A quick note from one of our all-time favorite long distance single handed sailors, Webb Chiles.
I’m back in Opua, New Zealand, having arrived last Friday night aboard THE HAWKE OF TUONELA from Bora-Bora on the final leg of my fifth circumnavigation. This one was west via Australia, the Cape of Good Hope and Panama, and took me just under eighteen months, from April 21, 2008 to October 10, 2009.
It was also my fastest with a sailing time of 193 days 10 hours, beating my then world record time for a solo circumnavigation in a monohull of 203 days set on my first voyage eastabout via Cape Horn in 1975-76 in EGREGIOUS.
Both boats are 37’ IOR designs. EGREGIOUS an Ericson 37; THE HAWKE OF TUONELA an Heritage OneTon. While my time in THE HAWKE OF TUONELA is far from a world record now, it might well be a record for boats more than thirty years old–she was launched in January 1976–and costing less than $25,000–I bought her as a stripped out racer for $22,500 in 1993.
The present cutting edge boats may go three times faster, but they cost fifty to one hundred times more. And there is some satisfaction in setting a personal best in old age. I’ll turn 68 next month. The photo is of THE HAWKE OF TUONELA on her home mooring at Opua. My passage logs can be found at www.inthepresentsea.com.