STORM PASSAGE: Alone Around Cape Horn by Webb Chiles
Kirkus Star

STORM PASSAGE: Alone Around Cape Horn

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In these log entries, from October 18, 1975, until 278 days later, Webb Chiles anticipates living intensely and fulfilling a dream: to sail his 37-foot fiberglass cutter Egregious around the world and become ""the first American to round Cape Horn alone, complete one of the longest solo passages of all time, and make the fastest solo circumnavigation ever in a monohull."" He does it all, He takes you on the voyage and fairly drives you mad with choppy narration as he sails from San Diego to Auckland to Papeete to San Diego--having failed twice before. His main theme: victory or death, and triumph over previous failure and continuing disaster. He manages to avoid his nautical GÖtterdÄmmerung, despite three times capsizing with his mast in the soup. His soul grows with every squall, the writing grows more pinched, the tempo rises, crescendo upon crescendo when ""the white panthers of the sea come out"" (breakers) and--around Cape Horn--albatrosses skim the troughs far below the crests he rides. And he's out there alone, bailing for weeks, eventually completing 38,000 miles, his actual circumnavigation record being set in 203 days. A solid, reasoning romantic who can turn vast nether pains into honest words.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 1977
Publisher: Times Books (formerly Quadrangle/NY Times)