Sakura Embarks on a 7,000-mile Expedition
Matt Rutherford and Nicole Trenholm Ocean Research Project
Matt Rutherford and Nicole Trenholm of Ocean Research Project recently embarked on a 7000-mile transpacific expedition from San Francisco to Japan. Their trip will be the first ever non-stop continent-to-continent marine survey.
They are traveling aboard Sakura, the first Harbor 29 Daysailer built by W. D. Schock Corp. in Southern California.
Sakura is the Japanese word for Cherry Blossom. The Japanese have revered these beautiful flowers for centuries. They have given gifts of Cherry Blossom trees to San Francisico and Washington, DC.
Matt and Nicole spent the days leading up to their departure outfitting and test sailing the boat.
The evening before their departure, they enjoyed a steak dinner at Marin Joe's. Their well-supplied stock of freeze-dried food will feed them throughout their voyage, but they will be looking forward to another steak dinner in Japan.
Sakura passed the Golden Gate Bridge at noon local time on Friday, April 25, 2014.
Sakura passed the Golden Gate Bridge
Sharon Guy, CLM, SD offered a heartfelt blessing to send off the expedition: "Creator God, bless this vessel, it's important mission, and Matt and Nicole. Support them, strengthen them, and bring them safely home. Amen."
Sakura was escorted out the Golden Gate by a group of well-wishers. Their fellow sailors softly whispered a simple 'Godspeed', matching the elegant benediction from Sharon Guy.
They experienced heavy sailing coming out of San Francisco, confronted by big seas, 30-knot gusts, and driving rain. The Golden Gate is famous for its rough conditions, which served as a fair test of Sakura's handling and capabilities.
Sakura bounded over the choppy waves like a greyhound. It was not long before the conditions calmed, the sun shone through the clouds, and smooth waters appeared ahead.
After that first tough half day of sailing, Matt and Nicole were greeted with clear skies and perfect 10 to 20-knot winds abeam. They encountered Pacific waters with widely spaced six foot rollers helping to carry them along to Japan.
Sakura, Matt, and Nicole started learning each other's ways in those first hours, and they passed their first test. Together, they will cross the Pacific non-stop.
Matt and Nicole while learning
Sakura will spend the next 30 - 40 days in tradewinds, surfing with the wind astern. Their course will take them about 300 miles south of Hawaii.
Sakura - Sailing Long Passage
The work of sailing a long passage is only a small part of the daily routine. Sakura's voyage is a serious scientific expedition.
They will be collecting sea surface samples, filming the expedition, and repeating the education process. "We're living in a changing economic environment; you can no longer think big boats, big crew, big budget. Instead, a non-profit should think small boat, small crew, small budget. By doing this, you not only reduce the cost of the expedition, but also the overhead."
Sakura - Matt and Nicole... Voyage mapping
Matt and Nicole begin each day of their voyage by charting their course, then preparing and deploying a trawling net that they use to collect data for their research.