Day 1013 [July 12/11 JST] – Next, A Typhoon

Today's Report
July 12/11 1800 JST 

Position:  27°03'N, 142°11'E (Ogasawara, Chichijima Island, Japan)
Remaining to Yokohama:  502 nm (ETA: ? days)

We're not superstitious. We're not. But no sooner than NBSDIII made an easy arrival in Ogasawara, a little surprise began brewing down south.

When we told Saito-san this morning, he laughed momentarily, but it didn't sound entirely convincing. "What? A typhoon? No!"

"Yes," we said. "It’s passing Ogasawara in two days, and there may be a second one a few days after that."

In the image you can see that the upper right quadrant of the spiraling storm will probably move through Saito-san's position, if ClearPoint's projection holds true. Sustained winds of about 27-30 kts are predicted, with gusts at least another 10 kts over that. Closer to the center ClearPoint is predicting 42-kt winds.

Typhoon No. 8 of the season. Cross marks the port in Ogasawara.
This appears to be a relatively small typhoon, but the upper-right quadrant is where typhoons usually have their strongest punch. This is why sailors – when out to sea – try to move to the lower left quarter of a typhoon in order to escape the worst. We could see a 10-kt difference in this one between the quadrants.

So we are thanking Saito-san's lucky stars (he is superstitious) that he is safely in port as he waits out this blow, rather than out on the ocean with no engine and a badly weathered mainsail.

When Saito-san arrived in Ogasawara, a friend of our friend Ralf Meiranke, of the Japan Blind Sailing Association, happened to be there with a camera. He snapped away.

Ralf forwarded his pictures, below, and wrote the following:

"Kiyotaka Iizuka is currently on holiday in Ogasawara and took some pictures when Saito-san arrived. I am sure you received already plenty of pictures, but just in case...."

Well, we didn't and we do very much appreciate his and Ralf's kind efforts to get them to us. It also answered a question for us, as discussed below.

And about that sail…

The main sail was reduced in size in Hawaii because in its badly weathered condition the first good blow was expected to turn it to shreds. So on the advice of the sail loft it was cut down in such a way that he could put it "all the way up" in the No. 2 reef position – a bit over one-half normal sail size, or eased to the No. 3 reef position, making it about a third normal size.

Despite those major efforts to reduce sail stress, about 3 weeks out from Hawaii on Day 988, a main sail seam did in fact give way. Saito-san announced: "I have a rip in the main sail … not bad – it stopped, I think." So from then on the sail stayed at the third reef point.

Thanks to Iizuka-san, we finally could have a look at the sail. Dave Cooper in Hawaii, on seeing the image, noted dryly that the tear "lets the sky show through."

Here's a blow-up. That tear runs vertically a good 4 feet from one panel seam to the next.

 He's got a patch kit, sail thread and needles, and a nicely steady boat to work on it. Then there's that other rip in the genoa...