All posts by David Edwards

6/25-26 TSPS Acao Pool and Beach BBQ a Huge Success!

This weekend’s TSPS Pool and Beach BBQ held at Acao Beach, just 15 minutes by taxi from Atami Station, was well-attended by almost 30 TSPS members, family, and friends.

After arriving in the afternoon, folks changed into their pool and party outfits and began to enjoy a friendly game of frisbee in the pool, drinks on the pool deck, and general conversation in the cool ocean breeze that came across the bay. As you can see in the photos below, the view from the pool was stunning, and there was easy access to the beach just down a small set of stairs. The party really kicked off once the plates of BBQ arrived, the grilling started, and everyone refilled their drink cups! Delicious wagyu, pork, and seasoned sausage sizzled on the grill, along with mounds of fresh king trumpet mushrooms (エリンギ), carrots, green peppers, and other vegetables.

As evening started to set in, some folks grabbed a change of clothes for a trip to the local onsen, while Bill and others got a campfire going for everyone to enjoy. Many tales of sailing and powerboating were shared…while the details of other stories seemed to grow more heroic and daring as more cool refreshments were imbibed! After the fire died down, all retired to their tents and “glamping tents” for some much needed rest.

Folks that decided to stay were in for an incredible sunrise around 4:30am the next morning followed by more swimming and beach activities.

A return to Acao Beach is definitely on the TSPS calendar for next year! Thanks again Sveta for organizing such an incredible experience.

WOMEN AT THE HELM

By Aoise Ryan

TSPS inaugural ladies sail training day took place yesterday, lead by Sveta. This was a trial run to ensure an all ladies beginner crew could manage the rope pulling and commanding so often left to the men. (The ladies don’t usually highlight this deviousness but you are all now in the know)!  Sveta’s additional crew were 4 beginners and 1 experienced sailor. Predicted conditions were ideal and sailing until after 1400h proved magnificent, with lots of trust building through individual helming practice, a few drills, great breeze, controlled keeling and a firm decision that ‘ladies at the helm’ is the way to go!

At 1430h someone commented on the apocalyptic sky approaching from Enoshima.  Another double checked weather apps but predicted conditions were unchanged. The two did not tally! 

Seconds later thunder rolled and the sparkling day turned very dark. The wind immediately went from a lulling 10 knots to a constant 25-30 knots, with hail, thunder, lightening, manic black waves and zero visibility. 2 crew raced to remove the jib as a third started the engine and commandeered the main sail down. A swirling wind added to complexities for a while.

Two thirds of the crew were beginners, meaning instructions had to be concise and constantly monitored; most crucially that locking a cleat didn’t mean releasing it; that someone falling beneath a lowering boom (talking and unhurt) did not require as critical attention as getting the sail fully down; that flapping sheets did not need pulling and that donning waterproofs was low on the action list for immediate survival. Absolute teamwork ensured success. 

With sails down, visibility was still zero and direction was tough to control, even under motor. 

This outstanding crew proved highly dynamic and showed that calm decisions and directions can accomplish rough and unpredicted situations, even with beginners, as long as they trust the person in charge. 

Thunder was still pounding as the boat approached port.  Within the hour, the day returned to its earlier demeanor and all doubted their recent experience. A final flash of lightningput to bed any doubts that the storm had been imagined. Adrenalin was sky high by the end of the day and these ladies bonded for life. 

Happy to report – no injuries, no loss of confidence, no boat damage but someone saw rods flying through the sky at one point and wondered what they were? Oh! That would be the four (yes, all four) battens flying to the heavens in their glorious bid farewell. A minor tip from this adventure…. The Yamaha 30 battens are not designed to stay in flapping sails. They need to design a safety mechanism such as a folded or angled pocket, velcro or a piece of string. Anyone who is sensitive to having ever lost a Hayama batten – it’s a design fault!

These 4 beginner sailors come highly recommended as quick learners, practical people and great company.  Hoping they don’t expect too much further excitement on their next sail! 

Go Team Sveta!

(Sveta, Aoise, Juliana, Elvira, Jenine and Tracey)

Photos taken by Elvira Belyaeva

2022 TSPS Bridge Sworn in via Zoom

Due to the continued Coronavirus pandemic, the Change of Watch this year was held last night, March 9th, via Zoom. In total, 24 TSPS members attended.

Following the outgoing Bridge officers reports and a brief question time, Commander Rick Pawell relieved the outgoing Bridge of their duties.

Secretary Timothy Langley cast a unanimous ballot for the following 2022 Bridge positions:

2022 Bridge Officers

  • COMMANDER – David Edwards
  • EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND EVENT COORDINATOR – Svetlana Ilyushechkina
  • SECRETARY – Timothy Langley
  • EDUCATION OFFICER – Claude Strobbe
  • ASSISTANT EDUCATION OFFICER – Jeff Canaday
  • ADMIN OFFICER – David Lechevalier
  • TREASURER – Bill Van Alstine

The vote was cast with no other nominations and was unanimously passed with a “Yea” from the TSPS members present, in addition to the 26 “Yea” votes and 2 “Nay” votes received by email (50 total “Yea” votes and 2 “Nay” votes).

Rick Pawell invited the newly elected officers to take the Oath of Office which duly followed, then turned over the meeting to the New Commander David Edwards.

Following a virtual “Toast to the New Bridge” the Change of Watch closed at 20.00 hours.

2022 Members-at-Large

  • MEMBERSHIP – Will Wade
  • WEBSITE & IT – Rob Stein
  • CRUISING COORDINATOR – Vlad Legeza

Click here to see the 2022 Bridge officers

In Memory of Past TSPS Commander Richard W. Schultz

Richard (“Dick”) W. Schultz, an active member of TSPS for many years and former TSPS Commander, sadly passed away on Friday, October 22 following a fall near his home. He was 71 years old. His wake and funeral were held at the Machiya Funeral Hall in Arakawa-ku on October 27-28 and were well-attended by family and friends alike.

Dick was a lifelong lover of all types of boating, and he was a skilled small boat sail racer who won many trophies in the U.S. By the age of 15, Dick had even taught himself how to use a sextant. One of his favorite ways of showing visitors the beauty of Tokyo was by boat on the old canals that run through the center of the city, especially during cherry blossom season. He also enjoyed participating in powerboating events on lakes near the Tokyo area, and even was known to try wakeboarding! One of Dick’s last boating trips was to Lake Biwa with his friends.

Dick will be sorely missed by all of his friends at TSPS, and he will be forever in our hearts. Rest in peace.

2021 TSPS Bridge Sworn in via Zoom

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Change of Watch this year was held last night, March 17th, via Zoom. In total, 33 TSPS members attended.

Following the outgoing Bridge officers reports and a brief question time, Commander David Edwards relieved the outgoing Bridge of their duties.

Secretary David Sutton-Kirkby cast a unanimous ballot for the following 2021 Bridge positions:

2021 Bridge Officers

  • COMMANDER – Rick Pawell
  • EXECUTIVE OFFICER – Stephan Riediger
  • SECRETARY – Timothy Langley
  • EDUCATION OFFICER – Jeff Canaday
  • ADMIN OFFICER – Claude Strobbe
  • TREASURER – Bill Van Alstine

The vote was cast with no other nominations and was unanimously passed with a “Yea” from the TSPS members present, in addition to the 17 “Yea” votes received by email (50 total “Yea” votes).

Chris Pitts invited the newly elected officers to take the Oath of Office which duly followed, then turned over the meeting to the New Commander Rick Pawell.

Following a virtual “Toast to the New Bridge” the Change of Watch closed at 20.00 hours.

2021 Members-at-Large

  • MEMBERSHIP – John Marshall
  • CRUISING & WEBSITE – David Edwards
  • PUBLIC AFFAIRS – Jiro Fujiwara
  • SOCIAL EVENTS – David Sutton-Kirkby

Pacific Solo – Update from TSPS member Lowell Sheppard

One year has passed since I announced my Pacific Solo dream.

Here I am, now living part-time on SV Wahine a Gibsea 402, at Yumenoshima Marina in Tokyo which I bought (I prefer the term “became guardian of”) – from TSPS member Marcus von Engel. As you no doubt know, Yumenoshima is an island made out of garbage and literally means “Island of Dreams”.  

My learning curve has been steep, and changes dramatic.  I would not be here if it was not for the Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron, as I had given up on my dream of owning a boat and sailing an ocean after my wife and I moved to Japan 22 years ago.  Although I had inquired over the years, and sailed lasers at Yamanakako every summer, the thought of getting a boat license and a boat just seemed too expensive and with my limited Japanese impossible

Discovering TSPS along with some JP boatowners with whom I crewed for a year, changed all that.

So the last year has brought along of changes.  Including changes in my professional life.  We found a successor to run HOPE Internatonal Development Agency Japan. I remain Asia Director but in a volunteer capacity.

I started an Ethics, Sustainablity and Social Legacy consultancy in January, which immediately stalled with Corona and potential clients saying not until 2021.  So the silver lining . . . SV Wahine and I have been able to spend quality time together and to focus on the Pacific Solo YouTube Channel.

I have finished Season 1 which featured my first few months and experiences with Wahine and with crew including Claude and Rick of TSPS. Season 2 will follow the story of ongoing challenges to get the boat read for the eventual crossing in 2022.  One of the biggest is regulatory.

Another challenge is getting my YouTube Channel to 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 viewing hours, which is the threshold before You Tube allows me to monetize the channel.  It is one of the ways I am hoping to generate the revenue to fund this project. 

Here is the link to my Youtube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBlQN6hhDt0) and the latest episode which features the installation of the HyrdroVane.  If you have the time to watch it, please leave a comment and if you liked it, then click like and most of all please subscribe.  It is free.

Link to my blog: www.pacificsolo.com

Thanks TSPS for helping me realize a dream!

TSPS is now an RYA Affiliated Club!

The Bridge of the Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron (TSPS) is excited to announce that we have received formal approval to join the UK-based Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as an Affiliated Club. TSPS is the only RYA Affiliated Club in Japan, and one of a handful of such clubs in East Asia. TSPS will continue to be a member squadron in the United States Power Squadrons, so there are no changes in that regard.

Formed in 1875, the RYA is a UK national organization for boating, including dinghy, yacht and motor cruising, all forms of sail racing, and other forms of sports boats and personal watercraft. Although headquartered in the UK, the RYA is a global association and RYA Affiliated Clubs (numbering 1,400+) include over 337,500+ members globally with more than 2,500 RYA Recognized Training Centers across almost 50 countries. More than 250,000 people a year complete RYA training courses. The RYA has over 110,000 personal members.

TSPS will receive the following four major benefits from RYA affiliation:

(1) TSPS will be eligible to become an assessment center for the International Certificate of Competence (ICC), which is required in most European countries, as well as many other countries, for chartering yachts. As an ICC assessment center, TSPS can help our members obtain their ICC before traveling outside of Japan;

(2) TSPS will be able to promote ourselves through the RYA website and newsletters to other RYA clubs and members as their first stop in Japan for all boating related information, classes, and JMRA licensing;

(3) TSPS education will see further improvement from RYA affiliation by leveraging RYA educational materials to supplement existing USPS materials for practical boating education. In the future, TSPS also expects to progress to become an RYA Recognized Training Center, which means that TSPS members will be able to obtain internationally recognized training and development certificates in the Tokyo/Yokohama area including Competent Crew, Day Skipper, and the prestigious Yachtmaster;

(4) Finally, TSPS will be able to provide members interested in dinghy or yacht racing in Japan with access to RYA racing rules, handicapping, coaching, training of racing officials, and other support services.

The Bridge is very excited with RYA affiliation and we look forward to offering even more services to our members going forward. To learn more about the RYA, please visit: http://www.rya.org.uk

Pirates of Sagami Bay: On Stranger Winds

Early in the morning last Saturday, a ragtag crew of 5 TSPS pirates set out to deliver a Festa 31 from the southern tip of the Miura peninsula to a fabled port near Numazu on the west side of the Izu peninsula. After raiding a Family Mart of all breakfast and lunch foods for their perilous journey, the infamous Captain “Remorseless” Rick Pawell ordered the crew (First Mate Ramir “The Banyaga (the Rascal)” Cimafranca, Sailing Master Stephan “Das Meer (the Sea)” Riediger, Gunner Igor “безумец (the Madman)” Kostarnov, and Boatswain Davy “Jones Locker” Edwards, to the awaiting vessel “Der Meer”. (The sailing master later verified that this was in fact a Dutch name, not German.) The crew departed at 6:45am.

The morning wind roared and the crew suffered as cold winds came from the northeast at about 15-20 knots across Sagami Bay. After hoisting the mainsail and deciding on the route across the bay, the crew began to reminisce on the considerable pirate juice consumed at RSD Village Guesthouse the night before and the crew’s dreadful snoring that permeated the quiet night air of the peaceful village. Although the crew briefly hoisted the jib sail, a decision was made to take it down a short while later.

After passing near the southern tip of Izu Oshima island ahead of schedule, Remorseless Rick ordered the crew to jibe since the vessel was traveling too close to the dangerous shores of the Izu peninsula near Shimoda. The crew executed the jibe of the mainsail to the general satisfaction of the captain and was fortunate enough to avoid the deadly fishing buoys in the area. Finally, Der Meer motored into the dock at Shimoda Umi-no-Eki at around 2pm. The pirates had sailed across Sagami Bay at an average speed of about 7 knots – well ahead of schedule!

Of course, the ensuing celebration and consumption of libations in the port of Shimoda will have to remain off the permanent TSPS records and become a part of pirate lore…but it may have included imbibing Asahi Super Dry on the way to a beautiful beach, a long walk in search of more brew, a cramped taxi ride, a less than happy taxi driver, a search for open pubs, and a restaurant being forced open 20 minutes early by the pirates…  

Tune in next week for the continuing adventures of “Der Meer” and its pirate crew from Shimoda to Numazu. (A dreadful storm on Sunday packing winds of 30-40 knots forced the crew to return by train to its den in Tokyo.)

Postponement of 2020 Change of Watch

Following the announcement of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/newpage_00032.html) to avoid group gatherings to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as the announcement of the cancellation of the Japan International Boat Show 2020, at which TSPS had planned to have a booth, the current TSPS Bridge, comprising six past TSPS Commanders, has decided to invoke Article 9.2. of the TSPS By Laws, which states that “If Circumstances makes it impractical to hold any meeting as provided herein, the Executive Committee may waive such a meeting or set another meeting date.” We believe that the prevailing circumstances warrant caution and this important decision protects our members.


However, it is important to note that this is not a cancellation of the annual Change of Watch, but only a postponement. The Bridge plans to meet on 18th March to review this position, and we will advise members accordingly thereafter.

If the situation improves over the next few months, we hope to hold the Change of Watch sometime in May after Golden Week. Failing such an improvement, the Bridge will request an “aye” or “nay” email vote for the proposed Bridge from TSPS members. We will also provide members with profiles of each proposed Bridge member in the event that this email vote is necessary.

The Bridge hopes you support this decision as we believe “It is better to be safe than sorry” with regards to the health and welfare of our members, friends, and families.