Day 557 [April 12/10] -- Missing yacht turns up 43 days overdue

Today's Report
April 12/10 0800 JST

08°38'S, 82°35'W (South Pacific Ocean, 1,950 nm from Valdivia)

A bit slower but still OK progress under light winds achieving 104 nm for the day.

With no small relief, we received this email today from a person who has been following Saito-san's circumnavigation:

FYI---SS Columbia reached port in Chile

Same day as the post about it in Saito's daily log:
I enjoy reading about Saito's voyage...the poor fellow has had his challenges, but I'm rooting for him along with everyone else!
I've been following him since he met Mike Perham and Zac Sunderland in Cape Town....hope he makes it back home safely and without further delays. Saito and Zac's younger sister, Abby, "passed" each other west of South America as Abby was on the way to the Horn...she's now past and well NE of the Falklands.

Good luck to Saito!

M. Hurlin

Thanks much, M. Hurlin. That's really great news!

What you will see by following his link is that the SS Columbia, a British-registered yacht that's been missing since it failed to make port as scheduled in late February, arrived just yesterday.

It was not, as it turned out, your typical vacation cruise.

The novice sailors arrived angry at their reportedly heavy-handed treatment by the captain who refused to use the radio, and then were shocked to hear there had been a massive earthquake and a major sea search ordered for them. The article reports that at least one of the families is hopping mad and was threatening a lawsuit.

Amongst the novice crew there's bound to be a lot of stories to tell, but we suspect that this captain has been getting a good tongue-lashing from the Chilean Coast Guard for failing to report in.

Forty-three days late to port with no word to anyone on shore is awfully cruel to the families of the paying crew, all student sailors, especially after the 7th-strongest recorded earthquake struck just a few hundred miles away.

While ships at sea would likely not even notice such an event, there was always the possibility that the vessel had pulled into a small local port at the time the tsunami hit, in which case there would have been very different consequences.

The families had every reason be be frightened, and now to be angry, even if the captain -- someone who has reportedly done this sort of late-to-port thing before -- was blissfully unaware of what had occurred.

Fortunately, their big adventure ended well, though clearly not happily.

Distance in last 24 hours: 104 nm
Distance completed: 19,535 nm
To Yokohama: 8,764 nm (distance remaining: 30.9%)
Heading: 293
Reported boat speed: 3.5 kt (day's average: 4.3 kt)
Weather: Clear 
Temperature: 25.5° C
Barometer: 1008 hPa (steady)
Wind (from): Favorable 7-11 kt SSE -- expected to stay 11 - 15 kt mostly out of SE, diminishing to 10 SE in 19 hrs
Waves: 1.0 m
Current (from): variable
Engine rpms: 0 hrs,
Generator: 8.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 0%, staysail 100%, mainsail 1-pt reef

Position Map (click to enlarge)