Day 640 [July 3/10 local time] -- Ready to depart Hawaii

Today's Report
July 3/10 Honolulu Time 

Position:  21°17'N, 157°53'W  

Remaining distance to Yokohama finish:  13.4%

A week of a long list of small and major repair and maintenance items as reported by Dave Cooper. For the record and to show the extent of the effort involved (should you ever have a long-distance cruising plan of your own), we'll do a summary here of the daily reports submitted from the Hawaii support team composed of Dave, Scott Gilbert, and Ed Abbot. Pictures follow at end.

The upshot of it all is: This weekend following a sea trial Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III was to be moved over to a location nearer to the main marina area of Honolulu, enjoy a send-off breakfast Sunday morning at Hawaii Yacht Club with members of the Hawaii Cruising Club, and depart for Japan about noon on Sunday.

So here's the week in review, with huge and continuing thanks to Dave and crew!



1. Mainsail is back on the dock so we can put it on after the welding, perhaps Thursday. Cost was about $550 for the repairs as we discussed. We will need to work on the battens pockets a bit and some other hardware to make sure all is well when it is hoisted on the boat.

2. SSB is now working. New antenna, antenna mount, new GTO-15 feed wire & new ground strap. In addition the tuner lead from the SSB to the antenna coupler had some corroded wires, there are 8 total and 3 were severed with two other missing insulation and "green". I cut the cable and we spliced it near the stern rail. No chance of getting a new lead here. It is water tight and should serve him well for the trip back. However, the cable should be replaced.

3. Went up the mast again to prepare for the welding tomorrow. We moved the halyards out of the way to protect them from heat, also cleared the decks of any items that could be burned from hot slag raining down.

4. We are still trying to assemble some good working blocks so he can depend on them not breaking for the rest of the trip. Lots of broken ones to salvage parts from. Most of the blocks seem a bit light for the size of the boat so has broken sheaves and shackles galore. Getting good fair leads so chafing is minimized will be a key item as we put it all back together.

5. The RLB 121mh EPRIB mounted on the rail is worthless. The other 406 MHz EPRIB appears to have a good battery but its registration is out of date. Scott is handling this issue directly with you as we need to have you the registration updated. It is a PTA but the registration is only good for 2 years after that they are removed from the IMO data base.

[We subsequently registered the 406 MHz EPRIB on the NOAA website from Tokyo. In fact, the 121mh EPRIB was both non-functional AND no longer allowed by the U.S. Coast Guard. However, the rule change on satellite tracking units does not affect 121.5/243 MHz man overboard devices which are designed to work directly with a base alerting unit only and not with the satellite system.]

6. His waypoint west of here is 22N 150E aka where he makes his turn to starboard ;-)

If the welding goes as planned we hope to get the boat pretty well rigged by Thursday PM. Then some provisioning on Friday and get Saito-san cleared out on Friday PM. Saturday fuel up, fill the water tanks and generally get the boat ready for sea. We can do a sea trial and then moor it in Ala Wai Marina for the night. A breakfast at the Hawaii Yacht Club with a good send-off around 1PM or so on Sunday, July 4th for his last leg of this circumnavigation. 


1. We had hoped to have the mast welded this AM but……..the welder didn’t show. He had another welding contract that took priority over the 6” of welding that Saito’s mast needs. However tomorrow at 0700 or so he plans on doing it. He’s the best there is and we also had another guy look at doing it who was reputed to be a great welder and “cheaper” too. He looked and walked as it too high in the sky for him ;-)

2. We got the new mast toggle today along with new clevis pin for the bottom attachment point where the cotter pin was sucked into the fitting. Once we disassembled the forestay we found that this pin was bent and had hairline fractures. It was one or two bounces away from shearing off. Unfortunately the new pin was 7/8” as are all the others and the old one is 5/8”. We are unable to drill the forestay tang fitting on the boat to 7/8” as it should be due to the bow roller weldments that were added after the forestay tang. So we will use another pin (but longer) as was there before.

3. We also have the new lower clevis pin for the staysail tang. It too has suffered similar issues as the forestay tang.

4. Saito pulled out the manual fuel pump today and it was all rusted and seized up. Someone had used it in Chile apparently pumping something very dirty with saltwater in it. We spent several hours disassembling it and getting it serviceable so he can now pump fuel with it, He also has the small battery operated “toy” electric pump working.

5. He will have 380 liters of fuel in 7 plastic jugs on the stern sitting on carpet and secured well. We’ll get him a 25’ piece of hose so he doesn’t have to untie and move the jugs as before. Very hard for him and a bit dangerous doing it that way, IMHO.

6. Finished up the SSB wiring so it is all secured to the rails and waterproofed where it goes thru the deck gland.

7. We’ll get him a new handheld VHF tomorrow as we found a good Uniden on sale for under $100 that will do him well.

8. Saito has new shoes.

9. Oil changed on the main engine today along with a new filter. Ed brought him 8 gallons of fresh oil so he’s all set there.

10. He only has 4 Racor filters so we’ll need to get another 4-6 for him. They really can’t be reused as they become contaminated when you pull them. Trying to reuse them allows those contaminates to get into the final filter on the engine which is something you really don’t want.

11. We have his helm seat back in operation. I fabricated a piece of plywood and bolted the seat spider to it and it to the seat bottom. He looks good sitting there on the throne with your little green stool for his feet.

The schedule looks good IF the welding is finished up by noon tomorrow. If not then it’ll be Tuesday or Wednesday because of the 4th of July weekend before he can leave.


Aloha, another day with a few more speed bumps both technical and otherwise but good progress was made.

1. We finally got all the right pieces of bits & bobs to assemble the forestay. So the genoa is now on and the furler works fine. There should be way less chafing as the furling line leads fair from the drum now which it didn't do before.

2. The lower clevis pin on the staysail was also bad but the replacement pin provided was too long and the wrong diameter. Seems that the old pin is Metric and a shade under 5/8. So we found a shorter pin and drilled out the homebuilt toggle lower hole to accept the new pin.

3. The staysail went up but did have some difficulty doing so as the luff tape cover is torn in many places. This from the loose tension in the past causing some rotation in the foil links. All of the set screws are tight in the foils but there is play some play. As long as the stay is tensioned correctly there shouldn't be any issue.

4. Made one more pass up and down the rig today to secure all the mast steps, try to install a new wind vane but it was the wrong one so gave up on that, retrieved the staysail halyards that were moved out of the way for the welding and sliced my arm on the razor sharp top of the staysail furler.

5. Saito-san re-tensioned the backstays and is happy with the rig at this point.

6. Two more winches were serviced with one left, the aft port sheet winch. It seems fine but if time allows it will be stripped and serviced.

7. We have the main on the boom and were working on the new outhaul, aka old second reef, and the "permanent" 3rd reef line which will be the "outhaul" until Saito-san gets close to the barn. I hope everyone realizes that Nicole BMW will be doing 99% of the passage with the main at the 3rd reef point. Perhaps slower but it is all that North could get out of the sail. The area between the 2nd & 3rd reef is for show. He can raise it when he gets close to home and the BMW logo looks OK under the 2nd reef. He has plenty of fuel to keep up a 6 kt speed IF he runs into calms. Getting thru this passage as quickly as possible would seem to be the prime objective. Slow increases the days at sea which increases typhoon and storm risk.

It sure would have been nice if Nicole BMW had a pole or poles as the 2000 nm DDW will be hard on the genoa/staysail vs. a wing on wing with poles. Without a good preventer (remember he has no vang) the mainsail will chafe on the shrouds so he may have to drop that as he has no baggie wrinkles and only run with a poleless headsail.

8. Nicole BMW took on the appearance of a sailboat today; she's looked a bit unloved without any sails bent on her for the last 10 days.

9. Took Saito-san to customs/immigrations so he is now cleared and must depart by 1430 on Sunday or clear back in.

Provisioning, fuel, a lot of tidying up and securing deck gear is planned for tomorrow along with the sea trial. We are hoping that he can move up to the Hawaii Yacht Club or close by there on Sat afternoon. Then leave with several boats following him out to sea and over the edge.


(Thanks, Ed!)

Dave up the mast

Scott in the genoa

Ed and Kimmy treat Saito-san to some Hawaiian hospitality

Saito-san belted into his "throne" -- the newly repaired helm seat