Decision time. Do we wait for a weather window or give up and truck her down to Osaka?
The last episode on the frustration to sail SV Freelancer, a 28 Bristol Channel Cutter out of Hokkaido and down to the warmer seas of souther Japan.
While waiting for a weather window to open I spend time around Esashi town and learn what it is like to live in a cold climate, plus experience big seas, high winds and freezing cold snow from the comfort of shore.
Next week back to normal with updates on Tiare’s overhaul and looking back on how we have managed to survive sailing and cruising with kids and dog onboard without a fixed income.
Waiting for the break in the weather before winter sets in and it gets too cold. The break never came.
The adventure of sailing down from Hokkaido in the top of Japan to Kagoshima at the southern tip of Kyushu wasn’t to be.
The weather beat us and ground us down. Weeks of waiting for a window that would allow us to beat the lee shore didn’t happen.
Frustrating for the owners Nick and Rika who were hoping to set off on their new life.
However as much as the frustration was at not sailing down the option to truck her down was still available.
As long as winter didn’t arrive too early and make the roads impossible for such a journey. But that is for next weeks video.
Seven days after leaving Hokkaido we are still in Hokkaido.
Sailed as far as Esashi, 90Nm south of our start point before the weather turned. Been stuck in port waiting for a weather window for the last week. Weather has now turned to full on winter mode with gales, snow and big seas. But it looks like we have a small break around Tuesday lunchtime.
In the meantime we rent a small car and drive around the coast checking out the small fishing ports for emergency shelter should the weather turn. Plus we head into Hakodate and check out the Pacific.
Video shot and edited on my phone.
Music by Sam
What are we living for
Tip of my tongue
This video is part of a series as I help the owner of SV Freelancer, a 28 foot Bristol Channel Cutter, sail from Hokkaido to Kagoshima in November. A trip of close to 1300nm and not at the best time of the year to do so with winter temperatures, snow and deep lows spawning in the Japan Sea.
Video put together on my phone as we wait for a weather window to sail south from Hokkaido to Kagoshima. Test the new Pelagic autopilot do some last minute maintenance and repairs. Go for a test sail and wait out a monster storm. And finally get that weather window.
Has been a slow week as we wait for a 24-36 hour weather window so we can set off sailing south from Iwanai on the Japan Sea side and get through the Tsugaru Straight and into the Pacific.
Once through to the Pacific Ocean side we have better weather and generally away from a lee shore. Plus a lot more ports to run too if the weather packs in.
Sailing south down Japan in November is not the best time of year is cold and the weather doesn’t give us much of a chance.
Have done the last prep on the boat. All stocked. Fueled up. Sails tested. Autopilot is working (we think) and have a 24 hour window to get down as far as Esashi (95Nm) before the window closes. Then a wait of 24-48 hours before we can duck around the corner and heading for the pacific and the east coast of Japan.
Just a few more days until I fly to Hokkaido and sail a 28 foot Bristol Channel Cutter through the Tsugaru Straights between Hokkaido and Honshu, the main Island of Japan and then head off down the Pacific side of Japan keeping close to the coast so as to avoid the fast flowing “Kuroshio” current that runs up the Japanese archipelago. Total distance around 1200Nm and expected passage time will be / maybe 10-14 days.
The episode is just me talking with a few pictures and sailing routes, plus a bit at the end about how it felt spending time watching my kids grow.
Next Episode will have lots of sailing and boaty stuff.
This week we remove the sails, survive two very wet typhoons and I get ready for a 1200 Nm adventure sailing from one end of Japan to the other, Hokkaido to Kagoshima, on a newly refurbished 28 foot Bristol Channel Cutter.
The sail from Hokkaido to Kagoshima will be a true adventure for me! I don’t like cold weather or water, it is a 28 foot traditional sail boat and we are on the wrong side of Japan with sailing through the “missile testing” grounds for North Korea.
But am determined to make the most of it. Will be a fantastic experience to sail this coast line on a traditional classic small boat.
Last tour for 2017
Wet, windy and wild weather as we try to head off for a three night sail around the western side of the inland sea of Japan.
Plans made a few weeks before certainly don’t hold up to the reality of a strong North Easterly and with the largest typhoon of the year just a couple of days away I make a dash back back to the safety of Yuge Island as soon as the tour finishes.
It was a very wet and windy few days.
I have altered my idea of an enjoyable and stress free (for me) cruising holiday around this area.
Starting next year cruising tours will be more focussed on the practical aspects of sailing. This is not only from a simple safety point of view but also to enjoy the sailing experience. Tiare is an awesome “sailing” vessel and being able to tie basic knots, know how to make off on a cleat, safe use use of a winch, as well as the physical dynamics of sailing will go a long way towards keeping safe and everyone getting the most out of their time aboard Tiare
This video is a few days early as I will be away most of next week on tour.
This week we have another group of girls onboard, we put down a new mooring (the third leg) build a couple of Fender Boards and then get Tiare ready for next weeks adventure, a sail around the western end of the Inland Sea of Japan.
Tiare is beached for a few maintenance jobs that can only be done out of the water.
I learn the meaning of patience and we also make her ready for a lunchtime cooking group.
At the end of the week I start getting ready for putting out a “third leg” on our mooring.
Tiare is not your usual production catamaran, she is a Wharram Islander 55 and has been our home for seven years. The last two years have seen us “settle” in the inland sea of Japan while our youngest son finishes high school.
Being in one place has given us the opportunity to alter Tiare to fit in to what we would like in a world cruising sailboat. And to start creating a source of income that can travel with us.
Wharram catamarans offer an affordable alternative for everyday people to cast off and cruise the worlds oceans. Where simplicity means the freedom to stay out for longer.
We hope these videos will inspire others to look at what it means and takes to live aboard while sailing the world and that Japan must be one of the most interesting cruising destinations on the planet.
Early 2017 saw 11 Canadians cruise Japan’s Inland Sea for six day/ seven nights on board our 55 foot Wharram Islander catamaran. This is short video and photo montage and shows Tiare cruising through some of the many islands that make up this amazing cruising destination, along with a few days prior as with the help of my boys we made Tiare ready.
explore – relax – recharge
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