Sailor will leave for circumnavigation from East Ferry
If all goes according to plan, on Tuesday morning Dave Rearick will slip quietly out of Jamestown Harbor aboard the Class 40 yacht Bodacious Dream. It is the same boat that Rearick skippered to victory in May’s Atlantic Cup, but this time Rearick won’t be racing.
When he returns to Jamestown in about nine months, Bodacious Dream will have been around the world with Rearick as its sole occupant. Rearick described his trip as an “internal journey into my heart and soul.”
The first stop on Rearick’s voyage will be the windswept island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. The remote island is best known as the final place of exile for Napoleon Bonaparte. The French emperor died there in 1815. Rearick will remain in St. Helena for several days before setting out for Capetown, South Africa.
Rearick, who is 55 years old and hails from Chesterton, Ind., first met the principals of Bodacious Racing – who both live in Jamestown – about 15 years ago while racing on the Great Lakes. Through their friendship came the opportunity to race boats in major ocean races around the world. After some years, Rearick was given responsibility for taking care of the two boats in the fleet and preparing them for races.
A plan was put in place for Rearick to compete in a singlehanded around-the-world race called the Global Oceans Race. It was scheduled to start from England next month. When the race was delayed for a year in order to attract more boats and sponsors, Rearick decided he wanted to go anyway. When the boat owners and sponsors gave him their blessings, Rearick began to plan his voyage.
Rearick said he sometimes considers singlehanded sailing a selfindulgent pastime. In an effort to mitigate the guilt, he has taken the opportunity to team up with Earthwatch, an international group that matches scientists and citizens together. Rearick will become the eyes in the field for the scientists, and he will report back his findings.
“The further you get offshore, the less research is done because it’s expensive to get offshore,” Rearick said. “So this gives scientists an opportunity for one more set of eyes out there.”
The scientific part of Rearick’s journey will focus on three elements. The first will be visual observations of wildlife and debris. Anything unusual that Rearick sees will be logged. He will have a camera that is capable of geotagging. The geotagging capabilities will allow the locations, times and dates of each photograph to automatically be part of the photo information.
There will also be studies to determine the amount of plankton in the water. Rearick will accomplish the study by dropping a white disc in the water. The count can be determined by looking at how much the turbidity of the water – from mostly plankton – obscures the disc.
The third element will be sampling the water for acidity and microplastics.
“We all know what an issue plastics in the ocean are to the environment,” Rearick said. “These plastics slowly break down into microscopic particles that are ingested by fish.”
Rearick has also partnered with the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Rockland, Maine. The school provides wilderness programs for young people and adults.
“It’s a very useful school for a lot of people to discover life and discover what’s important to them in their lives,” Rearick said. “A lot of what I do is because of my exposure to the Hurricane Island School. So I’m carrying their name and their story with me.”
After spending a few days in St. Helena, Rearick will head to Capetown, where he will spend two weeks. From Capetown, Bodacious Dream will head home to Wellington, New Zealand, the city where it was built. The stretch of sailing between Cape Town and Wellington will be the longest of the voyage, with Rearick spending as many as 35 days at sea.
After two weeks in Wellington, Rearick will head east to Cape Horn and do some exploring in the area. From there he will sail to the Falkland Islands, and then further east to South Georgia Island, a location famous for the part it played in explorer Ernest Shackleton’s failed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in the early 1900s. Rearick will sail along the Brazilian coast until he reaches the mouth of the Amazon, where he hopes to have a special encounter.
“There are some really unique dolphins there,” Rearick said. “They’re a pink dolphin, with necks that are flexible like a human’s. The local natives consider them to be quite magical.”
From the Amazon it’s north through the Caribbean and then on to Jamestown, where Rearick hopes to arrive by June 1, 2014.
During his voyage, Rearick will subsist on a diet of freeze-dried food supplemented with some canned food like tuna, salmon or chicken. Rearick said people on shore eat for pleasure, but sailors at sea eat to provide fuel for the body.
“You don’t expect a gastronomic feast, you just want to get food in your system so that you can stay warm and have energy to function,” Rearick said.
Singlehanded sailing around the globe would be impossible without the use of an autosteering system. Rearick has two aboard, just in case. Even with the system in use, short naps are the best he can hope for. He will be on nearly constant lookout for other ships and further obstacles.
“At the closing speed of two vessels, you anticipate that your horizon is about 20 minutes away, so you try not to sleep too much longer than that,” Rearick said.
These days, according to Rearick, communication technologies like automatic-identification systems and radars will allow him to set alarms. He said he is adept at sleeping in 15-minute intervals, so he plans to do six or eight of those intervals over the course of a few hours, waking up each time to take a look around and make sure the horizon is clear.
Rearick plans to provide an educational component along the way as well. There will be regular updates coming off the boat with photographs, videos and stories via a satellite system. There will also be explorer guides to give students a chance to learn about wildlife, navigation, history and nutrition of the places he plans to visit.
“Any and every little aspect of this trip that can be talked about in a way that will give somebody a little bit of learning in life,” he said. “We’re going to try to do that.”
Rearick’s journey can be followed on BodaciousDreamEx peditions.com. There will also be email blasts and a Facebook page to provide updates. In addition to those resources, Rearick will update the Jamestown Press on an ongoing basis during his trip.