Day 1015 [July 14/11 JST] – 78-kt Winds, 14-m Seas as a Seething King Neptune Passes By

Today's Report
July 14/11 1800 JST 

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

He's in port. Thank whichever stars or deity you wish. Just don't thank Neptune.

The typhoon we reported 3 days ago was first a smallish one -- then shockingly a second typhoon formed only a few hours behind. They later combined a few hundred miles ESE of Ogasawara and together got big and mean.

Winds hitting high 70s above; waves at 14 meters, below
(shown projected to 2 days from today).

The resulting 1,700 nm-wide cyclonic monster, bearing the South Asian name "Ma-On," is now following a lazy curve to the west and up north to Honshu, the largest island of the Japanese archipelago that includes Yokohama and Tokyo.

Looking at its expanse on ClearPoint, the affected area easily could encompass the entire breadth of Japan, where it is expected to land in 4 or 5 days.

Meanwhile, the location where Saito-san might have been if he'd been a knot or two slower last week is now seeing 78 kt winds and 14 m seas. That's close to double what he experienced during the worst at Cape Horn. Even absent the frigid Antarctic air, this is a speed of wind you cannot both face and breathe. Waves that high can disable and overturn much larger merchant ships not to mention relatively puny 56-foot, single-handed sailboats.

Pardon us for the hyperbole, but it's as if King Neptune, unforgiving and furious, has followed NBSDIII's wake in hope of inflicting one final, lethal blow before Saito-san can make it sound and safe into Yokohama.

Happily for Minoru Saito, and for everyone who has monitored from afar as he has survived one near-disastrous scrape after another, he can sit this one out in Ogasawara as a thoroughly enraged Neptune passes by.

Thanks to the assistance of one of the two (and only) very busy boat mechanics on Chichijima island, NBSDIII now has a working engine – after a fashion. The exhaust hose that disintegrated a week out from Hawaii has been tightly bound, wrapped by layer upon layer of thermally resistant tape. It's enough, it is thought, to maybe get him out the door and up 385 nm to Hachijojima where a new exhaust hose is being flown in by Saito 8 safety officer Mike Seymour.  If he babies the throttle and relies on the sails he should be OK.

There as well is a hope to repair the genset, where the breakdown has been sourced to a cracked pulley that won't adequately grip the alternator drive belt. Fortunately, if the engine holds up, the genset is not essential to the last few days and miles of the voyage. The engine instead can charge the batteries and with that juice he'll have radar and running lights to help him dodge the last hazards of the circumnavigation: the massive ships running in and out of Tokyo Bay.

Thanks to Ma-On backing them up, there promises to be more than the usual ship traffic, plus one phenomenally determined captain and his stalwart vessel.

Our Newest Sponsors

We are delighted to announce that two new supporting sponsors have joined the Saito Challenge 8 Campaign as of yesterday.

We greatly welcome the decision by Ed Rogers, owner and CEO of Rogers Investment Advisors, a Tokyo-based firm, along with a second U.S. financial firm he supports in Japan, Wolver Hill Asset Management, LLC. Both firms are respected players in the investment market in Japan.

In an email to us, Ed wrote the following:

… at its core this is about supporting an amazing human being and an amazing example of human spirit. Given recent events in Japan I think it is also about trying to help Japanese people connect with the strong inner spirit they must have to face all of their recent (over the past 2 decades all the way through to the Tohoku earthquake!) challenges.

We could not agree more. And we feel we can speak for all our sponsors and volunteers that never before has there been a need for someone like Minoru Saito to help reinforce the determination of the Japanese people to "Never Give Up!"