Day 970 [May 30/11 JST] -- Back to the Iron Jib

Today's Report
May 30/11 0800 JST 

Position:  20°52'N, 168°44'W
Remaining distance to Yokohama finish:  10.4%

A full day under sail saw him move at 4.0 kts pushed by winds from the east at 14 kts, sometimes falling to 10 kts and even further to 5 kts at mid-morning. The measured distance gained (in sailing parlance, "Distance Made Good" or DMG) toward Yokohama was 95 nm for the 24-hour period.

Just before his 0800 call he returned to motoring, maintaining 6.5 kts at 1900-2000 rpm. The slowing wind had dropped off considerably by mid-morning. Running downwind, there's a 5-kt threshold at which the sails begin to flog and the heavy steel vessel creeps along at 2.0 kts or less. In response he hauled in the roller-furling genoa while leaving the main at a 3pt reef. (In Hawaii the badly sun- and wind-damaged mainsail was cut down to remove weak areas, reducing its size by roughly a third. Thus it's either "all up" at the normal 3pt reef canvas size, or "all down.")

Last night he said he noticed a small tear in the genoa. At about one foot in length it is roughly 4 meters above deck and thus too high to reach with sail tape. He said he will watch it and believes (hopes) it will not grow. At the time of his morning call he said there was no change.

[Click to enlarge]


"Tokyo Central" has reset the distance remaining to Yokohama. As of 0800 today, the more exact distance is 3,040 nm.

Until Saito-san reached this part of the circumnavigation, distance (both run and remaining) has been determined by adding (or subtracting, for remaining distance) the day's totals. Every few months under way this has required recalculating the total distance, often with considerable differences from the sum of the daily totals.

Since Distance Over Ground or DOG can vary from DMG (actual progress), these two distances can differ by 10% or more on any given day due to current direction, leeway, tacking, skipper inattention, etc. The most accurate way to understand how much progress was actually made toward a distant destination – either to a route waypoint or to Yokohama itself – is to physically measure it on a paper chart, or much more conveniently and with little or no loss of accuracy for mid-ocean sailing, on Google Earth.

Despite being free software (thanks Google!), we've found that its measuring tools are quite precise and certainly easier to use than the usual charts, plotter, and dividers.

So now that he is in the same area of the world as Japan, our daily summaries will report only the remaining measured distance, rather than calculated, to indicate his progress. This will take a lot of the guesswork – we hope – out of determining his Yokohama ETA.

Such, to be sure, is another indication of how close he is to finishing. On Google Earth we can virtually "see" his Yokohama end point thanks to this amazingly helpful mapping software.

Distance in last 24 hours: 95 nm DMG
Total distance completed: 24,821 nm

To Yokohama: 3,040 nm (measured) 

To Mid WP: 933 nm (turn to north after avoiding tsunami debris field)
Heading: 280°
Reported boat speed: 6.5 kts (motoring at 1900 – 2000 rpm)
Average boat speed: 6.7 kts
Average daily DMG over last 4 days: 159 nm (measured) 
Weather: Clear, sunny & warm
Temperature: 25.6° C
Barometer: 1018 hPa 
Wind (from): 5-8 kts E, expected to be 10-12 kts E over next 19 hrs
Waves: 1.5-2.0 m
Sails: Genoa 0%, staysail 0%, mainsail 3pt reef

[Weather and wind forecasts are from ClearPoint Weather, a Saito Challenge 8 contributing sponsor.]