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.
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