Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wakayama City

Firstly, I'm sorry that the postings have been absent for about four days. Simply, we've been out of range of the Internet pretty much since we left Kurihama where the boat has been moored for the last three years.  We have now traveled about 400 miles since the start, which was at 11:00 pm on Tuesday night.  We have had two night sails, and three night moorings in port.  The longest span of sailing/motoring has been 40 straight hours. Average speed has been about seven miles per hours and we have managed a couple of quite exhilarating sails with the engines off. There have been four of us handling Milestone, and believe me with the weather conditions everyone was necessary.
I will do a full report as soon as I can get the time, but we always seem to be short of time.  After all there is beer to be consumed, and afternoon naps to take place.
The weather has been "challenging!"  As predicted the wind has been up to the usual "Summons" standard.  In other words if you want to know the direction we want to go, it's directly into the wind.  As we turned the corner to go up towards the Inland Sea - our ultimate destination - the wind changed from due west to due north. Uncanny! However we have twin Volvo diesels under us and we can laugh at nature's capriciousness.  Ha Ha!!!!!!
The sea has been threatening at times and there was a day when we faced 15 foot seas crashing under us and over us.  Cooking under those circumstances was not easy. I put a half dozen eggs on to boil them and the entire saucepan jumped out of and over the guard rails around the burner. Great fun cleaning that lot up in high seas.
Looking out at the Kushimoto Ohashi bridge - the southernmost point of Honshu

Half an hour out from our home port the starboard engine started to smoke, then it cut out totally.  But hey, we've got another one and two sails.  As the wind picked up on Wednesday morning, we hoisted the sail and guess what, a main batten broke out of its holding.  But hey, we've still got the port engine and a jib!  Then the jib played up and lost a fitting - it's a $3.00 job that holds the $1000 sail.  As we neared the port of Oshima, the port engine began to smoke but hey, perhaps we've got a couple of paddles down below.
A mechanic was waiting for us with true Japanese efficiency to look at the engines and he found that the problem was a couple of faulty $.40 caps on the coolant tanks.  They were replaced and since then we've had no problems with either engine.  Suzuki-san, our professional sailor repaired the damaged batten and jib fixing.  All these problems occurred after Michael had the boat totally serviced (for major coin!) before we even started, of course.
We had a good night's sleep at our mooring and set sail at 5:30 the following morning.  No lie-abeds on this ship, Oh no!
Tomorrow we leave at 4 a.m. to make a passage under a bridge with a very strong current.  The current is 10 knots and we can only make 7 knots so you do the math.  Of course by hitting the target at the correct time we will go through at 100 miles an hour or something like that.
I will try and post from the other side.  Of the bridge that is, not the "other side", if you know what I mean.

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