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A Single Wave

Jan 1, 2003

A Single Wave

Stories of Storms and Survival

by Webb Chiles

If you have followed Webb Chiles' adventures over the years this book will come as a bit of a surprise: Is this guy still alive? you might well ask. He is older now, but no more wise, apparently, since he still puts himself in ridiculously dangerous situations. Every one of his stories is laced with fatalistic humor that borders on a death wish.

But he is an inspiration, since he pushes the envelope for the rest of us. Chiles has crossed countless oceans in all manner of improbable craft, including an 18-foot open Drascombe Lugger, which he sailed within 3,000 miles of a circumnavigation, before giving up on the idea in the Canaries.

In A Single Wave, Chiles does not disappoint those expecting more madness. As he points out in the forward, "A peculiarity of human nature is that no one much cares to read about happy families or fine sailing. . . . So here are the dramatic highlights of a quarter century in three boats."

We almost lose our hero in this book. After his boat sinks in the Gulf Stream, the lights of Fort Lauderdale twinkling in the distance, he floats without lifejacket and dressed only in a shirt and shorts for more than 24 hours until he is fished out by a passing boat.

Sheridan House, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.; 888-743-7425; 208 pages; $22.95.