The ham net is humming tonight

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ham radio operators in Olympia, Washington, El Cajon, California and Vancouver, BC relay messages from VA7MLW marine mobile on WestWind II to home base in Victoria, BC.

Positon: 41.1 N, 136.3 W Distance in last 24 hrs: 160 nm

Shout out to ham radio operator Gary (W7WWI) in Olympia, Washington who pulled a few strings (or wires) and was able to patch me through to Glenn on the radio tonight.  Not sure how that works, but it was great to have a few crackly words across the ocean. Also to Steve (KK6ZUU) in El Cajon, California for relaying Glenn’s familiar “All is well on board WestWind II” message on email tonight. And to Ron (VE7BGK) in Vancouver for relaying his messages.

Thank you all.


Rolling along …

Monday, May 1, 2017 05:30

We are rolling along before 15+ knots and have a pretty impressive log to show for it. Looks like another 150 nm day today!

Lots of creaking and groaning going on … almost as much as my old knees. The motion is not too bad and the sound of rushing water as WW II surges homeward fills the cabin.

My little Storm Petrel is gone from the cockpit this morning. I hope (s)he is fine. So difficult to interfere with ‘mother nature’. The sun is trying to break through on the horizon as if it’s under the door of the day. Low grey clouds fill the room. The tea is on the brew and I am dissecting one of my last oranges and savouring the fresh taste.

It is a cool 58 ° in the cabin at the moment but my fleece is keeping me very cozy and warm. Should be well into the sixties by day’s end.

Going on deck to gybe the main and square us off to the waves and bring our heading more to the north.

Hope your day has dawned warm and sunny. ( Actually, not. It’s grey, overcast and a chilly 8° C here in Victoria).

Gybe complete. Actually worked up a sweat. Feels good to do a little surfing (the boat, not him). Now sitting at the nav station with the hatch open, I can hear the waves breaking off our stern. All’s good.

I’ve got the old Perkins humming and vibrating away for the next hour. It’s cloudy and the solar is minimal and because we are running with the wind, the
wind generator isn’t able to spin enough to make any power, so Perkins has stepped up and taken that on this morning. I have the “InReach” and the computer plugged into the inverter to give them both a boost. I’ve just been on deck to give the Fleming some fine tuning.

While I was up there enjoying the ride, my thoughts went to my friend Paul Lim. Paul set out in his small boat from Hawaii to Victoria last September on his way home and never showed up.  I’ve watched and spoken out to him many times on this passage.  So wherever you are Paul, I hope you have sooth sailing my friend. You are thought of often and warmly. There by the grace of a higher power go we.

Knocking off the miles

Sunday, April 30, 2017

03:10 pm

I’ve been out on deck reading and taking a few photos. There are a pair of Albatross cruising around the boat and one lone Wanderer. My tiny storm petrel is still hold up under one corner of the life raft and not being very sociable. I hope he or she will be ok and fly away.

Still very grey low cloud cover but good steady breeze and we are knocking off the miles. Very cool here. The kettle’s on for more tea.

later that evening …

Sleep seems to be evading me tonight. It’s a beautiful night with a tangerine crescent moon hanging over our port stern quarter. We have 15+ knots of wind coming up on our starboard stern quarter pushing us along at 6 -7 knots with a distinct rolling motion. We’re making good time and the sound below is accentuated by the darkness, occasionally we are moved around but Fleming always brings us back on track.

We made 150 miles in 24 hrs. today,  average overall is about 125 miles. The wind is supposed to build in the early hours of tomorrow and so I will take the last reef in the main and a couple of rolls in the Yankee.

Sleep has been a little hard to get started these last few nights and tonight will be no exception. I’m feeling a little anxious about things but should probably believe in my abilities after all these years at sea. I am going now to give it another try…

Good night Marylou ~~~~~_) ~~~

Threading my way home

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Small green circle is WestWind II at 38.43 N, 140.57 W April 29, 2017 @04:45

Position: 38.43 N, 140.57 W

Having another great sail this afternoon (yesterday). Blue sky, sunny, steady wind, WW II sailing off the wind making good time on a great course. Looks like we are just threading our way above the high and below the low headed home.

(From ML) Thanks to the ham radio operators W7ABT in Oregon, and W5AQZ in Denver who heard Glenn on the radio last night and sent me an email to relay his “All is well on board” message. Your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated.


On to a new chart !

04:15 am Saturday April 29, 2017

I have just finished a tour of the deck and spent an hour and a half repairing a parted reefing line. Wind has died down a fair bit and we are down to 4.5 knots but WW II is still moving well. The sun is coming up in a little while so the sky is flooding with tangerine light. We have a big cloud bank just south east of us that seems to be moving towards us. I have been up several times during the night and feel tired so will be going back to my bunk soon. Its cool here low 60’s and lots of dew on deck.

Big day here as we move on to a chart that shows the west coast and Vancouver Island. 1016 miles to go!


Great run last night. We are halfway home !

Lat 35.55 N
Long 144.46 W
course 045T
Speed 6+knots
Log: 1157 to go

Distance in last 24 hrs: 150 nm

Things are great on board tonight. I have a new stew on the go and looking forward to that. We are making good time and our course is very good. I am so looking forward to sailing on for home. Feels emotional for me. I have done a lot sailing since I left the Straits the first time in our little Haida. I feel very lucky.

Enjoying pleasant weather …for now

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Position: 33.45 N, 147. 61 W @ 20:45 Pacific Daylight Savings time

It is a splendid afternoon, the sky is bright blue and the ocean a deep indigo. Our speed is not earth shattering but for a light ten knot breeze coming just off our stern starboard quarter we are doing a respectable 3-4 knots. I can not maintain a course dead down wind or North in this light breeze with a fairly active swell on our quarter because the sails will not hold the wind and Fleming can not steer. I am just off a broad reach with the yankee poled out to Port along with the a triple reefed main. Both sails guyed down as much as possible to keep them from spilling the light wind due to the swell. I have the Ray Marine 2000 electric auto helm doing the steering, which has me running the engine an hour or so to charge the batteries.

The air is warm and pleasant enough to sit outside and I have been doing some reading sitting on the foredeck so all in all a very pleasant sail. I’m reading  The Island by Victoria Hislop set in Crete. Good read. I spend most of my day reading and some time carving another chain. I have good music and the food is excellent. My nights are full of sleep in such conditions as there is no need to be jumping up putting on rain gear to take a reef in the main or jib.

This will change in a few days I’m sure but in the mean time I’m enjoying the whole experience. I realize that all too soon it will be over and I will be back to my regular activities on land dreaming of days like this.

The miles I make at night while I sleep are very sweet. So great to wake up in the morning and look at the GPS and see we have done 40 miles or more. I hope I can keep this weather for a few more days at least till I reach the half way point, which is just 200 hundred miles away. Been a little out of contact here these last few days and looking forward to getting back in touch. Miss you lots.

Not a breath of wind or a ripple of sea

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

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

Cheers from me “rollin in the deep”.

We’re working on it …


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

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

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

Thank you.



A fine balance

Monday, April 24, 2017

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

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

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

Fleming under sail

Fleming tied up

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

Perkins diesel engine at rest

More common view of Perkins

Cruising the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.


Waiting for my ride

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lat 30.56 N, Long 149. 36 W

There is a draft wind from the south pushing us very slowly before it. It would seem the good sailing wind and I are just missing each other. I will spend another day practicing my light air sailing skills while trying to dodge the chafe on the lines that inevitability comes with it.

Being out here alone always piques my emotions and all of my senses. Overall, I feel a great deal more, which is the thing I love about it. The difficulty is I feel both the good and the difficult feelings. Loneliness, for instance, I feel to the point of heartache, but it drives me on.

Out here, when you have feelings, they’re rather difficult to escape. They’re intense and my reactions to things are accentuated. This of course makes things more awe inspiring, like the site of the stars on a clear night, the moon rising, that glimpse of a wing gliding over the gale whipped seas. Emotions are concentrated because of the isolation. And for that, I keep coming back. And as soon as I get here, the loneliness descends and it is beside me all the way home  like a force, a yearning that needs to be satisfied.

I’ve been lucky to have had these many voyages and explore my feelings and see where I fit in to the great scheme of things. Little did I know that the fulfillment of a dream that was hatched twenty years ago in our little Haida 26′ in the South Pacific would lead to the many amazing voyages I’ve had.

I’m a lucky man, and if it were not for MaryLou our story would not have been shared. Being out here alone makes coming home and the life I lead on land all that more precious. It comes back to the simple things that I feel that I get the most from. I am looking forward to sitting down to one of MaryLou’s great breakfasts and a good cup of coffee and just talking about things.

My course is as you are aware, is a wiggly line north east. This morning I’m sitting or I should say strolling at the corner of Lat 30′ 56′ N and Long 149′ 36 W in a north easterly direction waiting for my ride.

Making a steady 100 miles a day

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Well they don’t make much better days than this for cruising along. Warm sunny day, wind 10 knots, sea calm with overlying swells, not not much, WW II sailing herself and feeling good and in the moment.

Doing some carving and reading, writing and housekeeping. Good food and music. Company today is excellent – well behaved and social, didn’t talk too much and did as he was told. Been at sea a week and as usual our daily average is 100 miles a day, it seems to even out to that number somehow. So we’ll see you in about 16 days.

Ran the engine to charge the batteries and it went fine. I may not have mentioned this but a weld on one of the mounts on the engine has fractured which means that powering is out of the question. The good news is I can still run the engine to charge the batteries. Tried with renewed patience to send SMS on the InReach but apparently not being received at the other end. Not sure where these messages go?

Still heading a little east of north but I’m happy with my course at the moment. Would love to get a long range big picture synopsis of the weather for the next week. For now, I’m trying to keep on the rum line to the Straits so usually around 47 T.

Love to all
Cheers Glenn

Heading ‘True North’

Saturday, April 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers Glenn at Sea

Email is back !

Friday April 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

And now for tea and a light breakfast.

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

Dotted blue line inching homeward

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Position: 27.26 N, 153.37 W at 1:58 p.m Pacific Daylight Savings time.


This is what the wind conditions look like near Glenn (the small green circle in the middle) as of early this afternoon.

On the Pacific Seafarers Net roll call tonight, he’ll have his weather report read to him and instructions about how to activate the message feature of his Garmin InReach hand held device. With that in place, he’ll have 140 characters to work with. It’s not email but I’ll take it …short and sweet.

On the call tonight, he reported a boat speed of 7 knots and winds NW 15 knots holding steady. He sounded less tired and a lot more chipper.

There wasn’t time to fully explain how to use the message system tonight so if we don’t get any messages overnight, we’ll repeat the instructions tomorrow. We were able to have Peter read our family messages to him which he always appreciates.

And,  it was nice to hear Barry Mitchell from Australia on the call with his mate Doug and I could also see that Cliff Gray from New Zealand was also listening in.





Voices across the ocean

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Position as of approximately 6:30 a.m Glenn’s time 26.90 N, 153.58 W

While I was listening to Glenn last night on the Pacific Seafarers Net roll call for marine mobile operators, I was struck by a couple of things.

First, is the obvious miracle of the technology that lets me listen on my computer at my dining room table in Victoria, BC, to Glenn who is on our boat off the coast of Hawaii and that the person coordinating the call is in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. So, even though we aren’t able to have a voice to voice conversation, or one over email, at least I can hear his voice (and his report) and know that “all’s well” on board and he knows I’m listening to the call and can send me a short message.

Glenn and I have talked many times about the eventuality of no email. And while we may not like it, and know that it will to some extent impede his ability to prepare for weather, we agree that it’s not the end of the world and we’ll work around it. He’s very experienced and understands the nuance of changing weather conditions and knows instinctively how to prepare and act. We’re working with what we have and hope the email gods might give us a break.

Second, is the generosity of the folks who run this net. Like Peter Mott, in NZ. Peter who runs the call, goes over and above in accommodating our requests to read messages to Glenn at the end of the call which he happily did. Once the roll call was completed, I was able to sneak in a short (and sweet) personal message via email which Peter read to him and, we were able to relay a weather report for the next two days, courtesy of my dedicated brother, Peter (in Regina, Saskatchewan) just to complete the circle.

Third, is the almost instant response from friends and ham operators around the world, who, knowing his email system is down, make time to listen in on the call and relay messages to him. Fantastic. Last night we heard from friends in New Zealand and Australia. An amazing group of people. Others left messages here on the blog. It all makes a difference and is so appreciated. Thank you.

Even though he didn’t say it, I did hear fatigue in his voice and that he wasn’t his usual cheerful self. I think that goes with the territory. I hope he can catch up on sleep in the next couple of days.

I’m particularly enjoying creating these Google maps these days. The best thing is that we can actually see home base in Victoria in the same view as that little blue sailboat icon.  And, this probably goes without saying but the sight of that little blue sailboat pointing towards home and getting closer every day, well I have no words for how that makes me feel. Over the moon comes close.

And, last but certainly not least, thanks to @claire_bare3 for suggesting I write a post from my point of view.


Listening to Glenn’s report online through the Pacific Seafarers Net


Through the miracle of technology, I was able to listen to Glenn online this evening on the Pacific Seafarers Net roll call. This is the image I see on my computer as each participant gives their report amidst the crackles and blips.

Huge thanks to Peter Mott who manages the call from New Zealand and gives marine mobile ham radio operators the opportunity to report their position and give a brief report. I was able to send Peter some weather information to Glenn which Peter read to him over the radio which is a big help to Glenn.

Glenn’s report was his usual “All is well” which I was grateful for and even though we couldn’t speak directly, I could send a short personal message to him over email which Peter read to him.

It was nice to hear Barry Mitchell’s voice on the call as well and mention of Alek in Australia and Cliff in New Zealand, two long time supporters of this project and ham radio gods in their own right.

WordPress is giving me some grief at the moment around the comments function of this blog so for the moment, I’m not receiving any. I will work on fixing that and get them back online as soon as possible.

Thank you all for your ongoing comments which Glenn very much appreciates receiving.




Technical difficulties. Please stand by.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017  5:48 p.m. (Hawaii time) Position: 24.75 N, 157.0 W, Course heading: NE


At the nav station

Through the Pacific Seafarers Net, I learned this evening that Glenn is having some technical difficulties with his computer and is unable to send or receive email which means he isn’t able to provide his usual updates… for now. I’m hoping that miraculously changes of course and we’re back online soon. fingers crossed.  For now and in lieu of email, I will be listening in to the ham radio call over the internet which takes place each evening at 0300 utc (8 pm Pacific Daylight Savings time) on 14.300 frequency. 

You can listen in as well, if you are so inclined, by going to this link or by typing this address into your browser

Glenn checked in to the Pacific Seafarers Net this evening and asked that they relay a message to me about his current difficulties. Thank you Peter Mott in New Zealand and Jeanne Socrates in Mexico for getting the message to me. Glenn’s eloquent albeit short message for tonight was “All is well.”

We also have the InReach tracker so we can see his daily progress. Here’s a link to that page. Just refresh the page to get the latest update which happens every 4 hours. If you want his exact position, click on the blue arrow head beside his name and select More.

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As of 5:48 p.m. his time, his position: 24.75 N, 157.0 W

April 18, 2017

April 18, 2017

He also managed to get out a brief email yesterday to let me know that he has successfully replaced the bilge pump (thank goodness) and that he was still feeling a little “off the mark” and was hoping to get some food down today. 

So …that said, the blog may look a little different for the immediate future and we hope it’s back to normal soon. And, we hope you stay tuned.



On my way home


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Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii

April 17, 2017 Honolulu, Hawaii  8:35 am local 18:35 UTC

Lat. 22 06.9 N, Long 157 35.8 W, Course 003 True, Boat speed 5 knots, Distance to Victoria 2232 nm

Left Honolulu yesterday (April 16) under sunny skies and a warm offshore breeze.

Been resting all day today after a long night. Beating into that NE 20 knots of wind with 2-3 meter seas. Taking it easy at 5 knots. Lots of water on the deck. All is well.

Trying to catch up on my sleep and get my sea legs and tummy settled. Still fairly warm with overcast and grey skies. 

Been resting all day, but still yawning and generally feeling tired. Just had a few spoonfuls of “FATSO” and a cracker to tie me over.

Making great headway at the moment, very lively ride and the best place to endure it is in my bunk. The combination of the 20 knots of breeze and the height and breadth of the waves and our sail set is giving us a steady 5-6 knots of boat speed. The electric bilge pump has packed it in so glad I brought a new one with me. We are not making a lot of water but enough to make it something to keep an eye on which is exactly how I found out the pump had packed it in. I have a small hand pump mounted on a board and that is what I have been using for the last little while, til things calm down enough so that when I replace the old for the new I don’t risk falling head first into the bilge. I may have to shorten sail for a bit to make that happen.

There’s lots of those extremely talented sea birds skiing the waves and providing a living element to the vast breaking ocean vista that I am sailing through. Both the ocean and sky are fifty shades of grey, the sky the lighter of the two. The clouds look like a tray of endless croissants floating all at the same level. I think they are only one croissant deep as occasionally you can see the blue tray they float on.     

Looking back to yesterday afternoon there is quite a contrast in the scene. I left the Ala Wai Marina channel with bright sunny skies, warm offshore breeze and patches of surfers like a flock of birds waiting for the perfect wave suspended in the azure green water. Watch this short video MaryLou took of the same channel back in January.

The sea was calm with a gentle swell. Diamond Head was picture perfect with a few billowy bright white clouds contrasting its distinct and powerful shape.  

I sailed out into the ever increasing wind and waves towards Molokai and then tacked on to starboard as the sun set, to clear Oahu and have been sailing along ever since.

I am in a familiar place and all my senses default to sailing mode, preset after thousands of miles, hundreds of sunsets, thousands of reefs and tacks all adding up to a program deeply set into my genetic makeup and may have been there for generations – passed down from my Dad and my Mom.

There are instinctive movements and decisions made automatically in response to the fluid environment all around me. My mind adjusts to the 2300 nautical mile passage ahead, already breaking it down into bite sized pieces that are easy to fathom. The warm leg, the temperate leg and the cold leg. When will the moon shine full? I have sailed down the Straits of Juan de Fuca in 1973, 1997, 2006, and 2013 all but one single handed, in boats from 55 ft. to 26 ft. always headed out into the Pacific, never home.

So this passage will be very special. It’s the end of an odyssey, a returning home. I long for the smell of the west coast. That mixture of coniferous forest and salty seedy beach.

And home once again to MaryLou who waits ever so patiently. Thanks for waiting MaryLou.


WestWindII on the hard in Keehi Boat Harbour, Honolulu

Painting the bottom at Keehi Boat Harbour in Honolulu before setting sail

April 17, 2017

The short view


April 17, 2017 #2

The long view

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Go to for up to date wind conditions across the north Pacific.


Settling in …

Tuesday, January 17, 2017



I’m here in the legendary and very hospitable Waikiki Yacht Club.

I am happy and very lucky to be here with my MaryLou and to have arrived safely. MaryLou and I have just enjoyed a coffee and fresh breakfast prepared by chef Jasmine.

I’ve been for an early morning swim in the pool, which overlooks the boats and Ala Wai Boat Harbour. I’ve done my poolside yoga lying in the early morning sunshine. 

We’ll spend the rest of the day working on West Wind and preparing her for her 6 month stay in Hawaii. 

Thanks for all your welcoming comments.

Arrived in Honolulu !!!

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Arrived safe and sound to Honolulu Sunday, January 15th @ 11:30 am Hawaii time. We’ll spend a week here putting West Wind to bed and fly back to Victoria. 

Sorry for the wonky looking post. Trying to upload from my cell phone in a harbour with intermittent wifi.!

We’re tied up at the Waikiki Yacht Club and are being treated very well. 

Met  lovely people since he arrived who have invited us to their beach house.




Excited, relieved and thankful

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Friday, January 13, 2017


All’s well. 122 nm to Honolulu. Boats going well and water is under control. “You gotta love it!”

Just going for a tour on deck and then back to sleep. I was surprised to find a fairly large bird perched on the dodger, sound asleep.

I took several flash shots of it but it didn’t seem to mind. I know very well what it’s like to be woken early.  After adjusting the sails, I left him to sleep. It’s overcast and the breeze is still strong. Our heading is still good!! Lat 19 16 N long 158 06 W


Woke to a wind shift from South East to North East which is something I can work with. Our early morning sky is filled with very large dark clouds that look rather ominous. Well time will tell if they are friend or foe. For now, we’re up, as is our fine feathered passenger who is watching from the deck on the lazarrette after leaving a calling card on the front door step. Onward ever onward to our destination.


The sun is climbing rapidly out of the sea and our passenger Bella the Booby seems quite happy to be getting a ride and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to vacate the premises. She’s sitting quietly cleaning herself.  

I feel great, excited and relieved. The sharp bite of anxiety that has been a constant shipmate is losing its grip on me. We have very good conditions so far today which I hope will last for the next 102 nm. We are about 100 miles due west of the big island of Hawaii. Far enough to not be in its shadow. The wind is coming from the North East and with this low seaway, we are able to point to a course of 354, which is only 10 or 12 degrees off the rum line into Honolulu. When I get closer, I can tack and bring us back to where we want to be. All in all, a day to be savoured and enjoyed to its fullest, moment by moment.

I have been forty four days sailing from Gisborne. The distance sailed over the ground will be almost 5000 nautical miles.

I want to say a very warm thanks to all those who have supported me on my voyage through its many ups and downs over these past weeks. Your words of encouragement and kindness have helped me make it through some very difficult times. I send my heartfelt thanks to all the ham operators who came up everyday and lifted my spirits and brought a human touch to my solitary world. Also, I believe there were Coast Guard people from both New Zealand and the US who kept me on their radar. To them I send my thanks as well. Knowing you were there in case I needed you, was huge for me.

Then, there is Marylou my life partner. She’s the one who brought you the story in all its moods and was, as she always is and has been, there for me, quietly and unassuming, behind the scenes, with love and support, every wave of the way.  I love you Marylou and am writing this with anticipation to be with you again soon. Thanks Marylou.

With love, fond regards and very “73’s” (ham radio talk for Best Regards).

Steady winds taking us closer

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Friday, January 13, 2017

It is 10:00 pm (Thursday night) we are sailing off the wind not quite a reach but close. WW II is churning out 6 knots and tearing along parallel to a three meter swell set with a period of 4 seconds traveling at 10 knots. In other words every four seconds a swell lifts us three meters as it passes under us broad side then lets us back down. The rhythm is almost smooth and lucky for us those waves aren’t breaking otherwise we would be getting very very wet.  The moon is lighting up our path as we cross each other. It’s mesmerizing to watch which I was for about half an hour, standing up holding on to the dodger in the cockpit.

I’m tired and will turn in soon. I will be up several times to check but I think this wind is steady and so WW II should be fine til morning, 

Two great ham skeds this afternoon, one with Peter on the Seafarer’s net and then with my buddies from around the South Pacific basin. For some it was the last time I will speak to them on this voyage and you can tell we all enjoyed our time on the air waves and will miss hearing from each other. Some I may contact again when I return in June to bring WW II the rest of the way home.

We are definitely knocking off these last hundred miles or so in good fashion as if there was something (or someone) special waiting there. Which of course there is.

We still have 145 miles to go and often those last few miles are the hardest especially without the option to motor if the wind gets light. I should think late tomorrow afternoon we’ll see land, probably at sun set and moon rise, which was spectacular this evening. Big orange Harvest moonrise.

It’s off to bed for this sailor.

Steady Progress

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

11:40 pm

Stayed up late to reduce sail as the wind built to 20 knots and sea increased to over two meters as did the pump. So I’ve been reducing sail from 10:00 pm on till now. Wind seems to be holding so I will go to sleep and wake later to see how things are. Kind of a wild night on deck with full moon overhead and a fairly big sea running.  Beautiful site, bumpy ride.  


All’s well steady progress, 242 Honolulu, Course 025 T, speed 4.5 knots, clear sky full moon. Back to my bunk!


Mr. Moon is still lighting our way. There are far fewer stars than in the southern hemisphere night sky. Our breeze is still strong and our seaway is causing a lively motion so I’ve kept the speed down to keep the pump happy. We are 232 nm from the prize. The air is cool, t-shirt weather.  I’m not needed on deck so back to my nice warm bunk and sweet dreams.


Just watched the sun come up over the horizon standing in the cock pit. Found myself shouting “a very good morning to you sir!” 

Now sitting at the Nav station, the orange light flickers across the head liner. I have a t-shirt on to take the chill out of the cool fresh morning air. While in the cockpit, I let a few wraps off the jib furler winch to make the jib bigger and pick our speed up a bit and I pulled on Fleming’s reins to bring us up into the fresh south easterly breeze which is blowing across a much flatter sea than was running last night.

I have one orange and one grapefruit left so I think we’ll start the day with one of those tropical fruits, a pot of tea and porridge. I’ve had trouble getting good propagation lately so this may not make it to you till this afternoon.

Have a great day honey not long now!


Easting to the mark



Lat 16 27 N Long 159 35 W Course 16 T Speed 4 knots Wind E 15 knots Waves 2 M Cloud 35% Baro 1016
Miles in last 24hr 105 NM Honolulu 306 nm Easting to lay the mark 45.01 NM

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
01:45 am

A new day. Driven from my sleep with an overwhelming desire to go faster and a vision of you waiting on the dock. I have eased another foot of roller furling line to increase the size of the jib by 30 square feet, another knot faster from 3.5 to 4.5. Motion is still under the limit of pump over recycling. The wind has definitely come round more from the east. In the last 3 hrs, we have decreased our easterly deficit by one nautical mile. We are laying the mark to Honolulu which is now 352 nm. Our full moon has been denied its guiding light to us by heavy cloud. Back to my bunk.

03:40 am 
Winds are lightening up a bit and the sea has come down, let a few more feet of jib out to try keep us around 4-5 knots

Next move is to move the jib sheet block further aft so I can let more jib out and have the right sheet angle, and more sail area. Still hard on the wind to try to make more easting. Eight hours till noon and hope to make more than 100 nm for last 24 hrs. All’s well so back for some more sleep.

07:35 am

Sun is about to come out from behind a large black cloud on the steel grey horizon.  Two meter waves christen another warm windy day. The wind has swung around to the south east and our heading now is 030 T. Boat speed just under around 5 knots and distance to Honolulu is 326 nm. This wind shift is good for us and allows WW II to sail higher than the mark (Honolulu) and make up for the miles we lost to the west in the last few weeks, ( about 50.87 nautical miles). All very good for us at the moment. The pump is recycling a bit too much so may have to slow things down a bit.

Ah there’s the sun filling the cabin with warm pastel light. The 2+ meter swell is still giving us a rough ride. I will ease the sheets and take some of the herky jerky motion out of  it. 

And so begins another day at sea.

Not long now, only three or four days.

I was carving late into the night last night and I accidentally broke the chain link I was just freeing from the block. Bugger! I have glued it back together and we will see if it can be salvaged. Wind very gusty here this morning just trying to find a good combination of sail area, bilge pump strokes and a course to keep us going forward and afloat.

Lots of water over the boat with the occasional full boat deluge that fills the cockpit and seems to drive right through the hatches and on to everything. Loud hull punches that scare me out of my skin with panic. Feels like we have just been blind sided by a truck. It’s like a war zone out here sometimes come to think of it.

Oh my goodness don’t get me started! My reality is rather skewed way off to one side out here, and maybe even right off the chart.

I can hear a lot of people reading this and saying out loud “YOU GOT THAT RIGHT”. I think I’ll make a big pancake and have a cup of tea.

Have a wonderful day and keep warm.