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Report: The TSPS/Hayama Marina Sail and Barbecue, 10/20/12

In late September, 2012, TSPS members were invited by Hayama Marina members to a day on the water and an afternoon around a barbecue. On October 20th, over twenty-five TSPS members made the trip south to Hayama and were joined by another fifteen people from Hayama Marina, led by Kobayashi-san, the chief organizer of the event. Four sailboats took members out on the water, departing the docks a little after 1000h under clear skies and little wind. Lunch was at anchor in a small bay easily within shouting distance of the Emperor’s summer home. The water there was boiling with schools of small fish, and much larger bora were leaping all around. It was quite the sight. After lunch, the boats sailed around a bit before returning to the marina at a little after 1400h. By 1500h, the barbecue was in full stride. A number of members who could not make the sailing portion of the day came down for the barbecue, and under the clearest of skies the forty-or-so of us began to feast on typical barbecue fare– vegetables, chicken, pork, sausage, yakisoba, and enjoy cold beer and wines. As the sun began to set, festivities culminated in thank-you speeches from the skippers of the boats and TSPS Commander Warren Fraser. The pianist who had played during the barbecue began to invite people up for a round of karaoke and on that note, the event came to a close.

TSPS would  again like to thank the members of Hayama Marina for welcoming us aboard their boats for a beautiful day on the water and a delicious barbecue in the boatyard. We’d also like to thank all the TSPS members who made it to Hayama. We are already looking forward to next year’s Hayama event.

Photos from the event are available here.


TSPS Donates To The Save Minamisoma Project


On the evening of September 27th in Roppongi, Tokyo, the Save Minamisoma Project held a fundraiser and the Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron was on hand to make a donation to help fund their worthwhile efforts to supply food to Minamisoma in Fukushima. Representing TSPS was Commander Warren Fraser and TSPS member Wolfgang Bierer who together in front of a packed room presented a check for ¥200,000 to Project chairperson August Hergesheimer. By the end of the evening the project raised over ¥466,000.

In thanks prior to the fundraiser, we received the following email:

Dear Commander Fraser:

I cannot find the words to justly thank you and your organization for the generous donation of Y200,000.  These much-needed funds will allow us to continue our deliveries of fresh vegetables & bottled water to residents still living in temporary housing in the city of Minamisoma, Fukushima-ken.  As you may well know, this city was affected by the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and ongoing radioactive contamination.  Unfortunately, their return to their original neighbourhoods and a more normal life seems out of the question for yet some time.  Hence, we must continue our support for this community.

… thank you again for providing a shining example on how each of us can continue to show our compassion and support for the affected people of Tohoku.

With much respect,
August Hergesheimer

August explained later in the evening that our contribution was substantial and very helpful. It would provide funds, he said, to cover the cost of fuel for trucks making the journey to Minamisoma and purchase enough food to feed over 3,000 people. In discussing expenses, he was very clear that 100% of  the money raised was spent directly on supplying aid and that since they are a purely volunteer organization, not one yen was spent on non-food and non-delivery expenses.

This is our second tsunami relief donation. In February we donated to Toho Vocational Highschool in Kesennuma, Iwate. We have donated almost ¥500,000 this year and as Commander, I would like to say thank you to all the members of TSPS and the USPS who contributed to our fund and hope that in some small way our contributions have and will continue to make a difference in the lives of the people so strongly affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power reactor failures in Tohoku.

A special thanks to Wolfgang Bierer for helping us find this worthwhile cause to support with our donation.

Warren Fraser
Commander, TSPS

TSPS Fishin’ Expedition: Fish Have Gone Deep

Fishing740-044The weather in mid-July looked perfect for some fishing. Sunny skies, hot temperatures, light winds some of the time, and according to Francis Wertheimber and Vassili Ermakov, our two skippers for the fishing trip (photo link below), high water temperatures. This, and the high latitude of the Kuroshio meant the fish would be near the surface, all manner of fish- marlin, tuna, barracuda, yellowtail, skipjack, saba… Sounded perfect. But as the week of July 15th began, a typhoon was approaching Kyushu. As the days passed the effect of the typhoon brought cold air in from the north and east and by Thursday evening, temperatures in the Tokyo area had dropped to the low 20’s, a fall of some 12 degrees from the Wednesday high. Additionally, the Kuroshio had shifted 50 miles to the south, meaning the warm waters brought north along the current were no longer reaching our fishing grounds. Ugg. Cool temperatures, rain, and moderate breezes were now forecast for our day fishing on the water. It didn’t look good.

Email started to dribble in from the invited members Friday morning expressing concern with the weather. “Too early to make a weather decision?”, wrote one. “Folks – we are still on for tomorrow, right?”, asked another. Then came, “Unlike us, fish do not mind getting wet, so as long as fish are biting, rain or no rain, I assume the fishing expedition is on.” Then the definitive message from Vassili arrived:

“I believe that all of our team accepts the possibility and consequences of getting wet. So, see you all tomorrow at 08:00 at Velasis. Just to remind you, Mary-Jane is an open fly bridge boat with an awning. So if it’s even a small rain you will get wet unless you stay down in the cabin.”

It was decided. Mary-Jane III, with her zipper down, was going regardless. Francis quickly picked up on Vassili including the word “team” in his message and quickly followed up with:

“Diva would like to challenge Mary-Jane for after-fishing beers and pizza at the harbour.

Boat (Mary-Jane) with the lesser catch buys.
Rules are, whether landed or released:
Bill fish 10 points
Tuna 5
Barraccuda 4
Skipjack 3
Yellowtail  2
Mahi-Mahi -1 (yes, minus one)
Saba -2
Any other fish 1
Any other fish if in a tray having a bar code -10
Alternatively, if both boats skunk out, Tony would flip out the TSPS check book. Kindly be responsible to take home all landed fish.”

The rest of the invitees responded quickly saying they would be in Velasis by 0800h. The amazing thing is that they all were. (As the organizer, I was particularly happy with this.)

The teams separated at the bottom of the gangway leading down to the docks and went off in opposite directions. Gerry Brady, Eugen and Suzuko Mall, Warren and Rumiko Fraser followed Vassili to Mary-Jane III, a 36′ Yamaha sport fishing boat, while Tony Whitman, Wolfgang Bierer, Jeff Canaday, and Demir Sadikoglu and his partner Naoko followed Francis to Diva, another 36′ Yamaha sport fishing boat, where Masayo, Francis’ wife, was preparing for departure. Once aboard Mary Jane, we were given PFDs and quickly got under way on gray waters under grey skies, heading south past Kurihama and then Kenzaki Point. For an hour we sped along at 22 knots until we reached a point on the water about 10 miles off the north-west corner of Oshima. Francis had called in to say the water temperature was 23 degrees. Here there might be fish.

After bringing Mary-Jane to a stop, Vassili descended from the fly bridge to rig up four rods. The fishing lines from the outer two rods were run up long aluminum poles called outriggers which were then lowered from the near vertical to almost 50 degrees to get the lines as far out to the side of the boat as possible and help keep the four lines separate as the lures move through the water. The lines from the inner two were set directly off the stern of the boat. We then began to troll, motoring along at about 7 knots, with everyone’s gaze fixed on the distant lures 20 to 30 meters off the stern. We headed east for a spell, then we headed south. We returned to an eastern heading then swung around to the south again. Then again to the east and the south and the east yet again. The fish were clearly not going east and south. At this point we all felt the bite of excitement when our skipper, looking astern unexpectedly pointed the bow north and then west and Jerry cracked open the first beer. We’d been patiently waiting for this moment for two and a half hours. Eugen mentioned something about how the sun, if we could see it, would likely be above the yard arm. Time to slake our thirst. We continued on like this for a while- the fishing, not the drinking and we were beginning to have our doubts. Four lines in the water for almost three hours and not a single bite. Not a fin. Not a splash. Nothing to indicate we were swimming with the fishes.

At approximately 1130h, Francis called again on the VHF to tell us the fish had gone deep and there was nothing out there. He’d been experiencing the same frustrations aboard Diva and decided it was time to head home. Vassili agreed. We quickly reeled in the lures and hooks, furled the outriggers, and set course north toward Velasis Marina. Naturally we all felt a bit dejected. The opportunity to big-game fish south of Tokyo was a unique experience and it was really too bad no one on either boat got to feel the thrill of reeling in a fish.

We were soon back at the docks. Diva was in slings getting hauled out of the water and dropped into her boatyard cradle when her quiet crew came over to Mary-Jane and together the twelve of us commiserated with one another over beer and wine, all saying how nice it was to simply get out on the water, in spite of not catching even a glimpse of a fish and the cool, gray weather. And we were right. It was nice, but catching a fish would have made it just that much better. I hope we get a chance sometime to do it all over again, when the fish don’t go deep.

Here are pictures from the fishing trip

On behalf of everyone who participated, I’d like to thank our hosts Vassili Ermakov and Francis and Masayo Werthiember for their generosity and time and patience.
Warren Fraser
Commander, TSPS

Report: TSPS Spring Rendezvous, 2012

2012-Spring-Rendezvous-15The TSPS Rendezvous held on June 23rd at Velasis Marina was a success. The party kicked off at 1400h and went until dusk. Lunch included roast chicken, barbecued hamburgers, caesar salad, and fruit, all was washed down with a collection of fine European craft and draft beers, Spanish wines, and American soft drinks. Demir and Nao made the trip by boat as did Stuart Gibson and a group of friends aboard his powerboat. In total 29 people attended, including our newest members Pierre-Jacque and partner Pascale from France, and Rumiko Fraser. To these three, welcome to TSPS; and to the rest, thanks so much for coming down to Velasis for the afternoon.

Warren Fraser,
Commander TSPS

A Flota In Hota


Hota Spring Cruise 2012.01The TSPS Spring Cruise to Hota held on June 2nd and 3rd was a great success. A total of seven boats participated: Akdenizli, Bifrost, Dede III, Diva, Fuji VII, Gone With The Wind, and Voyager. All crossed Tokyo Bay and tied up at the Hota docks without incident, and at 5PM, the 30 crew members of the fleet gathered around two tables in Banya and began the annual TSPS feast of fresh sashimi, sushi, tempura, nitsuke, shioyaki, and misoshiru, among others, all washed down with many a bottle of Asahi Dry, numerous frosted mugs of namabiru (draft beer), and tall tokuri of atsukan and hiyazake (hot and cold sake). (see photos below)

It was for many people the first chance to meet with TSPS friends in the new year, and the conversations were lively and spirited. Many enjoyed their first TSPS sailing event and one participant, Michael Scott, paid his fees to become a member of the squadron after dinner. Mike is a wine merchant and we owe much of what followed the dinner to him and his satchel of wine bottles. (Welcome, Mike, and thanks)

While some of the crews went to an onsen following dinner, others gathered aboard Voyager to continue the revelry. At least ten sailors crowded around Voyager’s tiny cockpit and were in no time bringing the Hota hills alive with the sound of music as they sang numerous renditions of Happy Birthday to Per Knudsen, who was celebrating his 39th (?) birthday on Saturday.

The next day dawned cloudy and hazy, but outside at sunrise it was blue skies, much to everyone’s surprise. The forecast called for rain all day with winds from the east. Slowly, the boats in Hota harbor came alive with activity, as crews had their coffee and breakfasts outside in the sunshine. The first out of the harbor was Voyager bound for Yokohama, then Diva powering home to Velasis. The rest of the boats departed Hota sometime before noon. The winds built throughout the morning reaching 27 – 30 knots. Akdenizli left Hota under full sail, but unfortunately tore her mainsail at the aft reefing cringle when putting in a reef and was forced to motor back to Bayside. Voyager sailed for the first few hours on the return to a point near the islands in Tokyo Bay, but finding the wind directly on the nose, decided to motor the remaining 8 miles. Gone With The Wind sailed on and off on it’s return and enjoyed a fantastic sail toward the end of her journey. Bifrost, with Novice Sailing Class students Janice and Graham aboard, enjoyed a wonderful sail under reefed jib and main as she sailed home to Velasis.

Once again, the Spring Cruise to Hota was a very enjoyable event. We’d like to thank Cruising Coordinator Per for organizing the cruise, the skippers Demir, Per, Francis, Bobby, Fujimoto-san, Chris and Warren for making their boats available for the trip and for welcoming members aboard, and to all the 30 people who participated in the cruise.

The next sailing event is our next social event, the Spring Rendezvous on June 23. Skippers are welcome to contact Per Knudsen if they would like to reserve a slip at Velasis marina.


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TSPS Among Fastest-Growing USPS Squadrons

Two thousand and eleven was a good year for the Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron. We organized great events, held very successful cruises, made a donation to Toyo High School as part of our Tohoku Relief efforts, and we expanded our membership considerably.

Well, our parent organization, the United States Power Squadrons, has recognized our achievement in growing our squadron membership by presenting us with a Growth Award certificate (see below), citing TSPS as a top-10 squadron in terms of percentage increase in membership.

In 2011, we increased our membership by 17% which put TSPS in 6th place out of the 450 squadrons in the USPS. This is quite an achievement. Under Past-Commander Stuart Milne’s leadership in 2011, TSPS membership broke through 100 and finished the year at 104 members. We are continuing to grow and at the end of April, our membership stood at 111.

We would like to encourage members to introduce their friends to TSPS by inviting them to our events, and we extend an invitation to non-members to attend our monthly Keelhauls and social events to get a taste of the enjoyment membership in TSPS brings. Check out the calendar on the homepage for upcoming events.

Let’s make 2012 as successful a year as 2011. See you at a TSPS event soon!

Fair winds,

Warren Fraser
Commander, TSPS

At Anchor: Looking for Cherry Blossoms

On April 7, four boats- Akdenizli, Andiamo, Bifrost, and Diva- met up off the Chiba coast for what had been promised to be a great two hours of cherry blossom viewing from the sea. Bifrost was the first to arrive and drop the anchor, followed by Andiamo, and Akdenizli. Diva, having powered south about ten miles to get some fishing in, arrived a little later and was the third boat in the raft. Akdenizli, being the smaller boat tied up last. After finishing tying the boats together in somewhat windy and wavy conditions, some of the twenty-one crew began to notice there was not a single cherry tree in sight. “Yes, I realize that,” said a skipper, “We’ve been misinformed.” A third person commented they’d seen cherry blossoms further down the coast. And so the question became where the correct spot to anchor was. We all came to the conclusion that it was elsewhere. The absence of blossoms was soon forgotten as crew brought out the food and beverages and the conversations turned to boats and boating, fish and fishing, sandwiches and vegetable sticks. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with brief gusts and a small rolling swell coming through. At just past two the wind kicked up and the raft quickly broke into its four component parts that were each quickly flying off in all directions, two boats under power and two under sail all bound for their homeport.

Warren Fraser

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TSPS Donates Model Ship To Kesennuma School

On Friday, February 24, TSPS Commander Warren Fraser along with Public Relations Bridge member Jiro Fujiwara, TSPS members Tatsuo Fujimoto and Rumiko Fraser met with the principal of Koyo Vocational High School to hand over a donation from the United States Power Squadron and the Tokyo Sail & Power Squadron. The donation, part of the TSPS Tsunami Relief effort, is an instructional model used to teach students the lighting configurations of Japanese fishing boats.

Continue reading and find links to video, photos and a 360 degree panorama of the visit to Kesennuma and Koyo High School.