Day 33 Starbuck Island 04/10/13

Oct 4, 2013 am 

Position: 05. 59 S, 154. 32 W

We made good headway through the night. I ate my dinner – stew and rice – in the cockpit to keep cool and watch the stars. 

It must be coffee time there at home. I was up in the night on the lookout for the islands. We passed Starbuck Island last night. Unfortunately they don’t have a ‘sail through’ so we didn’t stop. We’re going well, at a nice speed and are a little off the wind – more towards a reach – so the motion is a little better. Still doing a steady 7+knots.  

It’s a fabulous day, bright blue sky, white cotton clouds and the sea is sparkling. We have 15 knots of easterly wind pushing us along, the sea is boisterous, very blue, and giving me a ride I find difficult to stand up to. At the moment we have three reefs in the main and the jib rolled up past the usual two reefs and she is still doing 6.5 – 7  knots and throwing lots of water over the deck, some of which much is finding its way down into the boat. Although the drips are small they are consistent.

A beautiful day like today is great for sailing but it’s no place to be exposed to the sun. The sun is brutal and my only refuge is down below, where it’s hot, but comfortable. I’ve been reading and charting courses and looking at the pilot charts to check out the prevailing winds. I’m hoping to carry this easterly for another five or six days which would take me down to 13 S and 159 W just at the end of a long string of islands that end in the northern Cook Islands. After that we’ll see how the weather is shaping up. Eventually I’d like to pick up the north easterlies and head across and down the NZ coast.

For now, it doesn’t get any better. 

Heading: 185 true Boat Speed: 7 knots Wind: NE 15 knots Swell: NE 1.5 m Bar: 1008 Cloud: 30 % Temp:27 C Miles last 24 hrs: 180



Day 32 Malden Island 03/10/13


Oct 3, 2013 near Malden Isl 

Position: 03. 23 S, 154. 08 W @16:45 UTC

Very exciting times here on WW II as we are coming up to Malden Island. Because of a wind shift last night last night we are going to leave Malden Island to our starboard side.

Listen to Glenn’s Audio report . (Apologies for the scratchy audio…it’s music to my ears).


Malden Island is a low, arid, uninhabited island in the central Pacific Ocean about 39 km² in area. It is one of the Line Islands belonging to the Republic of Kiribati.

At the moment we are about 30 miles North east of the Island and about 20 miles due east of the reef off the northern point of the island. The island is about 500 ft high so should be able to see it some time soon. The weather for us  is good for the next few days as long as I can stay east of 160 west where there are light winds. the next island we will pass will be Starbuck Island, which is 100 miles south west of Malden and after that it is Penrhyn, Rakahanga, and Manikhiki all three of which are part of the Northern Cook Islands. 

Bird sightings include petrels and boobys.

Heading:165 true Boat Speed:6.5 knots Wind:E 15 – 20 Swell: E 1.5 m Cloud:40% Bar:1008 Temp: 26 C  


Day 32 Approaching the Islands 02/10/13

Oct 2 w labels

Position: 01. 25 S, 153. 39 W @16:10 UTC

Could you hear the merriment from the ‘crossing the line’ party last night? It wasn’t a flash affair – no one got their head shaved or had to eat soap, but I did make a toast to King Neptune and ask for safe passage through his Kingdom. The first sunrise in the Southern Hemisphere was a broad display filling the eastern sky and radiating under a long band of cloud and beaming out through the top. The winds are still steady and I’ve now taken the evening reef out of the main and we are sliding along at  7+ kts. We are 250 miles north of out first way point gate off Malden Island which we hope to leave to starboard,then set a course for the South Cape off Stewart Island, the southern most tip of New Zealand, the first of the five great capes that we must pass under to qualify as a true circumnavigation. The distance to the South Cape is about 4000 nm in a straight line and at our average speed, we should get there at the end of October. This is an interesting passage as it takes us through the many South Pacific Island groups many of which we visited as a family in our Haida 26′ Sannu II in 1997 while en route to NZ.


Wakefield family, Bora Bora lagoon, 1997

Bora Bora July 1997 at the beginning of our year-long offshore adventure. Glenn got a slight head start on his tropical tan during his 60 day solo passage to Tahiti.


I have a few important jobs to tend to today. At the top of the list is a very persistent leak somewhere that’s making a fair bit of water in the bilge. I was was totally surprised yesterday afternoon to open the floor boards and find water at the level of the engine! I pumped over 50 pumps this morning to clear it.  One good thing is that it is not fresh water so it’s is not coming from my water tanks. I suspect the culprit is the bushing around the propeller shaft.    


Course: 206 T Speed: 7kts Wind:10-15 E Waves: 1.5 m E Cloud: 40% Bar 1010 Temp 30 C Miles in last 24 hrs: 150 nm


Day 31 Crossing the Line 2/10/13

 Oct 1 Equator

Behind the Blog  by MaryLou Wakefield

This evening, Glenn will cross the equator, a significant milestone in any offshore voyage, but particularly noteworthy in a 30,000 nautical mile solo circumnavigation. At 0 degrees latitude, it marks the ‘circle of latitude’ between the northern and southern hemispheres. So starting tomorrow, you’ll notice a difference in how his position is reported – the first number will be his position South, instead of North. This is Glenn’s third crossing – once in 1997 on a family trip to the South Pacific where our two daughters and I joined him for a year-long sailing adventure, once in 2007, on his first solo circumnavigation attempt, and today, on his second solo attempt. I’ll be raising a glass to you tonight from our home in Victoria. Cheers mate!

crossing the equator

Position: 00. 33 N, 153. 00 W @ 0:300 UTC

We’re less than 50 miles from the Equator so will probably cross some time during the night.  

I have some concerns about my rigging being loose especially the Harken Mk IV stay sail furler which is on the foredeck about 3 feet aft of the forestay just ahead of the anchor winch. It has the stay sail furled on it that I will be using when there is too much wind for the jib – twenty knots and up. In order to tighten it I need to get to the turn buckle which is at deck level or the bottom of the furler. First the sail has to come down and tied to the toe rail. We are doing 7 – 7.5 knots to windward with water over the bow all day, mind you nice warm water. In other words the guy with the fire hose has the staysail furler totally covered. Once I wrestle the sail to the toe rail and tied down, I’m soaked through. I have decided to wear a tee shirt and shorts so I don’t get burned and so I can carry the tools I need in the pockets, much better than the pockets in my birthday suit.

In order to get the drum assembly off at the base of the furler there is a cross pin with a cotter pin on one end and two nylon washers at each end of the pin about two inches above the deck and under the drum. The waves are 1-1.5 meters about 2-3 seconds apart. My tools that I have sprayed liberally with Fluid film consist of a WW II era pliers and a small pair of vice grips. The cotter pin comes out fairly easy and out comes the pin and I manage to catch both nylon washers as well. These important irreplaceable bits go into the pocket of my shorts. Although the water is warm having it thrown in your face while trying to perform a tricky maneuver,  even at the dock, is at times hilarious, and makes me say out loud, “What in the hell are you doing?” That turns out to be the easy part. The next part is to remove four small allen head screws from a small clamp which holds the hub base to the foil at the right spot. I manage to remove all four of the screws and they go in the shorts pocket as well. I lift the hub base and hold it in place with the vice grips and start to remove the two turn buckle cotter pins storing those in my mouth.

With the old pliers and the vice grips, I am able with about four turns to take out the annoying slack and it’s time to put it all back together hoping I have the same luck as I did taking it apart. I pause for a bit and decide to go back to the cockpit to re group. That hour and a half on the foredeck went by quickly. The salt water is stinging my eyes and my glasses are well out of focus, and with the wind over my wet clothes, I’m starting to get chilly.  I have an idea while I’m cleaning my glasses that I will put all the bits and pieces in a small zip lock bag so I can  find them easily. Back on the fore deck the bag works well and I manage to get it all back together. There are times that are flashes out of the movie where I’m trying to save the world … if only I can just get the pin in, bomb won’t go off and I can save the day.

I finish putting the housing back together and decide to stop for lunch before doing any more. I treat my self to a large pancake and scrambled eggs washed down with a beer. After a short nap I’m am ready for the next stage. I put my almost dry shorts and tee shirt back on and off I go. Things go well and in just under an hour the staysail is back up and furled on the foil and the wagging that was so bothersome is gone.

Another full day here as we slide down across the Equator. 

Heading: 205 Boat Speed: 7.3 knots Wind: E 15 knots Swell: W 1.5 m Cloud: 10% Bar: 1007 Temp: 30 C Miles last 24 hrs: 150



Day 30 Steady Progress 1/10/13


Oct 1, 2013 wider view

Positon: 01.45 N, 152. 02 W @ 16:30 UTC

Note: To get a closer view of Glenn’s position and enlarge the picture, click on the map.

It was a steady day, steady wind, steady progress south. I spent some time in the cockpit, the rest reading and writing.

reading down below on West Wind II, Aug, 2011

I joined the Pacific Seafarer’s Net ( a group of volunteer Amateur Radio Operators ) so every night I can join in the roll call of boats and give my position report when they call my sign and boat name. I registered on their website which will update my position daily. A very interesting group. One fellow I spoke to from Seattle for example, has been travelling with his wife on board their boat for two years. They’re currently in Guatemala. 

Heading: 127 true Boat Speed: 6.7 knots Wind: E 15 knots Swell: E 1.5 Cloud: 10% Bar: 1010 Temp: 26 C

From MaryLou: Welcome new subscribers. We now have a total of 480 registered subscribers from 18 countries! Thanks for all your terrific comments and questions.

Day 29 Space Ship 9/30/13

Sept 30, 2013 noon

Position: 03. 32N, 152. 06 W @noon

Week 5  Last night I was drawn out of my deep sleep by a change in our motion. We had slowed considerably from the time I’d left to find that elusive sleep. The encounters on deck in the middle of the night are a little surreal. I find my headlight which I’ve placed on the top step of the companion way. I struggle a little to get it on right side up, then slowly and purposefully climb the companion way which is like climbing a ladder tilted about 30 degrees and moving as if I’m in the back of a pickup driving down a bumpy road, at speed. My harness is on, and the tether waits, ready for action. I clip it on. Then a quick visual of the scene on deck and off I go. I roll out the jib first and set it.  Then I clip on to the starboard side of the mast and take one reef out. Back to the cockpit. Check the masthead wind indicator which is conveniently lit from below by the running lights.

I turn on the remote GPS in the cockpit and check our heading and if all is well, I’m back down the wobbly ladder. This is done under the light from my headlight in the cool of the night. Tonight I stop at the nav station and tap out an email to ML hoping that when I connect with the land station I will receive a newsy letter from her. I send off my message and tonight I’m rewarded with a download of 1800 bytes!  I read it several times over and digest every word. It leaves me in a pleasant frame of mind. I turn the nav light off and dim the GPS. 

In the darkness of the cabin I stand up holding on to the grab rail and look out the port light. I feel    like David Bowie’s Major Tom. There in front of me on the horizon is a bright horseshoe sliver of a  moon rising out of the ocean and into a dark sky full of stars.A lucky encounter not lost on me. Am I in  outer space on the good ship West Wind II? I drift off into sweet slumber.

inside the space ship

inside the space ship






 Course: 190 Speed: 5 knots Wind: E 10 Waves: 1.5 east Temp: 30 c Cloud: 20 %  Bar:              1010 Miles last 24 hr: 120nm  



Day 28 Repairing the mainsail 9/29/13

Sept 30 w NZ in view

West Wind II with New Zealand in sight

Position: 05. 05  N, 151. 43 W @3:00 UTC

It’s very hot here today and I’m trying to hide from the sun. The wind lightened up a little so I’ve been up on deck to take a reef out of both the jib and main. I’m back below now absolutely soaked with sweat.  Time is dragging a little. The nights are long.

I’m having a food bar and a beer for lunch today – too hot to cook an egg or an omelette. I think the rigging is a little lose and when the time is right, I’ll tune it up. I had to do the same thing on Kim Chow last time. 

I was looking at the charts and checking my log book for speed over distance. The best case scenario is that I could be within sat phone reach by the end of the second week of October, but more likely the third week. I am a little further west than I would like, all because of where the ITCZ was located. I’m now through the ITCZs.

Glenn splicing line by hand

‘Working the lines’  Photo was taken on a calm day in Victoria with West Wind II tied up alongside.
















I’ve been on deck again and while I was looking up at the main sail, I noticed one of the tapes that holds the sail to the mast car was hanging off!!! The only solution was to drop the main right away and sew it back together. I dropped the main and tied off the sail. I went below, got my needle, thread, and palm and then back up to try and pull it back together so it could be restitched. Fortunately, the tape was reusable so it turned out to be a simple sewing job. Trying to thread the needle with one hand and stop the horse from throwing me off was the hard part, sewing with the other hand turned to be easy. At least the guy with the fire hose didn’t get wind of it or we would have had a different ball game all together. The main is up and we (Harrison Ford and I) are back on the railway track. YAHOO!  

This morning we were at lat 05 54 N, only 354 miles north of the equator. Today is also an anniversary of sorts, four weeks, our first month at sea. Our distance covered is 3625 nm so an average 144 nm per day. I feel very good about that. 

Heading: 177 True Boat Speed: 6 knots Wind:E 10 – 15 knots Swell: E 1.5 m Bar: 1008 Cloud: 50 % Temp:30 C Miles last 24 hrs:150






Day 27 Waves from three directions 9/28/13

Sept 28, 2013 near Kiribati

West Wind II’s position showing Christmas Island (Kiritimati) to the south (red marker).

Position: 07. 24 N, 150. 25 W 

We’re moving again and I’ve been running back and forth along the deck. The problem I’m having is the size and direction of the waves coupled with the relatively light winds. Setting a full main is just barely doable as the waves shake all the wind out and the thrashing is unbearable. To avoid that, I keep a few reefs in the main to keep it under control, but then I lose speed.  The same is true for the jib. I tried to use the spinnaker pole to control the shaking and slamming but I found that some of the screws on the track that holds the pole on the mast  have backed out. For now, I can’t raise or lower the pole. When it gets a lot calmer I’ll have to go up there and screw them back in place.

The waves are coming from three directions, from the north east at 2 meters, from the south east at 1.5 meters, and from the east at .5 meters. This is quite unusual but very difficult to make any head way against. West Wind will get some way on and then get hit by  a wave that almost stops her in her tracks and then she slowly works up speed again.

In a fit of frustration I rolled up the jib and unfurled the stay sail. It pulls very well and does not get the wind shaken out of it. Sum of which is we are moving forward at a respectable 4.5- 5 kts and the rig is not being shaken out of the boat. 

Hard work but we are making our way. Trying hard to stay out of the sun.

Course: 220 Speed: 4 kt Waves: NE 2M, SE 1.5 M, E .5M Wind: E <10 kts Cloud: 60 %  Baro: 1011 Temp: 31 C Miles last 24hr: 120nm

The Line Islands (Kiribati)

Note: Glenn will be sailing close to Kiritimati (Christmas Island), part of the Central Line Islands of Kiribati. Kiritimati has the distinction of being the largest atoll in the world at 217.6 square km and has a population of about 5000.

Kiritimati (Christmas Island) Kiribati



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 25 Sea life 9/26/13

 Sept 26, 2013 a.m.

 Position: 10. 12 N, 149. 38 W @ 16:30 UTC

I awoke this morning to find us sailing in the ‘Valley of the Squalls’. I counted seven grey hay stack clouds with their bottoms dragging across the horizon and the rain falling in sheets. We’ve been washed clean several times during the night which is welcome as our sodium levels are at artery-blocking levels!

The sea is still running high and West Wind has turned the wind into a respectable 4.5 knots which allows us to avoid the bad slatting that shakes the rigging so badly. I’ll catch one of those squalls later this morning as it passes by and get out the shampoo and soap.  The tea is made and so is the porridge.

Some follow-up questions from the kids..

Do you hear whales at night?

I sure do and during the day as well. Not very often but when it happens it’s very special and makes me feel like I’m not alone.

What about sharks? 
I’ve seen more sharks than whales – mostly in the Southern Ocean but at the equator as well. They seem to show up when I’m becalmed and the boat is not moving. They can be very large and aggressive. When we were sailing our Haida 26′ from Bora Bora to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands one came up behind the boat and smashed into the rudder because he could smell and taste the blood that was draining out of the cockpit from our recently caught tuna. I immediately threw the tuna over the side and he left after taking it with one bite.

Have you seen any dolfin?
Yes! I’ve seen many dolfin which love to swim in the wake of the boat. Often at night when they’re near, I can hear them breathing on the surface. I’ve also heard them singing at night while I lay in my bunk reading.

What do you do with your garbage?
Good question. Well it just so happens that today is garbage day and I did my recycling. I have three different bags – one for plastic, one for metal and glass, and one for paper.  I stow these bags in a locker (called the lazerette) at the stern, or back of the boat. When I get back to Victoria it will all go into the bins at my house.   

A shout out to Angela Hemming for her fantastic blog post about Glenn’s journey. Read it here on Flotsam and Jetsam. Thanks Angela! 

Heading: 215 true Boat Speed: 3.6 knots Wind Speed: E 5 – 10 knots Swell: NE 1 .0 m Temp: 27 C Bar: 1010 Cloud: 95 % Miles in last 24 hrs 165.

Welcome new subscribers! 



Day 24 Rollin’ in the Deep 9/25/13

Sept 25, 2013 am

Position: 12 02  N, 148 24 W @17:00 UTC

The morning’s Grib files look good and we’ll keep this wind all day along with our 2.2  metre swell. This is all very good news. We’ll keep our fingers crossed, and keep WW II “rollin the deep”. She has her skirt up,  and tearing across the dance floor at  7.8 knots! NZ here we come!

It is a new day and what better way to start the day than cleaning the galley. It got a real work-over, polished the stove as well. Then came the eggs! It seems some of those little chicks have become like little bombers! Remember the dance hall scene here. On deck is the guy with the fire hose trying to knock me over, down below it’s the punk rocker in his souped-up Chevy equipped with the hydraulic wheel elevators connected to rap music so as the car goes down the road it gyrates to the music. Picture this – I’m trying to sort out the eggs as this guy is watching me and laughing his head off trying to make me drop the eggs.  

It took half an hour at the sink washing each egg and placing it in a separate container as the punk rocker played his tunes all the while trying to knock one of those eggs out of my hand. I washed the old smelly container and dried it out before putting the good eggs back in their fresh carton. Much to my surprise I didn’t lose one egg.  Glenn: 1, Punk Rocker: 0

This all happened because I wanted pancakes and eggs for breakfast. I started to fry the eggs after I had made the batter for the pancakes. To make absolutely sure the egg I chose was going to be OK, I dutifully broke it in a separate container and let it pass the nose test. Four eggs later, the menu changed to pancakes only. I’ll try the eggs another day.

Wandering Albatross

Wandering Albatross

 A group of children in a daycare in the Lower Mainland are curious about sea life in the open ocean. Their teacher writes:  

“We enjoy your trip and wish you well. How much sea life do you see, and what do you see? Thank you and be safe!”

Glenn writes: Hello children. Thank you for your questions and for visiting our blog. You asked about what kinds of wildlife I can see out here in the ocean from my sailboat. Well, there are some very curious and beautiful birds. The largest is the great Wandering Albatross that glides over the waves with its huge wing span of more the 2.5 metres. There are the small and delicate Storm Petrels, about the size of a small pigeon, that flit and dance across the tops of waves looking for food. There are beautiful bright white Tropic Birds with their long thin tails. I have seen PelicansBrown Boobys,  and of course Seagulls

On the ocean, I’ve seen Right Whales, Dolfin, and Flying Fish which sometimes land on the deck of my boat. There are beautifully coloured Mahi Mahi and Tuna.  And at night when it’s dark, I can see millions of tiny Plankton that light up the sea in flashes as I sail through them. 

So you can see that the ocean is very much alive – above the water, on the surface, and below the surface, if you look.  
Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Heading: 208 true Boat Speed: 6.5 knots Wind: NE 10 – 15 knots Swell:2.2 m Cloud:60% Bar:1011Temp 28 C Miles in last 24 hrs:189

Day 23 Day’s End 9/24/13

We’re at day’s end here on WW II.  

A large wave has just come through the centre hatch above the table at the base of the mast and boarded us. The hatch has been open all day with not a hint of water on the deck. It’s as if someone deliberately threw a bucket of sea water right down the hatch. The berth on the starboard side is soaked and there is a large puddle on the cabin sole.  In this heat it will dry soon.  


The Intertropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ, is the region that circles the Earth near the equator, where the trade winds of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres come together.

The next few days and the sea we have to cover are very unique. This is the beginning of the ITCZ Intertropical Zone, a no mans land for the wind. This is where you go from weather influenced by the north to weather influenced by the south, and the transition is often fraught with light and fickle winds. And, this is where you can get trapped for days drifting and in sizzling heat. The first time I transited this mysterious area was on Sannu II in 1997. I did not have the benefit of Grib files so I wallowed for several days chasing every little breeze to make headway at all. Eventually, of course, I made it through but not without suffering mild heat stroke. I lay very still below decks on the cabin sole with a water soaked towel over my naked body. I did this for hours until the night rescued me from the heat and delirium. With that in mind, I come upon the ITZ with some trepidation, based on experience.

I’m  fine with our progress toward the ITZ. My biggest reservation is the size of the waves.  At 2+ metres, if the wind should completely die I would suffer enormously at their hands. With no ‘way’ (forward movement) on, it would be impossible to set any sail at all as the flogging they would take would tear them to shreds and, drive me crazy. You are definitely at the mercy of the wind.

We’ve had a wonderful 10-15 knot breeze off our stern quarter that is filling a single reefed main and a poled-out jib pushing us along at a respectable  6+ knots in a straight line to where the narrowest part of the ITZ. Lat 10 00 North, and Long 150 00 W, that point at this moment is 236 miles down the road, and we are right on it. With our daily runs of 150 to 180 nm, we should be there tomorrow or Thursday .

The boat’s motion at the moment is swinging from 25 degrees to one side to 25 degrees to the other, and rocking forward and aft through 20 degrees – 10 each way so it is a lively ride and I’m thankful for my nav station seat. Typing this on the computer is rather like sitting in the back of your car while your sixteen years old – a wild ride, at speed. I seem to be forever pressing < then delete. It’s dark now so I’m turning on the mast head running lights as well as the nav station lights.

The ham radio sits off to my left. I’m listening to the sound of mariners on the Seafarers Net call out their position to another operator who records their position.

It’s too hot to sleep comfortably below tonight, so I will try and nap as best I can with frequent trips to the cockpit to watch the amazing star filled sky and feel the cool breeze. If things get really lively,  I’ll get Annie Lennox to sing ‘Walking on broken glass’, and I may just have to make some popcorn. 

Day 23 Fast, bumpy ride 9/24/13

Sept 24, 2013 noon

Position: 13 49 N, 147 20 W @ 19:00 UTC

Hot and muggy here over night so lots of tossing and turning. Good progress though. 

Here’s my morning ritual to get Grib (weather) files from my computer.

I’m up early to download the files so I’m absolutely on top of the weather. Process goes something like this – go to the Grib file drop down map of the world, choose the area you’re interested in, send a request through Winlink as an out going message. Then disconnect that call, wait for a period of time, then through the radio and the modem make another connection with Winlink and if the file is ready, it will download it. Go to your inbox on the computer and open up the file and there it is, in colour. The weather map shows wind, waves, and barometric pressure for the next three days. I can scroll back and forth to decide the best route.

I’m going to send this message, turn on the radio and hook up the modem to the computer and then find a land station that has good propagation and send this message out and hope to receive the Grib files in return.

After that, I’ll make tea and study the weather, then go on deck and change course or adjust the sails as required.

And so it goes every morning.

I have started to hand sew a bag for the lines at the base of the mast that will keep my hands busy for a few days. 

Course 227T Speed 6.6 Wind NE 10-15 kts Waves NE 2.2 metres Cloud: 30% Bar 1011 steady Temp 29C Miles in last 24 hrs: 180 nm





Day 22 Into the Zone 9/23/13

 Sept 23, 2013 close

Position: 15 41 N, 145 24 W @20:00 UTC

Week 4  It has dawned another beautiful tropical morning here on board WW II after a very lively night. We made a solid 70 miles in the last twelve hours as a result of a very steady 15+ knot wind that we have been running before for more than three days. I did not make any sail changes last night nor did I sleep very well but …were we moving!

I am expecting a wind shift from the NE to more easterly some time today. When that happens I’ll gybe at that time to take advantage of the shift. Going a little further west this morning so we can avoid some light winds just south of us.


We have about 450 miles to go to get to 10 N, 150 W where the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) is very narrow and there is enough wind to take us through to the trade winds on the other side.

The library, recording barograph, and bar on West Wind makes for a cozy cabin.

The library, recording barograph, and bar – starboard side in the main salon on West Wind II

The recording barograph which had stopped working a few days ago is now back up and running and the batten in the main I thought was broken is fully intact. Both good news. 

 Course 260 T Speed 6.7 kt Wind E 10-15 Waves 1.5-2 meters Cloud 50% Temp 28C Bar 1013 Miles in last 24 hrs: 170 kt.miles

Thanks for your comments and questions.    

Read Glenn’s answer to the question about how the equipment and systems are working.

Read Glenn’s answer about hand steering.

Day 21 Plotting a Course 9/22/13

Sept 22, 2013

Postion: 16. 27 N, 142 45 W

A new day. Listening to Adele singing Rolling in the Deep. Cup of tea, cool tropical breeze funnelling down through the main hatch and across my bare shoulders and down my back. Up very early to take care of M&J (Main and Jib). Flipped them over so we can lay the mark 590 miles over the horizon at 10 N and 150W where the doldrums are very narrow and then out into the tradewinds and South.

I will leave Christmas Island to starboard, then pass through the middle of the Central Line group of Islands leaving Malden Island (Kiribati) to starboard and the Filippo Reef to port. Then head further southwest through the Northern Cook Islands leaving Penrhyn Island to starboard.

Penryhn Island - wiki

Penrhyn Island, Cook Islands

Editor’s Note: Penrhyn is the most far flung of the Cook Islands. It lies 9 degrees below the equator and at 11.2 kms (7 miles) wide and 24.1 kms (15 miles) long, it is the largest atoll in the Group and one of the largest in the Pacific. Early Polynesian settlers called it Tongareva – a name still used to this day meaning “south of the empty space”.  The modern name Penrhyn Island comes from the ship, Lady Penrhyn which passed by the island on 8 August, 1788.

Then on through the Society Islands and the southern Cook Islands. After that I’ll round the south end of the south island of New Zealand and into the Great Southern Ocean!

It was six years ago I left in Kim Chow for our first attempt at sailing around the world west about. That was an amazing day, getting away from the wharf was a very emotional time and the great adventure that lay before me was so unknown. But looking back on it now it was not nearly as risky in my mind as it was when I left single handed from Victoria in May of 1997 in Sannu II a Haida 26, flush deck harbour sailor.

Sailing to Bora Bora, 1997

Sannu II sailing to Bora Bora, 1997

My first port of call was the Marquesas Islands that took me 42 days,and then 4500 miles of open ocean. All I had with me was a Garmin hand held GPS and a VHF radio. Those were the most amazing six weeks of sailing I have ever done because it was my first time single handing over such a distance and everything was new. There is nothing quite like the first time! Every trip since has been measured by
that one. 

Speed 5.5 knots Course 38 t Wind NE 10+ Waves NE 1.5 m Clouds 15% Bar 1014 Miles in last 24 hrs: 140 nm


Day 20 Making the most of it 9/21/13

Sept 21, 2013 a.m.

Position:  17 53.1 N, 140 59.0 W

I moved off one chart and on to another today – a milestone worth noting for me. I’m now planning my route south through the Cook Islands towards NZ. 

I made the most amazing lunch today. Fresh cabbage lightly cooked in a little extra virgin olive oil seasoned with a little Tellicherry black pepper and some organic Italian Balsamic Vinegar, a little melted apple wood cheese from Ian and Susan Grant’s private collection along with a Babybel mini gourmet cheese round. Wasca crackers and imported sausage from  Choux Choux. Accompanied by a Blue Bridge Pale Ale. 

We’re doing 7 + knots down wind , about 600 miles east off the Island of Hawaii headed for the equator on the fabulous West Wind II  under the command of seasoned ocean sailor and chef extraordinaire !

Making the most of what I have, and sincerely hope you’re doing the same  

Course: 225 Speed: 6.6 knots Wind: NE 15 Waves: NE 1.5 Cloud: 50 % Bar: 1016 Miles in last 24 hrs: 165 

Day 19 By hand 9/20/13

Setpt 20, 2013 a.m.

Position : 20.12  N, 139. 49 W @17:00 UTC

Early afternoon yesterday and last night I had to hand steer for several hours as the wind went light and the vane didn’t have the energy to take the tiller. Sitting in one place for three hours, watching the sun set and the moon rise on a balmy night with just shorts on – not too hard to do.

Nonetheless I was glad the wind increased and happily turned the tiller over to Fleming to let him steer through the moon lit night. I retreated to my bunk for some sleep.

Mags writes:  Will you be posting videos? Would be cool to see some of these storms.:) Stay safe, keep up the great storytelling.

Read Glenn’s response here.

145 true Boat Speed: 6.7 knots Wind NE 10 – 15 kn Swell: NW 1 m Cloud Cover: 50% Temp 20 C Miles last 24 hours: 110

 Thank you all for your comments and questions. Keep ’em coming!


Day 18 Spa Pacifica 9/19/13

Had a tropical down pour this morning that turned West Wind into Spa Pacifica. There were three squalls in the neighbourhood and I got all three in a row. Three weeks is along time to go with out a shower and this one was perfect – not polar but tropical. Did all my laundry – shorts, shirt , socks, tee shirt, and underwear. After that I washed the whole boat inside and out. I had a shave, manicure and pedicure. I topped it off with a gourmet omelette of sausage,onions, shallots, grated cheese, and two farm fresh eggs. 

Then I got to a few ‘must do’ jobs after lunch. One was on the mast. On the trailing edge of the mast where the main sail track is, there was an old gate that was used to take out the cars when taking the main sail off the boom. This is no longer needed since we have a new main and boom with much better method to remove the main sail. The old gate was held in place by a small wire pin that had a “D” shaped head on it so you could pull it up and undo the gate. Unfortunately whenever the main is raised or lowered especially when taking in a reef downwind, it would catch the pin and open the gate and the main sail would be free to come out of its track. This gate is about 8 feet up the mast and in order to rethread the main sail cars back into the track, it means going up the eight feet making it almost impossible to reach the main halyard and put the cars in at the same time. 

West Wind II looking aft

Last night the “D” handle on top of the pin broke off. This left the pin free to fall out through the bottom of the gate leaving it permanently open and a nightmare to raise or lower the main. After going up the mast by standing on the main halyard winch, I discovered that the pin was still there. All I had to do was bend over each end so it stays in place – hopefully for a good long while.

The other job was a search and destroy mission – chasing the illusive leaks. These are not the kind that will sink the boat, but the kind that just slowly drive you crazy. Dripping over the nav station on to the charts, or filling a cupboard and damaging valuable stores. This is an on going job that requires patience –  not high on the list of my characteristics, but we try.



Day 18 Keeping an even pace 9/19/13


Sept 19, 2013 world view

Position: 22. 33 N, 139.17 W @16:30 UTC * 

Last night I sat in the cockpit under a canopy of clouds that were backlit by the full moon listening to Sting on the iPod and having my dinner – potatoes, carrots, fried onions, curry sausage, and noodles and one can of  Blue Bridge beer. I tuned into the seafarers net to check my radio strength and it came back “double nickel” from my brothers on the airwaves. I also talked to a boat transiting from Hawaii to Victoria.

My thoughts are about keeping an even pace. Even though West Wind II sails faster than Kim Chow did,  it is a long voyage and in order to make it, I must keep the boat going – all the way. Most nights I shorten sail to be safe. This will probably cost some miles in the short term, but over the next 30,000 miles what counts is the boat making it, not how fast. Slow but sure wins the race.

It’s around 02:30 a.m. and I’ve been on deck for and hour chasing a dying breeze …which I’ve just buried. I’ve now lowered all the sails till a new breeze presents itself. With no sails up, the motion is very pronounced – a drunken sailor comes to mind. The motion is one thing but the noise is quite an other. I’ll try to get some sleep. I’ll need the industrial ear plugs for sure. 

I saw one Flying Fish this morning, no birds. With the cloud cover and light wind, still conserving power. 

Read Glenn’s response to this question ” Glenn would you care to describe wrestling with the spinnaker pole in a rising breeze while single handed on a forty footer? Some of us following your exploits from our couch might not fully appreciate the art, while some of us certainly do! 

Heading: 227 true Boat Speed: 2.1 knots Wind: NE < 5 knots Swell: NE 2 metres Cloud Cover: 80% Barometer: 1000 Temp: 19-20 C

* (UTC is Pacific Daylight Time + 7 hours)




Day 17 Into the Wind 9/18/13

Sept 18, 2013 noon

Position: 24. 05 N, 139. 00 W @ 19:00 UTC*

*Note: Time will now be reported in UTC – Universal Time Coordinated (UTC is +7 hours from Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) 

Listen to Glenn’s audio report courtesy of Ron Kolody, ham radio operator in Vancouver.

At 5:30 this morning I lay in my nice warm bunk listening to the main and jib slatting on deck. I got up, found my glasses, put on my shorts and shoes, and my safety harness. The near full moon cast enough light through the cloud cover so I didn’t need my head light. My safety tether has one end clipped through the main (sail) traveller line, just outside the companion way.  The other end lies ready to hook to my harness. I take the first two steps up the companionway, grab the snap shackle and clip it on my harness.This is now a routine. 
(Editor’s note: Glad to hear it!) 

The wind had definitely lightened up with the two reefs in the main and the jib rolled in deeply.  The wind was coming aft of the port quarter, maybe 5 – 10 knots, the sea was running about a metre to a metre and a half. I got the first reef out with not much trouble and rolled out the jib as well. I realized we were slightly off course. Each time I adjust the sails, the wind vane and course usually need to be adjusted as well. 

The wind has been very fickle, first very light, then blowing up to 20 knots, then back down again. In an effort to keep going and stop the sails from being damaged, I’ve tried hard to keep a happy ship, but the wind and seaway have run me ragged.

This morning we were sailing off the wind and the wind was rising (which makes reefing very difficult as the sail is jammed up against the shrouds) and I got the reefing lines jammed. I found it difficult to get the main up or down. In order to free the reefing line which had jumped in the shiv in the boom at the goose neck I had to thread the reefing line back up the boom and then put it on the main halyard winch to get it unjammed then rethread it back down the the goose neck making sure it got back on its shiv properly. All this while the wind was rising and some guy was throwing buckets of water over my head!  

It’s now 9:30 a.m. and throughout this whole time I have been up and down on deck taking sail in, letting it out. I’m beat and ready for a bowl of porridge.

Heading: 210 True Boat speed: 4 knots Wind: NE 5-10 Knots Cloud cover: 100% Waves: NE 1.5 metres Distance last 24 hr:150 nm

Updated position at 0:3:45 UTC    23. 22 N, 129. 13 W  



Day 16 A shift in time 9/17/13

Sept 17 noon 

 26 29.3 N, 137 52.7 W @ 10:20 PDT

Going like a train this morning. The wind shifted numerous times over night and there were some strong squalls and intense rain. I was up many times trimming sails and readjusting the vane. We’re on port tack so I’m sleeping in the starboard bunk which is a little wider than the port bunk. Really  enjoying that. Wind generator is putting out lots of power.

I’m now in a new time zone. Ship’s time is back one hour.  My time is ‘Plus Zulu’ or 9 hrs plus GMT. It is 7:43 local and 16:43 Zulu or GMT.
I’m feeling tired today so will try catch up on sleep this morning. I’m feeling like this could be a wash day today although it’s a little rough.

Going now to make a pot of tea. 

Heading: 182 true, Boat Speed: 6.7 knots, Wind: NE 15 knots, Swell n 1.5 metres, Cloud Cover 50% Temperature: 20 C Miles in last 24 hrs: 150









Day 15 Wing-on-Wing 9/16/13

Sept 16, 2013 p.m.

 27 53.1 N, 136.49 W @ 12:00 PDT

Currently sailing wing-on-wing with a double reefed main at 6 knots. Wind is 15 knots from the North, waves are 1.5 metres from the Northwest. Temperature is 25 C with 80% overcast sky.

An example of sailing wing-on-wing

An example of sailing wing-on-wing

A container ship ‘Horizon Passage’ from San Diego bound for Hawaii came up my port side at 20 knots around 9:30 this morning. I spoke with the crew on the bridge who told me I showed up well on their radar.  

The hurricane currently in the Gulf of Mexico is not affecting me directly, although this is definitely hurricane season. The season starts around Nov 1st in the South Pacific, and will be present when I pass western Australia and the east coast of Africa. I was affected by a cyclone off the south east coast of Africa on my last trip, but not badly. Weather routing for a west about circumnavigation from the west coast of North America is definitely challenging when you take in to account all the weather anomalies, and rounding Cape Horn.

I believe we’ve made a good start and have to meet each one of those circumstances as they present themselves.

I took a rather good blow to the head today from the spinnaker pole. Not to worry all is well. I went to the first aid station and the doctor told me I would be fine, just put ice on it for a few days. No stitches, just a band aid. 

Day 15 Dark Blue Sea 9/16/13


Sept 16, 2013 a.m.

27 57.9 N, 136 31.7 W @10:20 PDT

Week 3

Dark Blue Sea

Dark blue sea rippled by a 10-knot warm SW breeze

Aero Gen 4 silently making hydro

West Wind II like a race horse sliding gently but purposefully over a two meter beam sea

Another plastic fish float anchored by its growing community of hitchhiking sea creatures, floating by

The Fleming vane guided by the wind gently but firmly tugs WW II’s helm to keep her on a mutually agreed upon course close to the wind

The Furuno cockpit remote GPS reads a steady 5.7 knots and a course of 236 True

The BP solar panels are still in the shadow of the main and jib but are filling the volt bank nonetheless

Clouds like a Second World War II convey are lined up, escorted across the western horizon, grey against the billowing white

No inflated parade characters, only a soft break between sea and sky

The motion aboard is in tune with the waves, or is it vice versa

A hobby horse ride, smooth, tickling the stomach 

The reins are free and she goes fast, steadily paces ahead towards the equator

Not a finish line but a start line to the romantic South Pacific and eventually the rigours of the great Southern Ocean

Where I will once again pit my trusty steed and courage against its formidable forces that once brought me to my knees six years ago

I am the master of my fate and I am back, God willing.

Monday’s  Update

We are still in very light wind (less than 10 knots) and it’s difficult to maintain a course to 140W where there is more wind. The wind is coming from the NW and with it a large running sea which shakes what little wind I have out of the sails and creates an earth shattering shudder. I hope to get to the stronger breeze some time later to day.

Surprisingly, I had to replace one of the steering lines from the Fleming to the tiller. Two weeks is not long for a line to chafe through. I’ve had my eye on it for over a week. Before it started to get dark last night I switched to a much more robust line with the hope it will last longer.

One surprising difference on this voyage is the distinct lack of bird sightings. In the last week I have seen more fish than birds. In the fading light of dusk last evening, I saw a small Storm Petrel dancing over the waves. Last week I was visited by a Wandering Albatross and a bright white Tropic bird but they have not returned.

Heading 262 true, Boat Speed 6.3 knots, Wind NW 12 – 15 knots, Swell: NW 1.5 m, 0.7 m chop Temp: 23 C Cloud Cover 65% 
Barometer: 1000 and steady.

Welcome aboard new subscribers!  

Day 14 Making a compromise September 15, 2013


Sept 15, 2013 noon

28 22.1 N, 134 40.7 W @ 12:00 PDT

It’s a beautiful day, the wind is light, maybe 10 knots.  The wind and waves are at very awkward angles today. To make my best course I would like to run down wind but because the waves are off the stern quarter WW II wants to cork screw and there is not enough wind in the sails to stop them slatting rather vigorously. When they  do it feels like the rig is going to fall down so I have made a compromise. I’m heading up a little away from my best course to stop the mast from being shaken out of the boat. If conditions change later, I will head back on course later no big deal. Just “No shaking please”.

Course heading: 258 true, Speed over Ground (SoG) 5.2 knots, Wind: NW 10 knots, Sky: Sunny, with sheep clouds, Miles in last 24 hrs: 110.

Library on West Wind II

Started a new book today written by Stanley Evans called Seaweed On The Street. Thank you Stan. I am loving the book being set in Victoria. My imagination is totally engaged with all the local place names and references.

I realized today while taking care of the eggs that Cathy (Christopher) has put little hand written messages on some of the egg cartoons! I am so touched by her amazing sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Thank you Cathy.

Check out the Comments Section of the blog to read Glenn’s answers to questions from followers.
Please note:  While it appears that the answers are from me, MaryLou (that’s because the blog is registered in my name), the answers are truly and authentically from Glenn. 

Day 13 Sunrise parade September 14, 2013

 Sept 14, 2013 a.m.

30 11.37 N, 132’56.01 W @0:7:44 PDT

The early morning sun silhouettes a parade of over-sized balloon cloud characters that the west wind has filled in through the night.

There are some familiar shapes – huge squirrels, an elephant, and many fat snakes – some flat, some grotesquely coiled around prehistoric beasts on three legs, weird faces of men with huge noses, ears with amazing hair dos, puffed out cheeks and cigars. The figures are ever changing so slowly, almost imperceptibly, till some vanish all together. Then there’s a star wars space ship. Eventually the ruby red back drop turns to light blue and the parade washes to clouds. The sunrise parade is over and a new day starts.

West Wind II has sailed herself through the night while I slept with a gentle rocking motion and a sea breeze from the open hatch above to keep me cool.

Glenn on West Wind II

Caught snoozing circa 2012.

It has dawned a beautiful morning with very light breezes that WW II has turned into 3.5 to 4.5 knots. Our course is still southerly 162′ true. e Ware currently sailing at 30 11,37′ North Lat and 132’56.01′ West longitude.  During the night we made good about 40 miles. The wind usually picks up in the morning so all in all a great day ahead.