Webb Chiles does things you can only imagine.
After a seventeen day passage from Hilton Head Island, South
Carolina, to Colon, Panama, that saw a 43 knot gale, the Bahamas
become a dangerous lee shore, failure of three tiller pilots and the
wind instruments, the port pipe berth sheer off the rivets attaching
it to the hull, and far too many ships, GANNET, my Moore 24, was
trucked across the Isthmus and is now on a mooring at the Balboa Yacht
club almost prepared for what hopefully will be the final passage of
her circumnavigation, the 3,000 mile sail partly against prevailing
wind and current to San Diego.
GANNET presented insuperable problems for making the transit in the
Panama Canal, which I have done three times previously in larger
boats: no way to feed or sleep four line handlers, no sun shade for
the advisor, no enclosed head, too small cleats for lock lines.
Another problem, speed, could have easily been solved by renting or
borrowing a bigger outboard.
I do not know if the Canal authorities would have permitted the
little boat to be towed through by another yacht. No offer of a tow
came forth, so I arranged for a cradle to be made and the truck ride.
GANNET made the fastest crossing of any sailboat—at times clocking 43
knots—and probably the most expensive. I do not yet know the final
total, but it will work out to be considerably more than $100 a mile.
The charge alone for the travel lift to put GANNET in the water was
an outrageous $856.
I will not push hard against strong wind on the sail to San Diego. I
will sail wide angles, slow down, even heave to and wait for favorable
conditions. It is possible that I will divert to Hilo, Hawaii, which
is easier to reach and where GANNET would also complete a
I will probably sail next week, sometime between March 11 and 15.
For those who might be interested is seeing what happens, here is GANNET’s
Yellowbrick tracking page.