All posts by Mike Snyder

2020 Closing Cruise to Hota

The closing 2020 TSPS Cruise took place on the week-end of Nov. 7-8 to Hota. Four TSPS boats took part: Adzenjili II, Taihei, Anais and Distant Dreamer. Fourteen members were aboard for the ride. The weather began with low wind but once past the two small islands at the entrance to Tokyo Bay, the wind kicked in at 20-24 knots SW and 1.5 meter waves. All boats made it safely to Hota. In Hota we enjoyed its well-known Banya restaurant and bath, as well as conviviality on board the boats. The following day was beautiful with fair winds and calm seas as the fleet returned to Yokohama and Tokyo.

Hopefully, 2021 will be a better year for cruises, as 2020 was all about the COVID and we had to cut down on these events. As it was, we did get in two cruises for the year. Hope to see more 2020 TSPS members aboard next year!

Second Sailing 102 Class Gets Started

The rain stopped and the weather cleared in time for the first class of TSPS’s second Sailing 102 course of 2020 with instructor Rick Pawell on the Yamaha 30S sailboats from Hayama Marina on Sunday October 18. After having completed Sailing 101, students Bernard Languillier, Peter Knight, Timothy Langley, Svetlana Ilyushechkina and Alex Khadanovich will be practicing using the spinnaker, sailing wing and wing, tacking, gybing, anchoring and lots of docking and undocking. This will be the last sailing class this year, but we hope to get started with new classes in 2021. Hope to see more members out there next year!

(Photos courtesy of Alex)

Sailing 101 Class Finally Gets To Sail

After 3 months of delay due to the coronavirus and rainy season weather, the Sailing 101 class (the green boat) got out for their first sail on Sunday July 12 with the Yamaha 30S boats at Hayama. Out on the water was another boat (the pink boat) rented from Hayama Marina by TSPS member Alex Dzangirov and his crew.

There was pretty good wind (8-12 knots) and only partly cloudy skies all day, and we were able to do a lot of tacking and jibing. It was fun to have the other boat out to provide some “competition.”

The Sailing 101 class was winning…for a while!

2020 TSPS Bridge Sworn In Via Zoom

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Change of Watch this year was postponed and rescheduled for April 30 via Zoom. The results of the election of the proposed Bridge officers for 2020 were presented by Secretary David Sutton Kirby (38 aye, 0- nay). Then the new Bridge was sworn in by Past Commanders Dick Schultz and Per Knudsen. (Click here to see the 2020 Bridge officers).

Following this Commander David Edwards presented a short report on the past year and goals for the future:

A. 2019 TSPS Financials in JPY (Info available upon request)

B. 2020 TSPS Members (David and John)

  • Current membership is 95, which is the same number of members vs previous year’s CoW
  • Impressive that membership has been stable, especially given the challenges posed by COVID-19 since March 2020. However, the full impact remains to be seen.
  • Between January 2017 and today, the monthly number of TSPS members has fluctuated between 83 (January 2018) and 103 (June 2019)
    • January 2017   84
    • January 2018   83
    • January 2019   94
    • January 2020   96
    • 30 April            95 
  • Other squadrons in TSPS’s District, which includes southern California, have seen membership declines of -9% on average in 2019
  • In 2019, USPS squadrons as a whole saw membership fall from 24,622 to 23,008 (approx. -6.6%) 

E. 2020 TSPS Bridge Goals (David)

  1. Continue to offer JMRA Class 1 and 2 license courses, as well as sailing classes (Basic and Intermediate) and club rentals from Hayama Marina (Yamaha 30 boats). We also will aim to increase the number of qualified education and sailing instructors.
  1. Offer OTW opportunities for TSPS members to go cruising (and possibly informal racing!) in Tokyo Bay, Sagami Bay, and in Kyushu/Seto-naikai, and investigate business models allowing for boat ownership, including low-cost dinghies that are great for practicing sailing.
  1. Affiliate with the 335,000+ member strong Royal Yachting Association (RYA) so that our members have the opportunity to obtain their ICC (International Certificate of Competence) for international yacht charters in Europe and make TSPS the first stop for RYA members looking to sail in Japan. RYA affiliates also receive a variety of yacht racing-related and training services.
  • In comparison, the RYA is about 14.5x larger than USPS, which has 23,008 members as of January 2020
  • TSPS will aim to eventually become an assessment center for the ICC
  1. Continue to offer TSPS social activities including monthly Keelhauls (first Wednesday of every month), summer and fall BBQs, and Tokyo’s best year-end Bonenkai.
  1. Grow an increasingly diverse membership base and club culture with a focus on welcoming women and people new to boating in cooperation with Tokyo Sailability. TSPS plans to have a booth at the Japan International Boat Show 2021 in Yokohama to support this goal.

Weather delayed yacht delivery completed

TSPS member Ramir Cimafranca’s recently purchased yacht Der Meer III is now moored at its new home port in Nishiura Numazu Shizuoka,  .
Ramir, Rick Pawell and 2 friends made up the crew and arrived in Shimoda on a rainy Saturday evening. We woke Sunday morn to clearing skies, ate breakfast and departed Shimoda Boat Service’s docks by 0800. 
Shimoda Boat Service had been checking the boat each day for the past week, adjusting docklines and fenders as needed and lashing additional lines around the boom cover…excellent and friendly service!
Motor sailed in 5-10 knots of northerly winds and saw a waterspout far off to port (picture was tightly cropped). The winds calmed off the southern tip of the peninsula and backed to a southwester that increased to a steady 20 knots with gusts to 30 near 1400. It was a fast ride under mostly sunny skies with the wind off the port quarter as we broad reached under a reefed mainsail at 7 knots. An excellent day for sailing…good departure planning by Ramir!
We motored in to the dock where 4 people eagerly took our dock lines and welcomed us “home.” Three men helped Ramir moor the boat, rowed tenders back to the dock and two gave us a lift to the train station . There is a good drone video of the moorings and clubhouse at

Final Cruise of 2019

Impromptu race

After a frustrating year of canceled cruises due to weather, from typhoons to no wind, and various other reasons, the small but growing TSPS fleet had three successful days of cruising in steady northeasterly winds. Starting out on Nov. 2 and ending on Nov. 4 for the Culture Day week-end, four hardy sailboats participated: Sentosa, Taihei, Spray and Distant Dreamer.

The first leg was from Yokohama to Misaki. A convivial evening ensued as the four crews got together and regaled each other with wild tales of adventures on the high seas (well, in Tokyo Bay). The next day Arne took his boat Sentosa back to Yokohama Bayside Marina (the three young lads aboard had school on Monday). The other three boats made their way to Hota, in Chiba, a fast beam reach for most of the way (when ships weren’t making us slow down to let them by). We were disappointed to learn that the recent typhoon has put the onsen in Hota out of commission for a while. In any case we enjoyed a great lunch at Banya, after which Ryan and his crew on Spray made their way back to YBM, arriving there after dark (good job!) The final day, Monday, the remaining two boats Vince and Taihei along with Mike and Distant Dreamer took off in sunny weather for home in Yokohama. It was probably the best sailing of all three days since the sun as dancing on the waves all day.

Thanks to the crew who came and helped the skippers. It was good to end the year of TSPS cruising on a high note and we hope next year we will have more week-ends like this.

Click on images for the originals.

The track of Distant Dreamer from Yokohama to Misaki
Andy Lawson at the wheel on the way back to Yokohama on Distant Dreamer

Beginning Sail Class Underway

On Sunday July 21 the TSPS Beginning Sail class finally got underway with 9 future sailors signed up. Six students were able to make the first class, with instructor Mike Snyder. The weather was good for a first time out, 3-8 knots. We went through raising sails, steering, tacking and jibing. It was a good start for the class. We will be holding the class through August and early September, with classes added as needed to assure that all the students have at least 4 times out on the boat.

Thanks to member Nemanja Komatinovic and sail student for the photos.

Nice Turnout for Rendezvous

The weather not cooperating? It was downright spiteful.  But 15 June was the day of the TSPS Spring Rendezvous and barbecue and like the USPS – the postal ones – our members braved the sleet and snow, sorry, the driving rain part to arrive at Yumenoshima Marina where the members of Sailability Tokyo, our very good friends waited with their dinghies. The wind was there, rain falling at a forty five degree angle, and from 1pm on, members began to show up and avail themselves of the opportunity to sail.  

Non-sailing members and guests began to arrive early as well and those not sailing had the opportunity to introduce one another at the ground floor lobby of the marina, where the generous seating provided a place to relax and make new friends. The BBQ itself began at 3pm and TSPS had a turnout of 52 members and guests.  Participants were seated inside the restaurant while volunteers selected themselves to man the three large grills that were already fired up and ready for the heaping trays of meat and vegetables that were brought out to cook. The food and drink were great, but the conversation and camaraderie were even better.

Of special note, Lowell Sheppard announced the imminent purchase of Wahine from fellow TSPS member Marcus Von Engel, and his open recruitment for crew. At the end of the event, those not ready to go home were invited aboard Dream Weaver, by Doug Smith who crossed the Pacific from San Diego to Japan with blind sailor Hiro Iwamoto. You will never see a more immaculate boat than Dream Weaver.

A special thanks to our member Jiro Fujiwara for arranging the dinghies from Salability Tokyo and to Rick Pawell. Rick had double duty, working as a volunteer for the dinghy sailing with Sailability Tokyo and as the arranger for the BBQ, which you can guess is a lot of work.  

It was a great turnout and a great time, with less than great weather. Thanks to all for participating and making it a success.

Bill Van Alstine, contributor

Blind Sailor Reaches Japan

After 55 days at sea, blind sailor Hiro Iwamoto and his sighted fellow crewman Doug Smith, friend of TSPS, made it to Sun Marina in Onahama, Fukushima, Japan on April 20, 2019. This was the second attempt by Hiro to sail across the Pacific, the first attempt having been cut short by a whale hitting and sinking his boat off of Japan. This time, he began from San Diego, California. 

Go here for more of the story and more photos.

Congratulations to Hiro and Doug on their great achievement. They can be very proud of themselves and what they accomplished.

We hope to see them at a TSPS event one day to tell us more of their voyage.