Farewell and fair winds

Glenn Harvey Wakefield August 6, 1950 – October 5, 2020

At the helm of the Blue Leopard. Greek Islands, 1969

It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of our beloved husband and father Glenn Wakefield.

Glenn was adored by his wife of 38 years MaryLou, and their two daughters Claire and Nicola who were his pride and joy. Glenn is predeceased by his father Roy, mother Maureen, and younger brother Mark and is survived by his sister Mary, nephew Alex. He will be deeply missed by brother-in-law Peter, sister-in-law Leslie, and sister-in-law Jenny (Grant). Glenn lived with great passion and energy and approached life with a keen sense of adventure.

Glenn was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1950 to parents who emigrated from Portsmouth, England and moved to the west coast after a glimpse of Victoria in springtime. He grew up on San Juan Avenue, now Wakefield Place, in Gordon Head on property that overlooks Haro Strait and San Juan Island. He attended Gordon Head elementary, Mount Doug High School and Camosun College where he made and continued to keep in touch with life-long friends. Glenn worked as a logger, a fisherman, a surveyor and a carpenter. A born adventurer, Glenn travelled around the world in 1969 -70 making friends everywhere he went and keeping in touch with them throughout his life, recently celebrating a 50th reunion.

Glenn became a carpenter and worked alongside his father building Wakefield Construction into a company best known for its heritage restoration of some of Victoria’s iconic landmarks – Market Square, Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue, Munro’s Books and many private residences. His company was honoured to receive local, regional and national heritage awards for its work over the years.

Glenn’s love of his family was well known. He met MaryLou in 1979 and theirs was a storybook love affair. They had two beautiful daughters Claire and Nicola who were his pride and joy.

Glenn’s passion for life, for his family and for sailing was legendary. He owned 5 keel boats over his lifetime and skippered them in Swiftsure and the West Coast Race. The thrill for him was not in winning, but sharing the experience with family and friends. In 1997-98, he and his family spent a year sailing their Haida 26 to many of the storied bays in the South Pacific and on to New Zealand after which they travelled around Australia and on to South Africa. 

Sannu II, South Pacific, 1997

Friends described Glenn as a diamond in the rough, one in a million, a one-off, a hero and a legend. He often defied rules and said he wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have him as a member. For him, it was always about the people and he cherished the camaraderie of many friends at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America and the Ocean Cruising Club (UK).

Glenn’s life-long dream started when he was a young boy on the beach at Arbutus Cove looking out to sea imagining himself one day sailing a tiny boat on a big ocean. He grew up listening to stories about the adventures of Captain Cook, Sir Francis Chichester and Sir Alec Rose. Throughout his life, he read and re-read hundreds of books about sailing particularly those of the single handers with whom he most closely identified – John Guzzwell, Robin Knox Johnston, and Dee Caffari and was thrilled to meet Robin Knox-Johnston in person a number of years ago in Victoria. In 1999, Guzzwell penned prophetic words in a note tucked inside a gifted copy of his Trekka round the World that said, “With today’s crowded cities and the pressures of modern day living, the sea offers space where one can have time to think about one’s destiny. I hope you have found contentment in life.”

Over his lifetime, Glenn logged close to 55,000 nautical miles of open ocean sailing, and made three attempts at completing a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation, his way – west about. While many couldn’t understand what could drive him to undertake something they viewed as impossible, those closest to him understood that it was enough that it mattered to him and they supported his dream every step of the way. He was emboldened by Roosevelt’s words,

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

His last voyage began on September 6 and would have taken him around Cape Horn to the precise location where he was rescued in 2008,
48.10 S, 51.57 W near the Falkland Islands. After that, he planned to stop in Argentina to meet members of the Argentinian navy who rescued him off their coast, and then head home. Tragically, fate had other plans for Glenn who was taken from us before he could fulfill his dream.

Up until the end of his life, he was the master of his fate and the captain of his soul. One way or the other, Glenn’s story will be published. A celebration of Glenn’s life is being planned and will take place when COVID restrictions allow for a gathering. The date will be announced on the blog.

Glenn will be remembered as a loving husband, a dedicated father, loyal friend, a man who worked hard and played harder.

A man who lived life on his own terms. He inspired many of us to fulfill our own dreams and in so doing, each of us honour Glenn’s memory.

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your memories of Glenn and your heartfelt messages.

If there is one thing Glenn would have hoped for, it is that his family would be okay.

Where that seems impossible right now, the kindness and generosity we have received and the wonderful memories you’ve shared on these pages are helping us work towards being okay, one day at a time.

We want you to know we are thinking of you too. Glenn’s story touched many people in different ways and his death sent a ripple far and wide.

We love that his spirit is carried in each of you and knowing that makes the finality of his death feel slightly less so. Please continue to share your stories with us here.

We love knowing how Glenn’s/Dad’s story lives on.

Thank you all.

With you in spirit

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

On our Haida 26, Sannu II somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, 1997

It is with deep sadness that we let you know that our dear, sweet Glenn passed away peacefully last night at 10:14 p.m.

As in life, Glenn chose the way he wanted to die which was to do it on his own terms, and without assistance. He left this world much like he lived it, surrounded by his adoring family, who wished him fair winds and a smooth journey.

We will be making plans for a tribute and celebration of Glenn’s life in the weeks and months ahead and will share that with you when the time is right.

Thank you for always supporting Glenn and particularly his big dream. It meant everything to him to know you were along for the ride. 

And, thank you for supporting me and the girls always, and especially through these past few excruciating weeks. We are deeply grateful.

We will each remember Glenn in our own way and for his unique gifts. We will remember him as a man who lived his life with passion, rail under, one hand on the tiller, scotch in the other, his infectious laugh letting us know he was living life to the very fullest.

MaryLou, Claire and Nicola

Update

October 2, 2020 @1050

Dear friends

Glenn remains in stable but critical condition.

We have been meeting with his medical team who continue to assess and monitor his condition and we’ve been told it is unlikely to improve.

As always, our focus is on his quality of life.

Thank you for continuing to support Glenn and all of us through this difficult time.

Home

September 30, 2020 @1400

Glenn arrived home in Victoria yesterday evening. He remains in critical condition in ICU.

Our family is now focusing all of our energies on Glenn. We will provide updates when possible.

Thank you all for your support and understanding.

Delayed

A quick update to let you know there’s been a delay in transporting Glenn home. We’re expecting him in the next day or possibly two.

Looking forward to updating you once we have him back in our loving arms.

Thank you all for holding on to hope for him.

One day closer to home

Update Sunday, Sept 27 @ 0900

Thank you all for continuing to send your kind words and continuing to share the link to this blog to your communities. The GFM campaign has reached individuals far and wide and we are working on ways to further that reach to more audiences.

Over the weekend, we’ve been working with the hospital in San Jose and the emergency transportation team here in Victoria to make all the arrangements for Glenn to be transported on Monday.

The medical team there is preparing him to be transported, the transport team here is in place, and the hospital here is preparing for his arrival. There are so many people working hard to make this happen and we are so grateful for everyone’s efforts.

We continue our daily visits with him over FaceTime and reassure him that he’ll be coming home very soon. We hope with all our hearts that’s true. We tell him that he is loved so much by so many and we whisper sweet things to him before we say good night. He’s unable to respond other than look at us but we’re holding on to the idea that he can hear us and that he understands. Those visits, as we’ve said before are the best, and most difficult part of our day.

As you can imagine, the strength he needs to hold on through all of this is enormous. We’re looking forward to the moment when we can be with Glenn in person and hold him close.

The power of community

Sept 25, 2020 @ 1900

We’re overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support for Glenn and the #BringGlennHome GoFundMe campaign. You can read the update here. We’re so humbled by every one of your donations. They are all important in reaching our goal. Thank you so much.

As of today, Friday, Sept 25, we have reached just over 80% of our original goal and together we’ve raised an astounding $123,000.00 from 707 donors. As one friend said, ”that’s a lot of money and a lot of love.” Situations like this show us how deeply connected we really are and the collective power of community.

We are eagerly awaiting an update from Glenn’s neurologist with new information about the timing of his transfer home. It’s been a long and excruciating wait and I wish we had more details to share with you at this point. We want you to know we have read each and every one of your lovely messages and we feel your support.

The girls and I are learning to come to terms with the situation and we are supporting each other through the ups and downs. The best and most difficult part of each day is when we talk to Glenn over FaceTime from his hospital bed. For now, it’s a one-way conversation but we are holding on to hope that he finds some comfort in hearing our voices. We read all your kind messages to him and we believe he can feel the love.

Thank you all so much for continuing to support Glenn and all of us through this.

Love and hope is holding us together

Wednesday, Sept 23, 2020

Sunset cruise on West Wind II , April 2020

Glenn remains in critical but stable condition and is expected to be ready for transfer to Victoria within 5 – 7 days, god willing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a strict no visitor policy therefore, we must remain in Canada and await his return. Our family physician here in Victoria has been at our side from the beginning of this ordeal providing logistical coordination for Glenn’s transfer and emotional support to our family.
We love you Dr. H.

Many of you have reached out with messages of love and hope and for us, they are the glue keeping our family together and we are so thankful for all of you.

We want to share a heartwarming moment our family had amidst this otherwise dark time that I think you may also feel buoyed by. It comes in the form of an email from the Rear Admiral and Commander of the Eleventh Coast Guard District in Alameda, California. It was the women and men in his command who were responsible for coordinating Glenn’s rescue from West Wind II.

Here’s an excerpt from the Admiral’s reply to our note of thanks.

“Ma’am,
Although you may be surprised to hear it, I’ve rarely received an email like yours in over 31 years of service.  Thank you for taking the time to compose such a thoughtful email.

Please know that Coast Guard women and men live for the opportunity to save those in peril on the sea, and that we are overjoyed we were able to be part of this rescue.”

Many of you have asked how we, his family, are doing and I want you all to know that this is a devastating and uncertain journey for us and we appreciate your kindness and compassion. We feel supported by so many who have reached out to offer the gift of your company, nourishing food, and sharing the link to the GoFundMe Campaign across your networks, all of which is so appreciated. Others have offered support and information that may assist in the retrieval of West Wind II and we have a group of dear friends who are at this moment working towards that.

We are keenly aware and sensitive to the fact that Glenn is a close and treasured friend to many of you and his unfortunate situation is personal for you and hits hard. As one friend so poignantly put it,

“I think (if it gives you any peace with this) the reason why this tugs at all of us is because it strikes so many chords at the same time. Our sense of adventure through Glenn and his courage, our fear of the same thing happening and mostly preventing guys like me from jumping off, our compassion for your entire family and our sense of charity to our sailing community are all somewhat rattled.” 

We’ll provide more relevant information as we receive it. His family continues to hold space for a miracle and Glenn’s safe return home soon.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Update on Glenn and Go Fund Me Campaign

September 21, 2020 @1800

MaryLou and the girls would like to begin by thanking all of you who have reached out with support. We are feeling comforted by your kindness.

We would like to update you on Glenn’s status.

Glenn is currently stable, in critical condition in a hospital in California following a massive stroke.

We are working hard to Bring Glenn Home with the help of so many people here in Canada and the U.S.

Glenn did not anticipate touching U.S. soil and as such does not have U.S. medical insurance. We have created a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to bring him home to Victoria for care.

You can find a link to our GoFundMe at the top of the every page.

Glenn’s family would like to thank our many friends who have shown kindness and generosity during this most difficult time. From our local medical team working behind the scenes to coordinate Glenn’s return home, those in the sailing community working tirelessly on a plan to recover West Wind II, and to the friends who have provided us meals, we are forever grateful for all of you and your efforts.

Update on Glenn

September 18 @ 19:00

This update is from MaryLou, Glenn’s wife, and our two daughters Claire and Nicola from our home in Victoria.

Firstly, we would like to extend our gratitude for your messages and all the support from so many friends through this very challenging time.

We would like to let you know that Glenn is currently safe, in a hospital in California and is receiving exceptional medical care. At this time we are awaiting the results of multiple assessments that will give us a more complete picture of his condition.

We are hoping for the best possible outcome for Glenn and will provide further updates about his condition as they become available.

With gratitude,

MaryLou, Claire and Nicola

Assistance

Thursday, Sept 17, 13:30

Glenn has sent a message asking for medical assistance. We are in communication with the US Coast Guard who is at this moment providing support.

Please hold Glenn in your thoughts. We are all hoping for the best.

We will provide updates when they are available.

It’s getting real

Day 9 Sept 14 39.24 N, 131.45 @ 14:15 6.5 knots

Recovering from my first full gale last night. All is well and no gear broken, or bones! I have to admit I should have just chosen the other tack and headed for shore. I’m headed back to where I started yesterday afternoon. Once I had committed last night conditions quickly deteriorated and tacking in big seas on a very dark night with water coming over the deck was not a good idea so I shortened sail got comfortable and waited it out. Things always look better in the morning in the light of day and we are on a much better course with the wind just off the nose and heading down the coast. My routine for heavy weather is coming back and some of the changes I made for Vic – Maui race are taking a while to get used to. Moving the main sheet traveller aft of the tiller would have worked better with crew on board but for me by myself it’s a bit out of reach. I secured the windward running back stay tackle to aft of the rail to give the mast more support in the big sea running last night. It helps steady the mast in those conditions.  

I’m very much missing getting emails and having conversations with people on Winlink. I’m going to try and talk to some ham land stations just like I talked to Cliff and Alek. Missing our conversations the most. those ties for me are very important to keep me grounded out here.

It’s always the way that once I actually put myself here on the boat that it gets real – the scale of the voyage and what it’s going to take to make it successful. 

First blow

Sunday, Sept 13 @ 21:35 39.39 N, 130.77 W 5.4 knots

There’s  nothing quite like your first blow to find all the chinks in your armour. It’s blowing pretty hard out there and has been for most of today. I have three reefs in the main and the working jib rolled in a little way past the last black reefing stripes. We are doing just over five knots and it is comfortable in a gale-at-sea kinda way.

I spent a couple of hours in the cockpit watching the storm unfold after an hour or so catching up to the wind conditions. In the euphoria of being back at sea I had forgotten to take the anchor off the bow when leaving the Straits and although I secured it well, not well enough for the conditions we are experiencing today.

So with my new offshore gear on, I faced my old nemesis “the guy with the fire hose”. After crawling up the deck I got all snuggled in to the bow with harness attached and a line to re-secure the anchor in my free hand. West Wind is plowing the Pacific at 5 1/2 knots with the anchor – a fine 40 lb 
plow itself. As soon as I leaned through the pulpit to lasso the anchor, the guy with the fire hose starts soaking me down. The bow is rising and falling about six feet with each wave burying the anchor every four seconds along with me. The big consolation here is that the water is, well not warm but it sure ain’t Cadboro Bay either. This is when all that practice doing the one handed knots really pays off. After what seems like an eternity on the waterboard I feel water start to trickle in my boots and it’s on its way to my neck as well. This voyage was made out to be a big deal so I laid down some serious coin for “offshore rain gear” and I’m here to tell you after all my voyages I have never found rain gear that is any match for the guy with the fire hose, it’s impossible. The rodeo with the anchor is now complete and I disentangled myself from my safety gear kind of like Houdini and made my way back to the comfort and relative safety of the cockpit. Mission complete!

I think we will be in this little commotion for about 12 to 18 hours, at least that’s how long they usually last. We are hunkered down for the duration and I have a can of split pea and ham soup on the stove. This gale has been good for me. It reminds me of all things I need to do to be prepared and what to do as it builds. 
There has been some rain as well and along with the waves it will clean all that smoke and soot residue off the decks.
I have a good course and once this has passed, I hope to be in a good position to head for a way point in the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone).

The ITCZ is visible as a band of clouds encircling Earth near the Equator.

Note: The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), known by sailors as the doldrums or the calms because of its monotonous, windless weather, is the area where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge. It encircles Earth near the thermal equator though its specific position varies seasonally. Source: Wikipedia

Heading in to a low pressure area

Recording barograph measures atmospheric pressure

Day 8 Sunday, Sept 13 @ 08:13 40.01 N, 129.96 W

Glenn is still experiencing communications difficulties on WestWind II so daily updates are minimal for the time being.

“Nice to have weather report. Big low moving in below me so decided to chill last night and move on slowly. South wind on the nose”.

Glenn’s current position (small green circle) in upper centre on earthnullschool
animated weather website

Update 09:03
You would love it if you could be transported here at the moment. The clouds, the sky and the mercury ocean are unbelievable! Wish I could send a photo. I could try and sketch it but fear I would not do it justice but maybe I will try anyway. It’s the colours, the shapes and that line – so finite so dramatic.

Communications

Day 7 Saturday, Sept 12 @ 09:28 40.20 N, 130.31 W

Glenn is experiencing challenges with his communications systems which means that his updates via email have been sparse. We are working on helping him sort out the issues and hopefully he will be able to provide regular updates soon.

He has a handheld GPS device on board which, when working, gives his latest position. Click here to see Glenn’s position on a map or visit the WHERE IS GLENN NOW? section of the home page.

The square miles of smoke in the image above totals 963,269. That estimate has been computed using the measurement tool within the NASA Worldview application. Credits: NASA Worldview

Visit the Earth Nullschool website to see an animated weather map.

Calm and smokey

On WestWind II circa 2019

Day 6 Friday, Sept 11 @ 06:17 42.03 N, 130.21 W

Becalmed after a very good sail for about three days with hardly any deck work and lots of naps, reading and eating.

I did motor sail for about 2 hours hoping the wind would fill in but no luck.
The smoke this morning is really bad and there is some residual black soot on the deck. There are still birds chirping away around us this morning, poor souls must be very disorientated.

This somewhat still water will be a good time for me to finish my “head” project.

Note: Glenn is having some communication issues on board which we are working to resolve.

Tricky manoeuvers at sea

Day 4 Thursday, Sept 9 @ 03:26 44.19 N, 128.66 W
Just got back down below after altering course and changing sails from a run to a reach.  The moon is blood red and there are very few stars showing because the smoke in the air is so thick. There was no sun set this evening for the same reason. A black and not so stormy night. I have had several unusual encounters with wild life as well. I found several dragon flies on deck, birds flying around the boat chirping, and there was a sparrow that landed this afternoon. We are well over a hundred miles offshore… a bit far for a sparrow! 

Coming off a run (wind from behind) onto a reach (wind from the side) in the middle of the night on your own requires some planning, particularly if the wind is falling coupled with a boisterous sea.  Life jacket with safety harness and head light on full are the basic equipment before coming up on deck.

I laid in my bunk for about half an hour planning my moves, and wondering how long I could put it off. When running before the wind in a seaway, it’s important to secure the boom so the main sail does not flap and chafe. I hook up a preventer line which is already on the outward end of the boom and while not being used, is attached temporarily near the gooseneck which attaches the boom to the mast. There is one each side of the boom so which ever tack I’m on, the preventer is handy. I attach another line to the inboard end of the preventer and then run that down to the toe rail about eight feet back from the bow and cinch it up tight once the boom and main are in the right position for the run. This line must be removed so the boom can be brought in with the mainsheet in the cockpit. The boom vang, a tackle that runs from the bottom of the boom down to the toe rail in order that the boom does not rise is also let go before the main sheet is brought in. This requires some quick manoeuvering which can be difficult while moving your harness down the deck as you move back and forward. Once the main is set for the new course, the vang is put on again.

Now there is the jib which is poled out the opposite side to the main sail which has its own preventers to hold the pole in place which keeps the jib where you want it for running before the wind. Getting the pole down requires some very quick manoeuvering so the pole doesn’t swing dangerously when the jib sheet is let go. The line controls for the topping lift, which controls the pole, are on the mast and you have to make your way from the cockpit to the mast very smartly to maintain a controlled take down of the pole. There is also a downhaul for the pole which has to be released. Once the pole is secured on deck you make your way back to the cockpit and roll in the jib and then bring the boat around to your new course and set the wind vane and secure its lines to the the tiller and then set the jib to the new course. Once I’m satisfied the vane is steering the new course I tidy up all the lines around the mast and when I’m back in the cock pit, take one last look at the course and head back to my bunk. This some times goes very well and sometimes not so well depending on my state of mind and the weather. Tonight went rather well, I must have gotten lucky.
     

Becalmed

Day 3 Tuesday, Sept 8, 2020 @ 07:30 47.91 N, 126.44 W

Becalmed in a fiery sea with the sun just a few feet above the horizon. It’s quiet, but for Westy’s stirring to the still lumpy surroundings. A spider weaves a nest in the pushpit pipes and moths flutter by. I’m jealous of their speed. Frustrating conditions last night with waves coming quickly from several directions. Very lumpy and unpredictable motion on board, also hard on the sails and rigging. I slept well in between trips on deck to quiet and ease the slapping of the main and jib.

Nice slow morning here, we are not going anywhere so a slow cup of tea in the cockpit will be fine.Not sure where the wind went but will wait till some sign shows up and we will make the best of it.
One small job on the list, repair the head. There are pros and cons with using a bucket, I have yet to realize the pros other than it tends to not
clog up. I have my old chart here from when I left around the same time in 2013 so will overlay my positions and compare. Hard to believe this is my forth time, no fifth time across the Pacific. Four times south and once North.

The land has gone by the wayside. The slowly fading silhouette disguised the entrance to the Strait of Juan Fuca. It’s what Captain Cook would have seen and what a thrill that must have been. I was surprised by the amount of freighter traffic yesterday transiting the Straits. One thing I noticed was their speed seemed a lot slower than it used to be within the Straits. 
I’ve just heard the wind generator start up so there is wind. Hurray!  
On that note, I will sign off.  Love to all.
Cheers, G

NOTE: To see Glenn’s latest position on a map, click on Where is Glenn Now? on the home page.

  

Fifth transit of the Pacific begins

Day 2 Monday, Sept 7, 2020 48.32 N, 125.03 W @ 0:545

A clear sky is blushing on the eastern edge. The moon is bright overhead and a few stars remain on stage. It’s cool but no fog, not like last night when it enveloped us for many hours with its cool mist. I’ve heard whales in the distance along with the breaking shore and the haunting call of a loon. Vancouver Island is a black silhouette against a light blue early morning sky.

We are motoring slowly over 2 m swells from the Pacific. The lights of freighters are going back and forth on their highway. We were becalmed for several hours and I slept below as we wallowed. A promising breeze is coming up behind us. With any luck we will clear Cape Flattery.

This afternoon starts my fifth transit of the Pacific. I am warm and dry. A cup of tea will be brewing shortly. 
Cheers, G   

NOTE: To see Glenn’s latest position on a map, click on Where is Glenn Now? on the home page.

And so it begins

Sunday, Sept 6, 2020 @ 19:45

Sunset, sailing well. And so begins the first night.

NOTE: To see Glenn’s latest position on a map, click on Where is Glenn Now? on the home page.

It’s all coming back to me

Glenn on West Wind II at the start of his
third attempt at completing a solo westabout circumnavigation

Sunday, September 6, 2020 15:30

I’m now five miles off East Sooke park heading back from the American side. The wind is 10-12 knots from the west coming right down the Straits. We have 15 degrees of heel and making 5.5 knots. It’s sunny, cold and very bright. There’s fog against the US shore and I hope it stays over there.
It’s all coming back to me. The vane is steering, I’ve made tea and have been pecking away at my roasted chicken and eating Trevor Hayward’s fabulous rock cakes. I changed into warm clothes for the night.
We got headed and are now heading directly for East Sooke. No panic I’ll tack in a bit. The tide will be changing to an ebb in an hour or so, so that will help us on our way.

Friends gather on the wharf at Royal Victoria Yacht Club to say goodbye

I’ve been fortunate to have such amazing friends who would show up in the middle of a pandemic to say good bye. Thank you, it was greatly appreciated, more than you know.

West Wind II is escorted out of Cadboro Bay by our 26′ Haida Shadow with MaryLou, Claire and Nicola aboard

I’m tired now and tonight will take some doing but the wind looks promising. It’s supposed to lighten up during the night then fill in from behind early Monday morning with 15 + knots.
With lots of tea and warm clothes, I should have no problem. I hope the fog stays in the American side!

There will be a moon around 22:00 hrs which if clear will brighten my spirits. Thanks again to everyone for coming to the dock and sending messages from near and far.

Here’s a link to the story in today’s Times Colonist by Jeff Bell.

NOTE: To see Glenn’s latest position on a map, click on Where is Glenn Now? on the home page.

Departure Day

Day 1 Sunday, September 6, 2020 @ 11:00 Departing Victoria, BC

I can hear the fog horns blowing as the local sea gull choir announces the sun rising. I slept well and feel good. Today will be the beginning of another adventure. It will be filled with lots of emotion at both ends of the scale. Outwardly it is a celebration. It’s the end of the planning and provisioning stage and time for the overdue departure, casting off the lines. Months and years of planning and hard work.

On the emotional side, my family are torn. They have been here before and many emotions rush back for them, not to be denied, but felt deeply. We talk about them now but it is not easy. It is not easy to show your vulnerability particularly in front of strangers. This is not the day they nor I have been looking forward to because of our love for each other.
Bitter sweet sorrow.  My wife MaryLou has a sweet personality and a strength of character that runs as deep as the ocean, and she gave those traits to our two daughters Claire and Nicola and I will miss them just as deeply.



There have been an amazing group of talented and caring people who have had a very large hand in helping me get to this day. Thank you. I hope through the blog postings that I send to MaryLou, which she checks and tweaks and posts on the website, that I will keep you vicariously with me on board West Wind II through our ups and downs over the next thousands of miles. Collectively, I feel you all with me on board. It is the best of women-man kind.

We’re all connected in some way by our feelings. I am a very lucky man and privileged to be setting off this morning to fill a dream to  sail single handed around the world.  

Welcome aboard and hold on tight!
Cheers Glenn 

NOTE: To see Glenn’s latest position on a map, click on Where is Glenn Now? on the home page.

D Day – Sunday, September 6

Wednesday Sept. 2 @ 08:48
Starting my voyage from Victoria and sailing out into the Pacific always requires transiting the Straits of Juan de Fuca and inevitably staying up all night to keep watch. Although the moon will now be waning for the rest of the month, it was full last night and on Sunday night it will be full enough to keep me company.

I’m leaving on Sunday morning at 11:00 am from the Visitors Dock at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Cadboro Bay. You are very welcome to come down and join us or meet in the bay as part of the escort. 

I’ve solved all the problems on the list and the food stores and supplies for the next eight to ten months are finding their way into every nook and cranny on board WW II as her water line slowly disappears below the surface. The next few days will be spent doing last minute things, and making sure everything is in place for MaryLou to maintain our land base while I’m away.

MaryLou has also been busy helping with all the things I need to make it through my voyage. One of them is the tedious, but extremely important job of vacuum packing all the stores of food that will be taken on board so they will still be fresh in month ten when I come back up the Pacific in March, April of next year. And, much to her chagrin, she is the Queen of this job. There is not a trophy big enough on the planet to recognize MaryLou’s incredible contribution to my voyage. Her support and understanding are epic and the most important element in me realizing my dream to finish my circumnavigation.

Many people have expressed interest in coming down to send me off and it is a wonderful feeling to see you all there, but please – keep in mind Bonnie Henry’s rules for social gathering under the current COVID conditions.

Cheers, Glenn           

Thanks to the many people supporting me

Sunday, August 30, 2020

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. A wee bit chilly as fall taps us on the shoulder. I’m back down to Westy this morning to work on a couple of problems that are keeping me from leaving. One is the leaks in the water tanks. Yesterday I managed to take the cabinetry out of the starboard settee to expose the 35 gallon stainless steel tank inside. I had been able to isolate this tank with a valve located in the bilge downstream from the tank and after measuring it for a few days (after topping it up), realized there was not much water leaving the tank and that it stopped altogether with the water level barely down an inch. I interpreted this to mean the water loss was probably at the inspection hatches on the top of the tank. These inspection hatches have rubber “O” rings to help seal them off. Two of the O rings had failed. Although the water loss was not substantial sitting at the dock in calm water,  at sea on a port tack over several days this would have reduced my meagre supply for the next six or eight months enough to become a big problem. Especially considering I rely only on rain water collected from the deck to refill the tanks. The solution was to silicone these lids in place. I will fill the tank up again this morning giving the silicone time to set over night, and see how things go. The port side tank which is also 35 gallons is under the settee and the cabinetry that it resides in will also have to be removed. This is the second thing on the list to do this morning.

with Ron Kolody, my right hand man for all things Ham radio, circa 2013

The first is to test my backup Panasonic Toughbook computer. Yesterday after five nonstop hours of remote diagnostic work, my friend Ron Kolody managed to get the Winlink messaging program to talk to my 802 ICOM ham radio through the Pactor 3 Modem and successfully send a test message. He has been working remotely through the Teamviewer program from his home in Vancouver over the past two weeks to help me with this most important job. All that’s left is to work out the bugs in the back up computer and “technically” I can leave. Ron has been with me in a very significant supportive role, voluntarily,  through all my voyages over the past 12 years. He is responsible for, among many other things, setting up a network of primary and secondary Ham operators around the world who spoke to me every day and relayed messages back to MaryLou. This group played a key role in my rescue in 2008 in the south Atlantic by the Argentinians.  I could never thank Ron enough for all his help over the years. He is a very good example of an amazing group of people from around the world who have, and continue to support me and MaryLou through these voyages. There are literally a small army of people without whose skills and generosity, I would never leave the dock! I am always grateful for their support and can never thank them enough. 

Thank you all.
Glenn and MaryLou