Category Archives: News

Golden Week Sailing 2024

Here is a compilation of sailplans by TSPS Members over Golden Week, PLUS their individual reports!

Please post comments to encourage more of this!

1.)  Captain Evan Burkowsky. 33’ Peterson: Garuda. Crew: Timothy Langley, Freddie Snoxall

  • Friday 26:  Katsuyama  —> Hota
  • Saturday 27: Hota
  • Sunday 28:      Hota —> Mikurajima (~24 hours)
  • Monday 29:      Mikurajima/Miyakejima (5 hours)
  • Tuesday 30:       Miyakejima
  • Wednesday 1:      Miyakejima (foul weather, hunker down in-port)
  • Thursday 2:            Miyakejima  —> Kozushima (4 hours)
  • Friday 3:                   Kozushima
  • Saturday 4:                Kozushima  —> Niijima (6 hours)
  • Sunday 5:                    Niijima —> Oshima (7 hours)
  • Monday 6:                    Oshima  —> Home-port Hota (8 hours)

2.)    Captain Claude Strobbe 33′ Kawamoto-made / New Japan Yacht design ANAIS. Crew: Max, Nikolay , Victor , Remi , Ogi

  • Sunday 28:      Misaki  —> Yokohama Bayside (race-day)
  • Monday 29:      Yokohama Bayside Marina  —> Hota
  • Tuesday 30:        Hota
  • Wednesday 1:        Hota —> Misaki
  • Thursday 2:              Misaki —> Ito
  • Friday 3:                          Ito —> Misaki
  • Saturday 4:                        Misaki —> Yumenoshima Marina

3.)    Captain Chris Eve 24′ Cornish Crabber EOTHEN. Crew: Kaoru

  • Saturday 27:  Yokohama Bayside —> Hota
  • Sunday 28:      Hota  —> Yokohama Bayside

4.)   Captain Robin Mah. 26’ NJY Libeccio Figaro. Crew: Alan, Andrew.

  • Wednesday 1: Yumenoshima    —> Misaki
  • Tuesday 2:         Misaki   —> Ito
  • Wednesday 3:      Ito    —> Misaki
  • Thursday 4:            Misaki    —> Yumenoshima

5.)    Captain Mike Snyder 42’ Distant Dreamer. Crew: Jeff, Eric

  • Saturday 27: Marinpia   —> Kaminoseki (Murotsu Harbor)
  • Sunday 28:     Kaminoseki    —> Nuwajima
  • Monday 29:      Nuwajima   —> Nakajima
  • Tuesday 30:        Nakajima   —> Horie Matsuyama
  • Wednesday 1:         Horie Matsuyama   —> Marinpia Misasi Marina

6.)   Captain Darren Halliday. 34.5’ Hanse: Halcyon. Crew: solo; Naomi, Kiwi joining in Niijima

  • Sat. 27: Yumenoshima —> Misaki
  • Sun. 28: Misaki —>  Yokohama Bayside (race-day)
  • Mon. 29: Yokohama Bayside
  • Tues. 30:   Yokohama —> Hota
  • Wed 1: Hota
  • Thurs 2:       Hota —> Ito
  • Fri. 3:            Ito —> Shimoda
  • Sat. 4:             Shimoda —> Niijima
  • Sun. 5:              Niijima
  • Mon. 6:               Niijima  —> Yumenoshima

Actual Sailplans, as realized (attached):

———-(end)——-

Captain Evan’s excellent GW adventure

By Timothy Langley and Evan Burkowsky

May 14, 2024

My Golden Week adventure was months in the making because first of all, I had to finish the restoration of my newest sailing acquisition, an originally decrepit 45 year-old Peterson ’33 sailing yacht. This beauty had been languishing in a Chiba tributary unloved for ~6 years until a Japanese friend introduced her to me (please see: https://tspsjapan.org/march-keelhaul-plus-cow-swag-boatshow-superkeelhaul/).

This effort took on a frantic pace as I needed to constantly replace and repair 45 year old parts, stays, clutches… it’s a long list… as they failed during sea trial just weeks earlier. Ultimately, I replaced the forestay and backstay the weekend beforehand… a pretty arduous exercise that involved being up the mast a dozen or so times.

But I digress…

On Sunday, we packed-up the good ship Garuda and launched at noon for our overnight non-stop sail to Mikurajima.

We took turns sailing in 3~4 hour shifts. Dinner was prepared from boiling a pouch of Tokyo Borch from Soup Stock… but in a sudden pitch, it all ended-up on the cabin flooring… so we ate crackers, kaki-no-tani and washed it down with suds. I took the midnight shift and sailed under the stars until sun-up, passing several dolphin pods at first light.

We hit Mikura at about 11:oo o’clock. Only one harbor, very tiny, designed mostly for the skiffs packed with 14 or so divers in wet-suits: while briefly in-port, about 4 of them came in to unload their riders. See that tiny line poking-out?

Mikura is a tiny circular island, ~300 people, tons of dolphins, and a very restrictive to ‘visitors’ policy: absolutely no pleasure boats or yachts allowed! In fact, anyone visiting this pristine island MUST be accompanied by a local guide one-way-or-the-other. Most people, therefore, come on the ferry with their own dive gear or in sunhats.

In any event, we touched land, tied-up, and explained to the port authority (who showed-up immediately dockside in a tiny k-truck), that we were there just to replenish our water. With a big smile with lots of teeth, he exclaimed, “You sailed all the way from Chiba?!?!”. We pushed-off 50 minutes later; him waving at us perfunctorily.

Our next destination was island # 6 in the chain, Miyakejima. Miyake is dominated by an active volcano so almost half the island is a no-go-zone. We departed Mikura at about noon, circled her counterclockwise, and fought a tough current raging between the two islands the whole way, so we ended-up arriving after sunset.

Mikurajima in the distance, then Miyakejima… facing south with the rest of the island chain to the back of the photographer. The entire top of this island is a no-go active volcano zone.

We headed immediately to find food and draft hydration before the entire street rolled-up, and found ourselves at the hotel near the harbor. Only one other yacht was in the harbor, a large 42′ Beneteau… so predictably there was a table of 13 people already seated and in mid-riotious laughter when we entered. It died down immediately as we entered (and were ushered to a table back in the corner) then started-up again with even MORE energy. In a surprisingly generous gesture, we were treated not only to a sumptuous meal, but the lady manager also ‘allowed’ us to bathe in the hotel baths… oh, that was heaven! I would like to ascribe this island-hospitality to my rugged good looks but I think it was only because she recognized Freddie-of-Niijima fame.

I forget how we got back on-board. But after coffee on Garuda at sun-up, we took a swim on a black-sand beach, and then …….

….we departed for the next closest island, #4 in the chain, Kozushima, at noon.

Once again, we were confronted by the Kuroshio Current forcing it’s way between the two islands. So the trip took us about 7 hours. This meant we arrived in-port (again) after dark. Unfortunately just as we were entering the cliff-encircled harbor, the engine died and we had to initiate emergency maneuvers right away: fishing boats with huge lights were jockeying to get into port, too, so we were in a bottleneck without power… a nail-biting situation.

Hoisting the main sail quickly again, we circled out of the traffic and just held steady while I bled the fuel line and restarted the engine. Turning the boat around, we sprinted back into Izu-Miura Port. Easy-peasy but wash down the deck of all the peesy-in-pantsy.

As we slowed to a crawl, we could see dancing lights on the far-off quay: a large yacht already berthed, the occupants pouring out like an army, motioning us to berth beside them. In fact, they swarmed to a spot and were waving us on frantically! It was pretty not-hilarious as the lot of them, already drunk and flashing their headlamps, successfully destroyed my night vision. After I yelled them off, I tied-up single-handedly without incident. Only half-night blinded.

My best friend on this larger yacht, Yuki-san, visited with a fine bottle of Laphroaig, my favorite scotch. This was his ‘congratulations’ on me for finishing the derelict yacht Garuda that he, in fact, originally introduced to me exactly one year earlier (please see: https://tspsjapan.org/golden-week-2023-sail-report-2/).

I think all Yuki’s sailor-friends were curious about the restoration, too, but now were cowering inside their much larger and spendorific vessel. Which was fine with me. Yuki-san stayed and we talked & laughted into the night until we fell into asleep. What a great evening!

Throughout the night, various boats would come alongside to disgorge their catches. It was not the perfect place to tie-up (well… the guy’s in Yuki’s boat were drunk, after all) but well-protected. With high seas and gale force winds approaching, we were good for the night. It was not until sunrise before we could catch the grandeur of the topography and wow, what a dramatic setting!

Yuki’s boat left the next morning without fanfare while we stayed hunkered-down. The concrete walls protecting the port are unbelievably massive, but we were told that waves even crash-over them sometimes! It is unbelievable how violent the seas can become way out here in the open ocean.

We dove in the cove nearby and inadvertently caused a huge controversy. While it WAS Golden Week and it WAS a swimming beach, the police and port authorities were alerted that swimmers were in trouble in the bay (obviously because they were swimming and so of course they were in trouble?), so of course everyone and their brother came out to see the ‘rescue’. We did not know it then, but they have cameras on the port and these were laser-focused on the swimmers (us). To make this even more spectacular, on this particular island, the harbor video feed is broadcast to EVERY home and business on the whole friggin’ island! We heard about it afterwards everywhere we went: the bath house, the yakiniku shop, the moped rental shop…! Wow, “just be aware of local customs and superstitions” they said. Umi wa kowai, yo.

The port in Kozu is very nicely protected, dedicated mostly to a huge number of fishing boats and few yachts. A massive landslide scar on the nearby cliffside characterizes this beautiful port. With bad weather setting-in, we hunkered-down and spent two days here, diving, hiking into town, working on the boat some more.

Screenshot

After the weather cleared, we departed Miyake around noon on Day 4 and headed to the next island, Niijima. This is the island where Freddie has been living for the last 2.5 years as a JET….which was helpful to us throughout our journey because EVERYONE, no matter where we went or what island (even the toothy guy on Mikura!) knew Freddie! So we got some gaijin-pass which we of course maximized to the hilt… especially with that poor sole cop on Miyake fresh out of the Academy… his first posting!

Anyway (this is getting long…): Niijima for only a day (our Day 5 of 7) … enough to provision-up, hit Freddie’s favorite bar, spend the night, do some laundry, get a decent cup of coffee, then hit the high seas once more.

We departed after feasting on a bento lunch from the nearby town. This was while still tied to the quay in an insanely crowded port.

This was on Thursday, almost the tail-end of GW… so I guess everyone-with-a-sailboat made a sprint after the bad weather only as far as Niijima to overnight, then like us: hit Oshima for an overnight, then home-port on Sunday. And that is precisely how things turned out: insanely crowded in Niijima, same thing in Habu harbor in Oshima.

Day 6: The sailing from Niijima was undoubtedly the best, most enjoyable day of sailing: beautiful sunny skies, calm seas, steady breeze pushing us towards Oshima, the Kuroshio Current moving us in the same general direction. It was glorious. Freddie broke out his guitar, Deliverance-singer Timothy busted-out a harmonica, and we sang tunes we all knew but with made-up scandalous stanzas and rhymes, all joining-in singing ridiculous recurring choruses… one survived several nautical miles, in fact. Three-part harmony.

Once again, in the dark we entered the narrow passage that leads from the sea into a collapsed caldera that forms the circular Habu harbor, tall cliffs towering immediately above the moorings. The dimly lit harbor is so packed full of vessels that they are pointed into the moorings instead of sideways.

This entails of course dropping anchor and playing out the rode until you moor both port & starboard bow lines to the cleats on land. We snuggled into a row of about 7 yachts all lined-up sardinelike. With again sailors from the neighboring boats springing into action to assist, I had to mildly scold them for blinding me and instructing them in a firm tone to “please leave me alone so I can execute this maneuver thankyouverymuch…”.

The harbor became very quiet after that. But we tied-up without incident. Funny thing is, the harbor was completely empty when we awoke at first light. Maybe it was something I said.

The morning after docking bow-first into the Habu port 12 hours earlier.

We didn’t even bother to go ashore on Day 7. We just made coffee strong enough to stand a spoon in it, eat whatever rations we had, Timothy did his Sunday briefing on political goings-on, and then we head back to our home-port of Hota.

This was expected to be a 5~7 hour clip across the large stretch of water between Miura and Boso Peninsulas… but the wind was not entirely in our favor. As a result, we sprinted into Sagami Bay, well past Miura Peninsula, then jibbed for a straight run towards Tateyama.

Miura Peninsula in the background. With a pose like this, Freddie is fortunate for not being tossed off on, like, a dozen occasions.
But his guitaring was amazing!
As were the nigroni Freddie decided were a good idea while in-port… amazingly concocted in rapid fashion! Nine-shots in each one, you know… served with diminishing returns and increasing unsteadiness. Made the singing sound better-n-better… the chorus more lewd and increasingly scandalous. Maybe that is why the harbor was empty when we awoke?

In this way, we cut perpendicular across the busy shipping lane coming out of / into Tokyo Harbor and inner Tokyo. Garuda gave us almost 7 knots throughout but the angle made the distance twice as far. It was a comfortable ride but took 7 hours: I slept most of the way and relied on Langley and Snoxall to get us home without killing us: they did relatively well.

We arrived on Sunday with daylight still abundant, Children’s Day, with a bonus day-off the following day (Monday, yay!) to get our landlegs back and to recuperate.

This was a great journey with lots of happenings: Garuda got plenty of exercise and we knocked out lots of her kinks, for example addressing air getting into the fuel line, the furling-line to the Genoa getting hung-up, re-installing the original two-way radio…. plus a dozen other issues. We all learned lots more about sailing, jibing, mooring, heaving-to, knots, anchoring, safety. We were all hooked-in throughout the adventure in harnesses wether in the cockpit or deckside.

This is not very clear but the line on the right is our 24 hour run from home-port Hota on the Chiba Peninsula to Mikurajima. We circled Mikura just for the hell of it before heading to Miyake. This whole leg took about 30 hours, consuming Day 1 and Day 2. The rest is island hopping until returning 7 days later. The entire journey was ~270 nm.

It is a long story but I hope the photos convey the wonder and pure sense of freedom and being out that we experienced. If you post a comment or rib me with a joke that would be rewarding. Thanks for getting this far!

———–(end)———

Captain Mike’s excellent GW adventure

By former Commander Mike Snyder

May 11, 2024

With Eric Due and Jeff Canaday as crew, Distant Dreamer (a Columbia 43) cruised in the western Setonaikai. We covered about 135 nm over 6 days. We didn’t to get to Shimo-Kamigari Island as per the sail plan due to rain and light winds, but went to Nakajima Island and then Matsuyama from Nuwa-jima. I had wanted to go to Shimo-Kamigari because there was supposed to be some remains of a pirate (sea warrior) stronghold there. The trip then was Marinpia Musashi Marina – Kaminoseki to Nuwa-jima to Nakajima to Horie Matsuyama back to Kaminoseki to Marinpia Musashi Marina. (see map)

The first day we left in the rain which let up as we approached Kaminoseki but had to mostly motor. The second day we went to the north shore of Yashiro Island, passing under the Ōshima Bridge between the Yamaguchi ken mainland and Yashiro Island, south of Hiroshima and Iwakuni. The day was clear and beautiful, but alas no wind. One highlight was passing through the area where the Japanese warship Mutsu blew up and sank in an accident killing all on board during the war. The wreck is still there but way under the water, so not visible, though marked on charts and even Google Maps. We had two short sails from Nuwa Island to Nakajima and then over to the uminoeki at Horie Matsuyama, where we had a reservation. On both days there was pretty good wind and pleasant sailing, though overcast. It was the first time for DD to stop at Nakajima, which proved to be a very nice friendly island. We enjoyed good food and drink at both Nakajima and Horie Matsuyama. The longest day of sustained sailing was on Day 5, a broad reach from Matsuyama back to Kaminoseki along the southern coast of Yashiro Island in blustery northeast winds and rain. The last day back to Marinpia was again a low wind and motoring. The Setonaikai is an interesting area to sail in, but winds are often light and there are strong currents at times in the major straits and  between islands due to the tide going in and out.

All in all, it was a very good cruise, though with the often problematic Golden Week weather!

Golden Week Cruise of Distant Dreamer, April 27 – May 2
Murotsu Port with Hatonokoyu onsen and restaurant in foreground on the way back to Marinpia.
Nifty little transportation cart for sending oranges down the hill from the orchards above. They are all over Nuwa-jima. 
Japan Defense Forces warship off of Nuwajima.
At the floating dock in Nakajima. Nakajima is much larger than Nuwa-jima and we found a nice yakiniku restaurant there.
At the large floating dock in Nuwa-jima. 
At the floating dock in Murotsu Harbor Kaminoseki.
On the way to Nakajima from Nuwa-jima.
Starting out from Marinpia Musashi Marina in the rain and mist.
On the way to Nuwa-jima along the northern coast of Yashiro-jima. Sunny with no wind, so the sail isn’t even up.
Beautiful sunny day along the north shore of Yashiro Island…but no wind.

Captain Robin’s Excellent GW Adventure

By Robin Mah

May 15, 2024

Due to difficult sailing conditions, we decided to delay departure and shorten the voyage. Our four day journey from Yumenoshima to Ito became an overnighter to Misaki.

We set sail early hoping north winds would push us far enough south that we could reach Misaki before dark.

We reached the Aqua Line under clear skies, fair winds and calm seas while Mount Fuji kept watch over us, peeking-out from over the clouds.

We even had time to relax and take turns catching a few winks.

Suddenly and much earlier than forecast, the wind changed direction and we were confronted by a strong southerly wind. Complicating this was a damaged traveler that literally broke apart spilling bearings out into the track.

I thus made the call not to motor the rest of the way to Misaki, turned-around and headed back to home port.

Safety first, as always!

With the wind now at our back, we finally had the chance to deploy the gennaker and flew home at a brisk pace passing Tokyo Disney Resort. 

Back on dry land, we imagined we did the full journey and were camped out in the forested hills of Ito!

The next day, we did not sail but did lavish some necessary repair & maintenance on my beloved 26’ Figaro.

To our great fortune, there was a Hawaiian festival going strong in the background at Yumenoshima Marina, which made for a satisfying and exciting day!

All-in-all the Captain and crew of Figaro had a wonderful fun-filled Golden Week!

——————–

I am the newly minted Captain of the good ship Figaro, a 26 foot NJY Libeccio moored at Yumenoshima Marina. I sailed Lasers in the UBC Sailing Club and after many years of absence from the sport, re-ignited my passion for sailing recently. After a career inside the Tokyo Disney Resort I now see DisneySea from the sea.

——–(end)———

Captain Claude’s excellent GW adventure

by Maksim Ziurin

May 11, 2024

Here are some highlights of Anais trip around the Tokyo Bay this Golden Week:

We had a crew of 5 people (Captain Claude, Ogi, Remi, Nikolai and me) for a 2 day cruise from Yumenoshima Marina to Misaki and racing back to Yokohama.

The weather was nice but not much wind on the first day, so we had to motor almost all the way. On the race day, at the start there was no wind at all, so most of the racing boats couldn’t even cross the start line for a long time. Wind picked up a little later though, and we had a smooth sail. We were enjoying the sunshine, playing guitar and enjoying nice Nicaragua cigars.

We were going on a spinnaker fairly quickly. But then we decided to try to jibe with the spinnaker up and that ended up in a disaster. The spinnaker wrapped around the forestay as the wind picked up, we lost control of the sail and had to drop the mainsail and motor to the nearby marina. Luckily we were accompanied by Darren on Halcyon, and he had a harness on board. So we had Remi go up the mast and the forestay and bring the spinnaker back down.

We finished the race as DNF, but when we arrived to Yokohama, we found out that all of the race participants in the cruiser boat class were DNF, except one, who got the winners trophy.

Day 3 and 4 was just Claude, Maksim and Ogi, we went across the bay to Hota along with Halcyon, spent the night in Hota drinking British rum, Russian cognac and Romanian wine and had 2 remaining Puerto Rican cigars.

Anais crew decided to go back to Yumenoshima on day 4 due to weather forecast warning of strong winds and possible storm, Halcyon spent another day in Hota and later went to explore Izu islands.

Here are some pictures we took during the trip. It was a great adventure, made a lot of good memories during this Golden Week.

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.

May Keelhaul 2024

By Timothy Langley

May 15, 2024

The notice for this month’s Keelhaul went-out late, probably due to the fact that only a week earlier everyone returned from a long Golden Week holiday? With apologies. Also, this Keelhaul fell on the second Wednesday whereas traditionally every first Wednesday is reserved for this seminal TSPS event. Don’t forget: always a Keelhaul, always first Wednesday, every month. Except when it is not.

If you have never been, this is the entrance to Pizzakaya… right across the street from the new onsen on Roppongi-dori, Thermae-Yu.

In any event, this was another vibrant success! Eight people showed-up at the centrally-located Pizzakaya in Nishi-Azabu. To all’s delight, ole’ timer and former Commander Eugen Mall showed-up! Always the dapper-dresser, Commander Eugen regaled the swaying throng of TSPSers with tales from the past. I hadn’t heard until then that the Keelhaul originated at Pizzakaya many years ago, first facilitated by Bridge Governor Jeff Canady and under Eugen’s leadership. Wow, thank you Jeff and Eugen!

Anyway, Keelhaul is one of the legacies we get to enjoy as Members. It is the only regularly-scheduled event of the club. You can always expect some salty dogs to show-up. It was great to see Commander Eugen (who incidentally was the individual who got me introduced to TSPS ~12 years ago!).

You just never know who will show-up: Gerard Brady chowing down after a successful (apparently) streetfight just to get into the Keelhaul!

Well-traveled Gennady Gordeev livening-up the atmosphere! Born and raised on Sakalin island, Gena also attended Georgia Tech in my home-state of Atlanta! What a small whirled!

Hamming it up for the camera, Bridge Secretary Timothy (me) and new Member Gaspard Dessy imbibing on the other essential element of any Keelhaul.

Wishing it was a real gun, Maksim Ziurin jealously guards his bottle of Tabasco… another essential…

Former Commander Eugen explaining the whatever to Gena….

Eugen Mall with a draft draft…

Ole’ blue eyes… easy to see why he was elected Commander. Pizzakaya co-Owner Michael in the background overseeing the mosh-pit.

Dapper Eugen pulling-out a reef of ancient documents on celestial sailing and navigating from a lifeboat. Where in the hell does he GET these things?! He says he has a whole cardboard box of them!

In closing: TSPS Members who provide sailing-related or TSPS-related stories for Skuttlebutt-publication will drink for free at the next Keelhaul. Posters of relevant, engaging Comments receive slaps on backs and “atta-boy!” recognition at the Keelhaul. Please consider submitting a description of your experience for others to enjoy or add a pithy Comment. Submit stories to any Bridge Member for uploading.

————-(end)————

Destinations over Golden Week 2024

By Timothy Langley, April 23, 2024 (as of 0830, 4/23) (check-back for updates!)

Building our community: these 6 yachts are headed out over Golden Week; plenty of opportunity to see each other out on the waves or in ports-of-call.

Provide your sailplan for inclusion.

  • Captain Darren Halliday. 34.5’ Hanse: Halcyon.
  • Crew: solo, Naomi, Kiwi joining in Niijima
  • Sat. 27: Yumenoshima —> Misaki
  • Sun. 28: Misaki —>  Yokohama Bayside (race-day)
  • Mon. 29: Yokohama Bayside
  • Tues. 30:   Yokohama —> Hota
  • Wed 1: Hota
  • Thurs 2:       Hota —> Ito
  • Fri. 3:            Ito —> Shimoda
  • Sat. 4:        Shimoda —> Niijima
  • Sun. 5:            Niijima
  • Mon. 6:            Niijima  —> Yumenoshima

  • Captain Evan Burkowsky. 33’ Peterson: Garuda.
  • Crew: Timothy Langley, Freddie Snoxall
  • Friday 26:  Katsuyama  —> Hota
  • Saturday 27: Hota
  • Sunday 28:      Hota —> Mikurajima (~24 hours)
  • Monday 29:      Mikurajima/Miyakejima (5 hours)
  • Tuesday 30:       Miyakejima 
  • Wednesday 1:    Miyakejima (foul weather, hunker down in-port) 
  • Thursday 2:         Miyakejima  —> Kozushima (4 hours)
  • Friday 3:                Kozushima
  • Saturday 4:             Kozushima  —> Niijima (6 hours)
  • Sunday 5:                 Niijima —> Oshima (7 hours)
  • Monday 6:                Oshima  —> Home-port Hota (8 hours)
  • Sea trials to & from Misaki last Saturday/Sunday (4/20~21) revealed several needed fixes and allowed things to break which would have broken anyway (just when we didn’t need them to!). All addressed now: refrigerator also now working, depth-finder connected, foresail furling-line replaced.

UPDATE: here is the actual sail plan as recorded on our on-board navigation device. On the right is the departure route, all the way out to Mikurajima (~70 nm from the tip of the Chiba peninsula), then hop-scotched back to home port Hota. The entire trip covered 268 nm over 7 days.


  • Captain Claude Strobbe 33′ Kawamoto-made / New Japan Yacht design ANAIS
  • Crew: Max , Nikolay , Victor , Remi , Ogi
  • Sunday 28:      Misaki  —> Yokohama Bayside (race-day)
  • Monday 29:      Yokohama Bayside Marina  —> Hota
  • Tuesday 30:        Hota
  • Wednesday 1:      Hota —> Misaki
  • Thursday 2:          Misaki —> Ito
  • Friday 3:                Ito —> Misaki
  • Saturday 4:            Misaki —> Yumenoshima Marina

  • Captain Chris Eve 24′ Cornish Crabber EOTHEN
  • Crew: Kaoru
  • Saturday 27: Yokohama Bayside —> Hota
  • Sunday 28:     Hota  —> Yokohama Bayside
  • Captain Robin Mah
  • 26’ NJY Libeccio Figaro.
  • Crew: Alan, Andrew.
  • Wednesday 1: Yumenoshima    —> Misaki
  • Tuesday 2: Misaki   —> Ito
  • Wednesday 3: Ito    —> Misaki
  • Thursday 4: Misaki    —> Yumenoshima
  • Captain Mike Snyder
  • 42’ Distant Dreamer
  • Crew: Jeff, Eric
  • Saturday 27: Marinpia   —> Kaminoseki (Murotsu Harbor)
  • Sunday 28: Kaminoseki    —> Nuwajima
  • Monday 29: Nuwajima   —> Nakajima
  • Tuesday 30: Nakajima   —> Horie Matsuyama
  • Wednesday 1: Horie Matsuyama   —> Marinpia Misasi Marina

Update: Here are a few pics from our cruise in the western Setonaikai. We covered about 135 nm over 6 days. We didn’t to get to Shimo-Kamigari Island as per the sail plan due to rain and light winds, but went to Nakajima Island and then Matsuyama from Nuwa-jima. The trip was: Marinpia Musashi Marina – Kaminoseki to Nuwa-jima to Nakajima to Horie Matsuyama back to Kaminoseki to Marinpia Musashi Marina. Crew consisted of Jeff Canaday and Eric Due. The longest day of sustained sailing was on a broad reach from Matsuyama back to Kaminoseki along the southern coast of Yashiro Island. Sorry, no pics of actual sailing. 

135nm over 6 days of sailing!
Murotsu Port with Hatonokoyu onsen and restaurant in foreground on the way back to Marinpia.
Nifty little transportation cart for sending oranges down the hill from the orchards above.
They are all over Nuwa-jima. 
Japan Defense Forces warship off of Nuwajima.

At the floating dock in Nakajima. Nakajima is much larger than Nuwa-jima and we found a nice yakiniku restaurant there.

At the dock in Murotsu Harbor Kaminoseki.

Starting out from Marinpia Musashi Marina in the rain and mist. 

On the way to Nakajima from Nuwa-jima. 


On the way to Nuwa-jima along the northern coast of Yashiro-jima. Sunny with no wind, so the sail isn’t even up. 

Or even if you aren’t quite sure, Captains, or you are spending your time working on maintenance, please just post a Comment to let us all know?

Many thanks.

A rigged sailing-invitation: replacing fore & backstays

By Remi Wyszynski April 16, 2024

Spell-check, word-selection, syntax, punctuation, extra-barbs aimed at Evan:

By Timothy Langley April 17, 2024

Beware anyone saying, “hey, you want to go sailing this weekend?”  I spent Sunday helping a couple guys switch-out some rigging… a great experience but, jeeze, what taskmasters!  Anyway, it was a wonderfully different kind of day and, in fact, we did actually get out onto Tokyo Bay for a sail in the end.  But I think I paid my way. Here is my story:

Intrepid author, Remi Wysznski

To get to my appointed destination out on the Chiba coast required four separate train-changes interspersed with a highway bus ride. Destination is a backwater called Kyonan, a collection of tiny fishing ports next to a famous Hota Harbor (I had never heard of before!).

It is here where Captain Evan’s vintage 33’ Peterson is berthed; my first time out there. It is indeed a beautiful, rugged, rural area. 

Recently renovated deep-blue 33′ Peterson “Garuda”; 45 years old but doesn’t look it!

To arrive at 10 a.m., though, required a grueling three-hour odyssey. Arriving in the sticks of southern Chiba, there wasn’t even a coffee ready to welcome groggy-me but, instead and amazingly, a glitzy old chauffeured Rolls-Royce materialized in the junky parking lot to pick me up! What a surprise, but just the first sign of the zany kind of day I was in for.

Five minutes later, “Oh, hi Remi,” said Captain Evan, already on the quay and eyeing my jogging shoes: it looked like he had been drinking all night. I immediately regretted not getting those discounted Docksiders at the boat show last month. Massive sea hawks circle ominously overhead.

Captain Evan Burkowsky, Captain Tony Hardy, me.

“We are getting ready to launch so your timing is perfect! All we have to do,” Captain Evan said off-handedly as if shooing away a pesky mosquito, “is replace the fore and back stays, including the rollerfurler… and of course in the process make sure the mast doesn’t fall down.”  The last part of his sentence made my throat tighten involuntarily. I thought, “okay… this is ‘sailing’… right?!?”  Little did I know that, yes, sailing with Captain Evan is sort of like that.

“See… it just goes in here!”

Then, with great authority, Evan jerked me back from this revery: “Hey, pay attention! … all you have to do is just slide this pin into that hole,” pointing at some contraption on the pavement, “easy-peasy.”  I turn to look at Tony, suddenly feeling something cold and heavy being surreptitiously slid into my palm. I look down to see I am now clasping a wrench. My mind flashed to a scene of some old jungle-prison movie with Dustin Hoffman.

To get started, we needed to hoist Evan (in a bosun’s chair) so that he could complete the arduous task of detaching the old, and then attaching a brand new, shiny wiring to the top of mast, then re-attach the wiring to the bow of Garuda: 48 feet of 7 mm stainless-steel marine wire, I learned.

With Evan dangling 40 feet up, and once his part of that cakewalk of a job was finished, the truly difficult part of aligning the bottom of the forestay was left to those of us on deck: Timothy and me, with oversight valiantly provided by master-craftsman, Tony, of course relaxing in the shade.

After hours of struggling away in the blistering 22-degree heat with nary a breeze while Evan enjoyed the refreshing zephyrs at the top of the mast and yelling down at us, we were frustrated in completing the task at-hand: it was just very difficult, in tight quarters, with equipment that did not want to cooperate.

Down came Evan, mumbling underbreath like some Scotsman, “if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.” So, still-hung-over Evan took over the chore, dropped a tool into the water, and had to go in to retrieve it. This was developing into a truly lovely sailing day, I thought quietly to myself. Admittedly, some glee was gained by now seeing Evan in the water. But it was shortlived.

Eventually, through unfortunately undocumented in photos (the search took 20 minutes), the dropped-parts were retrieved and the forestay properly installed: but no ‘victory’ yet.

I forgot to mention that The Captain had earlier announced (with great magnanimity) that beers would be distributed after both forestay and backstay were secured. Now reminding us that the backstay remained, and teasingly mentioning the waiting beers again… well this conjured an image of that scene on the prison-rooftop in “Shawshank Redemption”. I eyed Evan with suspicion. And thirst.

Back up went Evan, Timothy and me laboriously cranking the winch to get him up 40 feet again. This time we were able to, “get the pin in the hole, easy peasy” ever so fearful of enticing the The Dangling Captain to come down again. Finally, with all stays installed and tightened, the two-beer-reward consumed, we pushed off the moorings in elation for a quick sail (also undocumented). While not far enough out to quite challenge the tankers crisscrossing the narrow channel, Evan gave a great lesson on how to set-up and manage a preventer line and how to heave-to. It was great fun and a beautiful day. Finally.

Sailing a very responsive Garuda in open waters confirmed that the mast would not fall on top of me. As we returned to port. I learned that the reason everything looked so ramshackled on shore (from a much better vantage-point on the water) was because a rare tornado-packed typhoon hit dead-on 5 years ago and the hamlet was still recovering. But in any event, after tidying-up the boat and securing the moorings, we headed to the famous bathhouse in the Hota harbor. An event (again, thankfully) undocumented.

At the end of the day Timothy graciously gave me a ride back into civilization in what may have been the most comfortable car with the best sound system I have ever had the pleasure to experience. But he did try to charge me a taxi fare.

Anyway, sailing opportunities are not always evident in Tokyo nor elsewhere in Japan. I mean, for foreigners, things are limited in any event. The point is you have to chase them down. Joining TSPS helped me greatly and allowed me to meet some new, significant people and somehow finagle a day of sailing… okay, a half-day. But it opened doors and vistas I could not envision the day before I made this trek. And re-rigging a sailing yacht: THAT was pretty awesome, too! I learned a lot. Now I have to get some proper deckshoes.

Thank you for reading.

———————————-

TSPS Members who provide sailing-related or TSPS-related stories for Skuttlebutt publication drink for free at the nearest Keelhaul. Posters of relevant, engaging Comments receive slaps on backs and “atta-boy!” recognition at the Keelhaul. Please consider submitting a description of your experience for others to enjoy or add a pithy Comment. Submit stories to any Bridge Member for uploading.

April Keelhaul at Pizzakaya~

by Timothy Langley, April 5, 2024

As usual, TSPS’s monthly was held on the first Wednesday of the month (April 3).

And even though the Super Keelhaul was a mere 11 days ago, no Keelhaul-exhaustion from the hail & hearty 15 who showed-up: four Bridge Members (Gary, Svetlana, Brendan, Timothy), one new Member (Toshikiko Tanaka), one guest via Remi Wyszynski of-shallow-water-fame (Tomo), the rest Members. Most stayed until kicked-out.

Our next Keelhaul, and for the foreseeable future this year, monthly Keelhaul will be at Pizzakaya. If we can generate 30 people to show-up regularly, we get Pizzakaya exclusively for TSPS! This will allow us to let our hair down, sing songs, pillory the laggard, hoist-up on petards the smarmy, reward to truly gregarious, and wear funny hats with resplendent swag. Please log Keelhaul into your calendar and let’s establish a home-base!

Comments and songs-of-appreciation welcomed!

Craft-beer connoisseur and Bridge Officer Brendan Morris going on-and-on about the richness and boldness of his selection of a powerful stout… just drink it fer crissakes!
Just to stay healthy, Pizzakaya also offers a tremendous avocado salad and, surprisingly, a nice carrot cake! Both were consumed and only a little was flung across the table.
Everything goes better with Tabasco… (went deftly into the lawyer’s briefcase later).
Derek runs a tight ship at Pizzakaya… welcomed us on short-notice and didn’t call the police like usual. Svetlana getting ready to slap rugby-playing Dominique (again).
You can tell that Bridge Officer Brendan already imbibed the 14.5% stout here. The menu is chalked on the wall… we went through the whole list, it seems (but I can’t quite remember). Brennan chugging as usual.
Newest Member Toshiyuki Tanaka joining for his first-ever Keelhaul. Welcome, Toshi!
Timothy (Bridge Secretary & Legal Officer), Brennan, Svetlana (Bridge Officer) and Dominique.
Usually chatty Maya apparently tight-lipped at hearing someone’s off-color remark; must have been potty-mouth Svetlana!
Shallow-water-sailor Remi brought a gregarious Tomoo Machiba for a taste of TSPS wildness. Tomoo fit right it (took three pints, though).
Many people feel this same irresistible urge to similarly address Governor Gary Thomas, though common decorum usually takes over. Here, Steve Bettink follows-through with aplomb, generating great appreciation from the gathered throng.
Governor Gary catching his breath while Steve sets his sights elsewhere. Hard to keep a good man down (after 4 pints).