Captain Chris’s Excellent GW Adventure

First trip to Hota

by Chris Eve

May 15, 2024

I’ve been sailing Eothen for two years now. She is a beautiful 24′ Cornish Crabber, a rare boat for these waters. I am a little embarrassed to admit that so far I’ve only done day sailing out of Yokohama Bayside Marina, and the furthest trip I did was a day-tip to Velasis Marina in Uraga. So this year I was determined to go a little further and spend a night somewhere away from YBM during Golden Week. Thanks to TSPS Bridge Secretary Timothy posting the sail-plans & destinations of various TSPS boats on the website, I was compelled to pursue this determination with a trip to Hota to coincide with Golden Week visits by Claude and Darren in their boats. Here is a brief story of those two days on the water:

Early start from Yokohama Bayside.
Sailing on a sea of gold.

I wanted to make the most of my visit to Hota so I set off early at 05:30 from YBM on Monday 29 April. There was no wind when I left the marina, but it was a beautiful morning with the rising sun painting the flat sea sparkling gold. I motored until I was nearing Saru-Jima (Monkey Island) off Yokoska, when the wind started to build so I raised all sails and tacked my way down towards Kannnonsaki, taking care not to stray into the traffic separation scheme. The wind continued to strengthen and just when I as nearing Kannnonsaki I was struggling, so I brought in all sail and resumed motoring.

Big blue ship on the big blue sea under the big blue sky.
Kannonsaki lighthouse

I continued south until I was safely below the start of the traffic separation scheme, when I turned east so as to cut across the shipping traffic as near as possible at a right angle. Lucklily there was not a lot of traffic and I was able to get across without interfering with any ships.

Approaching Hota I was a little bit nervous about finding the entrance to the harbour, avoiding the fishing nets that I had been warned about, and also berthing my boat single-handed in an unfamiliar harbour. I cautiously entered Hota harbour and stood off the berths while I prepared fenders and lines, and deciding which berth to go alongside. Luckily, a boat belonging to a member of the Hota Yacht Club was moored at the end of one of the berths and the owner helped me come alongside, tie up and showed me where to pay the mooring fee. I entered 10:30 as end of passage in my log book. After tidying up, I chatted and soon became friends with my helper, Ishii-san.

Safely tied-up at Hota… Ishii-san’s yacht behind mine.

Ishii-san told me that although the Banya seafood restaurant was good, the best place to eat was the Sakaemaru restaurant on the other side of the harbour. Based on this advice, I invited Ishii-san to join me for lunch at Sakaemaru and we had a most enjoyable meal and conversation. It turns out that Ishii-san’s son is currently studying navigation in Plymouth, England, which is where I studied when I was as a cadet in the merchant navy. What a small world!

Lovely-looking Eothen!
Lunch at Sakaemaru

After lunch I went to the supermarket to by some ice for my cool box, relaxed on deck of Eothen in the beautiful surroundings of Hota, and then went for a bath at the Banya bathhouse. Later in the afternoon I made another new acquaintance when Tony Hardie came on the berth to wait for the arrival of Claude and Darren. Tony gave me some tips on nice anchorages to visit near Hota for future visits. I was fascinated to hear about Tony’s business trading and sourcing classic and rare cars. Turns out that Tony is from Coventry in the UK, next to my hometown of Warwick. What a small world!

Bath time

Claude and Darren arrived in the evening, and we all went for dinner at the Banya restaurant. Another very delicious meal, this time washed down with beers. After dinner we retired back to Claude’s boat Anais for some after-dinner drinks and conversation. I was tired after a long day and was planning to make an early morning start back to YBM, so I retired back to Eothen at around nine. I won’t say my sleep was disturbed, but I do remember looking at my watch around midnight and hearing some lively conversation and laughter still emanating from the direction of Anais.

Three TSPS boats in a row

The weather next morning was rainy and dull, and I motored most of the way back to YBM. I really enjoyed my trip to Hota and look forward to visiting again sometime soon, as well as checking out the places that Tony had recommended.

Claude, Max, Darren, Naomi, Ogi, Tony,  me
Rainy ride back to Bayside.
There-and-Back Again: my route from & to Yokohama Bayside and Hota.

About the author:

I have always loved the sea, boats and ships, even though I grew up in Warwick, about as far as you can get from the sea in England. As soon as I could, I joined Cunard as a deck officer cadet and gained my Second Mates ticket while sailing  on the company’s cargo ships, tankers and the Queen Elizabeth 2. I started sailing dinghies in my teens while at nautical school. Fast forward to coming to live in Japan in 1990, I sailed dinghies and Hobbie Cats off Zushi beach for many years until I bought Eothen, a second-hand Cornish Crabber 24, at the end of 2021 and joined TSPS. Eothen is berthed at Yokohama Bayside Marina. Professionally, I run an exhibition organising company, and it is no secret that of all the exhibitions I do my favourites are Sea Japan and Bari-Ship which serve the maritime industry.

Timothy Langley

About Timothy Langley

I have only been sailing for the last 5 years or so. I was originally drawn to TSPS and to the alien-to-me suggestion of sailing (I wasn't really looking) when a friend invited me to a Keelhaul. Several friends and old-timers who I never imagined were connected to the sea were active Members. After a few pints and lots of lobbying, I thought "why not...". I stopped hitting the sauna on weekends and working on old cars and, in no time, was sailing regularly. In my plight for sailing opportunities & begging for crewing time on someone else's yacht, I stumbled on a decrepit yacht that needed some attention. So I purchased it, fixed it up and sailed the heck out of it. It is now a very proper and reliable sailing vessel. And, as a consequence, I have become somewhat competent as a solo sailor (though this is a long road). I long for something bigger (Santana is a 40 year old Yamaha 26' possessing a proper enclosed head, a good galley, two berths, dry, comfy, reliable: sleeps 4) but in the meantime I am out on the Pacific almost every weekend. Completely smitten.

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