Forty North (5 Jun retransmitted)

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 7 Jun 2014 04:18

Position: 40 04.8 N 138 52.2 E
Course: North east Speed: 6 knots
East sou' east, F4moderate breeze
Weather: overcast, mild
Day's Run:
92 nm (119 sailed)

The light air backed into the north east yesterday afternoon which meant the drifter had to come down and the genoa unfurled in order to remain as close to the wind as possible. We tacked in towards the land just before sunset and tacked back to the north as the wind started to veer and freshen an hour before midnight. By 1.30 this morning the wind had veered into the east sou' east and increased to force four, which had us romping along into the building seas at six knots.

Consequently we have made relatively good progress over the last 24 hours, crossing the fortieth parallel of latitude just on midday. If the wind holds we will be approaching Tsugaru Kaikyo, the strait between Hokkaido and Honshu, tomorrow forenoon. This strait is likely to prove a bit of a challenge. It has an east setting current flowing through it that can attain rates of up to six knots. Also the area is notorious for fog and of course there are going to be a lot of ships about. The winds are likely to be out of the east and undoubtedly funnelled through the strait which will most likely mean a short steep sea particularly at its western entrance. Unfortunately, looking at the forecasts, conditions are likely to remain much the same for the next few days.

I figure I have three options: press on regardless, approach the strait and assess conditions when we get there, or back track to Akita and wait for more favourable conditions. Well, option one is probably pretty stupid, and I hate backtracking, so option two it is. If conditions are unsuitable to transit the strait I like the idea of going to anchor somewhere nearby and waiting, but I get the impression that the Japanese authorities aren't real keen on vessels anchoring in their waters.

For now we press on.

All is well.