Saito-san and the Coast Guard vessel meet at approx. 0435 local time. NBSDIII is now reported under tow to Punta Arenas.
Position (1645 JST)
Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III was expected to be under tow at approx. 2300 hours locally after Saito-san managed to return in strong winds and heavy (5.5 meter) seas to the entrance of the Strait of Magellan.
At 0435, 5 1/2 hours later than scheduled, we received word that the rendezvous near Cabo Felix lighthouse was successful, and NBSDIII was under tow. No further information was immediately available.
About 18 hours ago he lost the use of his staysail, and with a partially opened jib foresail, he sailed under highly difficult conditions approx 30 nm back after he learned that a Chilean Coast Guard vessel would rendezvous with him. We were told that the Coast Guard vessel could not enter into the waters of the Pacific Ocean to assist Saito, but rather would have to wait until he entered the Strait on his own.
We are still waiting to learn what happened with the staysail. Saito told Hanaoka-san, the Chilean shore crew chief, by Iridium phone that he could not furl the sail, so it is believed he lowered it completely.
He lost the use of the engine and aux. generator on Saturday due to contaminated fuel. Both are essential to recharge the ship's batteries and to go against the contrary winds and currents during a westward passage of Cape Horn.
Initially he was asked to proceed up the coast, but later we received new instructions that he should rendezvous with a Coast Guard vessel at the Cabo Felix lighthouse, approx. 26 nm inside the Strait.
To conserve Iridium phone battery power he did not call in and thus did not receive the new instructions until hours later. At the time of yesterday's 1600 JST beacon we could see he had moved past the entrance to the Strait. Sea conditions worsened as he began to make his way back with winds in the high 20s and seas of 5 meters.
He will be towed to Punta Arenas, about 130 nm. This port is where he restarted his circumnavigation on Oct. 24 after a 6-month repair layover. It is the only port in reach with adequate facilities to repair the engine and aux. generator.
He has called to provide updates on 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.
We express our great appreciation to both for their handling of the emergency, and to the Chilean Coast Guard for their timely assistance to Minoru Saito.