Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 31 Mar 2014 12:21

Position: 33 33.56 N 129 18.68 E
Alongside Fukuoka
Wind: North east F1-2 light breeze
Weather: mostly overcast, mild
Day's run. 22 nm

I think metaphysics is getting to me. I had posted some ideas I had about one of this week's readings and realised during the night that I had misunderstood something and that my post was perhaps off on a tangent. This realisation for some reason kept me tossing and turning and unable to sleep.  At about five thirty I gave up on the idea of getting any sleep, got up, made a cup of tea, and started thinking about the day ahead.

Outside dawn was starting to creep damp and grey over the horizon.  The harbour was calm, and the Australian flag hung limp from the backstay. However, with the wind vane inoperable, and only twenty odd miles to Fukuoka, it seemed a good day to motor.  I was keen to get to Fukuoka as soon as possible so as to be able to get the wind vane fixed and, of equal importance, do something about extending my visa to allow me to stay in Japan  until the northern summer arrived.

Thus my restless night led to an early start to the day, and at 6.45 I cast off lines and motored out the harbour. As I did so I saw Nozaki-san walking down the wharf and waving at me. I suspect he had come down to help me leave. I felt a little bad, as if I was in his shoes I know that I would have been disappointed not to have been able to have said goodbye. I motored closer to the wharf and we yelled out to each other, “Arigato, Sayonora.” Nozaki is a very nice man.

Once clear of the harbour there was a very light wind, not enough for the genoa but sufficient to keep the mainsail full if sheeted well in. As we rounded the south eastern corner of Takashima I set the mainsail. We also found a two meter swell running left over from the previous day's northerly wind. I looked around me glumly, it looked like a long day behind the wheel.

We motored around one of the fishing nets that extends off the shore of Takashima (not the one I ran over yesterday) and set a course of 030 degrees true. As I steered I found that I could leave the wheel unattended for several minutes at a time. It seems that the mainsail was keeping Sylph feathered into the light headwind. This pleased me very much, as it meant that I would not be tethered to the wheel for several hours. The wind actually freshened a little bit more during the forenoon and, despite the still lumpy swell, I set the genoa and coaxed Sylph into sailing herself for a bit, as any self respecting yacht that is half way balanced is well able to steer herself upwind with out the aid of a helmsperson, whether human or machine. The breeze remained strong enough for Sylph to hold a steady course for about half an hour but it soon became clear that the wind for the day was going to be light and fickle, for it had soon died off and as it did so Sylph did her usual trick of falling away from the wind and wallowing around. After a few attempts at getting Sylph to hold a course it soon became obvious to me that this was just not going to work. I furled the genoa and started the engine again.

This turned out to perhaps have been the only time where a light head wind was to our advantage, for with the mainsail sheeted in hard amidship, and the engine running at about half revs, Sylph just naturally tended to keep her head into the wind. Thus it was that the motor to Fukuoka was a lot less painful than I had expected. At 12.40 we tied up to the visitor's pontoon behind a very tidy looking Canadian yacht.

Once Sylph was secured I went over to “Silk Purse”, the Canadian yacht and tapped on the deck. Her master quickly appeared, we introduced ourselves, his name was Kirk, and he politely gave me the information I needed, namely where to go to sign into the marina.

As I sit here, arms crossed, staring at my computer screen, I think about what else I can tell you. There was a visit to the marina office, an additional move I had to make to allow Kirk to leave in the morning, a walk into the local shopping centre, and a visit to see Kirk after my walk to the shops (he sails tomorrow), and that brings us up to now. I have had a nice stir fry dinner, and as I sit and try to finish today's log entry I can feel the long day and last night's short sleep catching up with me.

All is well.