Day 10 Back to the Sixties September 11, 2013

Sept 11, 2013 a.m. 

34.30 N,  133.48 W @ 10:28 PDT

Heading: 180 true Boat Speed: 2 knots Wind: 5 knots Swell: 1.5 – 2 metres Sky: Overcast Temperature: 18 C Miles in last 24 hrs: 20

Grey again today and there are more ‘search lights’ burning through the clouds looking for escapees. The sea is still high but undulating under a great grey aquatic skin. Half an hour ago, in the middle of tea and porridge in the cockpit, a ruffle of wind like goose bumps moved across from the west and covered the water. I hoisted the main and jib after dropping them around 9:00 last night and we are headed for the equator. I was visited by a young dark feathered wandering Albatross last night at dusk and again this morning. Van Morrison is beating out “Brown Eyed Girl” and I am having flashbacks of the sixties.  

Another significant event late last night. I tore my jeans and just like I did in the 60s, I tore off the bottoms and sit here this morning in cut offs, no shirt, my hair has not been combed in a week, and I haven’t shaved. Brown Eyed Girl, cut offs, no shirt, no shave, no comb, no socks no shoes, in a warm breeze on a sail boat in the Pacific. I’m in heaven! 

Glenn atop the Empire State Building in NYC with the Twin Towers in the background. Here he is unshaven, uncombed, in cut-offs circa 1969. Some things never change.

There is lots of garbage in the water everywhere this morning. A fish net passed by about 2 meters square followed by a section of wooden wharf about 12 ft square. Glad I didn’t meet that three days ago surfing down one of those waves at 9 knots.

Also to my great astonishment and delight a school of mahi mahi, about ten of them, just drifted out from under the boat. I guess I’ll have to go fishing today. First, I must go up on deck and deal with the sails.

Welcome new sponsor Anchor Marine Electric.

 

Day 9 Light airs September 10, 2013

Sept 10, 2013 noon close

35. 16.9 N,  133 44.7 W @12:00 PDT

Wind: Less than 5 knots Waves: 2.5 metres Sky: Clear Wind light, difficult to steer. No cloud, hot sun. No sleep. Having a tough day!

@0:3:15 PDT

It’s the middle of the night. I’ve been up since before midnight adjusting West Wind’s sails. I knew the winds would eventually die down and shift direction sometime tonight after looking at the Grib files. It is overcast and visibility is only possible with the LED head light. I took two reefs out of the main then accidentally gybed. It is difficult to be up in the middle of the night doing sail changes and slightly more bearable when it is warm. Now for forty winks.

Dawn appears grey. Grey sea and sky low. The wind has gone down and left an unwelcome lump. Through the low clouds a single shaft of light beams down as if searching for someone. A pair of bright white tropic birds circle from overhead. On the deck, a small flying fish, wings spread wide sticks in the scuppers, and from below the kettle whistles demanding to be made into tea. So starts another day at sea.

White tailed tropic bird

@ 16:00 PDT

I’m afraid I’ve worked myself into a bad spot. It’s now almost four o’clock in the afternoon and the wind has been very light and the sea very high, the combination of which has worn me out. I’ve been trying to hand steer since the wee hours of this morning.

It’s been a very hot day and I have not been able to get the Fleming to work at all in the light wind. I put a small bracket on it for an auto helm some time ago and as it turns out it is just enough to set it off in light air. It dawned me a hour ago that that might be the problem. I am over tired and have not had enough to eat. The wind has now completely died and I’m just going on deck to drop the sails and take them and me out of this terrible din…

I’m back, I made an adjustment and although there is little wind we are now doing 4.5 knots on a reasonable course so I will suffer with the noise a little longer. The only reprieve will be to take them all down have something to eat and have some sleep. I’m a little stubborn so while I can make some forward motion I will. 

Day 8 Solar power September 9, 2013

  Sept 9, 2013 2045close

 36. 19.8 N, 132. 24.4 W @20:45 PDT

The wind generator is not producing much power on this point of sail, except in the evening. I’m getting power only from my Solar panels at this point and being conservative in my power usage. I’ve been organizing the boat and taking inventory of everything over the last 4 days. Very few sightings so far –  I saw one fish boat last night. One small flying fish arrived on deck this morning. I’m thoroughly enjoying the balmy weather… while it lasts.

Heading: 224 true Boat speed: 7 knots Swell: 2.5 metres N Temp: 22 C in cabin, 18 – 19 C on deck Sky: broken cloud  Miles in last 24 hrs: 150

Behind the blog: 

Welcome to the Going Solo blog. As of today, we have 310 subscribers. We hope you’re enjoying the virtual adventure and we thank you for your comments. We look forward to welcoming more subscribers along the way. 

 

Day 8 – Riding the waves

Heading out on Day 2, Glenn enjoys the ride from the pulpit.

Fellow sailors snapped this shot of Glenn as he headed out the Straits enjoying the ride from the pulpit.

This afternoon the sun broke through the clouds and revealed an indigo sea capped with white horses following and passing West Wind II.

Her bow has a pulpit and in the pulpit is a seat that hangs out over the bow forward of the forestay. I worked my way up the heaving deck and climbed into the seat. I was there for an hour as WW II surfed – all 11 tons of her – on every wave that passed. I laughed out loud like a ten year old kid, over and over again as we rode each wave while the next one loaded ready for the rider.

My fist shot into the air and I yelled “Yes!”

West Wind surges ahead on every wave changing the blue water to crashing white and making my stomach and body feel light. Her bow buries itself into the wave ahead till the wash touches my shoes that dangle from my perch.

The sound was magnificent, exciting, crashing like surf over and over again. All the while the Fleming self steering wind vane mounted on the transom, held a firm grip on the tiller anticipating each wave bringing West Wind back from rounding up into the following wave and controlling that great surge as she gained momentum and sped down each wave maintaining a course I personally could not have while hand steering. Fleming had been doing this without food or water or complaining for four days straight! 

 Another day aboard WW II.

Fleming self steering vane

Fleming self steering vane sits off the transom of West Wind II.

Day 8 Start of Week 2 September 9, 2013

 Day 8 Sept 9, 2013

37. 05 N, 131. 55 W @12:00 PDT @ 0:8:00 PDT

Week 2 Lovely weather here – mild, sun just burning through, wind still from behind. Doing 7+ kts. Was late getting to bed last night -up reading. Will have to have a nap this afternoon. 

Heading: 204 true. 
Boat speed: 7+ knots. 
Wind: 15 – 20 N
Waves: 3 metres
Sky: Partly sunny
Mood: Up

Day 7 Running September 8, 2013

 

Day 7 Sept 8, 2013

40 05.56 N, 129.54.658 W @0:8:00 

We’re still running before the wind. I was up several times in the night worrying unnecessarily about chafe and how WW II was fairing. The motion is like driving down a roller coaster road in an old truck with no shock absorbers. It’s a little like floating. The sky is overcast but the temperature below is around 20 C. The seas are about a metre to a metre and a half with breaking tops. Last night at sunset, the sun filtered down through the clouds in radiating streaks. Very moody! I have been enjoying my great variety of food, especially the fresh fruit friends dropped off on the day I left – plums, peaches, apples, and blackberries. Trevor Hayward dropped off some rock cakes which I will be very upset to see go.

There are always jobs to do but nothing pressing at the moment. The cataloguing of stores is ongoing and I’m finding more things like my comb! I started a book yesterday called Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic by Ed Offley. It’s about the battle of the Atlantic in World War II and deals with the allied forces and how they dealt with the U-boats. The statistics of that war are staggering to me.

Life on board is evening out a little and some routines are being set. The nap seems to be very popular as is a beer with lunch. I am so exhilarated by the speed of WW II. I’m sure we will have another 200 mile day today. When I wake up in the morning and listen to my surroundings and look around I am still a little surprised to find myself here again. It is amazing to me. 

I don’t seem to spend as much time on navigation as I did last time. I guess I know where I’m going.

 

 

 

Day 6 Off the Wind September 7, 2013

DDay Trial Isl

42 15.4 N, 128 08.4 W @09:50 PDT

Seas are about 1.5 – 2 m and we are slightly off the wind and the boat is moving in a cork screw motion. Our speed has been great, about 6-7 knots which translates to about 150 miles+ a day. 

I saw a sooty albatross this morning but other than that not much. I am spending most of my time down below as there is water on the deck most of the time. I am also either sitting or lying down – standing is not an option.

WW II is running hard with the wind. I have about 15- 20 knots of wind, we are sailing ‘wing-on-wing’ with two reefs in the main and the kevlar jib rolled into the first reef on the other side with the spinnaker pole holding it out. Average speed this evening is about 7 knots. Coming down some of these waves we hit 9 knots! Last 24 hrs is my first 200 mile day and by the looks of things not my last. I managed to get some small jobs done this morning. 

The cabin is filled with the smell of my stew which I am now going to eat.

Day 5 Settling in September 6, 2013

 

Day 5, Sept 6, 2013

44 09.4 N, 127 00.6 W @ 12:00 PDT

I’ve been very tired and napping a lot. It will take some time to fill up the sleep bank. I sleep well at night but have to get up every few hours with the weather pattern I’m in at the moment. I have to admit it’s a rude awakening and leaving that nice warm nest takes enormous will power. 

I’m making my first stew which is now brewing on the stove. We’re sailing at quite an angle so I’ve had to use my safety harness while working in the galley. Also doing some maintenance. I’ve had to mend the lee cloth already as the stitching has come apart.

It is important at this early stage to not over stress the rig or the boat. I have a long way to go. Our speed has been exciting and welcome. West Wind II creaks like an old wooden boat when the going is a little tough. A bit disconcerting at first but certainly not a problem. 

I have been able to download Grib files for my weather which is a treat. The electronics are so much better now than before. I found my camera which is a relief. I’ve been listening to some music and will start one of my many books soon. 

Thanks to everyone who sent messages on the blog. Wonderful to hear from you.

Day 4 Finding my sea legs September 5, 2013

Day 4 09/05/13

 47 04.6 N  126 11.4 W  @0:9:30 PDT  (off the coast of Aberdeen, Washington)

All is well on board. I’m slowly getting my sea legs and getting things organized on the boat. The wind generator is not turning, due to the broad reach and we have little power from the solar panels due to the cloud cover.  I’ll be watching my power consumption closely. Saw my first albatross yesterday and a pod of whales breaching in the sunset last evening.

girlswharf

on the wharf

G and ML on D Day 

“I want to thank all of our friends who came down to send us off on another adventure. What an amazing gathering. I could definitely feel the love. Thank you also for your generous gifts and cards. West Wind II looks like xmas morning after the presents have been opened. I remember writing on my last voyage that it is the emotional support of others that gives me the courage of a lion and the riches of a king. That holds true for this voyage.  There has been the support of close friends and also complete strangers. This is the very best of mankind and I feel honoured to be your friend. Thank you all for your support. It means a great deal to me.”

I am on day three and the sun is just setting, I was on deck to put a reef in the main and in the shadow of the sunset saw whales breaching and along with that my first albatross glided over the swells. I am a lucky man!

Fond regards,
Glenn

Update @ 11:35 PST

Just finished taking a second reef in the main and attaching windward running back stay. Broad reach 6.5+ kts.

Galley cleaned, recycling done, computer charged, ready for lunch. Noodle soup with potato, carrots, and sausage. A beer, then a nap.

Another tough day!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 Hand steering September 4, 2013

Sept 4 position

Day 3 48.19 N, 125.06 W @0:7:45 PDT

48.19 N, 125.06 W @0:7:45 PDT

Sailed in very light wind most of the day yesterday and into the evening. The wind completely disappeared around Sooke which meant I had to hand steer throughout the night. I made it around Tatoosh Island late last night and am now heading out the Straits. Currently doing 1.5 knots with 1.5 metre swells from all directions.

RVYC members Roger and Jocelyn Green spotted Glenn just east of Race Rocks where they were on a salmon fishing excursion and sent these photos. She writes “Glenn was alone except for a few large container ships and a few fishing boats. He looked happy and confident!”

I spoke to a few fishing boats on the VHF radio about my position and managed to catch a little sleep between midnight and 6 a.m. once the I got the sails balanced. It was a beautiful night, the Milky Way spectacular in the night sky.

This morning I saw a few whales and porpoises and lots of sea birds. My first cooked meal on board is a bowl of hot porridge and a pot of tea.

Day 1 The Send off September 2, 2013

 

18:20 48 16. 94 N 123 34. 8 W

18:20 PDT 48 16. 94 N 123 34. 8 W

  48 16. 94 N  123 34. 8 W @18:20 PDT

After a fantastic send off at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club where dozens of friends and family and well wishers showed up to cheer him on, Glenn let go the lines and set sail at 13:00 PST. 

Tony Gooch, who completed a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation east about in 2003, is officiating Glenn’s attempt. Tony set the official start time at 15:37 PDT ( 23:37 UTC) September 2, 2013. Tony writes “West Wind II crossed the start line, a line drawn almost due south from the prominent post on the north side of Trial Island and the Lighthouse on Trial Island.”

Glenn Wakefield departs from Cadboro Bay, Sept 2, 2013

Waving goodbye from West Wind II. Photo: Sandy Beaman

 

He sailed out of Cadboro Bay in a light breeze and rounded Trial Island where he caught 10 – 15 knots of wind. He was doing a steady 7 knots all the way out to Albert Head and came through Race Passage at 18:00 doing 9 knots.

Sept 2 approaching Trial Island

Heading out the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Photo: Sandy Beaman

On a satellite phone from the cockpit, Glenn reports a beautiful sunny evening, a steady 10 – 15 knot breeze, the wind generator humming overhead, and very little traffic in the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

He was taking it easy after a more than hectic schedule over the past weeks and months, and had just finished a bowl of his Mom’s macaroni and cheese. He said he was wearing his safety harness and sunglasses, two things he promised to do.

Thanks to everyone who came by to give him a royal send off and to those who sent emails and left messages on the blog. All in all, a fantastic start. 

Read the CBC News WorldHuffington Post story. Watch the Global news clip.
To listen to the CBC interview, click on the play button below.

 

D Day – September 2, 2013

Glenn will start his solo non-stop west about circumnavigation on Monday September 2, 2013 at Royal Victoria Yacht Club. 

midnight on West Wind II

It’s all hands on deck. Glenn’s been burning the midnight oil, making sure his ham radio is in top working order, doing some finishing to the interior, and getting the boat ready to store 12 months worth of food and supplies. Last time I checked, he was building a storage container for the cockpit lockers and is now working on a book case!

 

Stocking up for 10 months at sea

Thanks to PSC Natural Foods for their generous support of Going Solo. Check the bottom of the home page to see the long list of sponsors who contributed.

 

Spinnakers Brewpub sponsors the beer

Thanks to Paul Hadfield of Spinnakers Brewpub for sponsoring a bilge full of beer.

On the home front, we’re vacuum packing food, books, clothes, gear and supplies. Our two daughters are in charge of entertainment and are downloading music and audio books to his ipod, printing photos, and packing a few surprises in his Christmas box. On that note, Glenn’s mom dropped off two Christmas cakes, a Christmas pudding and a dozen mince tarts. Cards and bags of  books have been left on the door step, as well as medical supplies and the odd bottle of scotch! The spare battens for the main sail arrived today and more books are on the way from the UK. There’s laundry to do and his new sheepskin is airing on the clothesline as we speak. Hmmm… where did we put the fishing gear?

 Packaging and labelling food for a 10 month voyage

I’m working on the website (with a little help from my friends) so visitors can find the latest news, send Glenn a comment, or ask a question. 

Stay tuned. 

 

 

 

Send Glenn a message

Thanks for participating in the journey.

To send Glenn a message, please go to a recent blog post and leave your comment at the bottom of the page in the space provided.  We’ll pass it on to Glenn as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Note: Please allow 24 hours for your comment to appear on the blog.

Swiftsure 2013

Swiftsure 2013 was a first for West Wind II, but not so for this crew of salty dogs (except Nicola and David) who celebrated 30 years since their last Swiftsure race together.

Swiftsure 2013 crew (l-r) James Houston, David Pennington (standing in back) Peter Knox, Glenn, Nicola Wakefield, Michael King-Brown. Photo: Brenda King-Brown.

Swiftsure 2013 crew (l-r) James Houston, David Pennington (standing in back) Peter Knox, Glenn, Nicola Wakefield, Michael King-Brown. Photo: Brenda King-Brown.

Here’s what the skipper and crew had to say…

“The idea to enter Swiftsure was an opportunity to reunite with my old Swiftsure crew and in part, an incentive to prepare West Wind II to meet the Category 1 safety requirements of the race and, to prepare myself to go offshore. This year brought together some of the original cast of characters as well as my daughter Nicola who has crewed with me in several races in the past and a new face, David, who we introduced to sailing. It’s been 30 years since the original crew did Swiftsure together and I was looking forward to racing with these men who’ve become lifelong friends. We would of course, share some of the old stories and it was definitely time for some new material.

One story in particular comes to mind. It was on the homeward leg of our race in 1981 as we approached Race Rocks. A 25 – 30 knot westerly had filled in and we were running with a full main and spinnaker working hard to keep the boat under control and avoid the dreaded death roll. We were in thick fog as we approached the narrow channel. The tension was mounting and it was all hands on deck, adrenalin flowing.

MKB was below at the nav station with the old Brooks and Gatehouse headphones on listening for the Morse signal from Race Rocks. When the signal nulled, he’d make the call to jibe. Peter Knox and Peter Brand were on the foredeck ready to execute. James and Hugh were in the cockpit on the sheet winches and I was on the helm. Everything was on the line. The boat, the race and certainly our lives. Everything depended on MKB to make the call, and the crew to execute perfectly. We’e raced all that way, and to now find ourselves in this situation near the finish was extraordinary. I was confident everyone on the crew would do whatever it took to make it happen. And then, in a loud, clear voice that cut through the fog like a knife came, “Jibe now!” and around we came. It was an exhilarating moment and one we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives.

There have been and will be many more bottles of Scotch consumed in the retelling of this story. As time goes by, the wind speed will increase, the fog will get thicker, the Morse code signal more faint, and the passage narrower.

But one thing will never change. The unmistakable feeling of true camaraderie among shipmates.
Glenn Wakefield

*Note: In 1984, Sannu Sannu won her division (scroll to pg 152) , after everyone else dropped out AND to this day, we hold the record for the longest elapsed time in a Swiftsure race, ever! After that, the rules changed and a time limit was imposed.

“Swiftsure 2013 was déjà vu for sure! It was so wonderful for us, now a bunch of middle aged dudes, to put our memories into action, and sail this classic race with the same energy burning within. Thank you Glenn, and your motley crew for this memorable experience aboard Westwind II. I wish her a safe return on her west about journey ahead.”  James Houston

“When Glenn called and suggested that the old crew get together and sail in Swiftsure aboard West Wind II, the old excitement started immediately. Getting together with everyone in itself would be a lot of fun, but racing again?  I reminded Glenn that I was now old and creaky, couldn’t crank a winch like I used to, and doubted my knees would bend enough to get me down off the coach roof without catapulting me over the rail. Glenn’s response was to give me two books – an account of the ’79 Fastnet race, and an equally terrifying one about the Sydney to Hobart race, mildly suggesting that I don’t let my spouse read it before Swiftsure. The result was, unexpectedly, that I was suddenly very keen to race again!  A couple of days before the race, Glenn handed me a GPS unit, still in it’s box, and said, ” You’re the navigator, can you figure this thing out?”  I did, and what a quantum leap forward it was compared to the old days of wobbly hand bearings and intermittent RDF signals.  I think it was fortunate that the race was a drifter, it required more mental effort than physical, and speaking for myself, my brain is a little less creaky than the rest of me!  Seriously, the opportunity to sail again with my close friends and to get to know Nicola better and to meet David, and to spend time aboard West Wind II was not to be missed, and will always remain a highlight in my life.  I left a little bit of my heart on board. May it ride with Glenn on his solo journey, as I experience that journey vicariously, and follow the sailor and the sailboat that I have an ongoing connection with.  Thanks for the opportunity, Glenn.  Once again, I have you to thank for another high point in my life! ”  Michael King-Brown (MKB)

“I try to be a ‘yes man’ in life and I’m glad I came along for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have little sailing experience, and being able to partake in a world class race with world class sailors was truly an experience I will remember for the rest of my days. It was great getting to know these gents, especially learning a different side to my step father, Peter Knox. It felt like family onboard. The race involved exciting times and dull times. Thankfully, the latter was filled with interesting conversation and a few sips of Scotch. I wish Glenn the best of luck on his voyage. He will be in many of our thoughts and hearts as we try to fathom such a feat.” David Pennington

The way they were (circa 1983).

Swiftsure circa 1983 crew (l-r) Hugh Owen, James Houston, Michael King-Brown, Glenn Wakefield, Peter Brand, Peter Knox.

Swiftsure circa 1983 crew (l-r) Hugh Owen, James Houston, Michael King-Brown, Glenn Wakefield, Peter Brand, Peter Knox.

 

Scenes from Swiftsure 2013 aboard West Wind II…

 

Photos: Nicola Wakefield

Words to live by …

Sailing Quote

Of men who dream …

Lawrence of Arabia had this to say about men who dream big dreams.

Screen shot 2013-05-22 at 1.44.42 PM

Glenn meets HRH The Duke of York

HRH The Duke of York listens intently to Glenn's answer to his question about weather and sea conditions in the southern ocean during his official visit to RVYC May 19, 2013 Photo: Ellie Matheson

HRH The Duke of York listens intently to Glenn’s answer to his question about weather and sea conditions in the southern ocean during his official visit to RVYC May 19, 2013 Photo: Ellie Matheson

HRH The Duke of York listens intently to Glenn’s answer to his question about weather and sea conditions in the southern ocean during his official visit to RVYC May 19, 2013 Photo: Ellie Matheson

It’s not every day you meet a Prince. We had the honour, recently, of meeting and chatting with HRH The Duke of York on his official visit to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. Watch the video of the event.

Prince Andrew was interested in how the more extreme forms of sailing challenges us and “connects us to nature and to ourselves” as he put it. He was genuinely interested in Glenn’s circumnavigation and the two happily chatted for about 15 minutes. Prince Andrew had obviously given it some thought beforehand and asked Glenn a number of specific questions – Why take on the challenge? Which route will you take? What kind of boat do you have? Why west about? and.. How does your wife feel about this?

Glenn and HRH The Duke of York share a laugh during his official visit to RVYC. May 19, 2013.<br />Photo: Ellie Matheson

Glenn and HRH The Duke of York share a laugh during his official visit to RVYC. May 19, 2013.
Photo: Ellie Matheson

He wished Glenn good luck on his voyage and asked to be kept informed about his progress, particularly when he crosses the finish line. We gave his aides the url for this blog and who knows… maybe we’ll see a comment from HRH on these pages from time to time. Stay tuned.

West Wind II races in the RVYC Lipton’s Cup

photo credit: Noelle Quin

photo credit: Noelle Quin

April 14, 2013 West Wind II at the start of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s first race of the season – The Lipton’s Cup.

After a good start, Glenn and his able crew, Oliver Williams and Matt Le May, sailed a good race finishing a respectable second place in Division 2.

photo credit: Noelle Quin

photo credit: Noelle Quin