2014-06-19 / Front Page

Bodacious Dream returns from trip around Earth

By Ken Shane

Family and friends greeted Dave Rearick at the East Ferry docks on Saturday. Aboard Bodacious Dream, Rearick more than eight months ago embarked on a solo circumnavigation of the globe. 
Photo by Jeff McDonough Family and friends greeted Dave Rearick at the East Ferry docks on Saturday. Aboard Bodacious Dream, Rearick more than eight months ago embarked on a solo circumnavigation of the globe. Photo by Jeff McDonough On his last night at sea before completing his solo circumnavigation of the globe, Dave Rearick realized that he was coming to the end of a major focus in his life.

He was looking forward to seeing family and friends whom he hadn’t seen in awhile, and he was excited to scratch the journey off his bucket list. He also thought about how much time he had spent over the last 40 years dreaming about the voyage.

“All that is behind me now, so that just frees up a lot of bandwidth,” he said. “I’m not so sure what I’m going to do with the free time.”

The next day Rearick eased Bodacious Dream, the Class 40 sailboat that had taken him around the world, up to a berth alongside the dock in Jamestown, not far from the slip that he had left more than eight months ago to begin his epic journey. The dock was filled with friends and family, including Rearick’s 83-year-old mother Joanie, who had made the trip from San Diego to greet her son on his arrival.

It seemed only natural for one of Rearick’s friends to ask how he felt now that he had completed his voyage. Rearick was feeling a little confused. He later explained that the confusion came from one extreme in the Southern Ocean, thousands of miles away from land, with the nearest human being probably being on the space station orbiting above his head. He was far away from shore and any kind of human life. It is a feeling that stays with you.

“Then there you are, off Beavertail Point, and boats are showing up with photographers on them,” Rearick said. “An hour later you’re there amongst 40 of your great friends in a totally different land environment. Bridging the contrast is strange.”

Once he was off the boat, it seemed normal to shake people’s hands. His energy level was high, so he didn’t feel the fatigue of sailing nearly 25,000 miles. And yet somewhere in the back of his mind he was still out there, sailing alone.

Many people undertake extreme adventures in an effort to learn something about themselves. Rearick said that while he didn’t learn anything new, he was able to validate things that he already knew.

“You have these moments in life that confirm who you believe you are,” Rearick said. “Whether you want to be an artist, or a musician, or a sailor, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a writer, you have these moments where you accomplish things and you say, ‘Hey, I really am who I thought I was.’ It’s not so much that you didn’t believe who you were, it’s that sometimes you question whether people outside of your influence see you that way.”

Rearick, who is 56 years old, says he still thinks of himself as 28. He is well aware, however, that he can’t do three sail changes in two hours after 25 days at sea because his physical abilities aren’t replenished enough.

One of the first highlights of the trip for Rearick came after he left Bermuda, his first stopover after leaving Jamestown. Four days out he found himself looking out to sea when he realized that he was right where he had wanted to be for so many years. Rearick was doing what he wanted to do, and heading for Cape Town, South Africa.

In terms of visual impact, Rearick mentions the bioluminescence that he observed at night on several occasions, and the grandeur of the scenery that he saw as he arrived in Wellington, New Zealand.

“When I looked up, here were these mountains and glaciers. It was stunningly beautiful.”

Rearick admitted that like many sailors, he developed a relationship with his boat, lending Bodacious Dream almost human qualities as the two worked together to get around the planet. He said that his boat took on a personality, and a wise one at that, and often spoke to him, reminding him to stay in turn with what he was doing.

“I think it’s very much a part of it. Some people will say that it’s just romanticism and such, but some people give their cars a name and speak to their cars like a good friend. I know musicians who have names for their guitars. It’s very much the same thing.”

He continued. “You really have to develop a relationship with something that’s become so much a part of you. The boat doesn’t go anywhere until I pull in the lines and put the sails up, and I don’t go anywhere unless the boat goes anywhere. You have to become one with them.”

Rearick’s voyage was tracked by followers around the world as a result of an email and social media campaign that included frequent dispatches from the boat, along with photos and video. There were also science lessons intended to educate students about some of the places that Rearick was traveling. As a result, Rearick said he was well aware of the support he had around the world. Many of the emails that were sent to the website were passed along to him.

“What really blew me away was the reality of how the support developed. I was getting emails with compliments from people who I don’t know in faraway places. People were touched that I had a dream and was accomplishing it. That really humbles you.”

While Rearick now has some time to kick back and consider his next adventure, Bodacious Dream will be back in action soon. After completing maintenance at the Hinckley yard in Portsmouth, the boat will be turned over the Matt Scharl, who co-skippered Bodacious Dream with Rearick for last year’s Atlantic Cup win. Scharl will sail the boat across the Atlantic to Saint Malo, France, where he will take part in the singlehanded Route du Rhum that goes from Saint Malo to the island of Guadeloupe. The race, which is held every four years, begins in October.

As for Rearick, he plans to begin compiling the stories and photographs of his voyage with an eye toward publishing a book about his adventure. He expects that his writing will take on a philosophical bent, commenting on the state of the environment and the oceans as he observed them. More than anything else, Rearick said that the next few months will be spent reintegrating himself back into his real life.

“It’s been a fantastic experience. There were certainly times out there when I questioned my decision to do it or my sanity. But the overall experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I’m so glad that it happened, and I’m so glad that it went the way it did. It’s a long journey, and the journey is the actual experience, not the final destination.”

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