National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced El Nino is likely to continue through spring 2019 and expected to be weak. Hopefully the current and the wind do not get effected badly, so that the boat speed would not slow down too much.
We are only days away from our launch on February 24. We are well prepared for our journey thanks to all the support we have received. On the day of our launch, we will have a time with the media at 11:30am, a launching ceremony at 12:30pm and will set sail around 1:00pm. If you live in or near San Diego, please come by to send us off!
We have been watching the weather. The timing and route of the trip are based on finishing the voyage by May 1 so as to avoid any risk of encountering a typhoon while arriving as late as possible to Japan to avoid the storms and low pressure systems near Japan in early spring. We have chosen to use the trade winds route and go southwest out of San Diego, turn west around 18 degree north latitude, pass south of Hawaii and turn northwest to Japan before getting close to the North Marianas (Guam and Saipan). The advantages of this route are: more consistent winds, favorable current, less likelyhood of gales, less boat traffic and warmer weather. Our concern is a possible El Nino event that would weaken the trade winds, although at this point it seems the event, if it occurs, will be mild. If ti does occur, this would mean lighter and less predictable winds, slower current and a slower passage. A slower passage means the trip will take longer. Also, a main source of our electricity is the hydrogenerator which produces much more electricity when going faster. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/outlook/
The ENSO Outlook has been downgraded to El Niño WATCH. An El Niño WATCH means there is around a 50% chance of El Niño developing in the coming season. Recent observations and climate outlooks suggest the risk of El Niño development in the coming months has eased. In addition, the natural seasonal cycle of ENSO does not favour El Niño development at this time of year.However, with ocean temperatures in the central tropical Pacific remaining warmer than average, and with the majority of models indicating this warmth could persist until winter, the risk of El Niño development later in 2019 remains.Further information on the current status of ENSO can be found in the ENSO Wrap-Up
As the refrigerator uses a lot of electricity, we will not turn it on. Rather, we will pre-cool it while connected to shore power and freeze gallon jugs of water and put them in the bottom of the fridge to keep it cool. When the ice eventually melts, the jugs will become backup sources of drinking water. This means that we will only have fresh food for the first 10 days or so of the voyage. For the remaining 50 days, we will be relying on freeze-dried and canned food and pasta and rice. We need to be able to provide 1,800kcal per person for 75 days (60 days plus 15 days backup) and make sure that it is nutritionally balanced. Meals will be supplemented by energy bars and meal supplement drinks.
A group of Hiro’s sailing friends got together for another send-off-party in Tokyo. Most of them have been supporting Hiro since his first challenge in 2013. Some of them have already visited our boat in San Diego, others will come and see us off at the departure, and many of them will come for the arrival in Fukushima.