All posts by Warren Fraser

2018 TSPS Change of Watch


The 2018 Change of Watch, or CoW, is an annual TSPS event in which the Bridge reports to membership on the squadron’s financial status, education plans, membership activities, and events planned for 2018.  Those present will then cast a vote for an incoming Bridge for 2018. Attending this event is a great opportunity to get up to speed on the squadron’s 2018 objectives, participate in the selection of Bridge officers, meet other members of our organisation, and of course indulge in a wonderful dinner and have a few refreshments.

Hope to see you there!


Doors: 7:00PM
2017-2018 Presentation: 7:15PM
Buffet Dinner: 7:30PM
New Bridge: 8:15PM
Wrap-up and End: 10:00PM

Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018

Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Place: Le Petit Tonneau Toranomon

Deadline for Signing Up: Midnight Saturday, March 10, 2018


Members and Partners– ¥6,000
Guests/Non-members– ¥8,000

Please note: TSPS will be charged for the seats reserved for the evening. Therefore, we will request no-shows and those cancelling after March 10 to pay the event fee in full. 

Sign up here:

2018 TSPS CoW Signup Page

Le Petit Tonneau

2-1-1 Toranomon
Minato-Ku, Tokyo
Tel: +81-3-5545-4640


Getting there:







Again, looking forward to seeing you there.

Per Knudsen and Anne Bille Set To Sail The Final Stretch

Anne Bille hoisting the TSPS colors in Gibraltar

In June of this year TSPS Past Commander and long-time TSPS Bridge member Per Knudsen sailed his vessel Bifrost II from Lymington, UK to Gibraltar/La Linea, with stops in France and Portugal.

The voyage was carried out with a complement of able-bodied crew that included past TSPS members Ian Wilson and Randy Erskine, and present member Claus Eilersen. The trip was Leg 1 in the passage to deliver Bifrost II to its home port in Denia, Spain. Leg 2 will begin soon, with Per and Anne Bille currently provisioning Bifrost for a week-long sail, before they set off for the approximately 370 nm sail home up the Spanish coast.

Everyone at TSPS wishes them fair winds and following seas on their journey. Bon voyage!

Introduction To Sailing Course Begins October 23, 2017

On October 23, we will start a four-week sail basics class comprising classroom instruction on sail terminology and theory, followed each weekend (more or less) by on-the-water sailing instruction aboard our very own (until the lease runs out) Tartan 26 Fantail. We have found that the classroom and cockpit instruction reinforce each other, making learning faster.

Classroom sessions will run once a week for four consecutive weeks, subject to classroom availability, while the on-the-water sessions will be held on Saturdays from 10AM at Velasis Marina whenever we can book the boat.

You should consider this class if you have always wanted to try sailing, but have not had the chance, or you have had the chance, but feel you would be a better sailor if you went back and picked up the fundamental theory of it all.

We have room for 10 students and will divide our time between the Kamiyacho classroom and the Velasis Marina boat. Fees will be announced soon.

Contact Jeff Canaday if you have any questions and to reserve your place in TSPS sailing history. (Or ask about it next week at the Keelhaul on October 4 at Devil Craft Hamamatsucho)

2017 TSPS Autumn Barbecue At Velasis Marina


TSPS Rendezvous 2015


We are holding a barbecue on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at Velasis Marina.

Our barbecues are always a lot of fun with good food and drink and conversation.

Our barbecue will be in the heart of the Velasis Marina in Uraga, right up close to our favorite form of transportation, boats! This is a golden opportunity for like-minded boat people to get to know each other and TSPS, and as always you are most welcome to invite friends or colleagues interested in boating. So go ahead and mark the barbecue on your to-do list, because this is always the highlight of the Kanto social calendar. (We are barbecuing under a giant awning, so there will be nothing to dampen the great times at the party.) Also, we will try to book the Tartan sailboat and can hopefully offer people short cruises around Uraga.

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, October 28
Time: 2 pm – 5 pm
Place: Velasis Marina, Uraga, Kanagawa Pref.
Fee: ¥4,000 for members, ¥5,000 for guests, children 1/2 price.
Payment: At the door
Sign up deadline: Midnight, Wednesday, October 25

Feel free to arrive early if you wish to enjoy the historical port of Uraga, the marina, the boats, and the sun. We open up the coolers at around 2 pm with an assortment of soft drinks, cold beer, and white and red wines. The menu will include but is not limited to quality beef steaks, sausages, seafood, salad, fruit and vegetables.

So that we can be sure to prepare sufficient food, please book your place(s) on the website no later than Wednesday, October 25. (sign-up link two lines down)

Skippers: If you plan to sail in, please provide Mike Snyder with the name and size of your vessel so he can reserve a guest berth for you. Please include crew details.

Make your booking here


Where is Velasis and how do I get there? has a downloadable pdf for access to the marina from train station or by road.

For people who are non-drinkers or have designated drivers, the easiest route to Velasis is to take the Yoko-Yoko motorway and get off at Uraga. Turn right after the exit and then follow the map or your navigation system.

For the rest of us, the easiest and quickest route is to take the Keihin Kyuko toward Misakiguchi to Kurihama, then take a taxi (¥1,200-¥1500) or bus #19 from there. Alternatively, take the Keihin Kyuko to Horinouchi, then transfer to the local train to Uraga. From there take a taxi (minimum fare) to Velasis or the hourly bus no. 19. It stops almost in front of Velasis, or alternatively enjoy the twenty-minute walk from Uraga station.

For train schedules from your point of departure to either Kurihama or Uraga, go to:

Looking forward to seeing you all in Velasis!
Warren Fraser

Onboard The Tartan 26 On A Clear Day

Our membership in the Velasis Marina Marine Club has been a great success. Here are some photos taken aboard Beluga II on the waters around Uraga by Skipper PJ Domenjoz and a few of the people who sailed with him.

The program has been a great success. In the five months we’ve been active, we’ve gone out over twenty times and have had more than thirty people aboard. We’ve been lucky with the weather and only twice have we had to cancel because of too much wind or rain. We’ve sailed three times with intermittent rain, but by and large, the sailing days have been come equipped with comfortable winds and sunshine.

More information about fees and location can be found here.

We try to sail every weekend, and TSPS members, their friends and family, and Friends of TSPS are welcome to join us.

Hope to see you on the Tartan this autumn.

Robert Radcliffe’s Flicka 20 for Sale

The late Robert Radcliffe was an avid sailor who loved sailing his boat Blowfish. His wife, Shoko, has reluctantly put Blowfish up for sale.

Here is some information about the boat from Robert’s friend and previous owner of Blowfish, Alex.

Blowfish was a one-off hull, built of FRP plastered over steel mesh.  she weighs 3.5 tons, and so is a bit heavier than other Flickas by about 250 kilos.  She has plywood deck and house, and was very well built by a shipyard in Maryland. My father and I built her deck, cabin, interior, etc. She is now 40 years old, ragged but right, a bit scuffed and grimy, but seaworthy and sound. In recent years she has been well maintained by Robert and the mechanics at Oita.

She was originally a gaff-rigged catboat when she sailed on the Chesapeake  (then name “Tureen”) and was converted to sloop in 2000 when she came to Japan. She has a jib boom which is a pain (I’d lose it).  She has two good Honda 9HP outboards. The older one (2007) is long shaft with a big flat screw; it drives her very well and quietly. The newer one is short shaft with a higher pitched screw; Robert bought it for the electric starter after he was too weak to manage the other, manual-start engine. I add, she used to have a BMW inboard, but I could no longer find parts for it (and so it was removed.)

Sails are solid, new in 2000. Roller reefing on the jib, and all sheets and halyards lead to the cockpit, so she is easy to singlehand. Full keel, so an easy cruiser – she is no race boat, but a solid blue water passage maker.  Standing room in the cabin, quite a lot of boat for a 20′ waterline.

Oita is a good berth – cheap, excellent staff, great sailing ground, and an hour or so away by plane.  I would keep her there.

Blowfish is currently tied up in a full-service marina only a 10-minute walk from Oita Airport (the marina is to the south of the landing strip). Annual marina fees for the boat are said to be very inexpensive and Robert said it was cheaper to keep the boat in Oita and fly down four or five times a year than to keep the boat in the Tokyo area. With the marina so close to the airport, there are many benefits to keeping Blowfish in Oita.

The asking price is ¥300,000. This is primarily to cover the costs of the 2017-18 marina fee, recent interior woodwork and new bottom paint both done by the marina in May.

If you’re interested in Blowfish, you can contact for more information. More photos of Blowfish are expected to arrive soon.



From a Member: Wakeboarding with Akenohoshi Gakuen

TSPS Commander Bill Van Alstine submitted this report on a volunteer event held on August 4-5 and sponsored in part by Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron. Bill shares the background as to how the event came about, the goings on at Lake Yamanaka, and the results of the efforts of everyone involved. 

I’ve been involved with the Tokyo foster care home, Akenohoshi Gakuen, since 2005 when the volunteer committee of my former employer, Dresdner Kleinwort Japan, began providing support for the facility.  The home has capacity for twenty kids of junior and high school age.  Typically, facilities for preschool and elementary kids get the lion’s share of interest and support from the volunteer community and so Akenohoshi Gakuen had been largely ignored when we began in 2005.

My experience with the kids at Akenohoshi Gakuen was always good, whether we had a BBQ, visited a theme park, or went to see a movie.  After I got my JMRA boat license several years ago through TSPS  I’d wanted to put together some kind of boating event for the kids—but getting twenty kids to a boat was difficult and the staff of the home told me that it was all or none.  It was a hurdle that was difficult to overcome, and this year I could do it.

The staff of AG took my one-day plan to visit Lake Yamanaka near Mt Fuji and turned it into a tw0-day overnight event at a lodge to which foster facilities have access at very reasonable rates. The riskiest part of the plan was to do the event on a Friday and Saturday, which would require volunteers to take a day off. Luckily, TSPS members and my previous volunteer network answered the call to join. 

This event required that volunteers cover costs not just for themselves but also the costs of food for students and staff, and the boat.  So on top of the vacation day and time that had to be devoted, volunteers were required to pay ¥12,000 — and I was extremely lucky to have Jeremy Sanderson with his daughter and former commander Richard Schultz sign on.

On Day 1, Richard was assigned to drive the boat Friday from 11am to 5:30pm, with only a cold cheeseburger delivered to him at 2pm for sustenance—a long tough assignment that required continuous focus while towing. 

The twenty kids were assigned to teams of five to go out on the water for ninety minutes each.  The three landlocked teams remained on the grounds of the lodge and played soccer, frisbee, and ate their meals.  The evening consisted of a big barbecue, campfire with roasted marshmallows, watermelon — the works!   The burgers,  other food and snacks, and Saturday breakfast was all the result of work done by the volunteers.

In total we had eleven volunteers contributing to making the two-day event great fun for the kids.  Very importantly, the Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron donated almost ¥38,000 to cover the cost of the Yamaha wake boat.  This very generous gift from TSPS made a huge difference in what we were able to accomplish and the experience we were able to provide.

On Day 2 at 0500 Saturday morning, Jeremy and I cooked 100 slices of bacon and made french toast for all. The early start was to make sure we could get back on the water from 0730 for another three hours of screaming excitement with the wakeboard boat. At around noon, we wrapped up the event with a group photo and each volunteer was presented with a card of thanks that the kids had prepared for us. 

The reaction from the kids over the weekend made it so worthwhile.. They loved the design of the boat and the rides on it, they enjoyed freely jumping into the lake, and I think they were very happy that for the two days, the boat was theirs to use for their own pleasure. And for many, there was the sweet success of standing on the wakeboard and flying across the waves. Seasoned TSPS members understand how rare boating opportunities are and so it is no stretch to imagine the impact this summer event had on a group of kids that wouldn’t normally have a lot to talk to classmates about when they get back to school in the fall.  This time, thanks to TSPS will be able to describe the excitement of standing on a wakeboard and flying over the waves on an inflatable, perhaps something none of their classmates has ever experienced. 

I came home two kilos lighter from my adventure, and later when describing the event to a friend, I realised that none of the previous outings to theme parks, movies, barbecues had come close to the impact this event had on the kids. I would personally like to thank TSPS and members Jeremy and Richard for their contribution to this wonderful event, something I’m sure will be a very happy and lifelong memory for the kids of Akenohoshi Gakuen.


TSPS Member Robert Radcliffe Passes Away

Robert steering Blow Fish

“A sailor is not defined as much by how many seas he has sailed than by how many storms he has overcome.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo

It is with great regret that we relay news of the passing of Robert Radcliffe on June 11 after a long battle with illness.

Jeff Canaday, a good friend of Robert and fellow TSPS member, wrote the following:

In Memory of Robert Ratcliffe, who passed away on June 11, 2017.

I cannot remember the first time I met Robert Ratcliffe. Looking back, it is as if he was always one of those perennial elements of the Japan TSPS experience, like a sunset yakisoba BBQ in a friend’s cockpit or the initiation rite of the Japan boating license exam. Robert always was, and we assumed always would be, a cherished and beloved friend.

That is why we were shocked to learn that he passed away on June 11, 2017. We had been talking about a Golden Week sail only a month earlier. He had casually mentioned that he had had another round of chemotherapy in December, but we heard no complaints, and he was looking forward to sailing. He had been very ill once before, revealing to most of us only after the fact that he had undergone chemotherapy. It did not, however, keep him out of his boat for very long. Blow Fish, his custom-built ferro-fiberglass version of the famed Pacific Seacraft Flicka, seemed to give him renewed strength. It certainly gave him pleasure.

Starting in about 2013, Robert (never, ever Bob) began inviting some of the more sailing-romantic members of TSPS down to his boat’s home marina in Oita, Kyushu. I say romantic, because it took some rather strong rose-colored glasses to fully appreciate the beauty of a 30-year old, 20-foot boat whose decks and cabin were hand brushed with green and sky-blue house paint.

Robert, quite characteristically, had calculated that for the cost of mooring a boat anywhere near Tokyo, he could moor it in much more interesting waters and fly down several times a year. Robert simply got out a map of Japan and found the marina that was closest to a major airport. The one he selected was a 20-minute walk from the air terminal’s main door. It made perfect sense to him, and after a visit, to us, too. Like Robert, the able-sailing and stout-hearted Blow Fish had many qualities not visible from first appearances. Few who knew him from the Keelhaul or other TSPS events, would have guessed that he was a Yale-educated Arabic-language professor, or that he frequently chartered boats in the Aegean Sea during his long summer breaks.

In 2016, Robert and his wife Shoko bought a farmhouse on an island offshore from Matsuyama in Shikoku. He enlisted Andy Lawson and myself to help him take Blow Fish across the strait and up through the Japan Inland Sea to his new summer home. It was two days among some of the most magical scenery a sailor can expect to find anywhere, and Robert seemed to know every corner of it. In October, Tristan Pratt and I joined Robert to return Blow Fish to the marina for a winter lay up. While down there, he introduced us to many of his new friends and shared stories of life in a village whose only commercial presence was a coke machine opposite the fisherman’s wharf.

There are far too many memories to continue to list here. They were all pleasant, and all larger than life. It seems Robert never met someone he didn’t like and everyone he met liked him. I will remember him every time I step aboard a boat, especially any boat with character, to enjoy a pastime that he loved and shared joyously with others.

Jeff Canaday


A native of Louisiana, Robert was a professor of Arabic and linguistics at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Loved and respected by all, he was seen off at his funeral on June 15 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Yotsuya by many of his students, friends and TSPS members, along with his family. 

Photos of Robert.








Member Minoru Saito Bound For Guam and Beyond

Shuten Dohji departs Yokohama

Minoru Saito is once again at the helm of Shuten Dohji II, this time en route to Guam. There he will re-certify his vessel, something he does every three years as the boat is not registered as a Japanese ship. From Guam, his plan is to continue south to Australia for ship maintenance and mast work. Later, he intends to take the boat to Tasmania where he will leave the boat for a time. We’re not sure when or if he plans to sail Shuten Dohji back to Japan or whether the plan is to position his vessel for an attempt at a ninth circumnavigation, unlikely as it seems. But when it comes to Saito-san and the sea, anything and everything is possible.

You can follow Minoru Saito on Facebook.

We at TSPS wish him only fair winds and following seas, and eventually a safe return to Japan.

Saito-san in Ogasawara 6/17/17


Bifrost II Begins Voyage from Lymington, UK to Gibraltar

Bifrost Crew Prior to Departure

TSPS member Per Knudsen began a journey from England to Gibraltar on May 25th aboard his sailing vessel Bifrost II. Crewing the Sun Odyssey 50DS are past members Ian Wilson, his son Jack Wilson and Randy Erskine, Patrick Milne, and Per. They departed Lymington at 0900 UK time for the first leg of the journey and are currently making swift progress down the English Channel on their way to Falmouth, where they will spend a couple of days checking and re-checking boat systems prior to departing for France… and beyond.

Their tentative itinerary is:

May 25: Depart Lymington for Falmouth

May 28: Depart Falmouth for Camaret or Audierne, France,

Take aboard TSPS member Claus Eilersen in France

May 30: Depart Camaret/Audierne for Gijon or A Coruna, Spain

June 4: Departure Gijon/A Coruna for Gib, w/ stops along the way

June 10-12: Arrive Gibraltar

Per is operating an AIS (automatic identification system) aboard Bifrost II so you can follow the voyage at Do a search for ‘Bifrost’ and select the result “Bifrost GB” The site will then show you the position of the boat, as well as speed and direction.

Everyone at TSPS wishes Per and crew a very enjoyable and safe voyage.

Bifrost II
Bifrost II
Lymington Waters