Day 545 [March 31/10] -- A bit slower as genoa takes a break

Today's Report
March 31/10 0800 JST

28°10'S, 76°42'W (Pacific Ocean, 722 nm from Valdivia)

Saito-san reports that the port-side genoa sheet became entangled in a shroud during the night and has made it necessary to keep the genoa closed until seas flatten and he can work the sheet free, including the possibility of having to go aloft. 

As well, he said in his previous call that the 1st reefing line had parted on the main and so until it is repaired the mainsail can only be raised to the second reefing point. (There are three reefing points on the main.)

This means he will continue for the next few days under reduced sails, with the result that his average speed dropped yesterday by about 1.5 kts to 5.2 kts for the 24-hour period. At the time of his call boat speed under sail was 5.5 - 6.0 kts. That's still enough to make quite good progress under the steady, following winds and gradually flattening seas.

The running rigging is thus starting to see some fatigue, as can be expected from normal wear & tear. And while certain items can be replaced or mended, the opportunity to do that safely must be chosen carefully. 

The staysail is now fully open, the main at second reef, and the genoa fully closed.

No earthquakes were reported yesterday, for the second day in a row. NBSDIII is now far enough distant from the seismic area, and in deep ocean, so it is no longer considered a potential hazard to him. He's 300 nm off the Chilean coast. 

No word yet on the missing Japanese sailor. We received a call from an old Saito friend in Texas, Tokio Rogers, who is a HAM radio operator and followed Saito-san on previous circumnavigations, providing him regular radio-based messages and relaying news from home. Although a long-time Texas rancher now with her husband Luke, she is a Japanese expat and said she will listen as well from her base station near Austin for any distress signals that might be made in her native language from the Southern hemisphere. She also reminded us of the good luck rattlesnake rattle they gave Saito-san, which he still carries with him. He had one of the Indian totems with him on his 2005 non-stop circumnavigation.

As well, we received an email from Sue Richards, Site Manager of Noonsite, a web page for cruising sailors. She said they have posted the details as well on the part of the web page devoted to alerts on missing vessels.

Distance in last 24 hours: 124 nm
Distance completed: 18,238 nm
To Yokohama: 10,032 nm (distance remaining: 35.5%)
Heading: 018
Reported boat speed: 5.5 kt (day's average: 5.2 kt)
Weather: Overcast 
Temperature: 20.0° C
Barometer: 1008 hPa (down)
Wind (from): Favorable 16-22 kt S -- expected to be 18 kt S next 7 hrs, then 18 out of SSE
Waves: 2.5 m
Current (from): 0.3 kt NW
Engine rpms: 4.5 hrs. 1500 rpm
Generator: 6.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 0%, staysail 100%, mainsail 2-pt reef

Position Map (click to enlarge)