Day 392 [Oct. 30/09] -- Improved progress

Position (0800 JST)
55°38'S, 71°36'W -- about 146 nm west of Cape Horn
[Click to enlarge]

Distance completed to Yokohama finish: 65%
Heading: 295
Boat speed: 5.0 kt (7-day average: -- kt)
Weather: Overcast becoming partly cloudy
Barometer: 984 hPa (steady)
Waves: 3.5-4.0 m
Wind (from): 22-24 kt W -- winds somewhat down, still headwind
Current (from): 1.0 kt SW
Distance in last 24 hours: 70 nm
Engine: 1700 rpm (16 hrs) and 2000 rpm (8 hrs) -- 200 L

Today's Report

Yesterday's cold front lingered and was still over Saito-san's 0800 JST position, although seas were already down a bit at the time of his call, dropping to 3.5 - 4.0 m waves and 22-24 kt winds from the west.

Clarifications received from Whiting Power in New Zealand indicated a third "secondary" fuel filter equipped on the engine that was installed by the Auckland company last year. This filter is apparently causing reduced fuel flow due to particulate build-up. The filter may or may not have been replaced in Yokohama before departure by a diesel mechanic, but in any case there are no spares aboard that Saito-san can locate. (The engine-mounted fuel filter is in a self-contained cartridge that cannot be opened or cleaned. Saito-san reports having 4 spares for the aux. dual-filter system that was installed in Auckland during the refit.)

This morning preparations were being made to arrange delivery of a replacement filter by DHL to Punta Arenas, and Hanaoka-san, who continues to provide immensely helpful shore support there, was making arrangements for the filter and additional primary spares to be picked up by Saito-san in a port up the coast.

Until the spare filter can be handed over, the engine will see less use, and the sails, which have been kept furled in the strong opposing headwinds, will begin to see more service. At daybreak Saito-san unfurled the staysail. Boat speed rose to 5 kts from an average 2.6 kts as a result.

A new front is expected in about 27 hours, refreshing the westerly headwinds into the 30s, and seas will rise to over 4 meters. The effects of the front are expected to last about 24 hours.

We asked Saito-san to be sure to maintain adequate sea room as the stronger winds will try to push him toward the lee shore, presently about 35 nm off his starboard side.

Iridium reception was good, at near-cell phone quality. We received no locator beacon report yesterday, but one came at 0410 this morning. Normally two are received in a 24-hr period.

Saito-san was expected to pass the furthest westward point he reached in April, by about noon today.

[See our earlier commentary during Saito-san's first Horn passage attempt in April.]

Saito-san will call in his next position at 1400 JST today.




Barometric chart + 7 hrs [click to enlarge]
Winds + 7 hrs
Waves + 1 hr