22/01/2012, Southern tip of Okinawa
Fujin and crew departed Ginowan Marina at 0800 this morning and are now passing the southern tip of Okinawa in good winds and making consistent 7 knots.
They have decided to lay a course direct to Brunei rather than for Hualien in Taiwan. This is because winds are good and in the right direction, so there is little point in stopping in Taiwan after 2 days. They expect to pass through the Luzon Strait and into the South China Sea on Tuesday 24th.
The genoa swivel was replaced yesterday and the crew sensibly decided on a morning - daylight - departure rather then during the night after a long day sorting out the genoa.
The mainsail was also repaired - the sail loft added some 3 metres of reinforcement along the leach of the sail to prevent a recurrence. I have a photo of the repair and will post this in a future blog for those interested.
The crew had a good time in Okinawa, enjoyed much local hospitality including island tours, etc. They even ran into Miura-san, the previous owner of Fujin....
At the moment. it looks like an arrival in Singapore on 10th February and a departure on 12th, after obtaining permits from the Thai embassy there. I still plan to join them so let's hope all goes well and they have fair passage!
16/01/2012, Ginowan Marina, Okinawa
Fujin arrived into Ginowan Marina shortly after 1500 today.
Ihara-san has taken a look at the swivel and we need a new one. He has found one in Osaka and it will take 2 days to get it down to Okinawa and a third day to fit it. It is not a straightforward job as he will need to use a halyard to brace the mast, slacken the backstay and then release the forestay. He can then slip the new swivel into place.
Skipper Ivan thinks that we could make do with refitting the circlip on the existing swivel but given that he has a 1,700 nm leg ahead of him, I think it makes sense to go with the rigger's advice.
There is also a 15cm tear in the mainsail just behind the luff - this happened early this morning when the crew were taking down the sail to run with bare poles. Ihara-san will take the sail tomorrow and fix this as well.
Customs and Immigration will visit them tomorrow so they need to stay in the marina until then.
So the crew can relax for a couple of days - I suspect that they will be in port until Thursday night or Friday morning. Hopefully the weather will be more cooperative on leg 2!
16/01/2012, 21 nm north of Naha
At 1100, Fujin was around 21 miles north of Naha. Winds were in the 55 to 60 knot range all morning (ie Violent Storm/Force 11 on Beaufort Scale) and the crew is running under bare poles and towing lines in order to slow the yacht and gain control.
When I spoke to Ivan at 1100, winds had moderated somewhat to 48 knots. Am now in contact with the yacht via mobile phone as they are close enough to land.
They will try to put into Ginowan Marina provided that they can enter safely. They can then meet Iraha-san to fix the genoa furler problem. Iraha-san is at the marina now awaiting their arrival.
If they cannot enter the Marina, they will carry on down to Naha Port and moor there for the night.
We've spoken to Customs & Immigration and they are happy for Fujin to clear in and out from Ginowan Marina instead of Naha Port, so this would be the easier option, swell permitting.
I will update again later once Fujin is safely moored.
15/01/2012, 140 miles NW of Naha, Okinawa
At noon on 15th January, Fujin was about 140 miles from Naha which is on the southwest end of Okinawa Island - see the map above.
I just spoke to Ivan - all is well and they are continuing to motor sail. There is some current against which is slowing progress and speed over the ground is around 5 knots.
The winds are around 35 knots right now with waves less than 2 metres. Some light rain showers for the last 2 days.
The idea is to pass north of Okinawa and then run down the coast with the wind behind. They probably need to check in first at Naha port before heading over to Ginowan Marina to meet with Iraha-san and fix the genoa furler.
ETA Naha is 1600 tomorrow...
14/01/2012, 230 nautical miles NW of Naha
Noon, day 5 has Fujin around 230 miles NW of Naha, for a 24 hour run of about 135 miles - slowed a little by taking time out to go up the mast and try to fix the furler but reasonably consistent given they are motor sailing with almost no wind right now.
The picture is a file photo of Fujin's Profurl furler top swivel which is causing the crew a problem - Fujin's sailmaker, Taro Tokano of Quantum in Misaki, had this picture in his file!
The crew were able to retrieve the genoa halyard this morning and the problem seems to be that a circlip on the top swivel has come loose and needs to be reattached. I don't have any circlip pliers on board and they have tried unsuccessfully to reattach it using screwdrivers.
So looks like they will need to put into Ginowan Marina near Naha and see Iraha-san who is the rigger there. He has been recommended by Taro-san so hopefully it will be a quick fix.
It's also possible that the circlip is worn and needs to be replaced - we will see if we can get the spare part just in case....
I suspect the crew is looking forward to a nice cold beer or two in Naha right about now!
13/01/2012, 350 miles NW of Naha
At noon on Friday 13th, Fujin was 280 miles south of Shikoku and 350 miles north west of Naha - so about three days to go to Naha.
Winds are still fairly robust - above 20 knots but the forecast suggests that it will die down to below 10 knots over the next 24 hours.
Last night, the swivel at the top of the genoa separated with the result that the genoa came down and the halyard is stuck at the top of the mast with part of the swivel. The sea is still too rough to go up the mast and sort this out, so Fujin is under motor and mainsail right now.
They could of course still hoist the genoa using the spinnaker halyard but they could not furl the sail if they did this given the relatively high winds, this would not be so sensible.
The crew will try to fix the problem as soon as the waves die down a bit and Ivan can order one of the crew to ascend the mast! Having done it myself while at anchor in a calm bay, I know I would not be so keen to do it at sea!
They might need a spare part at Naha so I will be arranging for a rigger to be on standby when they arrive just in case.