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Rigging failure sinks sailor's global dream

Glenn Wakefield sails into Fremantle, WA after 135 days at sea, where he was greeted by members of the Fremantle Sailing Club including the commodore and harbour master. - Photo courtesy glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.com
Glenn Wakefield sails into Fremantle, WA after 135 days at sea, where he was greeted by members of the Fremantle Sailing Club including the commodore and harbour master.
— image credit: Photo courtesy glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.com

A rigging failure has forced Oak Bay sailor Glenn Wakefield to end his non-stop, solo sailing trip around the globe.

This was Wakefield’s second attempt at circumnavigating the globe, westwardly. In April 2008, he abandoned his boat off the coast of Argentina after it was damaged from rolling over in a series of storms. He sustained a concussion in that ordeal and was at sea for 220 days.

Wakefield ended his second attempt on Dec. 26, 116 days after he set sail from Cadboro Bay. He made the decision after noticing a wire strand had broken loose while doing an inspection of his 42-foot boat, the West Wind II, as it sailed westbound in the Indian Ocean. After deciding to end his journey, he turned the boat around and sailed 1,775 nautical miles to Western Australia. It took him three weeks to reach the coastal city of Fremantle.

“He doesn’t know what caused (the rigging failure) but it was a significant enough problem to end (the trip),” said Wakefield’s wife, MaryLou, who is in daily email contact with him. “He won’t continue on circumnavigating this year. It took him three weeks to sail to Australia. It might take two weeks to fix (the boat) and then it will take him three weeks to get back to where he was.”

The delay would put him eight weeks behind and in the worst time to sail around Cape Horn.

Wakefield sailed into Fremantle on Jan. 14. He met up with some ham radio friends, who he had never met before, but has remained in contact with since his first attempt at the journey. Wakefield is quickly readjusting to being on land again. In a blog post dated Jan. 18, he revealed the consequences of not walking more than a few steps a day while at sea has resulted in muscle pain in his legs.

MaryLou is glad her husband is safe and doesn’t know when he’ll be home.

“He’s got a lot to work on over there,” she said. “I’m glad he’s safe. I will see him when he gets home.”

 

Read more about Wakefield’s journey at glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.com.

 

 

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