If I knew then, what I know now by Dave Rearick

Dave Rearick began sailing as a teenager on the shores of Lake Michigan. Follow Dave’s adventures leading up to his single-handed sailing Bodacious Dream around the world this fall at www.bodaciousdream.com & www.bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com

bodream4

I’ve said it, you’ve said it, everyone has said it at one time or another … but have any of us ever really considered what it means? Just imagine … if you DID know then what you know now? What if you knew about recycling, say back in 1960, or about sustainability when you were 12 or about global climate change in 1980, when you were just 9 years old?

In May, in between Atlantic Cup race legs, 11th Hour Racing and race organizers honored several of us skippers with the opportunity to spend a sunny afternoon in New York City and a drizzly one in Newport, RI with groups of school-aged kids, touching upon all sorts of things sailing and ocean-related. Suddenly, we found ourselves cast into a whirl of questions, laughter and boundless energy, sharing some of what we know “now” about the life we live and love, with kids today … of all ages, a sort of current day pool of “then.”

Bodream1

BoDream’s co-skipper Matt Scharl lets the kids try on a PFD.

We watched 5 and 6 year olds giggling as they turned winches at the dock, 8 and 9 year olds visiting a harbor world in the very heart of their own city, that they probably didn’t know existed, 12 and 14 year olds tossing out questions as they sat on a Class 40 and listened to a skipper talk about sailing across an ocean or around the world. It provided us a special opportunity to share some of our experience – the mistakes, the rewards and the accomplishments with these open, fresh minds that might one day benefit from knowing some of what we know now in their years of “then.”

bodream2

Matt and Dave field some tough questions.

Of course, nothing can keep these kids from doing their own stumbling, but along the way … whatever touches them today, helps to shape their tomorrows, and perhaps some of what they saw and heard and did, may just stick with them.

It was a wonderful and empowering experience, one I’d not trade for anything. In the course of it, I optimistically hoped that the young girl who climbed all the way into the very front of the forepeak and wouldn’t come out until everyone was leaving, might one day grow to have just as much tenacity and confidence when backed into a tight spot negotiating an environmentally sensitive treaty … or that the group of seven kids, who joined with Sam Holiday, to try with all their might to win a tug-of-war contest against the turn of a winch powered by one small hand, might grow to remember how a group of people can stand up to and eventually hold back the inappropriately powerful turn of a bad industry. And the young girl, frightened to take that step from the dock to the boat, who looked down at debris floating in the water and asked, “What’s that stuff? Might she grow up instead to ask … “WHY that stuff?”

bodream3

Sam Holiday w/ some of the kids.

Though it seems all fun and whimsical when lively, giggling kids come bounding down the docks, it reminds me of the immense responsibility we have as adults when graced with these chances to help guide and share with young minds some of the knowledge (and more importantly, the wisdom) that we have gathered through our years that might possibly one day help to tip the scales for them in favor of the amazing future that awaits us all, if we learn to learn together.

“Education” is a hotly debated term these days … and as such, its future is questioned and argued daily, mostly by people who are neither students nor teachers. “Learning,” on the other hand, is personal and life-long. You may well use a smartphone, a tablet, an online course … not to mention a sailboat, to educate yourself about something, BUT the true test of what you learned will not be your 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.

As sailors know only too well, we all learn from each other. We learn from each other at any age, and so we should try not to hesitate, but to reach out and share our experience … because wisdom, hard won, is one of life’s greatest gifts. But only when it’s shared, does its power to inspire and change become activated.

That seems to me to be the key to building the kind of world where we can learn to identify and solve problems together … because soon enough, we will sail beyond the horizon, and it will be these kids’ turn to be the voice of experience and to share their “now,” with another new generation being their “then.”

                 Life is a grand adventure,

                                               live it all,

                                                         live it always.

– Dave Rearick (Skipper of Bodacious Dream #118)

 

Two Chains, Four Wheels by Terry Halpin

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.

~ Charles M. Schulz

On May 16th, 11th Hour Racing and Manuka Sports hosted, Living on the Edge, a panel discussion on coastal communities and climate change.  The panel discussion, in conjunction with the Atlantic Cup, took place in New York City, more than 200 miles from 11th Hour Racing’s home in Newport, RI.  The majority of our staff took the train in to the city to attend the event.  However Rob MacMillan, our Program Adviser and Terry Halpin, 11th Hour Racing Ambassador, decided it would be a grand adventure to ride bikes to the city.  This is their story.


Ride to NYC

Rob's big adventure

Q: You are both active sailing competitors.  How does riding a bike compare to sailing?  Do you feel there are similarities?

There are many similarities that make the two sports complimentary.   There are many disciplines and subsets within each sport that allow for participation and enjoyment for just about anybody at every level.

Competitive, big boat sailing requires physicality, coordinated team work, tactical genius, and the use of technology as the cornerstones of success.  The same is true of professional bike racing teams that compete in prestigious events such as the Giro D’Italia or the Tour de France.  Both require intense training, mental focus and commitment.

There really is something for everyone under the umbrella of each sport and they both offer ways to satisfy the desire to compete and enjoy the beauty of their respective operating environments.

Q: Where in the world have you ridden and how does it compare to riding in the US?

Cycling is a part of the culture in Europe.  I feel fortunate to have been able to ride in most of the locations that I have traveled to for competitive sailing.  New Zeland, France, Italy, Spain, and South Africa and for the most part, my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.  The same can be said for the riding both Rob and I have done here in the US, including  most of New England, South Eastern Florida, and the Bay Area of San Francisco, oh and a couple of thousand laps around Aquidneck Island.  What should be stressed is that the steep, twisting country roads of coastal Sardinia are no more or less dangerous to bikers than the back roads or suburbs of any-town USA.  It’s about driver awareness and in the US, it just isn’t woven in to our fabric yet.

tour-de-france_2

Q: Choosing to Ride through NYC is not something everyone would want to sign up for.  What led you to that decision and how did it compare to other rides you have done in the states.

Rob planted the suggestion a couple of weeks before the Atlantic Cup and shortly thereafter, it became something more like a challenge.  Originally, he wanted to ride the length of the 180 or so miles from Newport to New York over a two-day period; Instead we drove to New London, took a ferry across to Orient Point, and began the 110 mile trip from there.  I had entered a 100 mile race in New York that would cap the weekend so at that point, I was all in.  While I was well-trained for the upcoming race, I had never ridden more than 75 miles in one go and had a feeling that neither had Rob, this was certainly going to be interesting.  Despite the insanity of riding through Queens during rush hour, we both felt that crossing over into Manhattan after starting in the “wine country” of Long Island hours earlier, was a great feeling.

Interestingly, the ride through NYC proper (if you don’t count the borough of Queens) was actually pretty easy.  The many recently added bike lanes improved the conditions and once south of mid-town at rush hour, the traffic thinned out and it was clear “sailing” to the event location at North Cove.

bike_jaszekpl-537x337

Q: Along the way what did you notice about the roadways or landscape you rode through.  Do you feel the trash and pollution you found relates back to Marine debris and Clean regattas?

The amount of trash along the roadways was ridiculous.  It stretched far off the road and was much more obvious from the bike than would have been from a car.  Sadly, the majority of the trash and waste will end up in the waterways eventually.  Seeing this re-enforced the idea that everything is connected and we have to do a much better job of recognizing the impact everything can have.

For those who aren’t familiar with the North Fork of Long Island, it’s pretty rural with many farms and vineyards as you head West.  What I found interesting about the first 35-40 miles is that while the scenery is reminiscent of famous paintings the road itself was a constant stream of heavy, commercial vehicles heading (loudly) in both directions.  The noise and soot produced from the traffic was, at times, a little overwhelming, the diesel particulates and dust would take a toll on my lungs later on in the ride.  Around mile 40 the scenery changes quite dramatically to one of endless strip malls and it doesn’t stop until you get to the affluent areas around Huntington.  Shortly after that you’re in the borough of Queens.  While for a good portion of the ride we were afforded either a generous bike or break-down lane, it was often littered with broken glass, fast-food containers, or just bits and pieces of vehicles that had fallen off and been kicked to the curb by the traffic.  One of the more depressing sights was an estuary of Long Island Sound we passed by just before entering Queens.  The tide was out and the exposed muddy bottom was strewn with the remnants of old docks, sunken and abandoned boats, and many more examples of the detritus of people.  The water was the color of hot chocolate and looked as if nothing could be capable of living in it never mind using it for recreational activity.  You have to wonder how the people we as humans can accept this as normal and how did we become so careless.  It’s a monumental task but we have to do a better job.

terryandrobride

Photo Credits:

Tour de France scene

Bike Lane