Sailing the Izu Islands and Beyond

Vessel Name: Samurai 6
Vessel Make/Model: Gib'Sea 414 Plus
Hailing Port: Tokyo Japan
21 May 2012 | Tokyo Japan
17 May 2012 | Oshima
16 May 2012 | Off Hachijojima
15 May 2012 | hachijo-jima
15 May 2012 | Hachijo-jima
15 May 2012 | Hachijo Jima
12 May 2012 | north of Chichijima
12 May 2012 | Chichijima
11 May 2012 | Chichi Jima, Ogasawara
09 May 2012 | Chichi Jima
09 May 2012 | heading towards Ogasawara
08 May 2012 | 130 miles north of Iwo-jima
08 May 2012 | Location: 230 miles SSE from HachiJo
08 May 2012 | Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific
07 May 2012 | South of Hachijo-Jima
06 May 2012 | 102 Miles South of Hachijo Jima (31d21.35' N Lat; 140d20.28' E Lon)
06 May 2012 | Hachijo
02 May 2012 | Kozu Island
Recent Blog Posts
21 May 2012 | Tokyo Japan

Belated update: home again

The road goes ever on and the ocean seems endless but after 3 weeks of sailing I returned home with the rest of the crew safely on Friday evening. The last adventure on the way home didn't involve wind and waves but was significantly worse. However, in the interest of keeping this safe for lunch time [...]

17 May 2012 | Oshima

Big waves

So we made fantastic speed today traveling around 125 miles by 8:30pm but as we were passing Oshima we were seeing gusts just under 40kts and huge waves. I rode down one wave at 14.5 knots. It felt like I was on a 7 ton surf board. It was getting a bit too exciting for an all night sail, however, [...]

16 May 2012 | Off Hachijojima

4:46 AM

We've just left the island harbor for Tokyo. We should arrive in 30 hours give or take 5.

15 May 2012 | hachijo-jima

Miss E talks about sailing

Written by Miss E.

15 May 2012 | Hachijo-jima

Catch up

Sorry for the slow updates everyone. I'm going to hand over to Eve here in a few minutes to demonstrate her writing prowess.

15 May 2012 | Hachijo Jima

safe harbor, waiting out the wind

Samurai's peaceful and slightly boring Monday evening (still motoring) turned exciting during the crew's nightly game of hearts. Aaron checked the bilge to find they were taking in a significant amount of sea water. They pulled up everything to locate the leak, discovered the problem in the exhaust water line and were able to repair it. Nothing like your boat taking on water without land in sight! The wind then began to pick up, the sails went up and the weather kept getting heavier. By early Tuesday morning the wind was gusting in the 30's and the swells peaked as high as 5 meters. By 1PM they brought the boat to the leeward side of Hachijo Jima where the waves calmed a bit but the gusts coming off the island were 40 knots. It was a wild ride into the harbor but they made it. The crew has been to the onsen (first warm bathe in 9 days for 3 of the crew members and the first bathing at all for one member--not disclosing identity), they have eaten and are all sleeping soundly. After Aaron and Mark helmed those rough conditions, they were quite pooped. Apparently, they all have their "sea legs" now and nobody lost their lunch. More to come from the crew tomorrow.

On sailing to Oshima and Gearing up

27 April 2012 | Underway: off Yokohama
Sailing to any island is an adventure. For no particularly good reason it is much more satisfying than sailing along the coast. It may be because when you get off your boat you have arrived by a different method than most everyone else and this gives you a special feeling of satisfaction. The first island I sailed to on my own boat (a J24) was a small island called Sarushima (monkey island) on the western side of Tokyo bay near the US navy base at Yokosuka. I anchored poorly with a fairly useless anchor and not enough scope but ignorance being bliss, when I swam in to shore and I looked back at her bobbing in the waves, I was truly content. That lasted for a few weeks and then I started looking for the next island.

Oshimais the first of the Izu islands and for any sailor based in the Tokyo area and looking at a nautical chart, it is the first dream on which to waste time and money. From the northernmost port of Tokyo Bay, the port of Habu on the southern end of Oshima is only 65 nautical miles away and it's everything a first time island port should be. It is a big natural bowl with mountains on 3 sides and squeezed in between the harbor and the mountain is a narrow paved Japanese street lined with the smell of mossy age. This first 65 miles, however, can be very very long. 65 miles of broad reaching at 6 or 7 kts is one day of pure magic. 65 miles of an upwind slog directly into the wind can make you wish you had become obsessed with something besides sailing. Thinking of the distance and the significance of this first island voyage can lead to taking careful thoughtful precautions to prepare but it can also lead to a prolonged period of "gearing up" (this is the constant state most boat owners are in). Gearing up leads you to spend more money than you need to on all kinds of kit, some of it not so necessary but still very cool, and some of it very important. When I partnered on my 3rd boat I found the boat stuffed with water bottles everywhere. My new yacht partner had recently gone through this phase in preparing to go to Oshima and had fixated on the fact that he didn't want to die of thirst (neither do I incidentally). I don't know what other spares were on board by way of shackles, clevis pins, blocks, or halyards and sheets, but no matter what happened he was not going to run out of water. Give a boat owner enough time to plan for a trip and he'll be repainting his water line because of the stuff piled in the boat.

In keeping with tradition, today I bought 3 last minute items which mark the end of my "gearing up": guitar strings, a hacksaw and a leatherman.

It's 7:50pm now and we're underway in 20kts of wind from the north. With just the gennaker rolled out we're running dead down wind at 6.5kts. It's a easy comfortable ride--should be good for the kids to sleep.

The picture is dinner...and it's time for me to eat mine.
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