‘Sea Fever’ print for sale, an artistic collaboration

May 30, 2017

A number of years ago, MaryLou created this beautiful piece of artwork, a hand lettered piece featuring the poem Sea Fever by John Masefield.

Through her communications work, she’d met the accomplished Canadian marine artist Harry Heine (father to Victoria artist Mark Heine), who saw the work in progress and graciously agreed to add a watercolour illustration. The figure in the piece is a loose representation of Glenn looking out to sea.

Marylou and Harry went back and forth several times about who was going to work on the blank sheet and who was going to add their work over it.

“I was terrified to mess up Harry’s painting,” says MaryLou so she wanted to go first.  Harry, it seemed, didn’t want to mess up her calligraphy and in the end, Harry painted the watercolour illustration first and MaryLou did her calligraphy afterwards … and with much trepidation. The name Heine appears at the bottom left above the words Sea Fever and just below the rocks and grass.

The original has hung in our home since 1992. On this occasion, we are for the first time, offering signed prints for sale. Prints are 18″ x 24″ and are reproduced on fine watercolour paper.

If you’re interested in purchasing one, please leave a comment with your contact information on the blog or email MaryLou directly at mlwakefield@shaw.ca.

Thank you.

Latest Swiftsure Update

May 28, 2017  Royal Victoria Yacht Club

At 15:00 I called our second crew meeting and asked our navigators Paul and Nicola to evaluate the wind and current situation based on the models on hand.

We had the tide against us at 3 – 6 knots for the next 5 hours and no wind in the forecast. This would have effectively carried us back to the start line. We were in 350 feet of water, with 300 ft of chain, left us 50′ short of anchoring.

That, with the prospects of rounding the mark and finishing the race within the time limit was slim to none. So, we decided unanimously as a crew to withdraw from the race and head back to yacht club and to the bar. We consoled ourselves heartily with MaryLou’s homemade chili; drowned our sorrows in Spinnakers Pale Ale and arrived at the wharf with stories of another adventure.

 

May 27 @0:11:07

West Wind II had a brilliant start of Swiftsure this morning at around 0:9:30. It’s still early in the game, but at the moment, she’s looking very good amongst the competition in her Division 3 (the ones with track lines marked).

Stay tuned for updates here or go to the Swiftsure tracker website.

 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Here’s my able crew for the 2017 Swiftsure Lightship Classic. Left to right: Paul Roberts, Brendan McShane, Skipper Glenn, Nicola Wakefield, Dorian Halliday, and Stephen Shepherd. Photo credit: MaryLou Wakefield

We sailed the boat around to the Inner Harbour last evening and we’re now tied up at Dock #2 at Ship Point (not on the causeway in front of the Empress Hotel).

If you’re in the area, please drop by to say hello.

 

 

MacGyver is at it again

May 5, 2017

I believe I have jury rigged a support for the engine. I’ve managed to lift the one corner that has the broken engine bracket sufficiently to allow me to run the engine in gear for short periods of time. That will definitely come in handy as I transit the shipping lane don the Straits. Not a permanent fix but probably enough to get me out of trouble if need be.

We have no shortage of photos of this scenario. Glenn, tools, knee pads, engine covers off.

Big squall going through right now with lots of rain. Even though I’ve shortened sail, we are hard pressed and flying along. It won’t last long but pretty exciting as it passes over us.

If my daily run in the next 24 hrs is the same as today, I will be at the mouth of the Straits at around 04:00 pm local time (tomorrow) with lots of daylight hours so I can see the traffic coming and going.

Signs that land is not far off

May 5, 2017 08:20 am
Position: Lat 46 31 Long 128 11  Temp 53 F

Glenn sails out the Straits of Juan de Fuca on his second solo circumnavigation attempt, September 2013.

The sun is up, albeit behind some very billowy clouds. The seas are still mountainous and the wind blowing hard. Good for making volts, not so good for standing up. My bunk is by far the most comfortable and warmest place be. If all goes well, we should be at the mouth of the Straits by the afternoon tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have clear weather.

The tides, of course,  will start to play a big roll in my transit of the Straits.

I’ve been trying to imagine what it would be like trying to make landfall in a square rigger in these conditions. Boy those guys must have been tough. Up in the rigging on a night like last night is hard to imagine. How about Captain Cook and his crew, they didn’t even know where land was!

Photo: Intrepid solo kayaker, Hayley Shephard

In my very brief forays on deck and poking my head out the hatch I have seen sooty albatross and petrels in numbers that would make you think that land is close.

Looking out the galley port lights is difficult because of the condensation, but even so, the blue sky is visible and it looks warm.

All is well.

Slogging it out in big seas

May 5, 2017 0:6:30
Position: 46.33 N, 128.59 W

Still slogging it out in some big seas with a good course and lots of wind. I got a few hours sleep and once I go on deck and adjust our course, I am back to my bunk. At night, in the dark, my mind dreams up all kinds of scenarios, some of which come from an Alfred Hitchcock movie and make sleep almost impossible.

With the bright light of dawn those thoughts are gone and things are a lot more realistic and not quite so scary. I will feel better with a cup of tea and some hot cereal.

Only 186 to go to the mouth of the Straits. Should be there noon tomorrow and enter in daylight.

All is well and feeling good.

Hanging On

May 4, 2017 0:100
Position: 46.14 N, 129.09 W

With the horrific motion and noise onboard, sleep is illusive. I’ve been on deck twice to alter course and the seascape under the moonlight is awe inspiring. The waves marching at us are mountainous. Occasionally, one climbs aboard and completely covers us in white water which spills over the cabin and into the scuppers as well as any possible way into the cabin. Whenever we’re lifted up on a big wave, one of the water cans on deck smacks with a loud hollow thud that resonates throughout the boat making sure I don’t sleep.

I’ve just made  another cup of tea. My fingers are very cold and the warmth of the tea mug is very welcome. I must just hang on for two more days and we’ll be in the Straits.

We’ve been lucky so far with the weather – this is only 20-25 knots.  I’ll be glad when the break of day comes. Till then, I’ll drink my tea and hang on.

 

My plan for the Straits of Juan de Fuca

May 4, 2017

It would be nice if I could enter the Straits early on a clear morning and have the rest of the day to work my down to Victoria.

I’m thinking of crossing the big ship lanes as I enter the Straits and heading down the Canadian side. I’ll ask Peter to check the traffic over the next day or so and let me know how busy it is and how many ships are heading down my route in to the Straits.

I’m putting some sleep in the bank and I have a good pot of stew ready for the next few days.

Looks like I have enough wind to get me there. I have 270 miles to my waypoint at the entrance.  At current speed, I  should be there in two and a half days, say Sunday, maybe earlier. I will see how I do in the next 24hrs.

Right now, I’m moving comfortably along at 5.5 -6.2 knots before 15-20 knots of wind from the NW. Alls well here.

Reflecting on almost two decades of single-handed sailing

May 3, 2017 07:07 am
Position: 45.34 N, 130.25 W

I’m 300 miles off the coast of Oregon State, right in line with Portland. The sea the sky is grey, looking out the port lite. There is a distinct line between the very light grey sky and the greyish green ocean, a line that I could almost reach out and touch. A line that is moving like some great snake on the back of a four meter swell coming from the west. The horizon is very fluid.

We’re moving with the motion of those great determined swells passing under our port side, it’s a bit herky jerky but we are making 6 knots toward the entrance of Juan de Fuca, which lies 309 miles north east.  I should be there in a few days if all goes well then make the turn down the Straits and sail home
to Victoria. I will most likely sail around to Cadboro Bay and tie up at the visitors dock at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

On reflection, I realized it’s been almost 20 years to the day (May 9, 1997) that I sailed single handed non-stop in my Haida 26′ bound for the Marquesas. Since then, I’ve crossed all the major oceans, and this is my fourth time across the great Pacific Ocean.

I’m sailing on West Wind II, a vintage S&S 42 (Sparkman and Stephens) built by Chris Craft in the 1960s.

Off the coast of Australia near Albany

It’s my third boat since I first left in 1997. In between the Haida, there was Kim Chow a 41′ Rhodes Reliant which I left to King Neptune near Cape Horn.

It will be good to finally sail home after over sixty thousand open ocean miles (60,000) and mostly single handed. A total of 19 months at sea. the longest passage without stopping was Victoria to Cape Horn in 221 days in 2007/08.

Glenn’s 221 day non-stop solo circumnavigation attempt 2007/08.

Home is definitely where the heart is and I will be glad to be home with MaryLou once again.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Steve and Jonathan at Geeks on the Beach and the folks at Hosting Nation for working on my broken automated email function. Hope to have it back up and running soon. We want to keep you all in the loop for Glenn’s arrival !

The ham net is humming tonight

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ham radio operators in Olympia, Washington, El Cajon, California and Vancouver, BC relay messages from VA7MLW marine mobile on WestWind II to home base in Victoria, BC.

Positon: 41.1 N, 136.3 W Distance in last 24 hrs: 160 nm

Shout out to ham radio operator Gary (W7WWI) in Olympia, Washington who pulled a few strings (or wires) and was able to patch me through to Glenn on the radio tonight.  Not sure how that works, but it was great to have a few crackly words across the ocean. Also to Steve (KK6ZUU) in El Cajon, California for relaying Glenn’s familiar “All is well on board WestWind II” message on email tonight. And to Ron (VE7BGK) in Vancouver for relaying his messages.

Thank you all.

 

Rolling along …

Monday, May 1, 2017 05:30

We are rolling along before 15+ knots and have a pretty impressive log to show for it. Looks like another 150 nm day today!

Lots of creaking and groaning going on … almost as much as my old knees. The motion is not too bad and the sound of rushing water as WW II surges homeward fills the cabin.

My little Storm Petrel is gone from the cockpit this morning. I hope (s)he is fine. So difficult to interfere with ‘mother nature’. The sun is trying to break through on the horizon as if it’s under the door of the day. Low grey clouds fill the room. The tea is on the brew and I am dissecting one of my last oranges and savouring the fresh taste.

It is a cool 58 ° in the cabin at the moment but my fleece is keeping me very cozy and warm. Should be well into the sixties by day’s end.

Going on deck to gybe the main and square us off to the waves and bring our heading more to the north.

Hope your day has dawned warm and sunny. ( Actually, not. It’s grey, overcast and a chilly 8° C here in Victoria).

Gybe complete. Actually worked up a sweat. Feels good to do a little surfing (the boat, not him). Now sitting at the nav station with the hatch open, I can hear the waves breaking off our stern. All’s good.

I’ve got the old Perkins humming and vibrating away for the next hour. It’s cloudy and the solar is minimal and because we are running with the wind, the
wind generator isn’t able to spin enough to make any power, so Perkins has stepped up and taken that on this morning. I have the “InReach” and the computer plugged into the inverter to give them both a boost. I’ve just been on deck to give the Fleming some fine tuning.

While I was up there enjoying the ride, my thoughts went to my friend Paul Lim. Paul set out in his small boat from Hawaii to Victoria last September on his way home and never showed up.  I’ve watched and spoken out to him many times on this passage.  So wherever you are Paul, I hope you have sooth sailing my friend. You are thought of often and warmly. There by the grace of a higher power go we.