Day 393 [Oct. 31/09] -- Two fronts moving in

Position (0800 JST)
54°04'S, 74°38'W -- about 280 nm west of Cape Horn
[Click to enlarge]

Distance completed to Yokohama finish: 66%
Heading: 295
Boat speed: 6.0 kt (7-day average: -- kt)
Weather: Partly cloudy becoming overcast, rain
Barometer: 996 hPa (rising)
Waves: 2.5-3.5 m
Wind (from): 24-28 kt W -- winds beginning to rise
Current (from): 1.0 kt W
Distance in last 24 hours: 142 nm
Engine: 1700 rpm (16 hrs) and 2000 rpm (8 hrs) -- 200 L

Today's Report


A good day of progress with steady but reduced winds and relatively flat seas at 2.5 M. A moderate cold front is beginning to make itself felt, and is expected to last about 20 hrs. It will almost immediately be followed by a second front. Both will bring winds in the high 20s to high 30s, from the WNW and W.


At about noon yesterday Saito-san passed the furthest westward point he reached during his first Cape Horn attempt in April. "I'm making good progress," he reported. Improved boat speed was thanks to use of the fully open staysail, with winds at a close reach mainly steady from the west. The angle to the wind improved yesterday as he began to turn more north.


The lee shore was approx. 30 nm off his starboard side at the time of his morning call. (Saito-san has decided that 15 to 20 nm of sea room "is enough.") On ClearPoint we're seeing waves building to about 4.5 M in his area, with no improvement closer in to the shore.


Both fronts can be expected to have passed within about 48 hours. A third front will follow soon after, although by then he may be north enough to miss the worst of it.


Iridium reception was good. Both 12-hr beacon reports were received normally.


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


UPDATE -- 1400 POSITION [Click to enlarge]


UPDATE -- 2000 POSITION [Click to enlarge]
Forecast

Barometric chart + 2 hrs [click to enlarge]

Winds + 7 hrs
Waves + 1 hr

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.


UPDATE -- 1400 POSITION


UPDATE -- 2000 POSITION

Forecast


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

Day 391 [Oct. 29/09] -- Slow progress in headwinds

Position (0800 JST)
55°57'S, 69°41'W -- about 80 nm west of Cape Horn
[Click to enlarge]


Distance completed to Yokohama finish: 65%
Heading: 255
Boat speed: 1.5-2.0 kt (7-day average: -- kt)
Weather: Overcast, drizzling, cold, winds quite strong, seas bigger
Barometer: 988 hPa (steady)
Waves: 4.5-5.0 m
Wind (from): 40-45 kt W -- very strong headwinds
Current (from): 1.0 kt SW
Distance in last 24 hours: 57 nm
Engine: 1700 rpm (14 hrs) and 2300 rpm (10 hrs) -- 214 L

Today's Report


Strong headwinds at 40+ kts have slowed progress to about 2 kts boat speed in recent hours as a cold front passes. Except for dirty fuel which is apparently clogging the dual fuel filters and reducing engine rpms, Saito-san reports everything is "OK.... but it's cold!"


A cold front is presently passing, and should be clear of Saito-san in about 4 hrs. After that sea conditions will moderate, dropping to 4 m waves and 14-18 kt winds from the west.


He will await daylight and the easier conditions expected to come in about 6 hours before working again on the engine. (He cleaned the primary filter yesterday, and is being advised by the Yanmar engineer in Auckland, where the engine was installed, to do the same for the secondary filter.)


We thank Scott, with Whiting Power in Auckland NZ, for his helpful advice and continuing assistance.


Iridium reception was weak, with one interruption.


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


******

Additional Report (1051 yesterday) [Mike Seymour, Safety Officer]


Reporting on his call with Scott, of Whiting Power:

Scott said if the primary filters don't solve the problem, then check the secondary filter on the engine next. He said the sudden drop in rpm indicates some sort of fuel blockage. He doubted that air in the system would be the problem. He said we need to have Saito-san check the exhaust for smoke, which of course he can't do at night in these conditions. He also said it could be due to a propeller problem - something wrapped in the prop.


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


UPDATE -- 1400 POSITION

UPDATE -- 2000 POSITION

Forecast


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

Day 390 [Oct. 28/09] -- Saito passes Cape Horn for 6th time

Position (0800 JST)
55°57'S, 67°58'W -- about 23 nm west of Cape Horn
[Click to enlarge]


Distance completed to Yokohama finish: 65%
Heading: 240
Boat speed: 3.5 kt (7-day average: -- kt)
Weather: Overcast, winds strong, seas moderate but bigger
Barometer: 988 hPa (steady)
Waves: 3.0-3.5 m
Wind (from): 33-38 kt W -- headwinds
Current (from): 1.0 kt SW
Distance in last 24 hours: 142 nm
Engine: 1700 rpm (6.5 hr) and 2300 rpm (17 hrs) -- 260 L

Today's Report


Saito-san is delighted to report he passed Cape Horn as of 0030 JST today. Including his earlier attempt in April, in which he actually traversed the Horn on Day 187 but was later disabled, this is his 6th solo passage of Cape Horn.


"The Horn" is considered by single-handers to be the most challenging point of a circumnavigation. Frequent storms and highly changeable sea conditions make this one of the most dangerous spots on Earth for vessels of any size.


He received congratulations from shore crew in Tokyo and Punta Arenas, but said he will wait a few days for improved conditions as he heads up the Chilean coast before breaking out the celebratory champagne.


The conditions for the next 12 hours are strong but do not seem overly serious as a front approaches from the west, bringing strong winds in the mid to upper 30s. Seas are predicted to stay under 5 meters.


He said he took pictures of the lower islands and a promitory that mark the cape mid-point.


His main and growing concern at the moment is dirty fuel. He cleaned the fuel cleaner element a few hours ago, requiring him to stop the engine and drift for about 30 minutes. "It was really dirty, even though I installed a new fuel filter before departure," he said. He believes the contamination is from the debris in the main tank that has been shaken up by boat motion in the increasingly heavier seas.


Iridium reception was good.


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


You may want to see the commentary provided during his first Horn attempt in April.


******

Additional Report (0043 JST) [Mike Seymour, Safety Officer]


At approximately 0043 JST Oct 28, 2009, while speaking to me on the phone and with over 20 knots of westerly wind blowing straight in his face, Saito-san rounded Cape Horn alone for the 6th time.


Though he has two bottles of champagne left, he said he wasn't going to pop a cork until sea conditions settled down a bit, forcing me to give him a one-sided "Kampai" and a big "Omedeto Gozaimasu."


He did sound pleased.


(1240 local) Hitoshi Hanaoka, Chief of Punta Arenas Chile shore crew


Saito san called me 27-10-09 at 1240 to inform me that he is seeing the Cape Horn front of him. Wind is 25 to 30 knots, engine 2500 rpm with 6.5 knots of vessel speed. It sounded to me that he was very happy! But he said that the champagne will not be opened to celebrate until he crosses the west side of Magellan Strait, which will take about 3 days and 3 nights of voyage.


1500 JST POSITION UPDATE [click to enlarge]


2000 JST POSITION UPDATE [click to enlarge]


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


Day 389 [Oct. 27/09] -- Cape Horn position update

Position (2000 JST)
55°44'S, 66°41'W -- about 18 nm northeast of Cape Horn
[Click to enlarge]

Distance completed to Yokohama finish: 65%
Heading: 190
Boat speed: 5-6.0 kt (7-day average: -- kt)
Weather: Overcast, cold (4.0 C), winds moderate, seas moderate
Barometer: 988 hPa (rising)
Waves: 1.5-2.0 m (in lee of islands)
Wind (from): 22-27 kt SW
Current (from): 1.4 kt SW

Today's Report UPDATE (2000 JST)


At the time of his call, he was approx. 18 nm northeast of the islands below Cape Horn. At a speed of 5 kts, he is expected to start passing below the islands in about 3 hours.


He noted the leak in the aft head, at between 0.5 and 1 liter / hr. He also said he can see that the primary fuel filter is becoming dirty due to tank debris being stirred up by boat motion.


He was told of the 1.4 kt currents in the area where he is, as indicated by ClearPoint. We reminded him to take pictures as he passed the Horn.


He said he can see a small island "very close." He estimated it at about half a mile distant off his starboard bow.


Iridium reception was good.


Saito-san will call in his next position at 0800 JST tomorrow.


Additional Report (2021 JST) [Mike Seymour, Safety Officer]


Saito-san called and said he is about 1 hour from Cape Horn, just off the first small island off the cape. Winds from the SW at 20 to 25 knots. Waves at 1.5 m.


He said both fore and aft cabins were a complete mess due to the pounding the boat has been taking. He will call again when he gets around the cape.


(2154 JST) Hitoshi Hanaoka, Chief of Punta Arenas Chile shore crew


Saito-san called me in Chilean time today 27-10-09 0800 to tell me that it will take 1 hour to cross Cape Horn. Everything looks good.

Day 389 [Oct. 27/09] -- Cape Horn position update

Position (1400 JST)
55°32'S, 66°05'W -- 38 nm east of Cape Horn
[Click to enlarge]

Distance completed to Yokohama finish: 65%
Heading: 220
Boat speed: 6.0 kt (7-day average: -- kt)
Weather: Overcast, cold, winds strong, seas moderate
Barometer: 981 hPa (rising)
Waves: 2.5-3.0 m
Wind (from): 30-35 kt WNW
Current (from): 1.0 kt SW

Today's Report UPDATE (1400 JST)

At the time of his call, he was approx. 38 nm east and slightly north of the islands below Cape Horn. At a speed of 6 kts, he is expected to pass below the islands in 6 - 8 hours.


He reports no problems. He said the seas are "not bad" at 2.5 to 3.0 m. Winds were strong, as predicted by ClearPoint, and were expected to drop in about 3 hours into the mid teens to lower 20s. They will rise again into the low 30s in about 10 hours.


Iridium reception was a bit poorer, and wind noise was apparent, with Saito-san shouting to be heard.


Saito-san will call in his next position at 2000 JST.



Day 389 [Oct. 27/09] -- Approaching east of Cape Horn

Position (0800 JST)
55°19'S, 64°23'W -- 100 nm east of Cape Horn
[Click to enlarge]

Distance completed to Yokohama finish: 65%
Heading: 220
Boat speed: 7.0 kt (7-day average: -- kt)
Distance in last 24 hours: 114 nm
Distance made good: 16,350 nm (30,280 km)
Distance remaining to Yokohama: 8,520 nm
Yokohama to Yokohama (24,970 nm)
Yokohama ETA: 85 days (based on 100 nm/day ave. boat speed)
Weather: Overcast and partly cloudy, winds growing, seas moderate
Barometer: 964 hPa (dropping)
Waves: 1.5-2.0 m
Wind (from): 22-26 kt WNW
Current (from): 1.2 kt SW
Engine: 6.0 hr @ 2000 rpm + 18.0 hr @ 2300 rpm (294 L)
Generator: 0.0 hr (0 L)
Sails
Main: 0%
Staysail: 0%
Genoa: 0%

Today's Report

Saito-san is making the approach to Cape Horn, and at the morning's call JST was 100 nm east. He was in relatively light winds of 20 kts, but ClearPoint shows two, possibly three, approaching fronts. When they reach the area in 6-8 hours, the winds will rise to the mid 30s, then should drop back into the high 20s in about 12-15 hours. Seas are relatively moderate at 2.5 m.


Everything appears fine with the vessel, as he makes his second attempt to pass the Horn. The last attempt was April 12.


Iridium reception continues to be cell phone quality (with a slight delay), which is much improved over the quality during the previous attempt.


Saito-san will call in his position three times a day at the request of the Tokyo shore crew for at least the next several days.


Additional Report (Hitoshi Hanaoka, Chief of Punta Arenas Chile shore support)

Machine translation by Babel Fish


0800 local

This day 26th 0800 o'clock there is the telephone from Saito. When it turns the Estados island open sea, is opposite to Cape Horn. Wind 35 knots. As for Cape Horn open sea arrival when it is tomorrow. Flooding to the yacht is very little.


2015 local

O'clock of the Chilean time 26-10-09 and 2015, there is the telephone from Saito. To Cape Horn the distance of 80 miles. As for rudder, in 220 degrees northwest. It seems that everything favorably goes.


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