Webb Chiles circumnavigation - the stats on his 30,000 miles / by Karl Robrock

Dear Fellow World Cruiser Owners,

At first light on Monday, April 29, GANNET and I sailed into San Diego Bay completing her first circumnavigation and my sixth.

The final passage from Balboa, Panama, to San Diego was slow and difficult, the hardest I can ever recall when there was no severe weather.  We never had more than 25 knots of wind and possibly no more than 20.  My wind instruments have died again so I can only estimate.  

What we did have was a thousand mile almost windless hole.  

As you know in light wind a Moore 24 can sail windspeed or nearly, yet that doesn’t help when windspeed is 2 knots or 0.  The most common word in the passage log is probably ‘becalmed’.  And the most common phrase:  ‘the wind headed us.’  

We had by far our slowest noon to noon run of the entire circumnavigation, only 16 miles, and I had the G2  asymmetrical up part of the day.  Ten days later we broke that regrettable record with a day’s run of only 14 miles.  Five of the six slowest weeks of the circumnavigation occurred during this passage.

The calms were followed by headwinds.  These were predictable,  but I had hoped we might have to beat only the last 800 or 1000 miles.  We did beat the last 1500.

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The daily runs  for the entire circumnavigation total 29989 miles.

The best noon to noon run was 185 miles between Marathon and Hilton Head last year.

The worst 14 miles between Balboa, Panama, and San Diego this year.

The best week 1002 miles between San Diego and Hilo, Hawaii in 2014.

The worst week 368 between Balboa and San Diego this year.

The longest passage: Darwin to Durban  5814 miles 55 days.

The shortest passage: Hilo to Honolulu 197 miles 2 days.

Not counting the anchorages while daysailing inside the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns to Cape York, Australia, or the side trip to St. Michaels, Maryland, last year, we stopped only thirteen times.  People arbitrarily divide sailors into either racers or cruisers.  A circumnavigation with only thirteen stops is not cruising.  It is not racing either.  Maybe I’m just a sailor.

2014 Hilo; Honolulu; Apia; Neiafu; Opua

2016  Bundaberg; Darwin; Durban

2017  St. Helena; St. Lucia; Marathon

2018  Hilton Head

2019  Colon/Balboa; San Diego

I believe we were under sail 302 days.

I put the masthead in the water at least three times.  The Windex was replaced in New Zealand, South Africa and St. Lucia.  The wind instruments in South Africa and St. Lucia.

I cracked the hull keel joint.  This is not a criticism, but perhaps as someone suggested proof that I sailed to the edge.

GANNET was in many gales, the two most severe while approaching New Zealand and South Africa both had 55 knot winds as officially recorded.

GANNET is presently in San Diego while I have flown home to Evanston, Illinois.  I will return to her in about six weeks.

People who passed by her on the dock last week often comment that she does not look as though she has sailed 5,000 miles this year and 30,000 in the past five.  As far as I know she has no significant damage.  However, she needs expected maintenance, particularly in what I call The Great Cabin.

It is said that artists should always be striving to create a masterpiece.  Marine architects and boat builders are artists as well as engineers and craftsmen.  In the Moore 24 George Olson and Ron Moore created a masterpiece as proven by all your race wins continuing through the present on a more than forty year old design and by hull number 40, GANNET, built as an around the buoys racer, sailing around the world.

We have great boats.  I trust that yours brings you the joy and pride and satisfaction that GANNET brings me.

Sail on.

Webb unable to withhold a smile. Image courtesy of Latitude 38

Webb unable to withhold a smile. Image courtesy of Latitude 38

Gannet back where she started

Gannet back where she started

Back in the comforts of home

Back in the comforts of home

Webb’s surreal blog can be found here: http://self-portraitinthepresentseajournal.blogspot.com/