Major Boat Preparations and Equipment

It has been a busy time at the boat from running new lifelines and jacklines to setting up and learning how to use the IridiumGo, a satellite connection that allows us to make phone calls, send and receive texts and emails and to download weather files while offshore.

Below is a summary of some of the work that has been done:


Jorden Series Drogue

There is a lot of debate in the sailing community about the best storm tactics.  On a basic level, they all involve slowing the boat down and keeping the boat at the correct position relative to the waves.  There are two basic devices used: storm anchors and drogues. Storm anchors are like large parachutes that go into the water connected to the boat and keep the bow (front) of the boat at an approximately 45-degree angle to the waves.  In this position, the boat creates a slick (area of disturbed water) that helps inhibit the development of breaking waves.  Deploying a storm anchor can be difficult and requires skill and judgment as to how it is deployed.  In addition, it requires a person to leave the safety of the cockpit.

Drogues, on the other hand, can be deployed from the cockpit and are designed to keep the stern into the waves.  The advantage of the Jorden Series Drogue is that it is easy to deploy and does not require any particular judgment or adjustment. We concluded that it was better to have a system that we could safely and correctly deploy every time than to try to have the “perfect” system.  As you can see, the drogue is a line with over 150 yellow cones that will “catch” the water and slow the boat down.  Because the line is long and there are so many cones, we do not have to worry about a single large cone failing or being pulled out of the waves and becoming ineffective.

Viking Life Raft

We selected this raft because it inflates quickly and is self-righting in any conditions to facilitate direct boarding from the boat into the life raft.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.55.49Lifelines and Jacklines

We had completely new lifelines installed.  Lifelines are metal wires around the perimeter of the boat to help prevent people from going overboard.  Jacklines are webbing attached to strong points on the boat to which a tether can be attached, the other end of the tether being connected to a harness that each of us will wear. With the tether attached, should one of us fall,  we will only go as far as the length of the tether and hopefully not overboard.


AIS stands for automatic identification system (AIS) and is an automatic tracking system that uses transponders on ships and is used by vessel tracking services.  Information provided by AIS equipment, such as unique identification, position, course, speed and closest point of approach between two vessels can be displayed on our chart plotter.   Vessels fitted with AIS transceivers can be tracked by AIS base stations located along coastlines or, when out of range of terrestrial networks, through a growing number of satellites that are fitted with special AIS receivers.  In fact, you can track Dream Weaver with this MMSI number: 338053988  using this or other websites:

In summary, AIS allows our boat to be seen and tracked electronically and for us to see and track other boats that have AIS.  Also, we can set an alarm to sound when other boats with AIS are within a certain distance of us or will pass within a certain distance.

Boom Brake

The boom is what holds the bottom of the mainsail. If the boom is forced over by the wind too quickly from one side of the boat to the other it can be damaged as well as damage other parts of the rigging. To avoid this, we have installed a boom break which slows the motion of the boom as it moves from one side of the boat to the other.



After water, electricity is the most precious commodity on a boat.  Without electricity, none of our key equipment will work, most notably our satellite connection, AIS, radio and navigation lights. To ensure that we have enough electricity for the voyage we had the following work performed:

New Batteries- We increased the number of batteries on the boat from 6 to 10 giving us 1000 amp hours of battery capacity.

DuoGen- In water mode this device is lowered into the water and the motion of the boat through the water causes a propeller to turn which then turns an alternator to create electricity.  Our expectation is that at our average boat speed of roughly 5 knots the DuoGen will produce 120 amp hours of electricity per day.  The good thing about this system is that it produces electricity continuously as long as the boat is moving.  It is also possible to use this same device as a wind generator.

Solar Panels- We have also installed flexible solar panels with a total potential output of 300 watts.  However, the actual production of solar panels depends on the amount of light and whether there is any shading on the panels. We hope to get 100 amp hours a day from this source.

Diesel generator- In addition to the DuoGen and solar panels,  the boat has a 7.6kw diesel generator that can produce a substantial amount of electricity, but requires us to use diesel fuel which we hope to keep to run the engine if needed.


Iridium Go

The IridiumGo is a satellite connection that permits satellite phone calls, vessel tracking text and email.  But, the connection is as slow or slower than the original dial-up connections when people first started to connect to the internet from home.


We installed another chartplotter at the navigation desk below decks in addition to the one currently at the helm (steering wheel).  This allows us to see our course and if any other boats are around even when inside the boat.





Questions and Answers About the Voyage from Our Supporters 航海について寄せられた質問への回答


ヒロさんへ To Hiroサンディエゴから福島までどのくらいの距離セーリングするんですかWhat is the distance of your journey from San Diego to Fukushima?


ヒロ: サンディエゴから福島まで約6600海里です。1カイリが1.8kmですので、約1万1千kmになります。その距離を皆さんは想像できるでしょうか?私ははじめぴんと来ませんでしたので東京駅から新大阪までの距離に換算してみました。すると10往復であるということがわかりました。


Hiro: It’s approximately 6600 nautical miles from San Diego to Fukushima. 1 nautical mile equals 1.8km, so the distance is approximately 11000km. Can you picture that in your head? At first it was hard for me to grasp, so I compared it to the distance of a train ride from Tokyo station to Shin-Osaka station and found out that it is equivalent to 10 round trips between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka.

Unlike a bullet train, a yacht is a relatively slow vessel. The average speed of a yacht is about 8km/hr which is slower than the average short-distance runner and is about the same speed as a person who takes over 5 hours to run a full marathon.

日にちはどれくらいかかるんでしょうかHow many days will it take?

ヒロ: このスピードでサンディエゴから福島まで計算すると約60日かかることになります。そうです、約2か月間太平洋の上で過ごすのです。

Hiro: At the speed mentioned above, it will take approximately 60 days from San Diego to Fukushima. So we will spend approximately 2 months in the Pacific Ocean.

ハワイに寄って燃料や食料を補給していくんでしょうかWill you stop over at Hawaii to get fuel or food?

ヒロ: 途中ハワイを通りますが、寄ることなしにノンストップで福島を目指します。ハワイでレイをかけてもらい、マイタイで乾杯といきたいところですが、そうすると冒険の要素が少なくなりますからね。


Hiro: We will be passing by Hawaii, but we are planning to sail nonstop to Fukushima. It would be nice if we could wear lei’s and drink some mai tai in Hawaii, but that would take away the element of adventure from our journey.

I mentioned that the journey will take around 2 months but the speed of a yacht largely depends on the condition of the wind. If there is no wind the speed will be zero but with strong winds we could sail at 15km/hr. On a bullet train the time of arrival can probably be measured to the exact second, but you can’t do this with a yacht. So the journey could be as short as 50 days or as long as 70 days. With this in mind, we will be stocking up on food and water accordingly. We won’t have any support team following us at sea, so we won’t be able to call someone to bring us more food or water if we run out along the journey.

To Doug ダグさんへ
Aren’t you concerned about sailing with a blind (handicapped) sailor? 全盲の(ハンディキャップのある)セイラーと航海することについて不安はありませんか?

Doug: I think it is all relative. Hiro is physically more fit than I am, mentally tougher and a more experienced sailor. From his perspective, I am a bit “handicapped”. One of the messages of this Voyage of Inspiration is that people with different backgrounds and skills can come together in common cause to achieve things. Hiro is certainly blind, but I have never thought of him as handicapped.


What is your biggest concern? いちばん心配していることは何ですか?

Doug: One might think it is a giant storm, being hit by another vessel – or a whale!- and things like that. But, one of the things I think about is the isolation. We will be far from any type of assistance and, even more concerning to me, is that we will be unable to get back to family and friends if we are needed. Another concern is the confinement. I enjoy taking long walks everyday but, obviously, that will not be possible for two months. The longest walk you can have on the boat is about ten steps!


How can the two of you sail for so long? When will you sleep and eat? 二人だけで長時間の航海をどうやって続けられるのでしょうか?睡眠や食事をとる時間はあるのでしょうか?

Doug: We will take 6 hour shifts sailing the boat and we will be together for all three meals a day. In the open ocean, other vessels are few, and we will have AIS and radar to alert us of other boats in the area.


What will you do for water and food? 水と食料はどうされますか?

Doug: The boat has a 170 gallon water tank and we will take additional water as well. Each day, we will pour out a gallon of water each into gallon containers. We will each have one (1) gallon of water each day for drinking, preparing meals and brushing our teeth. We will use saltwater to wash dishes and shower in the rain when it rains. As for food, we will take rice, pasta, canned food and freeze-dried food. For the first few weeks we will be able to eat fresh food that we will bring aboard before we depart.


Coming full circle- A return to Onahama

Hiro’s first attempt to cross the Pacific began in Onahama, Fukushima.  This is also where we intend to conclude this second attempt that will begin in San Diego.   Why Onahama?  Why not San Diego’s sister city of Yokohama or some other major port?

The reason is that this is a voyage of hope and inspiration, an attempt to show that disability and adversity will not overcome the will to succeed.  It is natural to return to where the last voyage began and show our continued support for the people of  Onahama, Fukushima and Japan generally as people still work to overcome the effects of the tsunami and its aftermath.




We took Dream Weaver to the boat yard at the end of April to have the rigger entirely replace the standing rigging (the wires that hold the mast in place) and the running rigging (the “rope”/line by which the sails are controlled).  While still in relatively good condition, these would eventually need to be replaced and we want to reduce points of potential failure that could lead to bigger problems during the voyage.

In addition to the replacements, we are also having the rigger remove the boom for the staysail.  The staysail is a smaller sail between the genoa (the sail at the front of the boat) and the mainsail (the sail that provides the most power to the boat and is attached to the mast and boom).   The staysail boom was just getting in the way and we believe we can have more flexibility, especially when tacking (moving the bow of the boat through the wind so that the sails are on the opposite side of the boat), without it.