So there is little content to this entry other than to say  – Yay!

Shoals of herring

Shoals of herring

The boat is essentially all varnished and oiled. Today I strung together the rather complex main sheet set up.

Silver Darlings

Silver Darlings


I am very pleased with my new double block. I got it on Ebay. I love living right now. I need a double block I go to my computer. 3 days later it is delivered by hand having come from Taiwan.  So easy.

Neil Munro

Neil Munro

I now have to put the leathers on the oars. I am not good at precision stuff so I rather dread this.

Keramas bound

Keramas bound

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So, we have a big week of changing Japan’s er, like science communication.

Cortez, what a killer.

Cortez, what a killer.

But the real stuff was at the weekend. I play with my boat.

The Kanna is the  best tool. It untimely rips that wood from its mother's womb

The Kanna is the best tool. It untimely rips that wood from its mother’s womb

All you pretty women stand in line, because this weekend I am working on the boat. I plane down my oars. I drench them in teak oil and then apply the first coats of varnish. I position the stag horns.

Thanks Patrick

Thanks Patrick

Spring is surging. The sap is spouting. This means butterflies, who watch me sand and varnish with  Etonian disdain.

Warm my toilet seat.

Warm my toilet seat.

That's allright

That’s allright

A quick break to play music in a shopping center which allows me to stop by the dirty pool.

I'm Mandy - fly me.

I’m Mandy – fly me.

I've got my love to keep me warm

I’ve got my love to keep me warm

Jonathan and I hoist the sail for the first time. Regrettably the wind is strong and coming from the worst possible direction. No worries, we get a pretty good idea of rigging and hoisting protocols.

If I win some money , sure nuff, I'll bring  you some.

If I win some money , sure nuff, I’ll bring you some.

Quite frankly, playing with boats in warm Spring sunshine with good company is  very fine.

A little girl comes by and wants to sit in the boat.

A little girl comes by and wants to sit in the boat.

I see the future very optimistically.

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The Death of Pompey

I remember being told a joke by an elderly South African gentleman.

Two old guys are swapping tales. One says “Lets make up stories that hide the name of a book and the other one has to guess the title.”

“Here goes; A man lived in a valley which was very green and there were lots of cows that ate the grass.”


“How Green Was My Valley,  you fool!”

“Your turn.”

“Well, once I was riding my bike down to the shop and I got a puncture. So I took off the wheel.  Luckily I had a puncture outfit in the little leather pouch under the saddle. So I took out the inner tube but couldn’t see where the hole was. I walked over to the next farm and had a cup of tea. I went back to the bike with a bucket of water and sure enough saw where the hole was from the bubbles. So I roughened up the surface put on the glue and slapped on a patch. It looked OK so I  put everything back together and pumped up the tyre. Just then a car came by and ran over the pump that I had left in the road.”

Long reflection by friend resulting in:

“I give up. What’s the name of the book?”

“The Death of Pompey.”

These things are fantastic!

These things are fantastic!

I don’t know if these things are available in the rest of the world. If not, here is your chance to make a million dollars. They are pumps for car tyres, or bike tyres if you want. You plug them into the power supply, or what used to be called the cigarette lighter, of the car  and attach the pipe to the valve on the tyre.

How cool is that?

How cool is that?

You press the nuclear power button and it inflates the tire to whatever pressure you want. It also has a light show, music and Bluetooth.

Happy trailer. Notice how beautiful the boat is looking.

Happy trailer.
Notice how beautiful the boat is looking.

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TV 175

Here is  a list of all British ships that visited Okinawa between 1613 and 1900. I am indebted to my very learned friend Michael Nabholz for compiling this list. There is endless fun to be had looking up these ships on Wikipedia.

Michael is also an expert on Italian Scooters. He has my total respect.

A TV 175 in San Francisco. Ben's Yamaha in background.

A TV 175 in San Francisco. Ben’s Yamaha in background.

I included this list in the original draft for my article in Marine Quarterly. Maybe the article was a bit long at 83 pages but I am surprised they did not publish this excellent research. Wikipedia, which I love above all things, gives a wealth of info about both boats and captains.

British Ships in The Ryukyu Isles

-1613, June 2. (Passing) Clove. Captain John Saris (ca 1580 – 1643).

-1614, December 27 ~ 1615, May 21. British ship – Sea Adventurer. Captain William Adams (24 September 1564 – 16 May 1620). One man killed at Naha.

-1618, April. Sea Adventurer. Captain William Eaton.

-1618. April 6 – May 2. Chinese Junk – Belonging to Fingo Shinquan. Captain Chimpow.

-1793. (Passing) HMS Lion. Captain Sir Erasmus Gower.

-1797, May 16 – July. H.M.S. Providence. Commander William Robert Broughton (Died Florence 1821).

-1803. HMS Frederick, of Calcutta. Captain James Torry.

-1816, September 15 ~ November 9. British Navy ships – H.M.S. Alceste and Lyra.

Under Captain Sir Murray Maxwell (10 September 1775 – 26 June 1831). One man died buried at Tomari.

-1818, November 19 – 21. British Brig – Brothers. Captain William Upton Eddis (1788-1850)

-1822, October 20 ~ November 4. British merchant ship / whaler – Tuscan. Captain Thomas Reed Stavers (Born Deptford County Kent, September, 19 1798).

-1824. Unknown British Vessel. Unknown Captain.

-1826. Unknown Whaling Vessel. Unknown Captain. (Likely British)

-1827 May 16 – 25. H.M.S. Blossom. Captain F. W. Beechey (Born London 17 February 1796 – 29 November1856).

-1832, February. English Whaler – Partridge and two other ships. Captain

Francis Stavers.

-1832, August 22 ~ 27. British ship – Lord Amhurst. Captain M. Hugh Hamilton Lindsay (1802-1881).

-1837. July 14 – 16. British warship – H.M.S. Raligh. Captain Michael Quin.

-1837-1838. Unknown ships from England, America, and France reported.

Great White Egret hunting

Great White Egret hunting

-1839, March. Unknown Mariner (Likely a British Naval ship). Unknown Captain.

-1840, August 14 ~ September 29. English ship of the East India Company – H.M.S. Indian Oak. Captain Grainger. Shipwrecked in Chatan. None lost.

-1840, September 16 – 29. H.M.S. Cruzier and Nimrod. Captain Barlow.

-1840, H.M.S. Nemesis. Captain William Hucheon Hall.

-1842. Unknown British Ships. Unknown Captains.

-1843, November 31 – Dec. 20 British Ship (26 gun) – H.M.S. Samarang. Admiral Sir

Edward Belcher (27 February 1799 Halifax– 18 March 1877 London).

-1845 June. British Ship (26 gun) – H.M.S. Samarang. Admiral Sir Edward Belcher (27 February 1799 Halifax– 18 March 1877 London) and Lieutenant Anderson.

– 1845, June 19 ~ Jun 21. H.M.S. Samarang. Sir Edward Belcher.

-1845, August 18 ~ Aug 22. H.M.S. Samarang. Sir Edward Belcher.

-1845. H.M.S. Loyalists.

-1846. HMS Daedelus. Captain McQuoid.

-1846, April 30 ~ ca May 4. British merchant / trading schooner – Starling. Captain McCheyne. Delivered Missionary Dr. Bernard Jean Beetleheim to Naha.

-1846, October. Unknown Ship of the British China Station [Possibly the HMS Vestal

(See below)].

-1846. HMS Vestal. Captain Talbot and Sir John Charles Dalrymple Hay.

-Dalrymple was a Scottish hydrographer, historian and publisher of maritime materials who worked in India and was involved in the British fur trade at Nootka. He turned down an offer to captain what would become James Cooks first voyage.

Mrs Pintail

Mrs Pintail

-1848. Unknown Vessels. Unknown Captains.

-1849, February 10. English bark – Elizabeth and Henry. Captain Clark. Shipwrecked off Kume-jima.

-1849, March 8. British Navy – HMS Mariner. Captain Matheson and Robertson.

-1849, May 22 – 27. British Yacht – Nancy Dawson. Captain Robert Shedden.

-1849, December 20. British Navy Ship HMS Pilot. Captain Lyons.

-1850, October 3 – 10. Steam Sloop – HMS Reynard. Captain Cracroft.

-1851. Unknown ship. Unknown Captain.

-1852, February 6 – 17. British Navy – H.M.S. Sphinx. Admiral Sir Charles Frederick Alexander Shadwell (31 January 1814 – 1 March 1886).

-1853, October U.S.S. Saratoga, H.M.S. Riley and Contest.

-1853, ca late June or July 1. British ship – Brenda.

-1854, February 14 ~ 20. H.M.S. Robina. Delivered George Harman Moreton (Buckinghamshire 1826 – July 3 1902 Burwood) and family of the Loo Choo Mission to Naha.

-1856. Unknown Vessel. Removed G.H. Moreton and family.

Shoveler checks his tie

Shoveler checks his tie

-1871, September 10-12. Gunship – H.M.S. Dwarf. Captain Bonham Ward Bax.

-1873, October 8. British merchant ship – Benares. Captain James Anderson. Shipwrecked with 13 lost, 4 buried in Ginama, Okinawa.

-1873, January 7. Gunboat – H.M.S. Curlew. Temporary Captain Nathanial Cotton.

-1875, December 11 ~ 13 or 14. S.S. Thabor. Richard Henry Brunton (December 26, 1841 Edinburgh –April 24, 1901 Kinsington), Sir Ernest Mason Satow (30 June 1843 Wismar – 26 August 1929), and Sir Harry Parkes (1828 Staffordshire – March 21, 1885 Peking).

-Brunton, was a Scottish civil engineer and the so-called “Father of Japanese lighthouses”, building 26 western style lighthouses in Japan between 1868 and 1876.

Parkes was a British diplomat in China and Japan, related through marriage to Karl Gutzlaff. He wrote several articles about the islands including ‘The Loochooan Tribute’ and ‘Loochooan Envoys’. He would later help facilitate Ryukyu France treaty arrangements. Satow was a naturalized British citizen who acted as a diplomat during the Bakumatsu and Meiji periods. They departed Kagoshima on Dec. 9th arriving in Naha Okinawa Shima on the 11th. Together they explored Naha remarking on the port, houses, tombs, people, and Tomari cemetery. It was mentioned in Guillemard,1886 that, “Mr. Brunton, who seems to have been the latest visitor to the islands who has published any account of them, found the gates (to Shuri) closed”.

-1876, April 10. British Bark Liberator. Captain Vandervord or Martin.

-1876, September 11. British Transport Barque – Theseus. Captain Alexander Matthew (Died at sea prior to wreck). Shipwrecked in Kikai near Amami. 10 lost

-1881. November 6 – 7 (Planned). “The Flying Squadron”: Steam Frigate HMS Inconstant (Flag Ship), Captain Charles Cooper Penrose-Fitzgerald. Corvette HMS Cleopatra, Captain Francis Durrant. HMS Bacchante, Lord Charles Montagu Douglas Scott. HMS Tourmaline, Robert Peel Dennistoun, and HMS Carysfort, Henry Frederick Stephenson.

-1882, May. HMS Daring.

-1882, May 3 – May 11. “The China Station Fleet”: HMS Iron Duke, Curacoa, Encounter, Albatross, Foxhound, Vigilant, and Zephyr. Captain Tracy.

-1882, May 11. HMS Swift.

-1882, June 28 – July? British Schooner Yacht – Marchesa. Captain Francis Henry Hill Guillemard

-1891. Unknown Vessel. Rev. Robert A. Thomas.

Mrs Moorhen gets ready

Mrs Moorhen gets ready

-Thomas was a Scottish Baptist Missionary financed by a Presbyterian woman from Glasgow.

He was accompanied by two Japanese evangelists who became the first Baptists in Okinawa.

-1892, November. Unknown Vessel. British Rev. Edward Bickersteth (27 June 1850,Banningham – 5 August 1897 Chiselton).

-1893, March. Unknown British Vessel. Basil Hall Chamberlain.

-ca1894. Unknown Vessel. Henry Evington, Bishop of Kyushu and Bickersteths successor.

-1898 December ~ 1899 January. Likely the three-masted schooner – Traveler. Walter John Clutterbuck (1853-1937).

-1900. Unknown Vessel. Henry Butler Schwartz D.D. (Died September 28, 1912 Manchester).

Huge round of applause for Michael.

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Marine Quarterly Redux

One is pleased to be published in the Marine Quarterly.

How much is that doggie in the window?

How much is that doggie in the window?

Notwithstanding, one is confused that the article is so short.

Very dull. I would have been happy to pose.

Very dull. I would have been happy to pose.

Why is my photo not on the front cover?

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Oil and Varnish

Those conversant with the ways of boats will acknowledge that only a part of the pleasure actually comes from sailing them. The major enjoyment comes from preening the boat. I spend most of my weekend sanding, oiling and varnishing  the new boat, whose name will not be uttered until Dileas goes to her place of final rest.

Mast and bit of wood that goes down  the middle get oiled and varnished

Mast and bit of wood that goes down the middle get oiled and varnished

I enjoy this so much. watching teak oil seep into very undernourished hardwood is one of the great pleasures of life.

Teak oiled

Teak oiled

There is still much to do. The horses need to be manufactured. The oars need to be made. There is no tradition of rowing in Japan and it is not possible to buy oars longer than tiny dinghy size. I buy 8 ft lengths of 5cm diameter hardwood that I will will turn into oars. Every wooden part needs at least 4 coats of varnish. As it takes 24 hours for each coat to dry and due to the bind of having to go to work during the week, this will take some time. So many projects, which are of course the key to contentment.

Getting better

Getting better

Here is a film about varnish. I seem to slur my words rather in this film. Alzheimer’s?


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Candle in the Wind

I have often thought that my poor boat Dileas was a lot like Marilyn Monroe. She lived a short,  dazzling life, much admired by all. She was famous around the world. Even now millions of people are reading of her grace and  her allure to men in the Spring issue of ‘The Marine Quarterly’, to which you should all subscribe.


Ultimately she died a sordid and lonely death, abandoned by all her friends and lovers.

‘And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the typhoon set in.’

Sorry Dileas.

Good Bye Norma Jean

Good Bye Norma Jean

Today we finally hauled the shattered remains of the once universally desired Dileas away from her beach of shame back to a place of dignity before her eventual burial, which will be preceded by many drooling panegyrics.

This has been a long and emotionally charged drama into which many players have made their entries and exits. I thank them all. Here is some history:








So this morning she sits on the lonesome shore but I am determined that she will no longer be forced to display her disgrace. I have a dream. As Martin Luther King said,

“You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?”
With kind friends and companions, we will fill shattered Dileas with bouyancy material, such as the plastic bottles and styrofoam chunks that are washed up on the beach in such abundance. Then we skin her with plastic sheeting and nuclear powered tape, so she is watertight.

Tight latex

Tight latex

Having lived in Japan, we are very good at wrapping things up.

Having lived in Japan, we are very good at wrapping things up.

Ready to go

Ready to go

We then bear her gently down to the sea and pull her back to the house; a distance of some 300 metres. Will she fill up with water and sink? Not so, she has been skillfully embalmed and enshrouded for her voyage.

Ship burial

Ship burial

Then we bullock her up the first few steps on the sea edge.

The steps are lethally slimy.

The steps are lethally slimy.

Next comes the stroke of genius. I run a rope from the hook of the mighty Hi Jet to the boat and use 600cc of raw power to haul her up the steps to the house.

You gotta love trucks

You gotta love trucks

Nae borra!

Nae borra!

Middle-aged muscle

Middle-aged muscle

So this was the best fun and, suprisingly, totally successful! Dileas is home.

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