Last week in Japan

We left Osaka Hokko 0645hrs, bound Shin Nishinomiya, a 5 mile across the bay of Osaka trip, heading into a hectic final week in Japan preparing Calliste for shipping flat rack to Seattle WA.

Upon our arrival at Shin Nishi, we met with shipping agent, Noby of 135East Marine, whom we were in contact with since Okinawa. He arranged for immediate haul out and left in the slings for us to do 1 hour of scrapping the bottom, and then transported to the yard area where the cradle was set. It all happened so fast! In less than 2 hours, Calliste was blocked up and ready for us to decommission her.

Our stuff from the DIY store before cutting.

Our stuff from the DIY store before cutting.

Everything thus far went smoothly, because Noby was a very detailed man, a boat owner and sailor too, so he knew how to arrange these things with the marina crew. Ahead of time, Noby found a Halberg Rassy cradle was available for us to purchase, with some modifications it would be ideal for Calliste. We couldn’t have done the search or arrange for metal works to come made those modifications ourselves. So we find that hiring Noby paid dividends! Of course Noby charged quite a fair bit for the job, but it was not unreasonable. Would have been much more expensive in Singapore or US. Pretty sure.

They have all the right equipment for making short work of our pile

They have all the right equipment for making short work of our pile

Cash talks. We carried US$12000 and a million yen, paid that as a deposit to 135East. Only then did Noby booked us a passage on Maersk container ship. Nobody would book a passage or work on the decommissioning of Calliste without seeing the money for the whole job. This is the reality of life… and so many foreign boats were sold in Asia, if the owners had to head back and did not have the means to ship it… or did not have the fortitude to deal with officials, paperwork and handle the unknowns as it shows up. Its like, once you are committed, you cant change your mind or the schedule without losing more than was already committed.

Crate Building materials from the DIY store

Crate Building materials from the DIY store

Day 1:Noby and Lang get crate building supplies from the DIY store that is about 15 mins drive away, or 45 mins by foot…. but that’s one good thing about having a agent with a car. After making the purchases, Noby arranged to have the wood cut to size at the cutting service corner. Its US$0.50 for a cut, and each cut is like 10 pieces. In total, the wood cost about US$150, and the cutting fee was US$4. Amazingly cheap by any standards! This is Unbelievable Japan!.

Plus throw in the free truck to use for 1 hour after the purchase. Check out our load. Tho… you will need a international license to drive away the truck. I didn’t have it, so Noby had to drive… of course, he knew that already.

By the end of day 1, Doug had loosen the rig so that it was ready for the crane on day 2, and 1 crate building was complete.

Sometimes, we get bad advise… like we need to move off Calliste so that we could prepare her for shipping. Maybe it is good advise for other couples, but for us, it was very disruptive to our work. We hate public transport and there was no cheap and good hotel near to the marina. We ended up in a nice hotel, great value, but that was 50 mins from the marina. We could not avoid the commuter crowd and hated to lose time and energy on the journey.  We stayed 3 nights (would like to have shorten it, but it was prepaid, therefore no refund) and moved back on board. Maybe Noby realize that Calliste was really comfy and liveable even on the hard, and we worked better if we didnt have to do transport… At least we had good showers and pretty good rest.

Doug the builder...nicely built crate 1.

Doug the builder…nicely built crate 1.

Day 2: Despite all our best efforts, there were still many unexpected things that jump out at us. We had planned to construct 3 crates using 3′ x 6′ plywood, 1.5″ pine for framing and 4″ hard wood to stand it off the ground.

Mast lifting operation.

Mast lifting operation.

We were very disappointed when Noby told us that we can’t… for some strange reason that we could not understand! Customs will not agree to it, so we were not able to get clearance to pack separate shipping crates of Calliste equipment on the flat rack that we paid for, although technically it was totally our space. Noby figured that we’ll have to fit the boxes on the crate. Oh well… Lang worked on to change the box configurations, while Doug threw a fit.. he is convinced that we need to empty the boat and less than 3 crates is not going to do it…  so we’ll have a 3′ x 6′ x 2′ height box on 1 side and a 3′ x 9′ x 2′ box on the other, still not enough in his opinion. Well, we’ll make the best what we can ok. Move on.

Doug and Noby strategizing how to split the mast... sheltering from rain

Doug and Noby strategizing how to split the mast… sheltering from rain

At least we had good weather for the mast lifting operation. The crane was very clean and the owner operator was knowledgeable about mast lowering, but the ground crew from 135East was less than capable for the job..  and my personal opinion of the yard facilities for handling the mast as it was coming down was horrible. Maybe I am spoiled by the best yard facility at Marina Yacht services in Singapore… sadly, we have some scratches on our newly anodized mast… hurts. sighs…. Move on…

End of day 2, we have mast down, 1 extended crate built and mounted in the cradle, stuff wrapped in bubble and shrink… making progress.

9' box on starboard

9′ box on starboard

Day 3: Noby cut down 1′ height on the 1st box that Doug built and mounted in the cradle. Lang continue with bubble wrapping and packing up stuff inside, moving things down from the boat and into the new crate. We ran into difficulty with separating our 2 part mast at the upper sleeve. Doug used a liberal amount of silicon adhesive putting it together, certainly prevented wear and corrosion. The men devoted many hours into splitting mast and it just wont come apart… sigh… we’ll sleep on it… last overnight at the Kobe Port Hotel, checking out 1st thing in the morning.

6' box on port.

6′ box on port.

Day 4: Last resort, Doug choose to saw it at the sleeve, despite Noby’s idea to cut it at just below deck. I liked Doug’s idea better and anyway its his boat.

While living on board, I worked 16hrs day. 8hrs at my professional job, which I can do online in the day. Then 8hrs from 5pm to 1am, moving things from inside the lockers into the crates down below, stuffing and packing as neatly as I could. I did this for 3 stressful nights. … I definitely deserve that sense of achievement when it was all in and Calliste was ready to go. .. at least, Noby and I think Calliste was ready… Doug did not. He was so sure that everything was going to fall apart and he would have no boat left! Tip to those of you who are considering shipping your precious beloved boat, it is nerve wrecking and fits are to be expected. Perseverance and tolerance goes a long way… if you are the more rational and sensibly one in the relationship… it was certainly trying.

Ready or not, there she goes.

Ready or not, there she goes.

Day 5 and 6: Days went like a blur. It was good that Noby was there to keep us on track. Everyday he would be there to push us. … although we are no slackers, we feel the push and did work harder. In the end, we were just barely on track… and if we had 1 more day, Doug would feel better, but we could not have it, so Doug threw his biggest fit ever yet. … Not justified, but moving along… Noby and I took turns pacifying and holding Doug down, while the other try to strap down the mast and long things onto the crate.

It was a long 3 days of almost no rest. Noby was kind to drive us to our next hotel, Tohoku in Shin Osaka. .. we checked in and just collapse… no dinner. Overnight, while we were in our realms, Calliste was trucked to Port of Kobe where she will be loaded on the flatrack.


1 Response to “Last week in Japan”

  1. 1 Marc Semaille
    November 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Great adventure!
    I first observed Calliste in Singapore at Raffles Marina. I was on expat assignment then.
    I am now back in Belgium and sail the Med 4 months a year.
    Reading your blog, besides being very interesting, brings back good memories of Singapore.
    Enjoy your sailing in the US!

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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

Sailing 2013: Singapore -> Okinawa -> Kobe

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