Friday, May 16, 2008
Read the story in the May issue of Pacific Yachting.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Here's the story that appeared in Regina's Leader-Post following our visit to the Grade 5/6 class at McLean School. We were there at the invitaiton of their teacher Mrs. Lark to meet the students, give a presentation and answer the students' questions. Our thanks to Mrs. Lark and the students for your interest and enthusiasm.
by Pam cowan
Glenn Wakefield still doesn’t have his land legs but he travelled to Saskatchewan to thank some Prairie kids for their support during his harrowing high seas adventure. "I came on the invitation of the children from McLean school who e-mailed me while I was at sea," said the Victoria resident on Wednesday. "We forged a bit of a relationship there. … After I had my rollover and subsequent rescue, they sent a lovely, very heartfelt letter that really touched me. I’ve only been back from the boat for a couple of weeks and that’s one of the first things I thought about. Let’s go to Regina to see those kids."
The Grade 5/6 students at McLean school, which is 50 kilometres east of Regina, were among thousands who tracked the 57-year-old after he left Victoria on Sept. 23 in his pride and joy — the Kim Chow, a 41-foot sloop.
The carpenter took a year off work to attempt a single-handed, non-stop, westabout circumnavigation. Had he completed it, his would have been the first such circumnavigation from North America, and the fifth overall.
But when he was about 300 miles north-east of the Falkland Islands and 750 miles from Cape Horn — his last big challenge before he turned the corner on the home stretch — a storm battered him, his boat and his dreams.
"It didn’t look on the weather to be anything more unusual than what I’d already experienced," Wakefield said. "But as it turned out it was."
The boat was rolled by the fierce wind and enormous waves. Wakefield didn’t think he’d perish, but said he realized his "capability to carry on was diminished."
"I was unconscious for awhile, I had a gash and was bleeding and the one side of my body was quite badly bruised so I have some nerve damage — nothing that time won’t heal and I’m well on my way, but when you put that together with the fact that the life raft was gone, the solar panels were gone, the wind generator was damaged and one hatch was gone, it just led you on a path that wasn’t particularly great," Wakefield said. "As it turned out, it was the worst weather they’d had in the Falkland Islands in 25 years."
The Argentine coast guard pegged his situation immediately but getting a 450-foot naval vessel to him quickly was another matter.
"It took them two days to get to me and then when they got to me it was so rough they couldn’t get to me for 36 hours," Wakefield said. "It was too rough."
After he was rescued on April 27 his wife Marylou flew to Buenos Aires to meet him.
"The biggest heartbreak is that I lost the boat," Wakefield said. "I’d worked on it for five years. It was a 1969 boat that had a fair bit of wood and lots of chrome. When it was finished it was the nicest boat in the Royal Victoria Yacht Club by a long shot."
He’s amazed by the response to the Web site Marylou created to chronicle his voyage. Now he realizes that it wasn’t setting a record that was important, but the people he met.
"We’ve realized that we have touched literally tens of thousands of people around the world," Wakefield said. "Just in the month of April, there were 20,000 hits on the Web site from 85 different countries. It is the story. I got a ham licence before I left so I could keep in touch with Marylou and the girls and then along the way I literally met hundreds of ham operators in all of the countries that I passed. In that alone are many, many stories."
Pat Lark, a teacher at McLean school, learned about the amazing adventure from Marylou’s brother who lives next door to her in Regina. She encouraged the students to follow Wakefield’s progress and e-mail him questions, which he answered.
When he made a surprise visit to the school on Wednesday, Lark said the students were awestruck and full of questions.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Read today's Globe and Mail story about Glenn's rescue.
Kim Chow weathers 50+ knot winds and heavy sea conditions in the Southern Ocean and ensures Glenn is brought safely to the Argentinian rescue vessel, the Puerto Deseado.
Friday, May 9, 2008 10:20 p.m. PDT 48.416 N 123.396 W
This note is to all of you who supported me throughout my voyage. I am now home in the loving arms of my wife Marylou and my two daughters Claire and Nicola. It is everything I wished for. I am here, thanks in part, to divine intervention and the bravery and intuition of the Argentina Navy, Coast Guard and Airforce. I am bruised but not beaten. I thought my voyage was about accomplishing my dream of being the first person from North America to circumnavigate the world west about, single handed. In the end, that was not to be. I now believe it was about something quite different. It was more about reaching out and connecting with people ... you. You, the hundreds of amateur ham radio operators I met on the air who dedicated many hours to keep in touch with me and you, the thousands who visited the web site that Marylou created. Many of you made contact by asking questions and sending emails of support which I received on Kim Chow. I am proud of what I accomplished, even though I didn't reach my goal and I'm heart broken that Kim Chow is lost. This is tempered by the feeling of privilege I have about my connection with all of you. Although I was alone on Kim Chow, you were never far from me. I felt your support and tha gave me the courage and confidence to accomplish all that I did.
I am home now among the many people who make up my daily life and will be back to work soon. This adventure is over and I am making the transition back to everyday life. I miss talking on the radio with all of my ham contacts. Where to go from here is something Marylou and I talk about a lot, and what comes up over and over again is keeping in contact with all of you. I'll admit, I feel a little overwhelmed, and a little awkward with things still. At this point, I'm stumbling a little and still finding my land legs. I know in time this will pass and I will be back looking for another adventure. Our lives have been incredibly enriched by this adventure and the reward at the end was connecting with all of you. I 'm going to try to keep in touch as best I can although I don't have those lovely long days of sailing to fill with writing emails. Words are hard to find to express our thanks and gratitude to all of you who supported us. I believe life is a gift and what we do with it is up to us. What we get from it is all about the people we connect with. I hope we were able to touch your lives in a positive way.
Watch the U Tube video LA ARMADA ARGENTINA AL RESCATE DEL VELERO CANADIENSE KIM CHOW taken by one of the crew members on the Orion 3. It shows the plane taking off at night, heading to the Atlantic Ocean to search for Kim Chow. At the end you will see Kim Chow and the rescue vessel Puerto Deseado.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 8:50 p.m. PDT
Glenn arrived home from Buenos Aires safe and sound late Tuesday evening, tired but happy and thankful to be reunited with his family. Our first priority is taking care of Glenn's injuries and supporting him in regaining his health. He's had a thorough check-up from his physician and is resting and recuperating well. We would like to sincerely thank all those who played such an important part in Glenn's safe return home - the ham radio operators of the Patagonian net, the Argentine navy, coast guard and airforce, the navy and airforce in the Falkland Islands who were standing by, ready to provide assistance, and the Canadian Embassy staff in Buenos Aires. Our deepest thanks as well to the hundreds of friends around the world who sent messages of love and support. Words simply can't express the immense gratitude we feel for the care and compassion of everyone involved. We'll post some media stories and pictures in the next couple of days.
Claire, Glenn, Marylou and Nicola in Victoria, BC. May 6, 2008