Go to Spain

It is raining very hard. After my weekly early morning root canal fun, I rush down to see if the boat is OK.

I had  rigged the tarpaulin so I was not too worried but as it is also very windy, there is always the possibility that the tarp has blown away.

The boat fills up very quickly. The water fills the bilges, the cockpit, the engine compartment and the cabin. It is a major drawback. I am trying to think of a way to drill some kind of drainage system through the hull that could be open when the boat is on land but can be shut off when she is at sea.


It really rains here.


After only a couple of hours, the cockpit space is full of water.

I had set up a ridge pole for the tarpaulin. This was a long piece of gunwhale trim that I had sanded for hours, given many coats of wood treater and then varnish. The weight of the water snapped it like a twig.


I am so stupid.

I spend 2 hours re-rigging the tarpaulin in the pouring rain. This is actually fun as the rain here is warm. It is a bit like a  2 hour shower.


I also fitted some lateral slats and stretched the tarp very tight. Fingers crossed. The horizontal white line half way up the cockpit is the engine hatch cover. Rain like today would fill up the cockpit in 2 hours and flood the engine.

We will put the engine in soon and I cannot allow it to be submerged every time it rains.


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Just beside my apartment there is a family-run Do-It-Yourself store. It is run by an old couple and I think their daughter.

I have got to know them because I pop in a lot to buy odd screws, bolts, rope and such for the boat. They are very Okinawan. They greet me with “Haisai!”

The business is actually divided into 3 parts, like Gaul. First, is the DIY store, second is a carpentry shop and third is a small nursery, specializing in succulents and cacti. All three are run in an offhand, disinterested but very welcoming way. I mean I really don’t think they care if you buy anything; they just like to have you there.

I buy about 6 loose screws and wander around the succulents.




Red flower


Yellow flowers


Choose your color


Skin disease.

Anyway, as I am wandering around the old man wanders up with a wooden box containing a cactus and some succulents.

He says, “Presentu.”


Okinawa is such a nice place to live.


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Mony a Mickle Maks a Muckle

I have reached that glorious stage whereby, after months of washing, sanding, wood treatment, sanding, varnishing, sanding, undercoat, sanding, compound, sanding, painting, sanding, anti-slip paint; I can now start to put everything together.


I replace the inspection hatch covers in the cockpit well. Please God make them watertight!


I screw down the protection strips on the engine hatch. Thank God for electric my screwdriver. I have screwed in hundreds of screws so far.


Nice new teak cleats.


I apply my official  Japanese registration stickers. I am hopeless at this.

The weather is very windy, rainy and hot. I strip off the backing of a sticker and the wind blows it all over the place. I lunge at the side of the cabin with the sticker flapping. One, at least, goes agley. Of course, I should wait for a calm day to do this but I get too excited.


Kiyuna san passes by and gives me a palm tree fan. I need it. Aregato. My shirt is soaked with rain rather from sweat. Makes a change.

Next, I screw on the thin wooden beading that draws out the beauty of of the gunwhale, if you see what I mean.

So, this is an interesting example of my advancing age. I place the beading and reach for the box, in which I have stored the screws. It is not there. I look around the vicinity, I look in the cockpit and cabin of the boat, I look in the car, I go to the toilet and drinks machine, which I had recently visited; the screw box has disappeared. I repeat all the above. Nothing.

This is so frustrating, after months of preparation I stumble. I am close to tears.


I had put the electric screwdriver, God bless her, bag on top of the screw box


Most of beading fitted. Notice jib sheet guide and cleat on the combing. She almost looks new.

IMG_1804 (1).jpg

Very mickle – I attach the bullseyes that guide the roller reefing line to the cockpit. You may have noticed lots of little clasps that will hold down the cockpit cover, er, when I get one.

Just a short serious note: Governor Onaga died last week. I had the honor to meet him several times. A truly great man, who cared deeply for Okinawa.



Rest in Peace, Onaga Sensei




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Root Canal

I spend the first part of the morning in my second home – the Dentist. Yep more root canal stuff. I ask Mohawk Mori sensei how many visits he thinks this will take. ” Neil san, this will take months.” So be it.  My visit costs me 880 yen.

Back to the boatyard to continue the good work. I am now enabled and have made a lot of progress on the more cosmetic side of the restoration.


I stick down the Treadmaster mats. The battery is to apply pressure to the mats to enhance adhesion.


More Pollock

This is so much fun. I am making visible progress and the finishing line is in sight. The Becher’s Brook of electrics still has to be jumped  but I am feeling confident.


Treadmaster done, handrails done, cleats done, combings, er not seen much in photo, done.

All the running rigging, like halyards and sheets, is black after years of  Okinawan mildew. I put them through the washing machine.


Much cleaner but entangled

I buy more sunscreen.


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Heat Exhaustion

I knew that it would rain like crazy the night after we had re-trailered the boat. I am fed up with the boat filling up with water, so I rigged a big tarpaulin.


The trick with tarpaulins is to get the water to run off rather than gathering in slack parts of the cover. This is a science.

During the night, it rains in a very South Asian way. I rush down to the boatyard.  It is still raining. The tarp is horribly sunken with gallons of rainwater sagging in either side of the central support.  It is still raining hard. No work today.


It is raining  and there are swimming pools in the tarpaulin, however not in the boat. One good thing is I get to wear a Breton Sailor smock that my brother Ian sent me.

Today, er like a day later, it is back to 32 degrees with 80% humility.

I am so happy to get on with stuff. I install the samson post and then the bowsprit. Neither of these steps were easy. Patience and slowness are lessons that Kiyuna san has taught me and eventually everything works out just fine.


Samson post and bowsprit


She is installed. I will replace old rope with new, now I understand how it works.

I then move on to the Treadmaster mats that will be glued to the cabin roof.


Spot the Treadmaster mats.

These mats give grip as you stumble around the roof of the cabin trying to do sailing stuff.

Placing them is demanding. There has to be perfect left, right symmetry. I mean the mats on the port side should be identically positioned in relation to the mats on the starboard side.  Also I do not want to smear adhesive all over the place. This entails lots of measuring and taping.


Only the beginning

It is so hot!  I guzzle bottles of cold, cold water from the adjacent drinks machine.  I carefully align the mats and start taping . Soon I realize that I can not do this job.  I can not concentrate. My actions are clumsy and slow and I realize that I have to pack it in and er buy a pick up.


Working in 35 degree heat is not easy.



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The Kitagama kiln is I think the biggest in Okinawa. It is awe inspiring or awesome. if you prefer. https://quietripple.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/winter-in-okinawa/

Exquisite ceramics produced by craftsmen using the same techniques as their ancestors. Yes, quite, jolly good , ho hum:  what really excites me about the Kitagama, in my current state of mind, is their wood yard.


This only a remote corner

They have a field full of big chunks of wood that people have donated. The wood is eventually used to fire the kiln.

Some of the big balks are ideal for supporting the boat on the low trailer.


Thank you Matsuda sensei!

I have 4 like the above and today they come into their own. We move the boat off the high trailer!

It has been pouring with rain and there is a strong wind.

We gently lift her off the high cradle.


It is very windy and she begins to swing about.

So we move her out over the water and drop till she is nearly in the sea and very protected.



We bring in the low trailer and start to position her. Notice big balks of timber.


Final adjustments. Tabata san is of course on the phone.


Back where she belongs

So this is wonderful. I can now get on with all the jobs that have been delayed for 6 weeks. Thanks everyone at the boatyard for making the boat-move so much fun.

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There was a total elipse of the moon in the Okinawan skies between 4:00 am and 5:00 am on Saturday morning. I watched it from my balcony.


Half elipse


3/4 elipse


Total elipse!

Amazing, although no real hint of redness.


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