Day 26 Light winds, slow going 9/27/13

 Sept 27, 2013 a.m.

Position: 09. 23 N, 149. 52  W @16:30 UTC

Hanging out with dolphins was the best thing that happened yesterday. They’re so energetic and graceful. There were at least a dozen of them around the boat. At the time we were sailing quite fast. Several of them were very large and some quite small – different species I think.  I sat in the pulpit seat and whistled to them.They played for at least 10 minutes and then came back two more times. They automatically make you smile with their playful antics. I noticed one of them had a scar on its back and all three times it came back with the others.

It’s been frustrating going nowhere, and now the wind is blowing from the direction I want to go in. It’s hard to make any real progress. But that will change tomorrow, or maybe Friday. I must keep covered – the sun is insidious and sneaks up on you without notice.

The ITCZ has turned out be just what I wanted to avoid. The environment is harsh – intense sun and heat. I remember it well when I was in the Haida. It doesn’t seem to matter if you have weather access or not – it is what it is. I missed the gate by about 12 to 18 hours.

It was so nice to have a swim yesterday. All in all, I did well with what I was given and we will be keeping an eye on the wind through the night. If it changes, I’ll tack in to it.

My next way point is near Malden Island – almost a thousand miles down the road. The clouds in the sunset tonight reminded me of  the ones in the Columbia films with the lady holding the torch. Very commanding.

Heading: 203 true Boat Speed: 4.5 knots Wind: E 5 – 10 Swell: NE 1.5 – 2 m Cloud: 90 % Bar:1011 Temp: 26 C

Sept 27, 2013 with grid

Today’s position showing latitude and longitude grid lines.


Today's position in relation to New Zealand.

Today’s position with an eye on New Zealand to the south west.

Day 12 Under full sail Sept 13, 2013

Sept 13, 2013 closeup

31 58.7 N, 133 00.9 W @0:7:15 PDT

West Wind II is doing 5 knots with all sail up. 

The sky is mostly clear with black cloud down to the eastern horizon. The kettle is on and I am savouring one of the last plums on board. I was up at 6:00 and hoisted sail to a fresh southwest breeze of about 10knots. The wind generator is humming. I have to admit that after hoisting sail, I was drawn back to my warm bunk and enjoyed a sweet snooze. I came to an hour later to the sounds of water rushing past the boat that almost sent me back in to my slumber. A ray of sunshine filled the cabin and upped me from my bunk. 

I’m sorry I missed you earlier. We had technical problems with the equipment. My heart fell when I found that I couldn’t get the computer started. It’s this sort of experience on a small boat when you’re on your own setting off on a voyage such as mine that makes you realize just how important your computer is. I do have a spare, but it too had its share of glitches yesterday. The good news is, it’s another problem solved. I have no doubt there will be many more and we’ll solve those as well.

Once again the kettle is screaming and I’m easily drawn to the aroma of bergamot and the sweet taste of buckwheat honey.

 23 degrees C here and it’s shorts only today!

Welcome aboard to our new sponsor – Globalstar.

Day 11 Staying vigilant September 12, 2013


Glenn at the nav station
No position reported

Glenn is currently having technical difficulties with his computer. He hopes to be up and running soon! 

I received this message at 01:50 PDT. 

I was just up taking a reef in the main. Boat speed is 5.5 knots and the wind generator is going well. I discovered the main bolt holding the Fleming was loose. You can’t be too vigilant. Keep your eye on the ball, all day every day! There is a long way to go. Now back to my warm bunk. 


Day 10 Gear head September 11, 2013

Sept 11, 2013 p.m.

34.11 N, 133.50 W off the coast of Southern California

Heading: 123 true Boat Speed: 4.6 knots Wind: SW <10 knots Swell: 1 m Outside Temp: 20 C 
Wind is filling in from the south west. Lots of plastic and debris in the ocean.

A question posted on the blog from Shawn.

Q: It would be great to hear about some of the gear on the boat ie what kind of electronics/software, choices of blocks/winches, wind generator, battery banks. What kinds/sizes of running rigging and standing rigging. You must have a fav. piece of kit!

A: Hi Shawn, good to hear from you. You were asking about the gear on West Wind II.  Power is a good place to start. I have four golf cart batteries, an Aerogen 4 wind generator, two 80 watt solar panels, and a Perkins 4108 with about 40 gallons of fuel. I am running an ICOM M802 ham set. with a Pactor 3 modem connected to a Panasonic tuff book. All the lights are LED and I have a Furuno GPS with a remote in the cockpit.

For music I have a million songs my daughter Nicola downloaded to an Ipod and as well as some talking books. There are random usb sticks with music as well. That’s the quick version. I also have a Prowatt SW 1000 inverter. Power is the big game here. Being off the grid so to speak, you really have to watch your volts.  So, if it’s overcast and there’s not enough wind to drive the Aerogen wind generator, I won’t be playing the stereo much. But if it is sunny and the Aerogen is spinning, watch out lots of tunes and volume. Hope this paints a bit of a picture Shawn thanks so much for your interest. Cheers, Glenn.

We’d like to give a Shout Out to Fleming for posting a story about Glenn’s circumnavigation on their website Latest News page and including a link to our blog. Thank you. It’s much appreciated!

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 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.