A Single Wave: Stories of Storms and Survival

Overview

Webb Chiles first set out in 1973 in Egregious, a 37-foot cutter. His aim: a solo circumnavigation via Cape Horn. Despite frequent rigging damage and a hull cracked in a gale, he became the first American to round Cape Horn.

Webb looks for new challenges and sets another record. He is the first person to cross the Pacific in an open boat, Chidiock Tichborne. On the way from Fiji to Papua New Guinea, Chidiock is pitch-poled and swamped, leaving Webb adrift for two weeks. He ...

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Overview

Webb Chiles first set out in 1973 in Egregious, a 37-foot cutter. His aim: a solo circumnavigation via Cape Horn. Despite frequent rigging damage and a hull cracked in a gale, he became the first American to round Cape Horn.

Webb looks for new challenges and sets another record. He is the first person to cross the Pacific in an open boat, Chidiock Tichborne. On the way from Fiji to Papua New Guinea, Chidiock is pitch-poled and swamped, leaving Webb adrift for two weeks. He repairs the boat and almost completes a second circumnavigation, but the boat capsizes during a hurricane in the Canary Islands.

He buys a sloop, Resurgam, in 1983, completes a third circumnavigation, and continues sailing, rounding Cape Horn. In 1992, Resurgam sinks off Ft. Lauderdale and Webb swims for 26 hours, until he's rescued by fishermen. He picks up the pieces of his life, buys a new boat, finds a new love, and is ready for new challenges.

A man relentlessly driven to discover his limits, he pushes beyond them. Webb Chiles is a true adventurer who writes poignantly about his experiences.

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Editorial Reviews

Latitudes & Attitudes
A very good read for those who've been there, and for those who are going.
Ocean Navigator
If you have followed Webb Chiles' adventures over the years this book will come as a bit of a surprise: Is this guy still alive? you might well ask. He is older now, but no more wise, apparently, since he still puts himself in ridiculously dangerous situations. Every one of his stories is laced with fatalistic humor that borders on a death wish.
But he is an inspiration, since he pushes the envelope for the rest of us. Chiles has crossed countless oceans in all manner of improbable craft, including an 18-foot open Drascombe Lugger, which he sailed within 3000 miles of a circumnavigation, before giving up on the idea in the Canaries.
In A Single Wave, Chiles does not disappoint those expecting more madness. As he points out in the foreword, "A peculiarity of human nature is that no one much cares to read about happy families or fine sailing. . .So here are the dramatic highlights of a quarter century in three boats."
We almost lose our hero in this book. After his boat sinks in the Gulf Stream, the lights of Fort Lauderdale twinkling in the distance, he floats without life jacket and dressed only in a shirt and shorts for more than 24 hours until he is fished out by a passing boat.
Sailing Inland & Offshore
Webb Chiles first set out in 1973 in EGREGIOUS, a 37-foot cutter. His aim: a solo circumnavigation via Cape Horn. Despite frequent rigging damage and a hull cracked in a gale, he became the first American to round Cape Horn alone.
He looked for new challenges, and set another record. He was the first person to cross the Pacific in an open boat, CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, an 18-foot open undecked yawl. On the way from Fiji to Papua New Guinea, CHIDIOCK was pitch-poled and swamped. He was adrift for two weeks. Reaching Vanuatu he was swept over the reef and landed on the beach. He repaired his boat and sailed on to new adventures. He almost completed his second circumnavigation, but the boat capsized during a hurricane on the Canary Islands, but he walked away.
He then bought a 36-foot sloop RESURGAM in 1983, and completed his third circumnavigation. He continued sailing, again around Cape Horn.
In 1992, off Fort Lauderdale he "pulled the plug at midnight" and watched RESURGAM go down. For 26 hours he swam for his life, eventually being rescued by fishermen.
He picked up the pieces of his life, bought a new boat, found a new love and was ready for new challenges again.
This true adventurer writes poignantly about his experiences which make exceptionally good reading.
Booknews
A world-class sailor who plans to resume circumnavigation quests relates the story of his other voyages around the world: from becoming in 1973 the first American to round Cape Horn solo, to barely surviving the 1992 sinking of his ship. Lacks references. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
Kirkus Reviews
Bad days sailing, told with aristocratic though strangely appealing understatement, by Chiles (The Ocean Waits, 1984). "Most people most of the time seek the safety and stability necessary to perpetuate the species, but the species also needs a few originals," says Chiles, casting his lot with the latter. For him that meant sailing around the globe a few times and running into some particularly rude situations that he subsequently wrote about for various sailing publications. "I am best known for those tales of survival," and so as not to disappoint his readers, he musters here a good handful of scary encounters while single-handedly sailing Egregious, Chidiock Tichborne, and Resurgam. Not one for melodrama (readers will more likely sense that he is downplaying the terrifying qualities of his adventures), Chiles offers a low-key account of being pitchpoled in the Southern Ocean, swamping his open-decked yawl, and drifting for two weeks to the New Hebrides. Then there was that nasty bit of wind, so outrageous it actually erased the waves and flattened the sea. And that near-mincing upon a group of sea rocks called the Noises, and those irritating spells of madness, "if by madness one means the acceptance as normal of conditions that are far from acceptable," like being gale-slammed in a small boat, which is as common for Chiles as paring his fingernails. How about being dropped in the Gulf Stream after the sinking of Resurgam, swimming and floating for 26 hours and 125 miles, the salt water eating his throat and eyes, before rescue? "The day should have been as hard as it was," he points out. Of course. Chiles is such a winsome and sincere antique, when he says something like "sail on,Egregious, sail on," it comes across as endearing rather than embarrassing. Only the most cynical wouldn't wish Chiles the best and take pleasure in his capers: sail on, sailor, sail on. (maps, not seen)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574090727
  • Publisher: Sheridan House, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,426,126
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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