Sailing Vet in the Midst of Another Extended Cruise

Webb Chiles doesn't let age slow him down. "At Sea" from our May 29, 2008, CW Reckonings

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Earlier this spring, Webb Chiles departed Opua (above), an island off New Zealand, bound for Cairns, Australia.Www.inthepresentsea.com

Most longtime readers of Cruising World are familiar with solo sailor and circumnavigator Webb Chiles, who's contributed to this magazine for years. Despite Webb's advancing years (see "On Becoming an Old Sailor," March 2008), he's off on another extended journey on The Hawke of Tuonela, his 37-foot Heritage One-Ton sloop. He left his beloved Opua in the Bay of Islands off the North Island of New Zealand, on April 20, bound for Cairns, Australia. He estimated the approximately 2,000-nautical-mile journey would take him two to three weeks, and sure enough, he arrived in Cairns on May 7, which he found quite changed from when he first sailed there in 1981 aboard Chidiock Tichborne.

He cast off his lines in Cairns on May 13, and planned to daysail inside the reef the 400 miles to Cape York, the northernmost point on the Australian continent. From Cape York, he plans to sail the 700 miles west to Darwin nonstop, which should take about three to four weeks. He's been posting his progress on his website (www.inthepresentsea.com/blog). Look for Webb's next entry when he makes landfall in Darwin in early June. To catch up on his adventures since the start of his trip, log onto his website. You'll think you're along for the ride.