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Storm Passage: Alone Around Cape Horn Hardcover – September 1, 1977


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; First Edition edition (September 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812907035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812907032
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,343,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Briefly in the Third Person:

Webb Chiles is a writer and a sailor, an artist of words and wind. Married six times, he has lived with passion on land as well as water and at one time liked to believe himself an artist of women, too, but this may have been a delusion. As a writer: six books and hundreds of articles published. As a sailor: five circumnavigations and several world records; and long ago he became the first American to sail alone around Cape Horn. He wanted to live an epic life. Perhaps he has. Read his books and decide for yourself.


At Greater Length in the First:

Twice in my life I have lost everything.

Once the loss occurred over a period of years while I was sailing CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, an 18' open boat, west around the world. When I was falsely imprisoned as a spy in Saudi Arabia in 1982, I did not own a single object, not a teaspoon or a t-shirt, that I had owned when I sailed from San Diego, California, in 1978.

The second loss was as complete but took place during a single night in 1992 when I sank the 36' sloop, RESURGAM, off the coast of Florida, following which I floated and swam for 26 hours and was carried more than 125 miles by the Gulf Stream before reaching an anchored fishing vessel.

I mention this only partly in pride that I lived on the edge and risked everything for so long--as I once wrote: almost dying is a hard way to make a living--but also because it explains omissions. Possessions can usually be replaced, but some of my writing and many photographs were lost and can't be.

"Old men should be explorers." I first read that decades ago in a book by Jan de Hartog, but subsequently came across it in T. S. Eliot's FOUR QUARTETS, which predates Hartog by several decades. I don't know if there is an even earlier source.

Now that I am almost seventy, those words are even more true.

For the past several years I have divided my time between being with Carol, an architect and my wife of sixteen years, in a condominium in Evanston, Illinois, and my 37' sloop, THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, in New Zealand's Bay of Islands. But recently I have been thinking of living on the edge again. "Small" and "age" are edges. So I have just bought a 24' sloop, possibly for my next voyage. Having completed circumnavigations in four successive decades--two in the 00s, I'd like to make it five.

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. My books are among those reports.

The photo was taken in 1992. That is the way I would like to be remembered.

For more information please visit: www.inthepresentsea.com

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 38 customer reviews
Could be a little less lengthy.
Mike Gemus
Well written and engaging narrative of Webb's journey.
bill leach
A great read, captivating and hard to put down.
Vincent Miceli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rudi Zimmerer on December 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A guy driven from his desire to navigate around the world with a fast mono hull....ends in chaos. He could not understand that proper preparation for such a long tour is a must. Even when he had to repair his yacht in Tahiti, he had not the patience to make the repairing proper, so he failed again. This book is a must for everybody to read, who likes to navigate around the world. Everybody can learn from his mistakes.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Scott C on January 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When the story centers on the actual voyage itself and its many challenges, it essentially works. The main problem I had with "Storm Passage" was the fact that the writer, "Webb", comes off as a self-absorbed, pompous windbag. He wines about EVERYTHING. And alternates in personality between "victim", "worldly and cultured "gentleman" and "narcissistic bore bursting with boneheaded pride". He will also inexplicably throw in descriptions about himself out of nowhere. -At one point mentioning his "full lips" and his "cleft chin" (which he says is his best feature). Really? Hmm. So, any interest in the story of the voyage (s) is literally sucked dry by the fact that you have to hang out with this egotistical and largely miserable person. It's too bad really, because his voyage and his achievements are extraordinary. Who knows, maybe in the years since this account he grew up a little bit.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stevie-Z on December 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Webb's writing is beautiful and his sailing experience is amazing, relevant, and important. He offers the PDF free on his website inthepresentsea.com and reading this will simply want to wish for more of his work. Webb is a philosopher and writer first. As a tinkerer and fixer, I was initially frustrated with his lack of mechanical abilities...just push through that and accept him for what he is.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Craig Bowman on April 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read tons of sailing books and I found this author spent far too much time complaining about having to bail his constantly leaking boat when he passes dozens, if not hundreds, of ports along the way that he could have stopped at to get it fixed. If you chose not to fix something then stop complaining about it page after page. Since he seemed bent on not stopping, the book lacked interesting stories of people and places he visited along the way and we were stuck listening to a guy give a daily log of the weather, his thoughts and complaints of how hard his trip was and how poorly built his boat was. It was just interesting enough for me to finish reading it, but I was glad when it was finally over. Others seemed to give it good reviews but it just wasn't my type of book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book gave me confidance in the Ericson 37, which my family owns and often sail in Lake Huron. After learning about some of Webb's adventures at sea my father and I took much of his advice and improved our boat so we would not experience any of the problems he delt with in his circumnavigation. It is true that with a lifetime of sailing in Michigan Waters we would not inflict as much wear and tear on our boat as he did his but it was nice to know what the old girl could take.
The book was a story about one man and his ability to take a racing sail boat and sail it around the world. The problem is that this boat was not a blue water cruiser. Many of the problems he encountered along the way were due to the fact that the boat was not designed for this type of abuse. In a normal sail on Sunday afternoon you might sail 20 miles around a protected lake. Webb sailed his Ericson 37 8,000 miles around the Cape. All of which was beating to weather. I admire his determination and feel connected to his adventure due to the years spent on her sister ship.
Book could be renamed Webb's Excellent Adventure and boat repair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anthony M. Frasca on March 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An interesting book about a sailor's attempt to solo circumnavigate the world in a relatively small sailboat. The story moves along nicely and is well-written. Whether or not you sympathize with the motives of the author it is fascinating to read about the self-induced pain and suffering a man will endure to pursue his dream. I found myself wondering about the sanity of the author yet admiring his persistence. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cpatt on October 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is one of the best written sailing non-fiction I have found. It is well-written, exciting, and is a crazy sailing story to boot. I would have stopped long before he did!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By common sense on September 1, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the best sailing books I have read so far. Loved his writing style, down to earth and doesn't leave much to the imagination. I was so engulfed in the story by his writing skills it made me feel like I was on the boat with him. Had a hard time putting this book down and lost sleep, wanting to know what happens next. Price wasn't bad either. Hate paying twelve bucks for a book that doesn't deliver. This one does and worth more then I paid for it. Don't often say that. Great book and cheap too.
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