Webb Chiles has sailed more than almost anyone and writes about it better. He has been called "the greatest living writer in the sailing world."
THE FIFTH CIRCLE is the passage log of his fifth circumnavigation, made solo in his 37' sloop, THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, at age 67-68, when he raced against himself to beat the time of his then world record setting first circumnavigation thirty years earlier. There is a wealth of information in his log for those who dream of sailing oceans themselves, and a beautifully direct account of his experience for all who are interested in solitude, simplicity and the sea.
Webb Chiles makes his voyages on his own, without sponsorship, shore teams, PR agents, or any way to call for outside help. When he sails, he leaves the land behind as completely as did those who ventured to sea two hundred years ago. One journalist wrote of him, "Perhaps never in the history of seafaring has anyone done so much with so little." Others have called him the bravest sailor they have ever met, a claim he denies. "Courage," says Chiles, "is doing something you are afraid to do. People mistakenly consider me brave because I do things they are afraid to do. I have nerve, which is the willingness to take calculated risks. And I have never taken an uncalculated risk."
Webb Chiles' two most famous lines are: 'a sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind." And, "Live passionately, even if it kills you, because something is going to kill you anyway." He has tried to live up to his words.
On the introductory page of his website, Webb Chiles writes: People who know of me at all probably do so as a sailor; but I have always thought of myself as an artist, and I believe that the artist's defining responsibility is to go to the edge of human experience and send back reports.
THE FIFTH CIRCLE is one of those reports.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a log book, it's fascinating, but as a book it's a little boring. Webb Chiles has written some excellent accounts of his many voyages and I thoroughly enjoy his writing. If you start this bearing in mind that it is a log, you will find it enjoyable and very informative.
Having found Webbs other books - THE OPEN BOAT and THE OCEAN WAITS - such a fascinating read - setting off around the world in an open dinghy just to see whether or not it could be done, beautifully captured with a wonderful narrative of his various adventures along the way (!) - I must admit that this latest book had somehow lost the magic of his earlier voyages. To be honest, I haven't actually got further than the first twenty pages, or so, having put it down twice already and gone on to other things, proof, perhaps (if any were needed), that he seems to have run out of steam a bit on this one. I dare say that I shall pick it up again in due course with a view to finishing it, but I can't see that happening anytime soon! By comparison, I couldn't put his other books down, so good were they! If this is your first encounter with this particular author, try the other two books mentioned above first as they make fascinating reading of a true-life adventure with all its ups and downs!
I found that uncertain started. I had a hard time putting the book down, I think it would have been more enjoyable if some maps were included. As for myself, I reverted to an artless in order to follow his passage. This made. Reading much more enjoyable.....t
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