Kisarazu to Katsuyama

Last Saturday Wolfgang, the friend and fellow sailor who first told me about the Harbour at Katsuyama, joined me in sailing Watari from Kisarazu to her new home there. This was a huge help, as he was able to show me the safest way through all the floating fishing nets along the way, as well as share a great deal of local knowledge. It was also a huge help to have him take the tiller while I completed various projects and tuned the rigging.

It was a beautiful, sunny day with a stiff Northeast breeze blowing around 20-25 knots. I arrived early and tried to get the boat ready to leave as soon as Wolfgang arrived, but got caught up trying to install an old depth sounder I’d found in the boat yard dumpster. Owners of sport fishing boats here in Japan are real “gear heads”, they love to have the latest and greatest gear especially electronic devices, and often throw out still working gear when they purchase new toys. One morning just before launch I arrived at the boat yard and noticed a depth sounder/fish finder lying at the top of the bin. I reckoned it might still be good so set it aside. Later Iwai-san gave me a transducer and power cord from another boat that had been scrapped. It was missing the power cord, but on Saturday I jury rigged one and got the screen to turn on. I didn’t quite have time to setup the transducer though, as Wolfgang arrived and we had to leave.

We motored out of Kisarazu with Wolfgang on the helm while I set up new headsheets and re-rigged the reefing lines for less friction. I completed this just as we cleared the Harbour channel, and we raised sails and cut the engine. There was a heavy chop running and it was a bit wet until we turned downwind, but once we did the motion was easy and Watari cruised along under single reefed main and the working jib at about 5.5 knots.

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Watari handled very well, the more I sail her the more confidence in her I get! Once I get all the lines tuned and a few additions like jacklines and safety harness I’ll feel quite confident in taking her out on the open ocean island hopping.

As we progressed south down the bay both the sky and ocean cleared up and turned a nice a nice shade of blue. I was very happy to escape the muddy waters and factories of Kisarazu!

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By the time we pulled into Katsuyama it was about 16:00. It sure was nice to arrive in this peaceful little spot! A paradise compared to the inner Harbour.

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Wolfgang taught me the best way in through the various fishing nets. It was such a help to have his advice! No matter how much one studies the charts, nothing beats local knowledge earned through experience! Thanks again Wolfgang!

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After tying Watari up in the Harbour Wolfgang had to leave to catch his train. I took advantage of the clearer water in Katsuyama to snorkel under the boat and inspect the keel. I was worried that there might have been some damage after she was partially grounded during the low tide in Kisarazu. I was delighted to discover that the keel was in perfect shape, not even the slightest scratch on the bottom of the keel! That Kisarazu mud must be very soft indeed!

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