Day 1079 [Sep. 16/11 JST] – The Final Day

Today's Report
Sep. 16/11 1300 JST 

Position:  35°08'N, 139°36'E
Remaining to Yokohama:  20 nm / 99.9% finished, (ETA: Sep. 17)

The weather gods have smiled kindly on the last day of Saito Challenge 8, for which we thank them and forgive the five recent typhoons, the one possibly coming early next week, and even the three-day gale that stopped Saito-san dead in his wake at Cape Horn and delayed tomorrow's return by more than 2 years.

It may or may not rain a bit in the morning but that will seem like fair skies after 3 years of dealing with weather as if it was a life-or-death matter. That's because it was.

Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III is still on schedule to reach Yokohama tomorrow morning between 10:00 and 10:30. Saito-san is expected to come in with the sails raised (as much as the Hawaii repairs allow), do a few victory laps, dowse the sails one last time, then settle NBSDIII at the floating dock like a big, tired seabird finally coming to rest.

He left Japan 1,080 days previously, facing huge risks, knowing the chances of failure, even death, were substantial, but never wavering with a broad smile that could probably have been seen from the top of Mt. Fuji.

Here is the last time we saw him with his chase boat, Magellan Major, from a lookout point near the Kenzaki Lighthouse Start Line 20 nm south of Yokohama. 

Photo evidence that he was STILL smiling...!
Oct. 2, 2008
Arrival Time & Place:
10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m., Saturday, Sept 17, at Minato Mirai Pukari Pier, Yokohama

Following the welcome, NBSDIIII will move to the jetty at nearby Elephant Nose Park where she will remain for the rest of the three-day weekend.