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Annual TSPS Spring Rendezvous and Cruise, June 28

We are pleased to announce we are holding our TSPS Spring Rendezvous, this year on Saturday, June 28. (June 7th was a washout)

Our Spring Rendezvous will be in the heart of the Velasis Marina in Uraga, right up close to our favorite form of transportation, boats! This is a golden opportunity for like-minded boat people to get to know each other and TSPS, and as always you are most welcome to invite friends or colleagues interested in boating. So go ahead and mark the Spring Rendezvous barbecue on your to-do list, because this is always the highlight of the Kanto social calendar. (We are barbecuing under a giant awning, so there will be nothing to dampen the great times at the party.

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, June 28
Time: 2 pm
Place: Velasis Marina, Uraga, Kanagawa Pref.
Fee: ¥4,000 for members, ¥5,000 for guests, children 1/2 price.
Payment: At the door
Sign up deadline: Midnight, June 26th

Feel free to arrive early if you wish to enjoy the historical port of Uraga, the marina, the boats, and the sun. We open up the coolers at around 2 pm with an assortment of soft drinks, cold beer, and white and red wines. The menu will include but is not limited to quality beef steaks, sausages, seafood, salad, fruit and vegetables.

So that we can be sure to prepare sufficient food, please book your place(s) on the website no later than Friday, June 26. (signup link two lines down)

Skippers: If you plan to sail in, please provide Per Knudsen with the name and size of your vessel so he can reserve a guest berth for you. Please include crew details.

Make your booking here


Where is Velasis and how do I get there?

http://www.velasis.com/access/index.html has a downloadable pdf for access to the marina from train station or by road.

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For people who are non-drinkers or have designated drivers, the easiest route to Velasis is to take the Yoko-Yoko motorway and get off at Uraga. Turn right after the exit and then follow the map or your navigation system.

For the rest of us, the easiest and quickest route is to take the Keihin Kyuko toward Misakiguchi to Kurihama, then take a taxi (¥1,200-¥1500) or bus #19 from there. Alternatively, take the Keihin Kyuko to Horinouchi, then transfer to the local train to Uraga. From there take a taxi (minimum fare) to Velasis or the hourly bus no. 19. It stops almost in front of Velasis, or alternatively enjoy the twenty-minute walk from Uraga station.

For train schedules from your point of departure to either Kurihama or Uraga, go to: http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/e-norikeyin.html

Looking forward to seeing you all in Velasis!
Warren Fraser
Social Coordinator

Barbecue at Kinnosuke Besso, May 17, 2014

TSPS Party @ Kinnosuke Besso

This past Saturday (May 17, 2014), long-time member and Fuji Seven skipper Fujimoto-san opened the doors of his wonderful waterfront home, Kinnosuke Besso, to TSPS members for the first TSPS barbeque of 2014. The home is iconic and a Misaki city and Miura peninsula landmark and was once owned by the famous Kabuki actor Yorozuya Kinnosuke.

The weather was fantastic and Commander Mall and his wife Suzuko prepared a fantastic feast of fresh vegetables, sashimi and fruit and filled coolers with a variety of wines and beers. Past Commander Per Knudsen and his wife Anne Bille sailed into the harbor, through the waters off the end of the Kinnosuke Besso pier and tied up at Seabornia Marina across the bay. Everyone attending had their fill of wonderful food and beverages under a beautiful blue May sky. One couldn’t really ask for a more enjoyable afternoon.

Many thanks to Fujimoto-san for welcoming us into Kinnosuke Besso and to Commander Mall and Suzuko for their hard work delivering and preparing the feast.

If you’re a TSPS member, why not take advantage of these events? Invitations go out to all members and every member is most welcome.

Slideshow below, or a link to bigger photos from the event:


Warren Fraser

Report: On-The-Water Electronic Instruments Class

Multifunction cockpit monitor
Multifunction cockpit monitor

On November 9,  TSPS held its first ever practical On-The-Water Nautical Electronic Instruments class. Students and TSPS members attending were Linda Semlitz & husband Ed Gilbert plus Anne Bille, wife of TSPS Cruise Coordinator Per Knudsen, who conducted the class on board Anne and Per’s yacht Bifrost.

The participants all being experienced sailors, the class was a discussion of the latest technology and the strengths and weaknesses of each system. The class went over the instruments dockside, then sailed and practiced for a couple of hours and took a delicious lunch break underway.

Instruments covered in the program included GPS, chartplotter, AIS, radar, VHF/DCS radio, depth finder, wind meter, auto-helm, plus selected iPhone/iPad apps. The systems on Bifrost are manufactured by Raymarine and Icom and are all fully integrated except stand-alone back-up GPS and VHF systems.

For the next on-the water class we are considering emergency systems, equipment, and procedures for a potential April, 2014 class.

A big thanks to Linda, Ed, and Anne for their participation in the class.

– Per Knudsen
TSPS Cruise Coordinator


Chart table VHF, AIS, and radar monitors
Chart table VHF, AIS, and radar monitors


Electrical panel
Electrical panel


Gimballed radar on the backstay
Gimballed radar on the backstay


Student Ed
Student Ed


Students Linda, Anne, with Instructor Per
Students Linda, Anne, with Instructor Per



Hayama – TSPS Joint Sail and BBQ, October 19, 2013

TSPS Crew Aboard At Hayama Marina, 2012
TSPS Crew Aboard At Hayama Marina, 2012

Our Annual Hayama Marina Outing and Barbecue– Saturday, October 19

Again this year TSPS members have been invited by the Hayama Marina Yacht Club and HMYC’s International Relations Committee member Akihiko Kobayashi to enjoy a day of sailing on the waters of Sagami Bay and a barbecue in the marina boatyard. This has been an annual event for many years and is always a most enjoyable time. It starts at 10 AM with us meeting at Hayama Marina and being assigned to an HMYC-member boat. We then go out on the water for about four hours. We typically sail till 12-ish, anchor together for lunch off the Hayama coast, then return to the marina at around 3 PM to ignite the barbecues, unlock the drink coolers, and relax with friends on the hard till 5:00PM.

By the way, if you or your friends and family are unable to attend the sailing portion of the day, by all means come for the barbecue. The food and drink is good, and if this event is consistent with past ones, there will even be live music and an open mic, should you care to belt out a favorite song.

The date this year for the event is Saturday, October 19.

This is one of our more popular TSPS events, so if you would like to attend, sign up here.

We prefer you sign up online, but if necessary you can send an email providing your full name and the full names of any guest(s) to commander@tspsjapan.org

Final date for sign-up is October 15th. Slots will be filled on a first-come first-served basis, with a limit of 40 participants. Please, no cancellations after October 16.

The meeting place is next to the Marina office, the yellow building near the boat launching facility, at  10:00.

Hope to see you there.

Warren Fraser
Commander, TSPS

Photos from the 2012 event are available here.



Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013

Time: 10:00 ~17:00

Place: Hayama Marina (see directions below)

Total number of guests: 40

No. of boats: 7

Fee: ¥4,000 per person, children ¥2,000

Weather: If it rains the event will be cancelled and not rescheduled. HMYC will advise before 15:00, October 19, if the event is cancelled and TSPS will notify those who sign up.

Time schedule:

10:00 – all get together at the Marina office (the yellow building)

10:30 – leave dock

12:00 – anchor and lunch

13:30 – sail again

15:00 – back to dock  BBQ

17:00 – SAYONARA

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Directions to Hayama Marina

By Car:

Take Yokohama-Yokosuka Road, get off at Zushi-Interchange, take left road to Hayama, pay ¥100 at toll gate after driving through tunnel, drive about 4 kilometers, go straight under overhead bridge for pedestrian with signal, drive through tunnel, turn left at next crossing with signal (AM-PM shop right side), go straight at next signal and Hayama Marina is 50 meters ahead of the signal, right side of the road. Parking is available, cost is ¥2,000.

By Train / Bus

Train time is around 1 hour from Tokyo to either station

If by JR to Zushi

Take bus no. 11 or 12  from bus stop no. 3

Get off at “ABUZURI  HAYAMA MARINA MAE.” Travel time is about 10 minutes.

Proceed about 100 meter along the road the bus is on to Hayama Marina on right side of the street.

If by Keihin-Kyuko (to Shin-Zushi) station.

Exit the platform from the exit nearest the front of the train, Go to bus stop no. 2. Same bus no. 11 or 12 stops there.


Friends Don’t Let Friends Drift Away

TSPS members Per Knudsen and Anne Bille were concluding a week-long cruise to the Izu Islands and readying their boat Bifrost to dock at their homeport of Velasis when they encountered an unusual sight:

Sleeping man adrift on a floating mattress in the Uraga Strait
Sleeping man adrift on a floating mattress in the Uraga Strait

Apparently, a young man had a bit too much to drink and had fallen asleep on his floating mattress. According to Per, the guy had drifted more than 500 meters from shore and the prevailing current was pushing him out to sea. Fortunately or unfortunately, no amount of screaming at the young man by the crew of Bifrost roused him from his slumber, so Per called Velasis Marina for help. Bifrost continued to circle him until a Velasis inflatable arrived on the scene and woke up the young man and took him back to dry land.

It’s doubtful the young lad would have reached open water as the Uraga area is quite busy with sailing and small fishing vessels. However, this episode does raise concerns, and as a boating safety organization, TSPS should weigh in with some safety tips.

#1. “Friends don’t let friends drift away.”
Take responsibility for others. At the beach, always be thinking about your safety and that of your friends and family, but if at some point you find yourself absent one friend and one floating mattress, assume the worst and call an emergency hotline.

#2. “Don’t drink and float.”
Obviously. The gentle sway of the sea, a fresh ocean breeze, and one cocktail too many will undoubtedly lull you to sleep. For the high percentage of people who ignore such advice, don’t board a mattress alone- go with a friend. Have fun, converse. Failing that, or a friend, make sure you are either tethered via very long line to a strong tree or that you are in fact in a swimming pool or lake and not on a body of water that covers some 32% of the earth’s surface.

In all seriousness, a high number of people die on the beaches of Japan every summer. Often the cause is alcohol-related or simply ignorance of the environment- unknown depths, currents, rip tides, the effect of too much sun, etc…. Safety should always be of the highest priority when at or on the sea.

Kirk Patterson Completes Hokkaido Circumnavigation

Kirk with his TSPS burgee in Hakodate, Hokkaido.
Kirk with his TSPS burgee in Hakodate, Hokkaido.

On August 7, TSPS member Kirk Patterson completed a clock-wise circumnavigation of Hokkaido aboard his sailing vessel, Silk Purse. During his trip, Kirk posted  progress reports regularly to Facebook, and for those who followed the story it was a tense voyage through thick and thin fog against and with strong counter currents around hazards-to-sailing such as long fishing nets, small octopus/crab pots, and concrete breakwaters into both friendly and unfriendly fishing ports, all the while encountering great generosity from many of the people he met and dealing with the long arm of bureaucracy, as the Coast Guard shadowed his every movement for the first half of his journey.

Kirk will remain in Hakodate for a week to ten days making repairs and doing maintenance work and other jobs before departing for Kyushu, a voyage of approximately 1,000 nautical mile through the Japan Sea. He plans to reach Fukuoka by mid-October.

Up in the rigging during his trip around Hokkaido, Kirk flew burgees from his sailing club in Victoria, BC.- the Bluewater Cruising Association, and from a sponsor- the Japan Hydrographic Association. For his voyage south to Kyushu, Kirk will be adding the TSPS burgee to his flag line.

We are proud to have Kirk as a member of TSPS and congratulate him for the successful completion of the second phase of his journey and wish him all the best as he makes his way south to Fukuoka. Fair winds, Kirk!

Burgees top to bottom: the Bluewater Cruising Association, TSPS, the Japan Hydrographic Association.
Burgees top to bottom: the Bluewater Cruising Association, TSPS, the Japan Hydrographic Association.

Boater’s Hurricane and Tsunami Safety Manual

Typhoon Safety manual

As residents of Japan we are all too aware of the dangers of typhoons and tsunamis, and as boaters and boat owners we’ve experienced that , er, sinking feeling as severe weather phenomena  approach our boating waters. Well, our friends at the Hawaii Sail & Power Squadron have sent along a digital copy of a fifty-two page manual spelling out how we as boaters can protect our lives and property when a hurricane or other severe storm threatens. The manual also contains a section on tsunamis and other serious threats to boaters and the marine community.

While a lot of the information presented in the document is Hawaii-specific, much of it can be applied to our situation here in Japan, and is in the end simply sound safety advice for boaters and boat owners. It presents “a summary of the actions boaters and other members of (a) marine community can take before, during, and after a hurricane or tsunami, (and) is intended to assist in preparing for and mitigating the effects of these hazards. It includes information on these events and their dangers, (and) provides guidelines to develop a personal preparedness plan…”

You can view then download the ‘Boater’s Hurricane and Tsunami Safety Manual’ here.


1931 TransAtlantic Race Aboard Dorade

Dorade, 2012

From doradehistory.com:

Dorade became the most famous ocean racing yacht in the world. As the first major blue water design to be built to the drawings of her 21-year-old designer, Dorade’s keel was laid just weeks after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, and her launching in the spring of 1930 coincided with the slide of the nation into the Great Depression. Despite such inauspicious timing, this yacht, her young designer and youthful, attractive crew became a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic and on both coasts of America. Dorade introduced and validated the early yacht design concepts of Olin Stephens and influenced, in one way or another, nearly all developments in yacht design for the next three decades. Her rigging and deck fixtures, developed in large part by Olin’s younger brother, Roderick Stephens Jr., still make the name Dorade commonplace today. Her combination of speed, sea-keeping ability, stunning beauty and small size, coupled with her startling racing success, kept the eye of the public on her and on those aboard her.

From Wikipedia:

Dorade was a yacht designed in 1929 by Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens and built 1929–1930 by the Minneford Yacht Yard in City Island, New York.

Dorade went on to place 2nd in the Bermuda Race later that year. The crew for its first race received the All-Amateur Crew Prize. However, it would be the Transatlantic Race that would bring the boat its name. Placing first, she completed the race in 17 days – a race that takes an estimated 3–4 weeks to complete. A parade was held in celebration of the crew and ship’s return with the mayor holding a reception in honor of Olin Stephens’ victory.

Olin Stephens, the designer, was skipper through 1932 when he handed the boat to his brother, Rod Stephens.[1] Led by Rod, Dorade sailed to victory in the 1932 Bermuda Race.[2] From Bermuda, Dorade sailed back to Norway, down to Cowes, England, and finally back to America after winning the Fastnet Race. The victory of the 1932 Fastnet Race was of substantial significance given the unusually severe weather, several ships feared missing as well as one recorded drowning among the events that unfolded.

Dorade Trans Atlantic Race 1931 Part 1 of 5

Dorade Trans Atlantic Race 1931 Part 2 of 5

Dorade Trans Atlantic Race 1931 Part 3 of 5

Dorade Trans Atlantic Race 1931 Part 4 of 5

Dorade Trans Atlantic Race 1931 Part 5 of 5

Gripping Hitch Knots

Get A Grip: BoatUS Article

In the June issue of BoatUS magazine, Evan Starzinger wrote a basic yet interesting article about three gripping hitches used to join two lines together while one line is under load. These are particularly useful when for one reason or another the load on a line is too great to manage by hand and requires transferring it to a winch or block to safely or more easily deal with.

I’ve used the icicle hitch to transfer a fully loaded jib sheet to a cleat because overwraps on the winch had tightened to the point I could no longer ease out the jib. Another use was at anchor. Voyager has an eight-foot bowsprit and leading the anchor rode to the end of the bowsprit eliminates chafing problems as the boat swings on the tides. By running a line through a block at the end of the spar then back to the bow and hitching it to the anchor rode, the rode can then be moved well forward and  away from the shrouds that support the bowsprit.

Gripping hitches are useful and important and should be in every sailor’s inventory of quickly deployable knots.

You can read the article here.

TSPS Website Post To Appear in The Ensign Magazine

The Ensign Mag[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he new TSPS website has been up for 6 months and each and every month it has attracted over 1,300 new and unique viewers in more than 90 countries worldwide. Some of these viewers go on to become members of TSPS, while others sign up for the “At The Masthead” weekly digest of Tokyo boating news and stories published to the site. Still others, visit to get a sense of what’s going on in the TSPS boating community, or mistakenly stop by on their way to the Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons.

So it came as a pleasant surprise when we received an email from Tina Tibbitts, assistant editor of The Ensign magazine. Tina wrote to us requesting permission to include one of our website stories and the accompanying picture in an upcoming edition of  the official magazine of United States Power Squadrons. Of course permission was given, but only after satisfying the demands for free pizza at the next Keelhaul from the photographer and his roguish writer friend. What this dynamic duo doesn’t know is that we offer pizza and more to all who attend the Keelhaul 😉

So for those of you who receive The Ensign as part of your TSPS membership, look for our story in the Waypoints section. For those of you who don’t, The Ensign is but another in a long list of reasons to become members of the Tokyo Sail & Power Squadron.