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News from Japan

On Friday the 13th whilst riding out a small storm the top pintel on Mrs D's rudder sheared, causing damage to the transom and destroying any steerage capability. Although I was able to repair and secure the damage to some extent over the next 24 hours, it was obvious that although safe, there was no possibility of navigating a reliable course to San Francisco.

The net result of this was recovery to the Japanese mainland, rather than risk a more serious situation developing as I limped back to Japan, completly dependent on the winds and currents as Typhoon season developed.

Although devestated to end my project in this way, I am happy that I made the seaman like and correct decisions with regard to my situation, averting a possible emergency at a later point which may have put myself and more importantly others at risk.

Until the equipment failure the voyage was proving to be a fantastic success and my desire to complete this trip remains undiminished, my only regret is the many people who have supported and followed my project who have not recieved the conclusion that I'd hoped to give them and that they deserved.

I will be working towards putting that right as soon as possible,

Regards Mick Dawson


June 08

Enclosing file is a chart showing a meantime Kuroshio Current off Japan. Mick's rowing line is almost over lapped with this chart. That is showing he caught well this strong stream. Earlier arrival might be expected.

Cheers, Yutaka Furukawa


June 03


My name is Yutaka Furukawa, Mick's friend in Choshi Marina. I will inform you that Mick Dawson pulled the boat out to sea yesterday on June 2 at 9:15 am Japan time successfully.

In the morning, the Pacific Ocean granted Mick's pray and presented him a very calm, flat surface and gentle breeze, and he bent to the oars headding up to San Francisco at last, however, there is a worrying small Typhoon in near Phillipine. He also bent to the oars guarded by Japan Coast Guard to be out of off 25nm shipping line before getting dark. According to the weather forecast, the typhoon is unexpectedly rapidly increasing the speed and the boat will probably be in the mid of the typhoon the day after tomorrow. If he keeps rowing on, this must be his first trial in this passage.

I am enclosing some pictures of the morning and a part of his life in the Marina by next email. If you have any question or matters to ask me, don't hesitate to let me know.

Best regards, Yutaka Furukawa


June 01

After last week and having to postpone departure at the last minute, the last few days have been quite tough. Didn't want to tempt fate with another departure date until it was all but certain, as you read this I will finally be on my way. I look forward to relaying the adventures that lay ahead, thank you all for the support that has enabled me to get to this point, I will endeavour to be worthy of it. Don't forget those Dean Martin moments.

Cheers Mick.


May 27

Desperate to get going and will go the first glimmer of a way out which I know will come. Hell Christmas in San Francisco may be just as good as Christmas in Barbados,

Cheers Mick


May 26

Sorry to say bad news. Will turn the beacon off today, forecast has changed and there's no way out at the moment, things are also complicated with a possible typhoon forecast for this area by the weekend (Tropical storm by the time it gets this far North). Very tough at the moment having to delay when pretty much in the starting gate, still if it was easy there'd be a fleet of rowing boats in Choshi marina. The gap will come shortly and then the wait will be forgotten,



May 25

At long last a gap in the weather that will not only allow me to escape from the Japanese coast but also from the relentless barbs of the Ocean Rowing Fashion Police (See Forum). Tuesday morning (Monday night UK time), will see the start of my row. Looking forward to what lies ahead, hope to make it as interesting for those following my trip as it undoubtedly will be for me completing it,

Cheers Mick


May 24

I'll be off Tuesday morning, seem to be getting the gap that I was looking for and desperate to get started now, I've got a world cup to get back for. Beacons fitted and working, hope they're going to trace a reasonably direct route across the 'ogin' - big help especially for the people at home.



May 22

Typhoon has reared it's ugly head well southeast of here, hopefully not a big problem for me if it behaves as predicted, going for departure either the 27th or the 28th barring a complete change in the weather situation, will confirm that by Sunday/Monday

Everything is in order and just counting down to next week now.

Good news about Teddy, amazing that after bumping into one another in the Atlantic we're going to find ourselves out alone on seperate oceans at the same time, fantastic - my best wishes to him.


May 18

Lee Bruce from Tactical weather informs me the guys to blame for my extended stay in Japan are called Fujin and Kama kazi (Yes I know, that name rings a bell). They are the Japanese Gods of the wind, Fujin is a 'leopard skin toga' wearing devil with a bag of wind over his shoulder (Not westerly wind). I can relate to that, although I think leopard skin is a little seventies. Kama Kazi I think we're all familiar with and requires no introduction.

At present neither of these characters are smiling too kindly on me and I still wait patiently for the green light to get this show on the road. It will come though and as with every aspect of ocean rowing patience is a prerequisite, if not my greatest virtue.

Tim and Dom have been dropping me lines from time to time with words of support and the ocean rowing fraternity in general have all been in touch with words of encouragement and good wishes (Much appreciated it's a great help). Tim had a particularly succinct and acurate three word assessment of our Japanese Gods, but sadly I feel the ORS web page is not the place to share this with you.

Weather apart everything else is going great, I've had the opportunity to put all the finishing touches together in slow time with no real pressure (Not much then). Everything is tested and retested and working fine, the boat is trimmed and rowing great and most importantly all of the Dean Martin albums are playing happily on the MP3 player. (Cheers Bruv, quality vibes collection).

The people of Japan and Choshi in particular continue to excell in their hospitality and all that remains is that elusive final peice in the jigsaw a weather window out. Any body out there got Fujins ear, would appreciate a word on my behalf.

Hope to have some good news soon,

Cheers Mick.

PS Hope you all have a top night at the ocean rowing bash this weekend.


May 8

Sat in Choshi in a raging gale at the moment (May have brought wrong brochure with me) so no move yet, hope to see conditions improving the other side of this low. 

Can confirm Dom Mees comments on the forum, waiting to start is the hardest part and I am well familiar with the 'huge cliff' he's talking about standing on. That said wouldn't swap this for the world (Mabe 48 hours of westerlys but not the world), very confident and excited about what lies ahead.

Hope to get a date for departure to you pretty soon and Dom, looking forward to leaping off that cliff pretty soon mate,

Cheers Mick


May 4

After many problems and much stress and lots of hard work, have finally negotiated Japanese procedures and holidays and now have Mrs D sitting proudly in Choshi marina. Welcome has been incredible and many of the locals wish to pass on their regards to Tim and Dom, they are both fondly remembered here.

You guys, like me, will have to be patient now while we wait for a suitable weather window for departure. Departing at the right time is crucial this is not Tenerife.

Will update you with any changes,


April 29

Delay in boat reaching Japan has taken customs procedures into a public holiday, so a slight complication in getting things sorted. Shall be moving to Choshi tomorrow, customs willing, with 'MRS D', and shortly be ready to begin rowing. Have been engaging in as many dangerous sports as possible in Tokyo to find an honourable way out, but no luck so far, looks like I'll 
have to go. 

More news when I have it, 
cheers Mick.


April 26

There will be no move before May 2nd - 3rd, no problems, boat delayed but weather poor any how, so all going well. There are much worse places to be delayed......


April 23

The boat is arriving a little late and the earliest I will start getting her through customs is the 28th. Not too much of a problem as there are storms out in the Pacific right now, that wasn't in the brochure. Chilling in Tokyo at the moment.


April 22

Arrived Tokyo OK although not without some amusing complications (you'll have to read the book) and so far so good. Will find out today the news on the boat but I'm hopeful that it may be quite painless, we shall see.


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