‘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.

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.

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.

 

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 !

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.

Not a breath of wind or a ripple of sea


What a splendid morning, sun is just up over the edge of the pond. Not a ripple anywhere, the sea is molten mercury, we are waddling in a south west swell which we have been in all night. We have drifted three miles closer to home and by the looks of things, our prospects of going much further could be going only another three by days end. There is nothing to do but give myself up to the fate of the wind gods and “roll” with it!

Having computer problems this morning so hope the gremlins cooperate and I can send out some mail and most importantly receive some.

Cheers from me “rollin in the deep”.

We’re working on it …

 

We have a technical glitch at the moment. The result is the program that sends subscribers updates via email is not working.

I’ve been working madly to try to fix it. I reached out to WordPress for help and the best I was offered was to post my problem to a public forum. This was after doing their updates!!!  Anyway, that was days ago and I’ve heard nothing so I have enlisted the help of our local tech geeks (their word) who are working on it as we speak and will hopefully get things sorted out today.

I’ll continue to post regular updates from Glenn here so stay tuned.

Thank you.
MaryLou

 

 

A fine balance

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tonight, I watched the blazing orb of the sun set for the second night in a row. It slipped quietly into the grey molten sea without a splash as if an act in a magic show.

Without the light of day, night sailing takes on a rather white cane approach. All my senses are piqued and shift into another realm. The humming of the wind generator signals the strength of the wind, the sound of the waves as WW II moves through the water signals our speed. A slight luffing of the sails lets me know we are off course. The movement of the boat as the swells manipulate her keep me abreast of sea conditions. The wind is very light and without WW II’s sizeable tonnage, she would falter in the fickle wind, but during the lulls she presses on against her own inertia. I still have one reef in the main as to let it out would be just too much sail and with the swells she would start to flap maddeningly. Her course, if plotted on a small scale, would reveal a rather drunken stagger but for that weight and clean bottom she recovers easily and keeps a forward motion.

I feel the fine balance and know that Fleming can only steer if the wind blows a certain strength, so I am ready with Ray, the electric auto pilot to
take over at any time. All these parts must work together or the game is up and we are “rollin’ in the deep”.

Fleming under sail

Fleming tied up

Perkins, of course has retired with a broken leg for the rest of the season and can’t be relied upon to take over as the iron sail. For such little wind, I am always amazed at our progress. West Wind has proven to be a more than able world cruiser, from the gales of the Southern Ocean to the equatorial calms and doldrums. She will, without a doubt, make a great coastal cruiser for Marylou and me.

Perkins diesel engine at rest

More common view of Perkins

Cruising the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

 

Heading ‘True North’

Saturday, April 22, 2017

It’s 8:23 am and I have caught up on some sleep that was donated, to keep us on the best course and move along top speed through the night. We’ve had some fickle winds the last 18 hrs. Either on the nose or just not strong enough to keep us on course.

I spent a bit of brain power debating which tack is best and tried out a few of my theories several times in the middle of the night and suffice it to say, looking back I would have been better to take all sail down and go to bed. Such is the benefit of hindsight. Here in the light of day I am trying not to make the same mistake. The overwhelming consensus is that heading north is the best tack at the moment.  

The air is lovely and cool in the evenings and not too warm during the day, which is perfect for life on board. 

Today I have been becalmed for hours so going a little crazy even thoughI have been here literally one hundred times before so I know how to do calm. Thanks for your email they are a real life saver. Trying hard to head north and get more wind. Overhead I noticed I’m on the flight path to and from Hawaii so it’s reassuring to know I am headed in the right direction.  It’s a beautiful bright day and not too hot. Still feel the effects of my all nighter last night so been trying to nap in between pushing WW II homeward.

Found an interesting problem this morning while checking the engine. The bracket on the motor mount that I had repaired in Gisborne has broken, so no more powering! I can run the engine but can not put it in gear because it is so out of line. That must have happened last night while I was powering. Can’t do much about it and it seems to be stable so I will just keep an eye on it. This old girl needs some TLC when we get home.

I had a great ploughman’s lunch today, cheese and crackers and nice little tomatoes, mmm good.

As usual, we’ve had our fair share of malfunctions but with a great deal of fumbling and perseverance, I’ve managed to keep West Wind II afloat and moving along. Our communications systems have been intermittent. The ham radio works to talk to the Pacific Seafarer’s Net each afternoon with Peter Mott,  ZL1 PWM in Russel in the Bay of Islands, Randy KH6 RC and Jane NH7 TZ in Hawaii along with a large group of very dedicated volunteers from around the Pacific Rim help MaryLou keep track of her wayward husband. (Editor’s note: And you’re all doing a fantastic job!) There is an online program that lets her listen to me while I transmit my daily report and facilitates her getting real time audio messages from me. (You can listen in as well here.)

The other capability I have on board is sending email through the ham radio while I’m hooked up to a Pactor Modem using a program called Winlink. This is what I will use to send this blog posting, hopefully. After many tens of thousands of salty ocean miles, we’ve developed a loose connection, for lack of a better excuse, which makes sending my messages a bit like winning the lottery. I think if you could see the expression on my face when I plug in the modem and push the button and a message comes up saying ” Com 4 does not exist on this computer” you’d see crushing disappointment with a small curl of rage. Conversely, when it does connect and the lights flash, well you could probably hear my joyful shouts from where you are.  

After a complete failure of the ham radio when I left New Zealand, I had to turn back and get it fixed. After that we decided to purchase an InReach tracker, a devise about the size of a flip top Marlborough cigarette package. This small device sends out a signal every 30 minutes and lets the world know where I am. It also can be used to send text messages, well that’s if the user possessed the ability to do so! At this point, that is not me and do you think I can overcome that little cigarette box full of electronics to send a simple text message?  Not a chance. This must be so frustrating for MaryLou, who is a wizzard at such things (Editor’s note: He’s exaggerating), and hasn’t be able to teach me so far. Don’t get me wrong.  ML has the patience of a saint, I’m just a bit slow on the
uptake here.

I have been rattling on a bit here and I’m not even half way through my list of challenges so I’ll spare you and save them for a future installment.

First I’ll try to send this blog post. Wish me luck, here goes.

Cheers Glenn at Sea

Email is back !

Friday April 21, 2017

Lat 24.42 N, Long 157.04 W Course: 053 Speed: 6 knots Wind:ESE 10 knots Waves: E 2 metres Cloud: 40% Barometer: 1020 Distance to home: 2098 nm

Bright sunny morning here. Half moon still with us hanging faintly over the port stern quarter. A majestic sooty albatross has been circling us looking curiously for breakfast. I have shaken out the night reefs in the jib and main to catch a ten knot easterly blowing over a slightly calmer sea with a two metre swell from the NE.

It is still warm although cooler than Honolulu …thank goodness. Still a little drowsy and I think breakfast is imminent. Nice motion on board this morning not quiet so life threatening as yesterday.

Our speed over the ground is 6.5 knots and we have a course of 23 T. The entrance to Juan de Fuca is bearing 47 T and is 2130 nm over the eastern horizon.  

Wind today will swing around from E to SSE at ten knots as the day wears on. Should be able to lay the mark and fall off the wind a little.

And now for tea and a light breakfast.

Can hear Glenn loud and clear on the Pac Seafarers Net this evening and he reports “All’s well.”