2013-07-03 / News

Bodacious IV crew prepares for trip from LA to Honolulu

By Ken Shane

Bodacious IV, owned by islander Jeff Urbina, will compete in this weekend’s Transpacific Yacht Race, a 2,225-nautical-mile race that begins in Los Angeles and ends in Honolulu. Bodacious IV, owned by islander Jeff Urbina, will compete in this weekend’s Transpacific Yacht Race, a 2,225-nautical-mile race that begins in Los Angeles and ends in Honolulu. At the end of May, co-skippers Dave Rearick and Matt Scharl led Bodacious Dream to victory in the third annual Atlantic Cup. The boat is locally owned and was sponsored by Jamestown Fish.

Now, a continent away, Bodacious IV, the other boat in the Bodacious stable, is about to line up for the start of the legendary Transpacific Yacht Race.

The Transpac, as the regatta is called, takes boats from Point Fermin near Los Angeles to the Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu. Once again Jamestown will be well represented.

The biennial Transpac is one of the nation’s oldest regattas. It was started in 1906 and is organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club. The 2,225-nautical-mile course is famous for it’s downwind sailing under spinnaker. The fully crewed record time for the race is five days, 14 hours, 36 minutes, and 20 seconds, set by Alfa Romeo II in 2009.

In addition to Bodacious IV owner Jeff Urbina of Jamestown, the crew will include Chris Pike, who has lived on the island since 2001. Pike will be sailing in his first Transpac. He has been sailing with the Bodacious team for three years, including the Newport to Cabo San Lucas race, the Chicago Yacht Club race to Mackinac Island, and the Atlantic Cup.

Pike will be one of two watch captains on Bodacious IV.

“We’re all looking forward to sailing more than 2,000 miles,” Pike said. “It’s a long race, something that we’ve been looking forward to for a few years. It’s a big adventure. It’s a long way and there’s a lot of organization that goes into getting the boat prepared for it. It’s a lot of things coming together at the right time to be able to do it.”

According to Rearick, Bodacious IV is a Santa Cruz 52 that has been renovated over the last year. The appendages, rig and sails have been upgraded in an effort to make it sail better in terms of the current rating conditions. The ultralight displacement Santa Cruz line was designed specifically for the downwind sailing prevalent in events like the Transpac.

“Compared to Bodacious Dream, Bodacious IV is a little bit more comfortable,” Rearick said. “It’s got nice cushions and a full galley. We jokingly refer to it as a gentlemen’s racer. For the most part we’re just a bunch of good old friends and we enjoy doing these classic ocean races.”

Bodacious IV was built in 1999 and updated last year. After competing in the Chicago to Mackinac race in 2012, the boat went west to Cabo San Lucas. After the Transpac, Bodacious IV will be broken down and shipped east to participate in next summer’s 635-nautical mile Newport Bermuda Race.

Although the Transpac started in 1906, Rearick said it took years for the participants to realize that if they started by sailing south, instead of west, they could take advantage of the trade winds and get to Hawaii faster. Rearick expects the trip to take about 10 days. There will be a crew of nine aboard Bodacious IV, led by captain Tim Eades.

The race will have a field of approximately 75 boats divided into a number of classes. Two years ago, Bodacious III, the predecessor to the current boat, started the Transpac but was forced to turn back after two days when a crew member fell and dislocated his shoulder.

Bodacious IV’s efforts in this year’s Transpac will be devoted to a charity called the U.S. Hereditary Angiodema Association, which helps raise awareness to the titular disease of the nonprofit organization.

Pike wife’s, Pam King, is an active consultant with the group. According to King, although hereditary angiodema is a genetic disease that is passed on through families, it also has a 25 percent genetic mutation. That means it can be passed on without family history.

Hereditary angiodema is a blood disorder where missing protein results in swelling in the body. The disease is not specific to any population or race. It affects between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 50,000 people. That translates to about 8,000 patients in the United States. There is a 35 percent mortality rate for undiagnosed patients.

“Even diagnosed patients have a 50 percent risk that they’ll have a laryngeal attack at some point in their lifetime,” King said. “It’s very unpredictable as to when that might happen.”

Patients can also be incapacitated by swelling in their abdomen or extremities. They can remain debilitated for several days as a result of the swelling.

“It’s not like an allergy,” King said. “It’s not going to respond to things that are used to treat normal allergies. It’s specific to the missing protein in their blood.”

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that it is so rare that physicians often miss it or mistake it for other things. As a result, a patient can end up undergoing unnecessary surgery for a condition that they don’t have. There is a blood test to detect the disease, but doctors have to look for it to prescribe the test. That is more likely to happen when there is a family history of the disease.

It was Pike’s idea to ask the owner of Bodacious IV to use the boat as an advocacy tool.

“I was talking about how difficult it is to raise awareness and how frustrating it is,” King said. “Chris suggested approaching Dave Rearick and the owners of the boat. He asked if we can use this as a platform to support research programs.”

A virtual fundraising campaign has been launched in connection with Bodacious IV’s participation in the Transpac. The idea is to combine the 5,000 members of the angiodema association with the 3,000 followers of the Bodacious team. Using social media, the two organizations will work to reach everyone in their combined network.

Participants will be able to follow the Bodacious IV efforts through Facebook, Twitter and blogs. In addition, every patient with hereditary angiodema is being asked to print out flyers and bring them to the offices of their health-care providers.

The association’s logo will be seen on Bodacious IV’s spinnaker, and decals will grace the boat’s hull. There will be disease-specific flags raised on the boat upon arrival in Honolulu.

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