Day 605 [May 30/10] -- A slow day of dicey winds finishes well

Today's Report
May 30/10 0800 JST / 1600 local

10°14'N, 116°42'W (North Pacific Ocean) 

It was a frustratingly slow and rainy day that dramatically improved toward late afternoon as winds saw 18 - 22 kts from the north, setting up a nicely powered beam reach. While for the period he just averaged a slow 2.1 kts, at the time of his call there was a respectable 5 to 6 knots showing on the speed gauge. ClearPoint indicates he's still just at the very edge of the East Trades, and another 50 nm or so more progress north should see him past the dicey wind area.

He said the genoa headsail furling line had broken, which he could fix by shortening it. "We were sent 10 mil line by Harken [the maker of the furling equipment], but I think 8 mill would have been better," he said. Ten millimeter line is too thick and more easily abrades where it feeds out of the furling drum, he believes. 

He also reported that the "stopper nut" on the staysail furler drum had cracked. He said he was able to solve that by using line to keep the sail from unfurling.

He reported there had been frequent rain showers throughout the day and that the wind had been highly variable in both direction and speed. Over the last two days ClearPoint wind indication has been hit or miss, with reduced reliability in the conversion zone he is in. 

As well, a storm that formed east of his position and has today developed into Agatha, the season's first named tropical storm, is approaching Guatemala just 1,600 nm away. 

That's probably just close enough to be giving him the unsettled weather he has been experiencing the past several days. Fortunately Agatha, already responsible for killing 13 persons in Guatemala, is moving in an eastward direction away from Saito-san. 

We took notice of this part of the report we cited above on Agatha. Other than the obviously erroneous "15-day" hurricane season it mentions (and we pointed out to Bloomberg), the summary seems to support the NOAA prediction. 

On May 27, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service forecast a “below normal” hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific this year. The season runs from May 15 to May 30, and the eastern Pacific usually has about 15 storms, according to the U.S. agency.

Saito is now in the East Pacific heading into the West Pacific, where the typhoon season begins in June, and the majority of storms occur in August and September.

We mentioned the challenge issued this week by a 73-year-old Australian sailor who has his eye set on Saito-san's "oldest non-stop" record. Several nervous queries have come in along the line of "That doesn't mean he's going to try again, is he?"

Hmmm. We are talking about Minoru Saito, so maybe, but it would be highly unlikely. For one thing, there is nothing in the single media report we've seen that gives the single-handed background of the Australian gentleman, so it's impossible to assess his chances of success at age 74. Assuming he DID make it around in one go, Saito-san would be nearly 78 before he could arrange to leave again, if even that soon.

So, the best answer -- right now -- is "no." But Saito does seem to love it, as long as he is on the water.

Distance in last 24 hours: 52 nm overground, 37 nm DMG
Total distance completed: 21,948 nm
To Yokohama: 6,252 nm (distance remaining: 22.4%)
To Hawaii WP: 2,382 nm
Heading: 280°
Reported boat speed: 5.0 - 6.0 kts
Average boat speed: 2.1 kts
Average daily DMG over last 7 days: 62 nm 
Weather: Overcast with frequent rain
Temperature: 27.0° C
Barometer: 1007 hPa (steady)
Wind (from): 4 kts, SSW expected to be 8 kts ESE dropping to 3 kts SW over next 19 hrs
Waves: 1.5 - 2.0 m
Current (from): E at 0.5 kts
Engine: 0.0 hrs
Generator: 8.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 80 or 90%, staysail 0%, mainsail 2-pt reef

Position Map