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           

Solar power

Two solar panels, one 80 watts and one 100 watts.

Friday, August 21, 2020

A very important commodity for this voyage is electricity, maybe not as important as water, but still necessary. On my first single handed voyage on Sannu II, a Haida 26, in 1997 from Victoria to the Marquesas, my only electronics were a GPS and a VHF radio and my running lights. The GPS I turned on once a day and the VHF radio only a couples of times in the six weeks it took me to cover the distance of about 4500 nautical miles.  This I powered easily with a two foot square solar panel that charged two 6 volt golf cart batteries. There was a 5 hp Mercury outboard motor with 5 gallons of gas that had no generating capabilities. Oh and I had a Discman and a set of speakers, all powered by AA batteries and a few headlights with AAA batteries.  

WW II’s thirst for power is much greater. I have a wind generator which, in the southern ocean with its strong winds produces all the electricity I can use. I also have two solar panels, one 80 watts and one 100 watts. They have been checked and a small diode replaced on the 100 watt panel. I have chosen to remount these on the cabin top forward of the dodger, a similar place as before but further apart so I can walk on the deck while tying the reefing lines in the mainsail. I had thought of mounting them on the life lines beside the cockpit as many local cruising boats do, but they are much too vulnerable to the boisterous seas in the southern ocean. In Kim Chow in 2007-8 I had the solar panels on the deck on top of the life raft but during very bad weather near the Falkland Islands these were torn from the deck along with the life raft. On WW II I have had some special brackets made to mount these panels and feel I have done the best I can to mitigate any damage.

I also have the generator on the trusty Perkins, with 50 gallons of fuel to keep it running. My ham radio coupled with the computer to send and receive emails is the biggest draw on my batteries. I have lots of small batteries to charge for things like cameras and recorders. I have an inverter that changes 12 volt power into 110 volt to charge my computer, and from that I can charge my Kindle, cameras and other toys. And, I now have a fridge! That will be a real luxury. In the brochure it boasted that it can make “ice cubes”, we will see how much power that takes. Heat and sunny weather are good ingredients to produce power, hence ice cubes.          

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‘Sea Fever’ print available for sale

Sea Fever hand-lettered print available at marylouwakefieldart.com

Victoria, B.C. Canada – 2018

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 who saw her work in progress and graciously offered to add a watercolour illustration to his favourite poem. The figure, sitting on the dinghy looking out to sea, is a loose representation of Glenn. Marylou and Harry discussed who was going to work on the blank sheet of paper and who was going to add their work over it.

“I was terrified to mess up an original Heine 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 won.  He painted the watercolour illustration first and MaryLou did her calligraphy afterwards, with much trepidation. The name Heine appears at the bottom left above the words Sea Fever just below the rocks and grass.

The original hangs in our home and has done since 1992. Signed prints on archival watercolour paper that measure 18″ x 24″ are available for sale.

If you’re interested in purchasing one for yourself or a friend or family member, contact MaryLou at mlwakefield@shaw.ca or you can visit her website at mlwakefieldart.com

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.