Going Solo gets Liebster award

Thanks to blogger Ellen Massey Leonard of Gone Floatabout for nominating Going Solo for a Liebster Award!  Here’s how it works. One person nominates a blog he or she enjoys reading, asks them some questions, and then the awarded blogger nominates other blogs.  It’s a nice way of recognizing each other and sharing stories.

 Liebster Award

1. What has been your favourite moment at sea?

The wonders of the ever changing seascape fill my days but it is by far the night time that is most magical. The day time is an earthly experience, whereas the night time reveals the exquisite galactic wonders of the universe. This is the time of shooting stars, waxing and waning moons, reflections both in the sea and the mind. My heart soars at the sheer size of the universe that we sail in, compared to the microscopic bioluminescence that reveals itself in West Winds II’s wake. These are the moments I would most like to share with others and they are embedded in my memory and my soul.

crescent moon and venus


 2. What brought you to sailing/solo voyaging?

 My Dad shared his respect and wonder of the sea while fishing in our small home made open boat on the west coast of Vancouver Island from the time I was a small boy. Once given this confidence, I gradually over my life, used it to fulfill my dreams and realized that my only limitations to being on the sea were that I had to stay on the planet, other than that I was free to go wherever my heart led me. Going Solo came from turning the harshness and struggle of pitting myself against the elements into the most fulfilling and life affirming experience I could find. It is a very difficult thing to do and although I have shared my passion with many people the ultimate open ocean voyaging is not for everyone. In fact it is for the very few. Going Solo was the only way I could find to get close to the edge. I have never felt good about asking someone else to take that risk. Less than ten people have ever sailed single handed, non-stop west about around the world to this very day.

3. What is your biggest passion outside of sailing?

 I love sharing my passion for the natural world with my family and friends as well as people I have never met. In recent years with the help of my wife MaryLou’s blog “Going Solo” I have been able to share my experiences voyaging at sea with the world. In my two attempts at single-handed circumnavigations, I have connected with thousands of people from more than one hundred countries. Sharing the passion of my world at sea – the agony of defeat and the thrill of success – has been very rewarding and made my voyages that much more fulfilling. It has become more about the people than the sailing. The use of both vessels, West Wind II and the Blog, has enriched my life immeasurably.


 4.What is your favourite book and why?

 Two of my favourite books are written by Derrick Lundy, The Godforsaken Sea and The Way of a Ship. Both describe man and his voyages across the most hostile oceans on earth and the struggle and motivation to not so much conquer but survive these most unforgiving elements of nature. Lundy so skillfully captures all the human emotions that sailors feel when confronted with an opponent who neither cares nor sees them there. I have been to these places and he describes them exactly as they are. My favourite poem is Invictus by William Ernest Henley. This poem was sent to me by a friend while I was struggling to sail across the Southern Ocean to Cape Horn. It captures the human frailty and spirit that drives us forward.

 5. What has been your most difficult/challenging moment out on the sea?

The most difficult and challenging moment at sea came not far from Cape Horn, Day 220, April, 2008. I had sustained two very bad knock downs in the middle of the night during a bad storm. Kim Chow and I both sustained damage. The Argentinian navy reached out with over whelming determination to come to my rescue and after several days of holding on, I made the difficult decision to take their offer of a safe return to land and the arms of my family and friends and leave my stricken boat behind never to see her again.  

Glenn Wakefield on Kim Chow RVYC, 2007


  1. Hi MaryLou, after rereading my comment, I think my words “ill fated voyage” were chosen for dramatic effect and were incorrect. In fact, I don’t think Glenn’s voyage was ill-fated- he just had a rigging failure and handled the situation successfully, navigating his way back to safety. So, bravo and hooray! And more adventures to come!

  2. Thanks very much for these beautiful answers! Your response to question one certainly struck a chord, and I can only imagine the bravery of both of you, Glenn and MaryLou, when confronted with the situation you revisit in the last question. Thank you also for two great book recommendations—believe it or not, I haven’t read Derrek Lundy and will certainly check those out!
    All of us readers of Going Solo appreciate your answer to question 3—it’s wonderful that you share these incredible experiences—it enriches all of our lives.

  3. Dama Hanks says

    Marylou, Congratulations! The blog kept me waiting and reading and worrying! Thanks for including all of us in Glenn’s adventure and voyage. It was strange how that curve of the sea, the remote and mysterious corner of the Indian Ocean was suddenly in our consciousness. As Glenn was out there discovering some rigging failures, a group of us were watching the film “All Is Lost”, set in the Indian Ocean where we watch Robert Redford lose his boat and drift at sea until…? I didn’t want to even mention it to you at the time. Then 2 months after Glenn had turned back and sailed to Freemantle, Malaysian Flight 370 disappears into the Indian Ocean- or is suspected to have- perhaps in an area that Glenn had crossed. In a spot which Australian PM Tony Abbott described as “as close to nowhere as it’s possible to be”… The 3 narratives- a fictional movie, the mystery of a real event and Glenn’s ill fated voyage are mix together in my head now as part of the saga of the Indian Ocean voyage.

    • MaryLou Wakefield says

      Thanks Dama. I just gave a presentation to my professional association – Canadian Public Relations Society – about the power of storytelling and used this blog as my example. It occurred to me that Glenn’s real life experience ‘out there’ captured people’s imagination for that very reason. It was real, not a Hollywood movie fancied up to be something it wasn’t. No larger than life character, no over the top recreations of anything. I concluded that in this day and particularly in this culture we are all hungry for the truth. In this case we got the truth all right AND from a trusted source.

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