Further to my previous Kirk’s Take, about Japan becoming a “hot” cruising destination, in 2024 there will be two rallies to help cruisers experience the wonders of Japan’s oceans. And the two rallies will come together at Iki Island to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC).
All three activities highlight the fact that Japan is one of the world’s great cruising destinations. With its friendly people, fascinating history and culture, beautiful scenery, and delicious cuisine—and without the crowding and safety issues that plague many otherwise-wonderful destinations—Japan is a uniquely delightful place to cruise.
The Japan Yacht Rally, the Setouchi International Yacht Rally, and the OCC 70th Anniversary Celebration are all not-for-profit activities—the participation fees cover only a portion of the total costs, with sponsors and the organizers covering the shortfalls.
Japan Yacht Rally
The inaugural, annual Japan Yacht Rally (JYR), being organized by Konpira Consulting, will take participants from the southern island of Okinawa to Hokkaido in the north. This is planned especially to help cruisers safely make the most of their relatively short time in Japan while heading to Alaska and/or other North America destinations. For cruisers who want to stay in the country longer, the JYR will help them get familiar with the unique aspects of cruising Japan so that they are more comfortable cruising on their own after the Rally.
The JYR will be a three-stop, two-month event, with the schedule as follows.
- Yonabaru Marina, Okinawa: March 29 – 31 (cruisers are advised to arrive a few days early to get ready to cruise Japan)...then 600NMs to:
- Iki Island, off the NW coast of Kyushu: April 26 – 28...then 1,000NMs to:
- Otaru Marina, Hokkaido: May 30-June 1 (clear-out from Wakkanai, 1-2 days north of Otaru).
That is a fairly tight schedule, especially the second leg, but that’s the weather-determined reality of when one can enter southern Japan and should leave Hokkaido for Alaska and beyond. To help each participating boat keep to that schedule, the JYR organizer will provide customized advice on moorage options and recommended overnight passages.
At each stop there will be a potluck dinner, local tour, dinner/party with members of the local community, and a pre-departure breakfast.
The JYR participation fee will be ¥200,000/boat (and 10% tax), which will cover:
- Clear-in and clear-out support, any time within a month before and a month after the Rally;
- A Japan courtesy flag, Konpira Consulting burgee, and Rally T-shirt;
- Advice on preparing oneself and one’s boat for cruising Japan;
- Detailed information on moorage options (primary and back-ups) along the JYR route;
- Information on weather, currents, tides, and locations of aquaculture areas as the participants head to each rendezvous point;
- Tours, dinners, and other activities at each location;
- Three nights of moorage at each location;
- 25 hours of personalized support (time over that would be billed at ¥4,000/hour).
For More Information
For more information or to apply, please contact Kirk Patterson of Konpira Consulting at email@example.com.
Setouchi International Yacht Rally
With a 10-year history, the Setouchi International Yacht Rally brings together Japanese and foreign cruisers to leisurely explore the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. In 2024, for the first time, the Setouchi Rally will start in Iki Island, to rendezvous with participants in the Japan Yacht Rally and to join the OCC 70th Anniversary Celebration.
The 2024 Setouchi Rally, organized by the Japan Ocean Cruising Club, will be a one-month event with six stops, as follows.
- Iki Island (April 26-28), then 150NMs to:
- Beppu Kitahama Marina (May 6-8), then 130NMs to:
- Nio Marina (May 11-13), then 25NMs to:
- Yuge Sea Station (May 17-20), then 15NMs to:
- Onomichi Sea Station (May 23-24), then 5NMs to:
- Bella Vista Marina (May 25-27).
Cruising between each stop, there will be ample time for visiting other locations and for sightseeing.
At each location there will be opportunities to interact with residents, tours to local historic and cultural sights, and plenty of free time to explore on one’s own (or just relax). A highlight of every Setouchi Rally is a chance to interact with students at Yuge College.
The Setouchi Rally participation fee will be ¥50,000 (monohull) or ¥90,000 (catamaran) plus ¥65,000/person, and that will cover:
- Moorage costs in each location;
- Participation in all tours, dinners, and parties;
- Rally T-shirt and burgee, international flags….and more.
In addition, cruisers have the option of going to just some of the Setouchi Rally stops and skipping others. In that case, there would be a separate fee for each stop.
For More Information
For more information and to apply, see the Setouchi International Yacht Rally website.
Doing Both Rallies
Participants in the Japan Yacht Rally have the option of splitting off from the group at Iki island and joining the Setouchi Rally. They could then continue to enjoy more sailing in Japan in 2024, leaving their boat in Japan over the winter, and then rejoining the JYR at Iki Island in 2025 and continuing on to Hokkaido. There would be a ¥20,000 fee to take that option, in addition to the two rally participation fees.
Ocean Cruising Club 70th Anniversary Event
The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), headquartered in England, encourages long-distance sailing in small boats. It is the true “Home Port” for the ocean-going sailor. With 3,500 members around the world, the OCC will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2024. See OCC’s website for more information.
When the two rallies meet at Iki, there will be a special OCC 70th Anniversary Event. Bringing together participants in both rallies, as well as OCC members living in or cruising/visiting Japan, it will be an opportunity to celebrate OCC’s 70 years of promoting safe and enjoyable worldwide cruising.
The OCC 70th Anniversary Event will be held on the evening of April 27. It will be free to all members of the two rallies and to all OCC members.
For more information on the OCC 70th Anniversary Event, please contact Kirk Patterson (OCC Japan Port Officer) at firstname.lastname@example.org.