Over 3.5 years ago, I received an email saying that they were an American-flagged boat heading to Okinawa from Shanghai. They expected to arrive in about three days and wanted my help with the clear-in procedures. They planned to spend a few weeks “diving” in the Okinawa area and then would continue on to her homeport of San Francisco.
In that email, there was no mention of the name, type, or size of boat. But, using the email address, I was able to find the boat, at which point I said “Holy S**t”. The boat was a massive 110’ power catamaran named Cheyenne. She was previously a sailboat known as Play Station, skippered and owned by the late Steve Fossett, designed for round-the-world racing, and with several ocean-speed records to brag about. She was converted to a power catamaran so as to serve as the mothership for a two-man, deep-diving submersible used for ocean exploration.
So the “diving” mentioned in that first email was much more than a few people splashing around with snorkel gear!!
The “few weeks” stay in Okinawa turned into a couple of months, with the crew going home for the Christmas holidays. And then Covid hit, with Cheyenne in Yonabaru and the owner and crew scattered around the world. And that’s when I got into the boat management business.
With the excellent, dedicated support of Akiko Honma, whom I met when I was in Okinawa helping another client and who has since become a highly valued Konpira Consulting employee, we have taken care of Cheyenne for the past 3.5 years. That has involved putting out a half-dozen emergency dock lines and agnostically praying each time a typhoon threatened; arranging for regular hull cleanings; maintaining the electrical systems; preventing mold from growing on everything; and much more. It has also included dealing with the death of the president of the company that owns Cheyenne; shipping the submersible back to the United States; and interacting with many, often-perplexed, government officials.
Fast forward to today, and I’m delighted to report that Cheyenne was returned to her owner, passing under the Golden Gate Bridge on August 3 at 22:00 local time, 25 days after leaving Yonabaru Marina (about a week ahead of schedule). Attached are two photos of Cheyenne leaving Yonabaru and one of her arriving in San Francisco.
I want to take this opportunity to give special thanks to the delivery captain, Patrick Wiederkehr, for spending three hard months getting the boat ready for the passage and for being a masterful skipper, as well as to his crew members, Fabio and Ian. Also special thanks to Akiko Honma, not just for taking care of Cheyenne for 3.5 years but also for supporting Pat's repair/maintenance work and for dealing with government bureaucrats. I also want to express my appreciation to Yonabaru Marina for their patience and assistance over the years, as well as to the many people who helped Akiko take care of Cheyenne.
Cheyenne was the fourth, and last, client boat trapped in Japan by Covid. Getting each of them out of the country required patience, persistence, and creativity — and the support of many people along the way — but I'm glad we are now back to providing "normal" support to help clients enjoy the wonders of cruising Japan.