30/01/2012, About 150 nm west of Batangas
Fujin was late again today with the Spot check-in - seems they did try as usual at 12 noon but nothing was sent, so they resent the position at 7pm HK time. The are south of Manila now and heading for Palawan to the south.
Once they get to Palawan, the will sail between the Spratly Islands and Palawan down to Borneo and Brunei.
Yesterday afternoon, they were sailing nicely with the asymmetric spin in fairly flat water and 10-15 knots of wind, averaging 6 knots - so nice sailing conditions. The forecast suggests lighter winds over the next few days.
It looks like Fujin is on track for a Saturday 3rd Feb arrival in Muara, Brunei for refuelling and revictualling before heading on to Singapore which is roughly 700 miles further. So a Singapore landfall on Friday 10th or Saturday 11th Feb looks achievable.
28/01/2012, 50nm NW of Santa Cruz
I spoke briefly to Ivan today across a very poor satellite phone connection. He has to check the batteries on the Spot Messenger as there was no position at noon today. However, the satellite phone also has a quick way to send position via SMS, hence the update today.
About 130 nm in the last 24 hours. Seas are flattish right now and the wind is down to 10 to 15 knots. They have been using sails alone most of the time but with the wind directly on the stern they are doing only 3 - 4 knots versus a need to maintain 5 knots. So they have the engine on now as well at 1,000 rpms to give a bit of a boost.
They've had the asymmetric spin out a couple of times and will try it again later today if the wind picks up a little.
The lastest forecast shows a pretty settled pattern of winds below 15 knots from the NW over the next few days - ideally, we want at least 15 knots for Fujin to make 5 knots over the ground under sail alone. Looks like the iron sail will be putting in some time over the coming few days...
And Spot Messenger now working again, which is good...
28/01/2012, 60NM WSW of Laog City, Philippines
No, Fujin is not in Hong Kong - I am.... just arrived this afternoon from Tokyo and so did not have any contact with Ivan today other than his position check in at midday. And the picture is from the internet: it's very overcast and humid here right now...
It looks like a slightly slower pace of 120 nm in the last 24 hours, for an average of 5 knots. There are roughtly 850 nm to go to Brunei and then another 700 nm to Singapore. If they stick to an average of 5.5 knots, then we're looking at arriving in Brunei in a week and Singapore in 2 weeks.
I expect to talk to Ivan tomorrow and will have a bit more to report thereafter.
27/01/2012, 100nm NNW of Loag, Philippines
Fujin has covered around 145 nm in the last 24 hours - a good run with fair winds and with no major mishaps - a welcome change after the last few days!
The course is more or less SSW and the weather is getting warmer by the day - about 25 now and increasing by 1 degree per day for next few days.
Forecast remains benign with winds consistently max 20kts and from the NE - ideal for trying out my new whisker pole perhaps....
I am flying to HK on 28th morning so will not be able to speak to Ivan until Sunday but will update Fujin's position later in the day.
26/01/2012, SW of LanYu
After battling high winds for much of yesterday, Ivan decided to put Fujin into the lee of Lan Yu Island so that the yacht and crew could have a rest and a cooked meal. They hung around there from early evening yesterday until earlier this morning before making way again, in a SSW direction into the South China Sea.
Hence their current position is just around 20 miles from their noon position yesterday.
Current conditions are better and waves lower and this trend should continue over the coming few days as Fujin heads toward her next intended landfall at Muara, Brunei. I was not able to talk to Ivan today but hopefully will do so tomorrow.
25/01/2012, 20nm west if Hsiao Lan Yu
Fujin covered around 120nm in the last 24 hours - a slightly slower pace given the size of the seas.
Fujin is once again experiencing heavy weather, with wind from NE at up to 55 knots earlier this morning - Ivan again had the warps out to slow the boat down. Waves are 5 to 6 metres.
As of a short while ago, winds have settled to low 40s and Fujin is sailing with just a little genoa out. Still high waves and about an hour ago they took another knockdown which flooded the cockpit.
Ivan plans to cross through the Luzon Strait close to the Taiwan (northern) side given the current wave/wind direction - some concern that there could be some overfalls in that area, but it will be good to get through the Strait as soon as possible, and into the slightly less exposed South China Sea.
It is interesting that the weather forecasting services we use all show a consistent picture of max 35 knot winds - well below the actual experience of Fujin. The forecast over the next 24/48 hours is for more moderate winds but still in the 20 to 25 knot range.
For those planning a trip in this area then, assume that the grib based weather services will substantially underestimate the actual winds, and prepared accordingly!