roughly the same design concept. I didn't have a problem with either. The key is to sail with whatever boat you have. For my fifth circumnavigation, with the Heritage One Tonner Hawk, I just wanted to go sailing, and was back in 18 months. I actually ended up racing my own time — from when I sailed Egregious and beat Chichester's time, just over 200 days — and I beat it. But by then the singlehanded circumnavigation records had been creamed. Hawk ended up on a mooring in Opua, New Zealand. That's as good as place as there is in the world to have a boat on a mooring. Opua is beautiful, the sailing is wonder ful, and the people are great. 38: Were any of the boats more difficult to go around in than the others? WC: The unballasted 900-lb Chidiock Tichborne was a true open boat, so that was an entirely different experience. I never wanted a small boat just because it was a small boat. There's a guy building an egg-shaped 12-ft "ocean-going boat." What will she do, two knots? Well, that's not sailing, that's drifting. When Chidiock flipped between Fiji and Vanuatu, she remained gunwales deep with water that I couldn't get out, so I pumped up my inflatable and got into it, and we drifted 300 miles together at one knot. But that's not sailing. Chidiock was a good boat. After I left San Diego, I made the Marquesas in 34 days, which was only two or three days longer than it took most 40-footers. My best run with her was just under 150 miles — and I count noon to noon, not just the best 24 hours. Yawl rigged, she was the best boat I've had for heaving to. She had a furling jib — my first one because they were new then and I didn't trust them — so all I had to do to heave to was furl the jib, drop the main, and flatten the mizzen. All of which I could do from the cockpit. I had to heave to once during my attempted 4,000-mile passage from Singapore to Aden. I'd gotten into a blow, and while hove to averaged three knots backward! 38: Did you have engines on these boats? WC: Egregious and Chidiock didn't, but Resurgam and Hawk had two-cylinder diesels that I used for making electricity. Dur-
ing my fifth circumnavigation, I used a total of 40 gallons of diesel, and that included my transit of the Panama Canal. My attitude toward electricity is to reduce consumption, not increase the capability to produce more. That's why I've never had refrigeration on any of my circumnavigations. Running an engine every day to keep things refrigerated would ruin my whole experience of being out there. These days most of the world's ports are set up for vessels with engines, which is why I have a small electric motor for Gannet. 38: Your bike is your means of transportation in San Diego. You're lean and look fit. How is your health? WC: It's good, although I have gone blind in one eye. It's a combination of a detached retina, which was surgically repaired, then glaucoma. It's not clear whether the eye will ultimately have to go. 38: When do you plan to leave San Diego? WC: I was going to leave San Diego in June, but I have history in San Diego, and I'm finding that I quite like it here. So now I'm thinking I may take off a year from June instead of this coming June. I'm about to turn 70, so there's always a chance I won't be around a year from June. But either I'll have time or won't have to worry about it. 38: Has anyone gone around more times than you? WC: A Japanese man has. But nobody has gone around more times who hasn't been sponsored or hasn't raced around. I have no shore teams and get no assistance. My motivation is that I just love ocean sailing. For example, I'm going to go sailing tomorrow [the forecast was for rain] and I'm going to go sailing around something. Maybe Catalina. I'm not going to stop there, I just want to sail around something, then have a nice downwind sail back to get a better feel for the Moore. 38: You're a Zen sailor! WC: It's funny, but lots of people who sail don't really like sailing that much, or even being on the ocean. But with regard to the itinerary, I'll probably start by sailing to Hawaii. I've already gone around westward three times, December, 2012 •
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The December 2012 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.