Day 1030 [July 29/11 JST] – Typhoon 3, 4 …and 5?

Today's Report
July 29/11 0800 JST 

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

As Saito-san awaits further repairs in Ogasawara, Mother Nature is reminding him of why he should stay right where he is until he has a working engine, and as it is becoming apparent, a reliable propulsion system.

We've been watching the advance of a tropical depression that formed soon after he returned to port. As of two days ago it had turned into a Category 1 typhoon ("Category 5" being the worst) and was projected to hit Chichijima squarely in 4 or 5 days carrying 60-kt winds.

Hand marks Chichijima in this earlier projection of typhoon No. 10's route

 This morning, though, ClearPoint indicated it was likely to largely miss the island to the west. That's the good news.

The bad news is that it has now been joined by the season's 11th typhoon, and to their east, still another typhoon is apparently brewing.

New projection shows 3 storms 4 days from today. Cross marks Chichijima.

So that's four (or five) typhoons Saito-san will have dodged in the short three weeks he's been in port on Chichijima. (That does not include several other typhoons that formed well to the west toward the Philippines and never became a risk to him.) All told there have been 11 typhoons this season plus that newly forming one. 

Since the current typhoon season is less than half over, this may be shaping up to be a record year for the North Pacific. In comparison, in 2009 there were 13 official typhoons (and 2 unofficial), while in 2010 there were just 7 official typhoons (and 1 unofficial).

Fortunately, if the projections are correct for these three storms they will all narrowly miss Chichijima.

Meanwhile, the mechanic, Mr. Tamura, has been back on board and reports that there is evidence of the possibility that the clutch in NBSDIII's propulsion system may have burned out, citing melted and scorched parts.

If so, either a rebuilt or new gearbox may need to be shipped in. Saito 8 safety officer Mike Seymour is assisting, along with Dave Cooper of Team Hawaii, in long-range troubleshooting and parts logistics. Mike has been in touch with Whiting Power, the Auckland NZ company that installed the engine and gearbox. Mike reports that Whiting's engineers have been cooperative, for which we thank them.

All of this – serial typhoons, ailing engine, and now a questionable propulsion system – suggest it will be several more weeks before Saito-san will be able to get under way again.

[Weather and wind forecasts are from ClearPoint Weather, a Saito 8 Supporting Sponsor.]