Day 631 [June 24/10 local time] -- Steady progress on repairs

Today's Report
June 24/10 0900 Honolulu Time 

Position:  21°17'N, 157°53'W (Keehi Marina, Honolulu) 

Remaining distance to Yokohama finish:  13.4%

Repairs and maintenance are continuing apace, as volunteers, tradesmen, and Saito-san have labored from early morning till dusk to attend to a number of issues.

Here is the list for the record, as supplied by emails and phone calls with Scott, Ed, John, and Dave. We've edited it some but you will get the idea of the extensive job they have faced to get the boat back into a seaworthy state.

Day 1

[Already reported]

Day 2
Check-in and sign in with Keehi Marine Center Office. (Office hours M-F till 1600). Planning for West Marine shopping, Rigger visit, Mechanic Visit, Check in at Customs office, Medical visit, and possibly some new shoes!


  • Starboard main winch not working 
  • New 8mm furling line planned for head Harken (West Marine purchase and we can re attach) 
  • Tighten up the stay sail wire/furler 
  • Check main sail lug connections and tear repair (Saito) 
  • Assessment of fixed rigging and running lines 
  • Check deck for loose gear 
  • Get engine running and refill diesel tank? 
  • Hydraulic steering work....valves? leak? hoses? 
  • He reports Gen set okay. 
  • He reports house batteries okay.

  • He wants a diver to clear a line stuck under hull and scrape/clean bottom. 
  • No haul out (last bottom paint in NZ he says) 
  • Both cabins need mop up and clean out 
  • Refrigerator works 
  • Stove is temperamental with broken valve - has stove fuel 
  • Has one watch working 
  • Needs gloves (especially sewing glove) 
  • Needs deck shoes 
  • Needs to check in with Customs again tomorrow at their office at Pier One (Scott will take him) 
  • Medical check-up at Cardiology Clinic tomorrow at 1330 with Dr Christian Spies of The Queen's Medical Center. 
  • "Manny" is the security manager at Keehi Marine Center Shipyard 808-381-8034. Gates lock at 2100. Also.... Saito reports to me that he does not have the security key for Keehi. Could be lost somewhere on the boat? 
  • He is enjoying the warm air of Hawaii...even standing next to the cold food section at the grocery store reminded him of his awful winter in chilly Chile. 
  • Keep an eye on the weather for his final leg as he is somewhat concerned about typhoons and tropical storms especially around Japan in July 
-- Scott

  • The headstay toggle still requires replacement (welding a broken shoulder is not an option!!) I may have one which is fairly new that can be had for a value. I will check with the owner of it tomorrow. 
  • The running backs still need to have their, aloft, splices cut away to freshen their connections to the mast toggles. It sounds like we have corrected the staysl stay/furling unit issues adequately?! 
  • I am on line to assist with the headstay fitting on Saturday after returning from projects on the outer islands. 
  • I gather no photos are necessary of the cracks in the mast tube in way of the staysl halyard sheave box. (what a shame this had to happen) The mast is a fine bit of work!! 
-- John Koon, the Rigger

[We subsequently received the photos and are evaluating the mast condition. More to follow on this later as we confer in Tokyo.]

Day 3
  • Most of the little stuff is under control and will be finished by end of the weekend. Planning to change out the toggle at the base of the headsail furler on Saturday when we can get a crew together to take it all apart.
  • Mainsail is down and rolled up ready to be evaluated by North Sails staff (Buzz) after transport to their shop late today or tomorrow. No luck yet on a replacement. But ideas flourish! More brains needed and a bit more muscle too. Got a call from Glenn Pang with some great ideas and he is willing to join the muscle crew at the end of the week.
  • Bottom cleaned by diver and loose line cleared.

-- Scott Gilbert

Our further comments:

Clearly there has been a tremendous on-going effort done by everyone and we, and Saito-san, are immensely fortunate to have their help. Dave spent a lot of time up the mast today and is helping us evaluate its condition.

The mainsail, as it now seems likely, can be professionally repaired -- at least the portion above the 2-pt reef, and that will be adequate under the time constraints. The seams need to be reinforced and the batten pockets resewn. The sail will be carried to a sail loft by Dave Cooper in the morning by truck and a final diagnosis will be rendered.

The engine was fixed, as reported earlier, and is now in good working order.

Speaking of diagnosis -- Among the other good news is that Saito-san was given a clean bill of health during his checkup Tuesday at the hospital where Scott works. We greatly appreciate this provided by Dr. Christian Spies of The Queen's Medical Center.

Other items were reported as well, but we'll wait a bit on those and other ongoing tasks.

Day 629 [June 22/10 local time] -- TV interviews on the dock at arrival

Today's Report
June 22/10 0900 Honolulu Time 

Position:  21°17'N, 157°53'W (Keehi Marina, Honolulu) 

Remaining distance to Yokohama finish:  13.4%


As soon as Saito-san arrived yesterday several TV crews descended on him, and they did a good job explaining the travails of the journey. In clip No. 2 he talks about the problems caused when doing a "wrong way" circumnavigation.  

Saito-san was in good humor if clearly weary. Yet we wonder how many 76-year-olds (or 40-year-olds, for that matter)  could jump three feet onto a dock as easily as he does in these video clips?

In this one, he describes the problems, and the need to get back before the worst of the typhoon season. It was also especially good to see Ed Abbot's face and hear his comments:

The reasons for the problems -- the extreme conditions of a "wrong way" circumnavigation -- are included in this second clip:

TV news clip No. 2 KHON

Oh, and be sure to note the Tokyo Sail & Power Squadron burgee in the opening seconds.

And for a well-done written summary, here's an article by Eric Due that appeared in Sunday's Japan Times:

Around alone No. 8 finally near end for sailor, 76

Repairs are progressing, but there was some very bad news on the mainsail. The consensus is that it is beyond repair -- so badly damaged from wind and sun that the seams give way when just pulled on by hand. It's had 29,000 nm on it plus extreme weather that very few sails ever get.

Until a replacement sail is found, NBSDIII will stay in port. It's hoped that a used sail can be found either from one of her sister yachts, or from a local sail loft. Four or five vessels were built in Hawaii by the Honolulu-based designer, and are said to still be in use locally.

Cracks have been discovered in the mast at the height of the staysail halyard pulley, so several solutions are being considered now. We'll learn more after the rigger studies the problem

As suspected, the engine trouble was the impeller on the seawater cooling pump. That is a relatively simple repair, which will include extracting or blowing out bits of rubber from the destroyed impeller that ended up in the cooling coils.

Ed Abbot sent the following pictures of Saito-san's arrival. Great thanks, Ed!

In pic. No. 4, that's Dave Cooper (left) and Bill Beadle in the tender, having completed a job very well done!

We were given a great idea yesterday by Derek, an active supporter in Japan, who suggested that the sail be cut into pieces and sold as historically valuable keepsakes of the voyage -- with Saito-san's autograph, of course!

That one definitely goes into the fund-raising idea hopper, and we invite more.

Position Map

Day 628 [June 21/10 local time] -- Easy arrival in Hawaii

Today's Report
June 21/10 0900 Honolulu Time 

Position:  21°17'N, 157°53'W (Keehi Marina, Honolulu) 

Remaining distance to Yokohama finish:  13.4%

A well executed assist by our volunteer shore crew saw Saito-san safely to the Keehi Marina dock by about 8 am, quickly cleared through customs and disease control, then was off to his much-craved hot shower. After interviews by two TV film crews he went below and went to sleep.

The rendezvous went well, but was a bit earlier than we had anticipated after Dave Cooper and his able crew Bill Beedle left before sunrise to go the several miles from Dave's marina in his 15-foot power boat.

Dave told us that they spotted NBSDIII "almost immediately" but that she was a good 5 nm away from the agreed waypoint. Saito-san had doused all sails and let her drift while he caught some shut-eye. Anyway, that was the plan he had described last night as he expected to arrive several hours before his tender boat was expected. But they arrived at an earlier 0600 or so and it took some time to rouse Saito-san by vigorous pounding on the steel hull. "It was about 5 minutes before we could get him up," Dave said.

They then towed NBSDIII to quieter water, after which the smaller boat was roped near NBSDIII's stern to complete the final push into the marina proper, then tied up to the fuel dock. Dave said he'd done this sort of assist a number of times before, so it all went smoothly.

Somewhat coincidentally everyone involved this morning is a member of the Hawaii Cruising & Voyaging Society. Bill is the past Fleet Captain of the group, and Scott Gilbert and Ed Abbott, who made marina and customs arrangements, both knew Saito from when he was staying in Keehi Marina back when the boat was purchased there about 3 years ago. Dave had responded to an broadcast email from Ed.

We can't imagine a better reception or more qualified people to do it. We certainly had no trouble sleeping back here in Tokyo! Thanks again, guys... and aloha!

Dave was quick to point out that NBSDIII's mainsail is "pretty well shot" and badly in need of repair. Saito-san had said he expected to patch it on board, but we may want it taken to a sail loft if a professional repair can be done within a few days. After 29,000 nm (including 4,000 nm up from Auckland to Japan), the sail has certainly seen a full life. It needs to see just 3,800 or so more miles, and then its job is over.

Saito-san expects to leave in 4 days.

Distance in last 24 hours: 74 nm DMG
Total distance completed: 24,492 nm
To Yokohama: 3,792 nm
To Hawaii WP2: 0 nm
Heading: 290°
Reported boat speed:  kts
Average boat speed: 3.1 kts
Average daily DMG over last 3 days: 88 nm 
Weather: Clear skies
Temperature: 24.0° C
Barometer: 1016 hPa 
Wind (from): 13-20 kts E
Waves: 2.0 m
Current (from): E at 0.7 kts
Engine: 0.0 hrs
Generator: 13.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 20% staysail 0%, mainsail 2-pt reef

Position Map