"Old man stands in companionway of small sloop. One very weathered hand holds lightly onto a halyard stopper. The other a jib winch. A big grin is on the old man’s face as he watches a small sloop rush though the ocean, little more than an arm’s length away. And because he is precisely where he is."
"Use yourself up, old man. Use yourself up."
The quote above is from the most recent article by Webb Chiles in Cruising World. Webb mentions in his journal that he nearly deleted the paragraph before sending it to the editors. The editors kept the paragraph, and used the final line as the title. I'm glad both writer and editor left it in place. I believe Webb will use up every bit of his life in a most interesting way.
Just as Webb talks about using his life, he also talks in a recent journal entry about how he uses, or misuses, his Moore 24 GANNET. The entry is called Report to Moores and is a report to Moore 24 owners and sailors about his experiences with Hull number 40. Simply put, Webb uses the boat differently than most people would. While the boat is meant to be a sprinter, he is using it for a marathon - a marathon run around the world. Designed as an ultralight displacement boat for racing, Webb lives aboard and uses it to cross oceans. And though the boat is built for speed, Webb sometimes tries to slow it down - sometimes for safety, sometimes for comfort.
I am glad for these writings, they are pleasant reads on cold dark evenings about a unconventional life on a boat used in an unconventional way, convention being something that would never define this sailor.
Webb is currently in the great Midwest, a long way from GANNET, which is in Opua, New Zealand. When I think of Webb I think of his anticipation of the next part of the journey, and I'm reminded of one of Webb's books that I read decades ago. The title seems as appropriate now as it did then. That book is The Ocean Waits. And I think the ocean is waiting.