Mailport: February 2012
I couldn’t disagree more with the opening sentence of your Dec. 29, 2011 Waypoints e-letter: “Perhaps the biggest surprise during a circumnavigation is just how critical the engine is to a cruising sailboat.”
While I don’t doubt your later assertion that many “cruisers” use their engine to cover 25 percent of their miles, this is not because the engine is necessary. I used 40 gallons of diesel on my entire fifth circumnavigation, which included having to power through the Panama Canal, for a fuel mileage of 600 mpg.
Two of the boats on which I’ve made my five circumnavigations had no engines, and I doubt that I’ve used those on the others to cover more than a fraction of 1 percent of the miles I’ve covered.
There is no secret: Have a boat that sails well, and think of yourself as a sailor.
The Hawke of Tuonela,
Gannet, Moore 24
Editor’s Note: Reader Webb Chiles (www.inthepresentsea.com) was the first American to sail alone around Cape Horn. He has written several books on his circumnavigations.
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