Zamami Fun

Jeremy and I head off to Zamami Jima for a few days of fun.,+Shimajiri+District,+Okinawa/@26.1978192,127.2473818,22282m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x34faacb90bb22d49:0x681887c9961eb8b9!8m2!3d26.2286041!4d127.3032561 It is a 50 km sail across the wild and wistful ocean and the Norfolk Gypsy has been trembling with anticipation since I mentioned the voyage to her a few days ago.

We started well but soon the wind shifted and as usual ended up right on the nose and we labored over with many tacks before giving up and firing up the trusty 1GM. What a joy to have a reliable diesel motor. The boat also seemed sluggish into the wind and the sail sagged in a strange way. The reason will become clear later.

Going to Zamami!

Are we downhearted? No! It is late October and we are in shorts and t-shirts. Amazingly we are the only boat out there apart from ferries and stray fishing boats. Best sailing anywhere and it is our private domain.

We finally make it over to the Keramas.

We get to Zamami harbor just as it is getting dark and tie up to a convenient pontoon.

Cosy cabin
We drink beer
Home for the next few days.
Jeremy settles in for the night.
Next morning
Breakfast, SPAM sandwiches, onigiri and hot coffee

The first day’s project is to sail over to neighboring island of Tokashiki to track down a reputed Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter that I have been told is gently rotting in the harbor. As soon as we set off, the forestay tangles with the jib roller reefing set up. I cannot work out how this could happen until I look up to see a big split in the top of the mast. Disaster!

See the split. Poor Norfolk Gypsy!
There are rings on the front and back of the mast to which various halyards and the forestay are attached. The rings are held in place by bolts that go through the mast. The rings have been pulled down splitting the mast.

Back to the harbor and down comes the mast.

Thank heavens that Jeremy was with me. It was a 2 man job.

I put 4 lashings around the mast head that close up the split very nicely. Many thanks to Mr Pritchard for teaching me knots when I was 12. I also put on large washers under the rings to prevent the bolts from pulling through.

This should fix it for now but I am uncertain what to do for the long term.

Getting the mast up again was very difficult as every possible rope and wire got hopelessly tangled. No time to go to Tokashiki. The pilot cutter will have to wait.

Two dives the next morning.


Zamami is the best place to dive. The water is as clear as Bombay gin. So many turtles. Thanks to Yoishi san for the photos.

I film turtle
So many fish
Totally unconcerned by our proximity.
Such fun

The Kerama islands are the best places to sail. After the dives we take the boat out for a test run to see if the rings and lashings will hold. . Beautiful sub tropical islands, white sandy beaches, blue, blue sea, stiff breeze, not a single other boat. This was one of my best sails ever. The Norfolk Gypsy loves wind and she galloped around the islands like a colt, er that does not work, like a filly.

The mast head repair held up fine.
Gull winged between Tokashiki and Ada.

Home again on Saturday to watch England versus All Blacks. We leave at dawn and surge over to Okinawa in bright sunshine. No trouble from the mast repair.

Dawn in Zamami

Back home, we eat a huge goat stew, drink beer and fall asleep at the beginning of the 2nd half!

How can I fall asleep in an historic game? Age probably.

Here is a short video:

What a great adventure! Full screen, hi def please
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9 Responses to Zamami Fun

  1. Evan says:

    lovely!!!! thank you for sharing this perilous adventure!

  2. Joni says:

    time for some fancy carbon fiber sales, Neil!

  3. calderi says:

    An adventure for sure – and spam too. The mast is an interesting problem. I am guessing that epoxy will be the answer, perhaps with glass fibre wrap.

  4. Alan says:

    Fascinated by the way the mast has spilt. Just how does that happen in such a neat way. What is that mast made out of – polystyrene foam? Presumably it must have happened pretty quickly as you’d surely have noticed that something was wrong on earlier trips.
    Hopefully you can get it sorted properly before you set off on your voyage to Pocklington – end of June isn’t it? Presumably docking at Goole?

  5. Alan says:

    Having had a look back through the posts I can see that there was a shorter split visible on September 26th. There must be a good mechanical solution otherwise there’d be hardly any sailing boats out there!

    • Sorry for slow reply. I too have looked back on old photos and the split seems to have been gradual. I should have realized something was badly wrong when I had to keep tensioning the forestay. I never thought about looking up! Kiyuana san is very excited about the repair and is planning to sheath the masthead in titanium.

  6. calderi says:

    Alan is dead right –

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