On April 21, the Thomas was loaded aboard the S.S. Shawmut, bound for Kobe Japan. During the crossing, Schuster went down into the cargo hold to inspect the Flyer. He had previously removed the metal fenders and replaced them with leather aprons to reduce weight. Before loading the Thomas on board, the aprons had been removed to prevent damage and were placed under a tarp. When George lifted the trap, the leather fenders were gone! He immediately went to the ship’s Captain who reluctantly explained that his Chinese crew had taken the leather to make new sandals. The Captain quickly ordered the Ship’s carpenter to make new fenders from wood and canvas.