Day 523 [March 9/10] -- Images from the past

Today's Report
March 9/10 0800 JST

These are pictures Saito-san sent today that are thumb-tacked to a bulletin board at the marina. These show boats resting on the bottom of the river after the tsunami from the earthquake in 1960.

They serve as a stark reminder what the sailors in Valdivia face in addition to the the usual challenges of sailing just 800 nm north of Cape Horn. [Click to enlarge.]

While we have been waiting for the parts he needs to get back on the water,* we read a really excellent portrayal of the 1968-69 London Sunday Times Golden Globe Race that was won by Saito's long-time friend and fellow BOC competitor, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. In fact, he was the only one who finished.

* Rather miraculously, we thought, the fresh water pump for the aux. generator arrived three days ago, taking just 7 days from Tokyo by express mail sent via Japan Post. That was despite the disruption from the earthquake, and just a quarter of the time it took for our first delivery in May, 2009, to Punta Arenas.

The book, titled "A Voyage for Madmen," by Peter Nichols, is a widely acclaimed history that focuses in exquisite detail not just on the race, but on the mental makeup of the nine men who competed in the first organized competition to sail around the world solo, non-stop, and unassisted.

It's available from Amazon and highly recommended for anyone with even the slightest interest in what drives someone to undertake such a voyage. We got the Amazon Kindle version. Here's a link to the book, letting you browse through key pages.

We met Sir Robin ourselves in Tokyo several years ago, and enjoyed hearing his stories over beers and bits of grilled Kobe beef in Roppongi (a Tokyo entertainment district). We saw that the Robin of 40 years gone by was no less the man portrayed in Nichols' masterful account. The next year, 2006, Sir Robin competed "one last time" (as he vowed) in a non-stop, solo circumnavigation race -- and again finished, at age 67.

Sir Robin in Tokyo in 2005