Communications

Day 7 Saturday, Sept 12 @ 09:28 40.20 N, 130.31 W

Glenn is experiencing challenges with his communications systems which means that his updates via email have been sparse. We are working on helping him sort out the issues and hopefully he will be able to provide regular updates soon.

He has a handheld GPS device on board which, when working, gives his latest position. Click here to see Glenn’s position on a map or visit the WHERE IS GLENN NOW? section of the home page.

The square miles of smoke in the image above totals 963,269. That estimate has been computed using the measurement tool within the NASA Worldview application. Credits: NASA Worldview

Visit the Earth Nullschool website to see an animated weather map.

Calm and smokey

On WestWind II circa 2019

Day 6 Friday, Sept 11 @ 06:17 42.03 N, 130.21 W

Becalmed after a very good sail for about three days with hardly any deck work and lots of naps, reading and eating.

I did motor sail for about 2 hours hoping the wind would fill in but no luck.
The smoke this morning is really bad and there is some residual black soot on the deck. There are still birds chirping away around us this morning, poor souls must be very disorientated.

This somewhat still water will be a good time for me to finish my “head” project.

Note: Glenn is having some communication issues on board which we are working to resolve.

Fifth transit of the Pacific begins

Day 2 Monday, Sept 7, 2020 48.32 N, 125.03 W @ 0:545

A clear sky is blushing on the eastern edge. The moon is bright overhead and a few stars remain on stage. It’s cool but no fog, not like last night when it enveloped us for many hours with its cool mist. I’ve heard whales in the distance along with the breaking shore and the haunting call of a loon. Vancouver Island is a black silhouette against a light blue early morning sky.

We are motoring slowly over 2 m swells from the Pacific. The lights of freighters are going back and forth on their highway. We were becalmed for several hours and I slept below as we wallowed. A promising breeze is coming up behind us. With any luck we will clear Cape Flattery.

This afternoon starts my fifth transit of the Pacific. I am warm and dry. A cup of tea will be brewing shortly. 
Cheers, G   

NOTE: To see Glenn’s latest position on a map, click on Where is Glenn Now? on the home page.

It’s all coming back to me

Glenn on West Wind II at the start of his
third attempt at completing a solo westabout circumnavigation

Sunday, September 6, 2020 15:30

I’m now five miles off East Sooke park heading back from the American side. The wind is 10-12 knots from the west coming right down the Straits. We have 15 degrees of heel and making 5.5 knots. It’s sunny, cold and very bright. There’s fog against the US shore and I hope it stays over there.
It’s all coming back to me. The vane is steering, I’ve made tea and have been pecking away at my roasted chicken and eating Trevor Hayward’s fabulous rock cakes. I changed into warm clothes for the night.
We got headed and are now heading directly for East Sooke. No panic I’ll tack in a bit. The tide will be changing to an ebb in an hour or so, so that will help us on our way.

Friends gather on the wharf at Royal Victoria Yacht Club to say goodbye

I’ve been fortunate to have such amazing friends who would show up in the middle of a pandemic to say good bye. Thank you, it was greatly appreciated, more than you know.

West Wind II is escorted out of Cadboro Bay by our 26′ Haida Shadow with MaryLou, Claire and Nicola aboard

I’m tired now and tonight will take some doing but the wind looks promising. It’s supposed to lighten up during the night then fill in from behind early Monday morning with 15 + knots.
With lots of tea and warm clothes, I should have no problem. I hope the fog stays in the American side!

There will be a moon around 22:00 hrs which if clear will brighten my spirits. Thanks again to everyone for coming to the dock and sending messages from near and far.

Here’s a link to the story in today’s Times Colonist by Jeff Bell.

NOTE: To see Glenn’s latest position on a map, click on Where is Glenn Now? on the home page.

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           

Thanks to the many people supporting me

Sunday, August 30, 2020

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. A wee bit chilly as fall taps us on the shoulder. I’m back down to Westy this morning to work on a couple of problems that are keeping me from leaving. One is the leaks in the water tanks. Yesterday I managed to take the cabinetry out of the starboard settee to expose the 35 gallon stainless steel tank inside. I had been able to isolate this tank with a valve located in the bilge downstream from the tank and after measuring it for a few days (after topping it up), realized there was not much water leaving the tank and that it stopped altogether with the water level barely down an inch. I interpreted this to mean the water loss was probably at the inspection hatches on the top of the tank. These inspection hatches have rubber “O” rings to help seal them off. Two of the O rings had failed. Although the water loss was not substantial sitting at the dock in calm water,  at sea on a port tack over several days this would have reduced my meagre supply for the next six or eight months enough to become a big problem. Especially considering I rely only on rain water collected from the deck to refill the tanks. The solution was to silicone these lids in place. I will fill the tank up again this morning giving the silicone time to set over night, and see how things go. The port side tank which is also 35 gallons is under the settee and the cabinetry that it resides in will also have to be removed. This is the second thing on the list to do this morning.

with Ron Kolody, my right hand man for all things Ham radio, circa 2013

The first is to test my backup Panasonic Toughbook computer. Yesterday after five nonstop hours of remote diagnostic work, my friend Ron Kolody managed to get the Winlink messaging program to talk to my 802 ICOM ham radio through the Pactor 3 Modem and successfully send a test message. He has been working remotely through the Teamviewer program from his home in Vancouver over the past two weeks to help me with this most important job. All that’s left is to work out the bugs in the back up computer and “technically” I can leave. Ron has been with me in a very significant supportive role, voluntarily,  through all my voyages over the past 12 years. He is responsible for, among many other things, setting up a network of primary and secondary Ham operators around the world who spoke to me every day and relayed messages back to MaryLou. This group played a key role in my rescue in 2008 in the south Atlantic by the Argentinians.  I could never thank Ron enough for all his help over the years. He is a very good example of an amazing group of people from around the world who have, and continue to support me and MaryLou through these voyages. There are literally a small army of people without whose skills and generosity, I would never leave the dock! I am always grateful for their support and can never thank them enough. 

Thank you all.
Glenn and MaryLou            

Anchor chain and rode

I have 250′ of 1/4 inch BBB (bend before break) anchor chain and
250′ of 3/4 inch nylon twist line with 25 feet of 1/4 inch BBB chain.
For anchors I have a 40 lb. stainless steel plow and a 40 lb Bruce galvanized.
The plow will remain on deck in the rollers till we clear the Straits then stowed below.
I’m working very hard to keep WWII’s trim even, both fore and aft as well as to port and starboard. The provisions can start to come on board as soon as all the sailing gear is stowed which should be tomorrow.
Cheers G

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On-board communications

Communication is a very important element of all my voyages. The first voyage in 1997 in our 26 foot Haida Sannu II started with a single-handed leg of 4500 nautical miles to the Marquesas. My only form of communication was a VHF radio with visual range of about 20 nautical miles. I spoke with one ship – the USS Force 6. After several attempts to connect and being buzzed by a helicopter from the Force 6, which I could only just see on the distant horizon, the captain came on the air and kindly relayed a phone message to MaryLou back in Victoria. She was at work and through a land line at her desk she received this surprise message from the captain who reported my position and that all was well. She didn’t hear from me again for four weeks when I arrived in Nuku Hiva when I rowed ashore and used a landline. That experience set the scene for future voyages. I definitely needed a better way to communicate with home if I was going to be away for long periods of time. Ham radio was my choice.

The initial outlay for the radio and installation communication was inexpensive and I could send and receive email through a program known as Winlink to anyone in the world. For my upcoming voyage I am still using ham radio with an upgraded Winlink connection. The upgrade required a password and online reregistration. Although this should have been very simple, it has proved to be beyond my technical skills. My daughter Claire kindly volunteered to come to my rescue. We spent several hours changing passwords and trying to go from one screen to the next and used several “help” options. In the end I called my ham instructor Ron for help. He is one of those people you have on speed dial. He waded in with that keen analytical mind and after many sessions on the phone and me going back and forth to the boat we called upon Loring Kutchins, a fellow ham operator and with his experience the problem is very close to being solved. This small glitch has caused a delay in my planned departure. It’s important for me to feel confident my radio works before I leave.

I motored around to the Oak Bay marina and topped up my fuel tanks yesterday. I will have 45 gallons of diesel on board, 35 in my main tank and two five gallon jerry cans. I also filled up my water tanks the other day and after I noticed my bilge pump coming on every half hour or so and realized I had a leak. This will require me to open up the two settees on either of the main saloon and see what I can find. All this takes time and makes it a little difficult to answer that so often asked question on the wharf “When is departure day Glenn?” My usual reply is, “When I’m ready”. Tomorrow is our 38th wedding anniversary so I won’t be leaving tomorrow!

My 12 dozen eggs arrive Friday, so not till I get those either.  But probably early next week provided there are no more surprises. Stay tuned.

Cheers, Glenn     

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Up the mast


Top of the mast heading to New Zealand, circa 2013

Sunday Morning August 23/20 07:30
The sun is just coming up over the trees in our front yard. The crows and seagulls are greeting the new day with their usual cacophony of song, if you can call it that. I was up early and had a good night’s sleep after a fabulous dinner that MaryLou cooked. These dinners with Claire, Nicola and ML are very special. This time next week I could very well be on my way out the Straits and gone for eight months. I was up last night at 02:30 taking the thoughts raging in my head and making yet another list in my trusty Moleskin. Not bad actually, only 31 items! This allowed me to go back to sleep.

I had a small accident last week. While cleaning the main cabin in my flip flops I raked past a reciprocating saw blade and sustained a rather long gash over the top of my left foot just at the base of my toes. Yesterday, after two days of changing dressings twice a day it started to swell and there were signs of infection. This morning, after cleaning it thoroughly last night and keeping it elevated, it feels and looks a lot better, although at the end of today it may be different.

I made great, satisfying progress yesterday. Among several small jobs, I was able to focus on the sails and rigging, the real boat jobs. I started by hoisting myself up the mast with two jobs in mind, first to push the staysail halyard through the shive on the mast which had become stuck while trying to re- rove* it through the inside of the mast. The second was to retrieve the spinnaker halyard which I had let go the last time I was up the mast a week or so ago and has stubbornly remained there. Going up the mast this time I felt in much better shape than that first ascent two weeks ago. I didn’t get out of breath and my fear of heights remained in the box. It was not without its problems though. Planning, when you’re by yourself doing rigging jobs is very important. My first job on my way up was the staysail halyard and though I thought it was going to be just a matter of pushing the taped join through the shive, it remained jammed, I either needed to extend my arms to thirty-five feet or lower myself down to the deck and pull on the trace line as I push from above. Not possible!! (common predicament for a single hander). It was early Saturday morning and with a panoramic view of the yacht club and Cadboro Bay perhaps I could persuade some unsuspecting person to lend a hand. I soon realized I was alone and going to have to go back down the mast and get another purchase on that trace line then go back up the mast and try again. Being lazy at heart, from my unique position I scanned the area for a helper. After a short time my helper appeared, Mike, who was rowing back from a night of self isolation to practice his guitar on his boat in the bay so as not to keep his family up, was rowing quietly back to the dock. I hailed him and he responded with bewildering swings of his head searching for the source of the hail as if God was speaking to him from on high. Mike is a wonderful fellow and dutifully rowed over to WW II and climbed aboard, solved my problem and went on his merry way.

Now for job two, retrieving the spinnaker halyard. I pulled myself the rest of the way up the mast till the climbing gear was stopped in the mouth of the main halyard shive, 55 feet off the water!  I reached and grabbed it and started back down the mast easing the bosuns chair line slowly hand over hand with the vagrant halyard attached to the chair. I soon found myself stopped in mid air not being able to descend any further! The other end of the spinnaker halyard was still cleated to the base of the mast 45 feet below! Not even my thirty-five foot arms could rescue me now. I quickly  turned around and yes, Mike was still in sight. This time when I hailed him he didn’t even turn while he was wrestling his dinghy into its berth on the dock and said “I’ll be there in a minute”, rather gruffly I thought. I shouted back “thanks Mike” from my pulpit up the mast. Once again Mike came to my rescue and problem solved. All this took place before 09:00. I pushed on with my day and list. Next the staysail was bent and the sheets roved and brought back to the winches in the cockpit, through the turning blocks inside the stays on the deck track, especially positioned for them. The new main from Leach and McBride Sails had been bent and hoisted once but the reefing lines and ties had not yet been roved. This went well till it came to the reefing ties. The dyneema line I bought was too small and my figure eight knots pulled right through the cringles*. It’s one of the items on that list I did in the middle of the night! The rest of the day went pretty much the same with some successes and some new items for the list. I find as usual  if I just keep moving forward bit by bit I manage to make progress, and if I’m not there nothing happens so I’m off again now back down to the sea where the call of the list beckons me.

*rove: a small metal plate or ring for a rivet to pass through and be clenched over, especially in boatbuilding.

*cringle: an eye through which to pass a rope. In nautical settings, the word refers to a small hole anywhere along the edge or in the corner of a sail, rimmed with stranded cordage.

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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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Port lights

Friday, August 21, 2020

1/2 inch plate glass sandwiched between polished stainless steel outer trims

One of the jobs I managed to complete in the past weeks is re and re all of WW II’s ten port lights. This is something I needed to do since landing in Fremantle in 2014. As with all projects like this, 80% of the project is in getting all the materials up together and prepping the surfaces. That took the better part of a year and the actual installation took only eight days.

Twin back-to-back ‘C’s of the words Chris Craft

Of the ten lights, four are the same size. They are the largest and their unique shape represents the twin back-to-back C’s of the two words Chris- Craft who manufactured the Comanche as part of the then “Indian series” sailboats that Chris-Craft made along with their famous power boats. West Wind II was the last of the 22 Comanches built in the sixties. These four lights have 1/2 inch plate glass sandwiched between polished stainless steel outer trims and varnished mahogany inner trims held in place with quarter inch bolts and flush nuts. I put these together after several hours of preparation and a great deal of thought. Each one required one and a half tubes of caulking inside and out that all had to be put together at one time, glass, inside trim and outside trim and all 16 nuts and bolts had to line up as well as be tightened all in one process by myself. Holding the glass in place then the inside trim braced to the other side of the cabin, then the outside trim, then line up the nuts through the caulking and hold the nuts on the inside as well, without getting covered in fast setting caulking! 

I’ve realized over the years that taping each surface inside and out is the best way to stop the spread of the caulking to everywhere but where you want it. It is not foolproof by any means, and I always keep a 2 litre container of Methyl Hydrate handy. I also wear two pairs of murder gloves so when one pair become covered in caulking I peel them off to have a fresh pair as emergency back up. 

WW II had six beautifully chromed opening port lights that were in different stages of decay. I managed to rescue three out of parts from the original six and had them re-chromed and reinstalled, two in the forward cabin and one in the head. The other three I had new 1/2 inch glass cut and similar inside and outside trims made  to match the four larger ones. While I had these ten lights out I sanded the cabin sides and prepared them for paint. This led to a much bigger job that took longer than I thought and required a whole other set of skills but same elbow grease ingredient. I experienced the phenomenon commonly  known as “project creep”.

Before I knew it I was preparing and refinishing WW II’s entire deck including the the non skid! I really didn’t need this pressure but choose to push on and get it done.       

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Kiwi Yoga

Saturday, August 8th 2020


It looks like the weather will be cooperative to re and re the Kiwi Grip in the cockpit today. I managed to get the washed out and partially hardened Kiwi grip scraped off yesterday before the rain started again, quite a mess. Before I try this again, I have to re-tape the borders which I’m getting pretty good at. I found one of the messier parts to this operation is removing the border tape just after I’ve rolled out the Kiwi grip. You have to put the tape on, keeping in mind it is coming off in sections no bigger than the section you can comfortably apply and roll out before it starts to set. Because of the somewhat awkward narrow deck configuration, you need to be a bit of a contortionist to pull the tapes off.

I definitely found myself several times thinking …if my foot slips this could turn out very badly. I actually thought of putting on a life jacket at one point. The consistency of Kiwi Grip is kind of like mayonnaise only it doesn’t clean up quite as nicely as mayonnaise, rather like doodoo to a blanket.

Try to picture removing the tape almost dripping in the product, the sun blazing over head drying it faster than one would like, one foot stretched out between the life lines on the edge of the toe rail, big toe straddling one side of the rail trying not to step in the fresh paint with the opposite arm stretched out at its limit on the coach house opposite with the free hand picking at the edge of the tape which now has decided to not let go! Your other foot is gripping just behind the live edge of the paint behind you and you’re not sure it will hold. Oh yes … and the wind is blowing the dog off the chain. You just can’t quite free the tip of the masking tape to get it started no matter what language you use to persuade it, your hand is now covered in the paint! The only thing to do is to try to get the small exacto knife to pick the edge of the tape free so you can peel it back, but where did you put it? You are frantically looking for it while trying to remain calm and keep your yoga pose with your big toe about to be separated from the rest of your toes. The knife, of course, is just out of reach.

The clock is ticking, the paint is drying in the Sirocco wind, blasting across the deck giving the boat a slight jerking motion on its taught mooring lines which test your resolve to remain composed and out of the wet paint just below you on the deck. You push off out of your pose hoping your toe doesn’t slip and you fall into the freshly painted deck. Phew, you make it back to the partially standing pose, the pain in your back very notable. You grab the the knife with the now paint covered hand and resume the position that is now called the Kiwi pose. You get the edge of the tape started and pull on it at the right angle so the line separating the fresh paint and the deck makes a clean edge, but half way down the section, the tape tears lose and is caught by the wind like the tail of the kite! It’s covered in paint and you are almost paralyzed in the kiwi pose. First the paint covered kite tail slaps the side of the freshly painted coach house leaving a deposit of fast drying mayonnaise smeared there,  then it flips across your chest depositing more mayonnaise on you chest hairs. You are trying to concentrate on the kiwi pose so you don’t either fall in the paint or pull your now over extended groin muscle. Fortunately, there are no spectators. You frantically push off the coach house holding the tape like a venomous snake, all the while trying to maintain your balance, and reach over and try to deposit it in a plastic bag already overflowing with similar snakes. The snake has its teeth firmly attached to your paint covered black murder gloves and will not let go, still secreting paint on whatever it touches. You manage to shake it lose. Now, with time running out, you resume the kiwi pose and frantically but with the composure of a heart surgeon, try to start the edge of the torn tape still stuck like crazy glue to the deck with the knife edge, and once again the wind turns the tape into a flailing venomous snake. This scene repeats itself for the next two hours. By the time I have finished, it’s dark and I am in an altered state of mind, physically distraught, covered in paint lashings. I’m sure water-boarding would have been a more pleasant experience. 

During the night I wake to the sound of hard rain.adrenal Kiwi paint is a water base paint, rather like latex. From my bed now fully awake, adrenaline pumping through my veins, I realize there can be only one outcome. If I’m lucky, and the kiwi grip kicked before the rain hit it will be fine, or the alternative which is what happened and is why I am starting from scratch this morning and getting ready for another yoga class, the rain will splash over the still wet surface and then dry all over the sides of the cockpit making an absolute mess of the whole cockpit.
It’s Sunday evening. It rained on Saturday. I managed to scrape and sand the cockpit Saturday morning before the rain and remove all the old paint except the splatters on the vertical sides of the newly painted cockpit the week before! I can go to sleep tonight with the knowledge that the Kiwi Grip job is finished but that the clean may take several years of sanding and repainting each vertical of the cockpit. I keep telling myself that because I’m single handed, no one else will even see it. (bull s—) it will bug me till I fix it. I may never leave !

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“I’m off !”

 

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-4-48-37-pm

Day 1 Monday, November 28, 2016

This image is from a new system Glenn installed on WestWindII called InReach. It uses satellite technology to locate Glenn  and then sends an update via email every 4 hours. It’s a backup to the onboard Winlink system that will allow him to communicate his daily lat/long along with his blog entries via email which will be posted here.  

In Reach Satellite Communicator on board WestWindII

I received a text message from Glenn moments ago … “I’m off! Just left Poverty Bay and Young Nick’s Head (named after Captain Cook’s cabin boy).”

Glenn leaves Gisborne

Thanks to everyone in Gisborne who helped Glenn make his repairs and offered their warm kiwi hospitality.   

 

WestWind II is coming home

DDay Trial Isl

West Wind II is now off the market, no longer for sale in Australia. 

Glenn will sail her to New Zealand in November, 2014 and further plans will be made. We’ll update the blog as we approach his departure date. Stay tuned.

Article in Soundings magazine, thoughtful and heartfelt

Sept 2 waving copy

Setting off, September 2, 2013.

Over the past year, Glenn spoke with writer, and fellow sailor Dieter Loibner on the wharf, on board West Wind II and over the phone about solo sailing, what it takes to leave the wharf, and how the adventure impacted our lives.

In this May, 2014 article in Soundings magazine, Dieter writes a very thoughtful and heartfelt piece titled Disappointed yes, but in no way defeated.

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

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