36 06.14 N 133 04.76
My concern over the struts I made have proven to be well justified. This morning the winds freshened a little and the wind vane started to work harder and load the struts up a lot more. At approximately 6.30 this morning they both broke. I had already decided just prior to them breaking that I would put into Nakanoshima, which is on the itinerary I lodged with the Japanese authorities, to strengthen the struts, but now I really had no choice.
The first thing I had to do was unship the rudder so as to prevent any damage to the more expensive parts of the new steering system. This involved furling the headsail and heaving to so that I could lean over the transom relatively safely and pull the locking pin out. Over the years I have had to attend to the wind vane at sea and it is definitely not my favourite job. As usual, despite only moving forward at a few knots, I manage to get a thorough dunking, but got the rudder on board without too much difficulty which in turn allowed me to reset sail and continue on our way.
It had been raining lightly since midnight but as the morning wore on it got gradually heavier. Sylph sailed herself pretty well in roughly the right direction for a few hours, but as we got closer and the course became more critical I had to hand steer for several hours.
We entered through the narrow strait separating Chiburishima from Nishinoshima at 11.50, where the seas became lumpy while wind became light and fickle. Consequently I motored for a while until we were tucked inside the little archipelago where the seas flattened out and the wind picked up again, albeit very gusty.
We worked our way up through the narrow channel that leads to the small harbour on Nakanoshima where, at 13.15, I tied up alongside. I think the next thing to do, once the emails are out of the way, is to have a bit of a rest. I will not attempt to start any repairs today as it is very wet and the forecast is for it to clear later today. I will go for a walk later to get my bearings and to see whether there might be any facilities that could assist with making up some new struts, however I am not optimistic as Nakanoshima is very small. However all is not lost. I purchased a length of stainless steel tube before leaving Fukuoka for just this purpose, as I had a very strong suspicion that the struts I had made would not be up to the task. No doubt I should have made a stronger set in the first place, however I was keen to get going, and I need to save a little money.ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddssssssssssssss (whoops! - falling asleep at the keyboard).
Time to say au revoir.
All is well.