Day 394 [Nov. 1/09] -- Engine dies as fuel problem worsens


The 11/01 1600 (JST) beacon report showed him to be still about 25 nm from the entrance to Nelson Channel at the west entrance of the Strait of Magellan.

Position (1600 JST beacon)
52°25'S, 75°31'W -- about 422 nm west of Cape Horn
[Click to enlarge]

Distance completed to Yokohama finish: 66%
Boat speed: 3.0-4.0 kt (7-day average: -- kt)
Weather: Moderate winds, large seas
Barometer: 1005 hPa (rising)
Waves: 5.0 m
Wind (from): 19-22 kt W -- winds beginning to rise
Current (from): 1.0 kt W
Distance in last 24 hours: 107 nm
Engine: 1700 rpm (8 hrs) and 2000 rpm (8 hrs) -- 96 L

Today's Report

At 0230 JST Saito called to report that the engine would not start and neither would the aux. generator used for recharging the batteries. Because the hydraulic steering system depends on power from the batteries, this requires that he make for the nearest port in order to get the engine and generator back in service.

It is thought that the fuel lines and filters are blocked by particulates due to fuel contamination. Saito has struggled with reduced engine rpms since before crossing Cape Horn 4 days ago as the problem worsened.

The closest port is about 130 nm east on the Strait of Magellan, at Punta Arenas. He restarted his circumnavigation from Punta Arenas on Oct. 24.

A Chilean Coast Guard vessel has been summoned and is expected to rendezvous with NBSDIII in approx. 12 hours at Cabo (Cape) Felix, a lighthouse about 26 nm east. It is expected that Saito will need a tow as single-handed sailing is impossible within the twisting and frequently narrow channels of the waterway. As well, the batteries would not last long for the hydraulically assisted steering.

He has a separate tiller system that can be rigged in emergencies.

He called Tokyo at 0700 to explain his situation to Mike Seymour, Saito 8 Safety officer. He has also been in contact with Hitoshi Hanaoka in Chile, who is serving as liaison with the Chilean Coast Guard.

The skipper and vessel were both reported to be fine at the time of his last call to Hanaoka, and under sail in 19 kt favorable winds from the WSW. Seas are large at 4.5 to 5.0 m, but will reduce to 3.5 m as he enters the west entrance of the Strait with its more protected waters.


Barometric chart + 3 hrs [click to enlarge]
Winds + 3 hrs
Waves -2 hrs