Tracking a Solo Sailor

Webb Chiles continues to make fast miles on latest voyage to Darwin, Australia. "At Sea" from our June 27, 2008, CW Reckonings

En route from Cairns to Darwin, Austalia, Webb Chiles passed the idyllic Portland Roads.
En route from Cairns to Darwin, Austalia, Webb Chiles passed the idyllic Portland Roads.Www.inthepresentsea.com

Sailing vet Webb Chiles made it to Darwin, Australia, a bit faster than he'd thought he would, making landfall last month after a fast 700-mile nonstop sail from Cape York, the northernmost point on the Australian continent. Though he found Darwin to be less changed than Cairns, he says it's "no longer a frontier town."

Webb spent his time in Darwin prepping The Hawke of Tuonela, his 37-foot Heritage One-Ton sloop, for another long haul at sea. After reinserting the transducer in its through-hull fitting, pumping the bilge, and determining that the stuffing-box leak was decreasing, he set sail June 20 for the 945-mile trek west across the Timor Sea, bound for the island of Bali. It was exactly two months to the day that he'd left his home port of Opua, in New Zealand's Bay of Islands.

Webb's Indonesian cruising permit starts on June 29, so he figures he'll get to Bali on the 29 or 30, though it'll be later if he gets becalmed. He left Darwin with The Hawke of Tuonela's fuel tank 90-percent full, so he can motor for a total of 200 miles if needed, which is good, because he really wants to get to Bali before his wife, Carol, arrives by plane.

Webb will post another blog on his website (www.inthepresentsea.com/blog/) after he makes landfall in Bali. Until then, log on to see where he's been and where he's headed next.