tubes of water from the buoy, the farthest away dock, the closest dock and the tap, the young scientists conclude the water we sampled is very similar to tap water. But why you wouldn’t drink the water in the lagoon is made abundantly clear — we aren’t testing for bacteria, only acidity, hardness, and iron in the water. We explain how water, captured by the Chicago Water System from Lake Michigan, is filtered and treated to make it safe for human consumption before it flows in pipes to your house.

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It’s inspiring that these young minds have developed an understanding of boats, knots and the ecosystem in which they thrive, all in just a few days.

I’ll be back wIth more soon. Again, if you want to help us at Chicago Maritime Arts Center, here is the link… https://www.chicagomaritime.org/donate-1

PREVIOUS REPORT: Day 1 – CMAC Boating Skills & Ecology Program

All the best,
- Dave

Spirit of a Dream Website 

Day 1 – CMAC Boating Skills & Ecology Program

Day 1, Chicago Maritime Arts Center Boating Skills and Ecology Program

The first day of the Chicago Maritime Arts Center Boating Skills and Ecology class got underway on a beautiful morning at the South Shore Yacht Club on the inner lagoon at Jackson Park in Chicago. Amidst the changes brought on by Covid-19, we introduced ourselves to the students and coaches with a thermometer and mask instead of the customary handshake.

With the students scattered at a density of two per picnic table, we begin with lengths of rope and a sample board of various knots worth learning to tie. Starting with the simple figure-eight knot, the would-be young mariners learn the difference between an overhand knot and a figure-eight knot. Do you know the difference? I’ve come to label their knots as “figure-four’s” (an overhand knot), “you’ve got it” (the real figure-eight knot), or a “figure-twelve” (three wraps). Frustration ultimately gives way to laughter and the feeling of accomplishment.

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BTW, here’s a link to a great site that shows animations of different knots … https://www.animatedknots.com/

We move on from the figure-eight to a square knot (like tying your shoes) and then to the feared Bowline Knot, the most useful knot in the world. This knot frustrates the most patient mariner until one moment, they “get” it. Knowing just when to lend an experienced hand to guide smaller hands can be challenging. Though many odd-looking variations will blossom from their efforts, over the next five days, the young mariners will become proficient at tying the bowline. Almost as proficient as asking the question…”Can we get in the boats now?”

With the anticipation of getting into the boats heating up, our next section was boating and dock safety. On a docks tour, we teach the students why swimming in and around the docks is dangerous — not only from the risk of electrocution from bad wiring but from the many obstacles in the area. We show the mariners the many ways to help someone in the water without endangering yourself and how to get out of the water if you were to fall in. We ask the students to be observant and identify ladders, swim platforms, and life rings as they walk onto a dock. Part of being a prepared mariner is knowing where swim ladders are, which boats have swim platforms that can help a struggling swimmer, or where life rings or even water hoses are that you might throw to help a swimmer back to safety.

After a lunch of deli sandwiches and the endless checking of cell phones, the much-anticipated chance to get in and explore the boats has come.

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Painstakingly, we emphasize how to get into a boat properly. Centering your weight and balance as you gently crouch, spin around, and sit down. As instructors, we’re aware none of our words mean much until one of the students flips into the water. But, this is how kids learn — learning best by doing.

Screen Shot 2020-09-02 at 7.52.12 PMHere is a VIDEO of one of young mariners, Nathan, teaching Coach Travis how to tie a Bowline.

One by one, the kids board the small rowing boats, and we set them free from the dock, into what soon resembles nothing so much as a bumper car carnival ride, The new mariners’ departure from the dock swiftly segues into a spider dance on the water… oar’s flailing, boats spinning and nobody making much headway. Fortunately, the South Shore Yacht Club’s docking area is small, and the wind helps to keep our small Bevin Skiffs in the “corral.” But, by the end of the afternoon, the wails of frustration and “I can’t do this” slowly turn to giggles of accomplishment as the young mariners begin to coordinate the swing of their arms with the boat’s motion.

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The day ends in a pile of tossed life jackets, quick fist bumps and exaggerated leg and arm movements as the new mariners walk down the dock.

Should you be so inclined  you can help us find a land base, sponsor a student or help cover our operating costs right HERE.. https://www.chicagomaritime.org/donate-1

Until next time, stay well… and enjoy the summer while it’s still here.

- Dave

 

Have You Got a Minute?

Considering the strange circumstances of these past months instigating paradigm shifts in our lives, I hope all of you are doing well. Remarkably, I’ve not been on the water this summer other than to make repairs to a boat at the dock. Probably a first in fifty years. But that ok. It’s safe to say, I’ve had my fair share and plenty more of sailing.

Of the disruptions to our normal lives, the one that concerns me the most is young people and their opportunities to learn during this COVID era. As we ramped up the Atlantic Cup Kids Education Program earlier this year, COVID stepped in and knocked us back off our feet. While we bolstered our online learning presence, and I did virtual classroom visits, it became evident that educating kids would take more ingenuity from all of us. Through our efforts, we still interacted with over 2000 students on our educational portal and in our virtual classroom visits.

So, have you got a minute? I hope your answer is yes, and I hope too that you’ll be up for sharing some of your expertise with a kid.

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I know that may sound daunting. I know you aren’t a teacher, but neither am I. Maybe, you don’t even know many kids, I’m single, and don’t have any children. I get that. But our  distance from young people, doesn’t help them much, nor does it challenge us to step up and lead. One of the lessons I’ve learned from COVID is that we all have a responsibility to our community. In that sense, the mysterious “they” is actually us.

logoThis week, I helped to lead a course on Ecology and Boating Skills for The Chicago Maritime Arts Center. CMAC works with young people from all diversities, inspiring them by building a small boat, learning to row it, gaining confidence, and developing an appreciation for learning and being within our natural world. Many of the students we work with know the Chicago River and Lake Michigan exist, but access for them is not easy.

So, what do we do at CMAC? Our mainstay course teaches students to build a small, ten-foot Bevin boat with their hands and minds. When the building is complete, they paint the boat, name it, launch it in the harbor and learn to row on the water. COVID is not making this easy, but we’ve pivoted, and this week, I’m one of three instructors leading our Boating Skills and Ecology course for fourteen students at the South Shore and Jackson Park Yacht Clubs. We use COVID Protocols to keep the kids outdoors and at a safe distance with masks where they will learn about boats, ropes and knots, water quality, the environment of the River and Lake Michigan and, learn to row one of the previously built boats.

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It’s going to be a great time, and as you all know, I get personal joy and a real sense of fulfillment from working with young students. I can’t explain how inspired I feel when I see a reluctant student gain the confidence to proudly row across the harbor, venture out, and wondering what other opportunities they can grab from life.

I’m going to put out more blog posts as we go along, so you can live vicariously in this fun-filled, hands-on learning world. Of course, if you’d like to help us out, you’re welcome to contact us at CMAC

Otherwise, you’re on your own… to do what feels inspiring to you, by way of mentoring kids. With our schools stifled in providing ordinary education, much less experiential learning, it’s our chance to step in and help out.

CMC_LeadSo, if you’ve got that spare minute, spend it with a young person. Invite them to learn about your car, your garden, your tools, your kitchen, or give them a copy of your favorite book and help shape their lives. We all have to gravitate from infusion learning, where we put students in a room and infuse them with information to desired learning, where we create, stimulate, and fulfill a person’s desire to learn—teaching them the lifelong skills of learning to learn. Even if you don’t think you are showing that young person anything, know they are listening to your words, how you speak, how you react, how you solve problems, and how to act responsibly.

Take that minute, and spend it generously!

Many thanks!

- Dave

P.S. BTW, if you happen to be looking for some great summer reading, I would be remiss if I did not recommend Spirit of a Dream

Spirit of a Dream/ The Concert

Hello Friends,

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.

You can find it right here at the link… Spirit of a Dream, A Sailor with a Story, A Musician With a Song!

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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.

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 11.02.26 PMThe 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.

Enjoy, and be well!
- Dave

Dave’s Atlantic Cup Kid’s Online Learning Plan…

Hello my friends.

Well, what can I say? I know we have all faced many challenges in our lifetimes… but this one is a doozy. I’ve enjoyed my share of challenges–sailing around the world, sleeping on an island alone in Penobscot Bay, building big complicated houses. There have also been challenges that weren’t so much fun, and yet somehow, we get through them. My good friend Tim Kent, in an email the other day reflecting on this time, said: “I tell new, young sailors facing their first storm, I’ve never seen a storm that didn’t end.” Those are wise words. This challenge will come to an end too.

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In the meantime, while we are vigilant and staying safe, I’m focusing on what I can do to help. Once again, it’s time to think about our YOUTH and how we can help keep them healthy, learning and growing. After all, they are our future.

I wrote a piece a while back for 11th Hour Racing entitled,If I Knew Then What I Know Now.” Give it a read, if you like. I see this as a time for all of us to share, with those younger than us, giving to them “what we know now,” during their “then.”

To that end, I want to remind you, your friends, and the teachers, mentors, and parents, that one of the pillars of The Atlantic Cup Race is KID’S EDUCATION. On the Atlantic Cup Kids site, yours truly, as Captain Dave, hosts a treasure trove of educational materials on subjects like Math, Geometry, Wildlife of the Ocean, Glaciers, etc. There are teaching aids there as well; Worksheets, Explorer Guides, as well as cool video interviews with some of my sailing friends about this beautiful world and the ocean. And, we’ll be adding new items every week there.

For those who need more resources for teaching and reading, here are a couple of options. The first is to start the Bodacious Dream Circumnavigation journey over again, beginning with the first blog and read that with your students every day, as you follow my progress around the globe.

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The second option (and one of my favorites)  is to grab a copy of my book, Spirit of a Dream and sit down with your kids at the end of the day and enjoy reading a chapter to them.  I wrote the book, especially in the hope that young people would enjoy it too.

And if at any time, QUESTIONS arise that you or they might want to ask of Captain Dave or his sidekick, Franklin D’Ball, please email me at Dave@atlanticcup.org.

I hope you can keep learning through these challenging times. I know I will be. And for those of you waiting for the next book, this time off will hopefully give me the chance to finish it. Stay tuned!

- Captain Dave & Franklin

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End of the Year in Florida!

Hello Everyone!

Wow, the season is upon us. I should have sent this to you a few weeks ago, but for real, if you need a last-minute gift for your favorite sailor, enthusiastic student, or a different kind of gift for a holiday party host, Spirit of a Dream is the way to go. Spirit of a Dream will be enjoyed by everyone on your list.

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In true Rearick fashion, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thirty-four people wandered in and joined us on Thanksgiving. It’s always a wonderful day full of grateful family, friends, sailors, musicians, and lively conversation. It’s especially wonderful to talk with the kids as they look to their future. I can’t help but wonder what kinds of boats they’ll be sailing in 20 years!

I just returned from a tour to Florida for presentations at yacht clubs, a stint at The Sunset Celebration in Key West as a Hemingway look-a-like and talks with the sixth-graders at Excelsior Classical Academy in Durham, NC. It was great fun to talk about the ocean and sign autographs for the sixth graders. And to boot, I received an honorarium of a bag of Chips Ahoy! cookies from each class! Four in all! Such a bounty!

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While driving through the Florida Keys, we stopped to see Michael Timm, the son of a good old friend. Michael is growing coral in captivity at the Boy Scouts of America outpost! This unique process championed by Dr. David Vaughan is gaining world wide attention. Small portions of live coral gathered from boating accidents, or groundings are attached to ceramic plugs.

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After about eight months, the coral has overgrown the plug and is ready to be reset into an existing coral reef in the ocean. Michael works with The Boy Scouts of America and closely with Dr. Vaughan’s Plant A Million Pieces of Coral and The Coral Project run by Rick Warner. These projects are worth checking out, and if you have the desire -  a donation will give you the chance to show your support by wearing one of their bracelets!

As Christmas approaches and New Year’s follows, Franklin and I hope you have a wonderful time with those close to you. And again, as I have done for the past 30 years or so, I will be taking a midnight walk along the lake – my nature-oriented version of midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

We hope this New Year will bring a renewed enthusiasm for helping the ocean, the earth, and this immense, unfathomable Universe.

Btw, here’s the Spirit of a Dream Book Trailer Video too!

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Our best to each of you and your families,

- Dave & Franklin

Dave’s 2019 Summer Highlights… Boats & Books!

Hello Everyone!

What a busy summer! So much has gone on – races, book signings, kids’ events. It’s going to take a few updates to get caught up. I’m sorry I’m so far behind, but these are good reasons!

Two items for this update, first, the book has been very well received, but I’m going to hold off telling you about it and the accompanying video until after I fill you in on the great kids’ events that took place this summer.

FIRST OFF… before I update you I want to tell you that this coming Tuesday, November 5th,the good folks at The Chicago Maritime Arts Center will be hosting its second annual Meet and Greet fundraiser at the Lagunitas Brewery Company in Chicago. This will be great! Come please! Tickets are HERE!… Hope to see you there!

So, on to the update… The Chicago Maritime Arts Center, which I support through my ambassadorship with 11th Hour Racing, had a great summer of classes. Our mainstay is a class building the Bevin Skiff. Groups of young people, over a few weeks of after-school hours, build, paint, and launch a Bevin Skiff. This has proven to be a wonderful experience for young people, and our stack of Bevin Skiffs is growing. Each one colorfully painted to reflect the spirit of the kids who built it. One boat, from the class hosted by the Carpenter’s Union in Chicago, came out painted like a baseball stadium after the students and instructor found out they had a shared passion. The bow was home plate, and the scoreboard was painted on the stern!

It’s fun and amazing to watch these shy kids turn into confident tool users, launch their creation and then learn how to row it. I know you would all get the same thrill I did from working with these kids.

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At the Southern Shores Yacht Club, CMAC held its first Boating Skills and Ecology Program. From 10am to 3pm each day for a week, a group of 14 kids took part in learning to row the boats, paddle a kayak, tie knots, be safe around the water and sail a boat. We also learned about the water and ecology of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River– two very precious local resources in our lives.

On Thursday of that week, Greg and Joe Rickard graciously hosted the young mariners on their large sailboat for an excursion out onto the big waters of Lake Michigan. This was met with trepidation and excitement — depending on the mindset. But by the end of the sail, even those most reluctant to venture out were bounding around the boat, taking a turn at the wheel, and enjoying the spirit and freedom of traveling with just the wind.

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So, to explain this a bit more…  this Tuesday, November 5, CMAC will be hosting its second annual Meet and Greet fundraiser at the Lagunitas Brewery Company in Chicago. We had a blast last year and plan for an even larger crowd this year.

logoIf you’re in the area, try to set aside the evening and join us as we celebrate the wonderful summer, present our plans for next year and gather to support Chicago Maritime Arts Center. Full disclosure, this is our annual fundraiser, the kids enjoy your consideration and support. So, thanks for purchasing a ticket and making a donation to support CMAC. GET YOUR TICKETS RIGHT HERE!

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Okay, onto news of my book, Spirit of a Dream. I’ve received two royalty checks now, so I can fully declare I’m an author. I can add the title of Author to those of Carpenter, Sailor, and Storyteller on my resume!

Everyone who’s read the book tells me it touched them and how much they’ve enjoyed it. A few of you commented you thought it would be a consolidation of the blog posts from the circumnavigation and were pleasantly surprised and engaged by the intimate and inspiring story that unfolded. Thanks so much for that great feedback.

soadI’ve had some great book signings and talks scattered throughout the summer. Boswell’s Books in Milwaukee now stocks Spirit of a Dream after holding a full house talk. Those of you who wish to pick up a book in person and support an independent book store, stop by one of these excellent places — Boswell’s Books in Milwaukee, The Book Stall in Winnetka, Crowley’s Yacht Yard store on the southern end of Chicago, and if you’re wandering up the Maine Coast, you can find a copy at The Nautical Scribe on Rt.1 in Stockton Springs, ME.

Something else exciting is that we’ve finally been able to upload our VIDEO TRAILER for the book! My great friend Rob Forney jumped in to help me put together a trailer video for the book. You can check it out at this link. https://youtu.be/wblmlKtGXrU.  It’s also on the Author’s Page on the Amazon Listing and soon to be found in other locations. For those of you uncertain if you want to read the book, take a three-minute break, and watch the video, Hopefully, you’ll want the rest of the story.

That’s it for this update. Please check out the Chicago Maritime Arts Center link above for tickets to our Meet and Greet; we dearly appreciate, and thank you for your support.

Coming in December, a book signing at The Captiva Yacht Club, Captiva, FL on Tuesday, December 3 for you early snowbirds. If any of you have a club or group that would enjoy hosting a talk while I’m in Florida or on the road to and from there, I’d love to hear from you. Or if your group or club is looking for something fun to do on a winter weekend, let’s set up a talk/signing. I’ve got a four-wheel-drive so bring on the weather, light a fire in the fireplace and let’s spin some yarns!

Thanks, as always, for coming along for the journey.

“The journey you are on will teach you what you need to learn,
not what you plan to learn.”  – from the pages of Spirit of a Dream.

- Dave and his merry band of characters

Dave Speaks at the Legendary Explorers Club

It’s hard to recall just when this was… but I was a young man, fully enamored with sailing and gobbling up any book or magazine story on the subject of boats and adventure. Likely, I was 18 or 19, a would-be explorer, but I had already crossed Lake Michigan on a Hobie Cat. That was big stuff for me, and I was on the look-out for the next opportunity to skip town for some exotic port of call.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 11.39.04 AMAt some point, I came across this one book, written by an English sailor named Tristan Jones. By some accounts, Tristan was known for mixing the facts of his sailing life with a good measure of exaggeration.  That didn’t matter to me;  I loved his stories, and through his book, I learned of a place in New York City with the exotic name of the Explorer’s Club. This was the place where the great explorers I’d read about would gather as members; Sir Edmund Hillary, Buzz Aldrin, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Charles Lindbergh, and Sylvia Earle – all giants in the world of exploration. It seemed a fantastical place, steeped in tradition and full of dreams and stories.

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Tristan Jones gave a presentation there. In those days, without slides or videos to punctuate his story; he recounted sailing the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea as well as the highest place on earth, Lake Titicaca. He actually brought his sailboat to the building in Manhattan, cut parts of it away to get it into the freight elevator, and used it as a prop to tell his story.

Next Saturday, April 6th, 2019, I will be telling the story of my book, Spirit of a Dream and my solo circumnavigation onboard Bodacious Dream at The Explorer’s Club in Manhattan near Central Park on East 70th Street. I am of course, honored to be invited and am sure when I pull the door open and enter, I will tingle with every emotion a young boy might have, right down to my toes. Though I am not so young anymore, I will be that young man Saturday.

explorers2Every spring, The Explorer’s Club holds an event called “Sailing Stories.” At the event, five modern-day sailing explorers will present their stories of sailing, venturing and crossing the amazing oceans of the world.

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I will leave it at that. If you happen to be in New York City next weekend, please joins us. Tickets are $75. You can find the details here. https://explorers.org/events/detail/sailing-stories-2019

I will be selling signed copies of Spirit of a Dream at the event. If you can’t attend, you can always purchase a copy at Amazon, from your local bookseller or through our web page at www.spiritofadream.com.

I’m happy to say the book is garnering some wonderful praise from both sailing and non-sailing readers. One reader sent me a note saying… “I have read all the great sailing authors and your writing was the most pure and relatable to those of us who are most happy with a keel beneath our feet.”

I’m sure you’ll enjoy the story too.

Enjoy your Spring!

- Dave

“The journey you are on will teach you what you need to learn, not what you plan to learn”