Day 506 [Feb. 20/10] -- Waiting on repairs (of both boat and her skipper)

Today's Report
Feb. 20/10 0800 JST
39°49'S, 73°15'W (Valdivia Marina)

Local rigger Vincente Leiva visited the boat and determined that the halyard swivel, a crucial component of the genoa furler, had failed. We have been in contact with the technical staff of the manufacturer, who have agreed to replace the swivel at no charge.

(While they are sticking by their product, feeling that there may be other issues as well, they expressed the desire to get the matter resolved quickly, for which we are greatly appreciative!)

We received that good news this morning. Meanwhile, the bad news came earlier in the week.
On the sixth night [not third night as stated earlier] after Saito-san's arrival, the heavy hatch of the aft companionway fell on him as he was descending, badly lacerating his right forearm. He spent the night in agony and in the morning was accompanied to a clinic where x-rays were taken and the nasty wound, which we later saw in photos, was bandaged. No bones were broken but the injury, which Saito-san had tried to downplay to us over the phone, is expected to take several weeks to heal. He has been instructed by the doctor to visit the clinic every other day to change the bandage and to watch for infection. We'll spare you the actual image, but the wound is hand-sized. 
Fortunately, the immense mental and physical stresses on Saito-san are mostly absent in the relative paradise of the marina in Valdivia, versus his nine long months in the tiny, packed fishing harbor in Punta Arenas. There, NBSDIII was constantly being bashed and jostled by heavy fishing boats, as well as faced frequently stormy conditions on the exposed northern edge of the Strait of Magellan. And there, for Saito, even such creature comforts as a hot shower and a warm meal were dependent on the generosity of others. Those are now within an easy walk at the Valdivia marina facilities. And at the more temperate 39 degrees latitude, it's sunny and in the balmy mid-70s!

Other damage inflicted while coming 800 nm up the coast of Chile and out of the "Roaring Forties" has also become apparent, including a 1-meter rip that occurred in the brand new genoa, which has now been taken by Vincente to a local sail loft for repairs. A nearly soccer ball-size fatigue hole also developed in the mainsail, despite being constructed of HydraNet (tm), a high-tech material that is supposed to be the most damage-resistant of any heavy-weather sailcloth ever made (thus close to double the cost).
On a more mundane level, Saito-san earlier in the week announced that his Visa card had stopped working, leaving him virtually peso-less. The card, drawn on his personal account and replenished in Tokyo by bimonthly Japanese Social Security payments, seemed to be fine, had not expired, and should have had enough funds available, a thoroughly frustrated Saito thought. The Tokyo crew tried to help him in Tokyo, only to be politely told that the card holder needed to make the call, not a third party. A long-time friend arranged to have some money sent, but before that could happen a somewhat sheepish Saito called to explain that he had made an odd sort of mistake at the ATM machine: "First I tried to get 90,000 pesos and nothing happened. Then I tried 40,000 pesos, and still nothing. But then the bank staff told me to try 200,000 pesos, and it worked!"
What none of us realized is there seems to be a MINIMUM on how much cash you can draw from an ATM in Chile -- in the hyper-inflated Chilean economy, 200,000 pesos is just $360.

Anyway, it worked, Saito-san got his money, and the emergency loan he had received for his medical bills from the understanding marina boss, Mr. Edgardo Bucarey, was quickly paid off.

Now it's a matter of waiting for the new halyard swivel and for the arm to heal, presenting him with just the latest in a 35-year succession of boat scars.

Saito-san and his bandaged arm
The fatigue hole in the high-tech HydraNet sail

A photo of Valdivia Marina from the club's web page