Sailor returns to Victoria after decade at sea

Sailor returns to Victoria after decade at sea

Return to Royal Victoria Yacht club afater single-handed west-about circumnavigation of the globe

After a decade at sea and two attempts at a single-handed west-about circumnavigation of the globe, Glenn Wakefield sailed home down the Strait of Juan de Fuca May 7. He docked in the Royal Victoria Yacht Club at 3:30 a.m.

Wakefield had always dreamed of sailing around the world and tried his hand at a long distance trip in 1997.

“I had the best voyage [in 1997], and I was absolutely heartbrokenly lonely and missed my girls,” he said. He met his daughters and wife, MaryLou, in New Zealand, where they went on to travel together.

In 2007, Wakefield set out on the Kim Chow to attempt his first solo circumnavigation. This marked the beginning of a 10-year sail.

“I really wanted a challenge,” he said. “I felt as though the east-about was fairly easy to do.” He says one of the difficult parts of completing a west-about is navigating Cape Horn. “If you go east-about from Victoria, you get Cape Horn over with in the first two months and then you just sail home – but if you sail west-about, Cape Horn is the last great cape.”

It took Wakefield seven months of nonstop sailing to get to Cape Horn from Victoria. During that time, his blog Kim Chow Around the World, managed by his wife MaryLou, took off with hundreds of subscribers. A Grade 5 class from Saskatchewan was so interested in Wakefield’s journey that they followed his updates for months. Wakefield says it was often hard to be alone at sea, but there was a comforting knowledge in his family and blog subscribers keeping track of his every move.

His first voyage was stopped short due to a series of storms off Cape Horn. The Argentine Navy rescued him while Kim Chow could not be recovered.

“I was capsized a couple times and had broken ribs and concussion and dislocated shoulder,” he said. He waited three days and 36 hours for the Argentine navy’s destroyer ship to arrive. Shortly after, he was flown home, but determined to set out again to complete the circumnavigation. A new blog, Going Solo, was launched to continue the voyage, and in 2013 Wakefield departed on West Wind II. He made it fives months into the voyage before discovering a critical rigging problem which forced him to dock in Perth, Australia. Once again, Wakefield flew home.

He returned in to Perth in 2014 for the final stretch of the voyage. Due to bad sailing conditions this January, Wakefield left West Wind II for several months in Hawaii while he worked on a yacht in Florida. By the time April arrived, he was prepared to finish the last leg of what had become a ten-year voyage.

“It made me realize how far I had been but never come home down the Straits of Juan de Fuca,” he said. He had a smooth sail back from Hawaii and braced for a long attempt at the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“That’s always the challenge, to get down the Straits of Juan de Fuca, because there’s so much traffic and the wind usually dies halfway down and the tide takes you back out. But I got a great breeze,” he said. “It held all the way back in for twelve hours into Cadboro Bay.”

He arrived two days earlier than expected.

“Victoria is home port, it’s nice to be back,” he said, “I feel very lucky to be home and back with my family again.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. is conducting an emergency alert test on Nov. 25 at 1:55 p.m. (Black Press Media File photo)
Expect B.C.-wide emergency alert system test Wednesday afternoon

The message will be broadcast at 1:55 p.m. on Nov. 25.

The Great Adventure is the Braefoot Community Association’s answer to COVID fatigue, a nine-day photography scavenger hunt around Saanich and beyond, for teams of up to six people in each other’s bubble. (Unsplash)
Cameras, safe six mix for photographic scavenger hunt around Saanich

Braefoot Community Association invites public to have some outdoor fun with fundraiser

The Grinch was spotted on a tractor in Metchosin Monday morning, an early welcome for the holiday season. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTO: Grinch arrives early for the holidays in Metchosin

Send your favourite Christmas decorations to Black Press Media

(Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria dine and dash brings $230 fine

Group paid the bill, police locate suspect who violated provincial restrictions, mistreated staff

file
Oak Bay resident bilked $3,300 in puppy scam

Three cases of fraud reported in two days

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Most Read