Last time, he lost his boat, but he's determined to finish circumnavigation

Glenn Wakefield’s book about his sailing life is almost written — he just needs a few more nautical miles behind him to create the final chapters.

Now 70, the Victoria man has made three attempts to sail around the world. This time, he is aiming to complete a circumnavigation attempted in 2008 that ended with the loss of his boat in a raging storm near the Falkland Islands.

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The vessel rolled over twice during the night, Wakefield said.

He was in rough shape with a concussion and broken ribs, and was brought to safety by the Argentinian navy .

Wakefield’s 2020 plan calls for “doubling the Horn”, or sailing around Cape Horn at the tip of South America twice. The first foray will be to get to the spot where his 2008 voyage ended — when he was about two-thirds of the way around the world — while the second will be to follow the route that would have brought him home before disaster struck.

“The idea of going westabout against the wind and current, it takes you a lot longer,” he said from his 42-foot boat West Wind II. “I just want to finish.”

Cape Horn can present stiff challenges, he said.

“It blows a gale every day.”

Wakefield said he will be satisfied to complete a circumnavigation with a 12-year wait partway through.

“I don’t need to go and do all that other stuff again.”

His 18,000-nautical-mile trip begins today at 11 a.m. from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and is expected to take eight months.

“This is personal,” Wakefield said. “It’s not for any trophies or rules or to break records or anything else.”

His provisions include plenty of dried food and canned food. That includes beef stew canned just for him that he will prepare in a pressure cooker.

“Stew after stew,” he said, laughing.

His wife, MaryLou, who was at the boat Saturday, said he has a lot of high-quality food to keep him going.

“He’s got protein, he’s got grains and rice, quinoa, eggs.”

She said she will be happy to see him complete his around-the-world quest.

“We hope he finishes, just for him.”

Wakefield said his voyage will be tough on his wife and two daughters, and that it has an emotional toll.

He said he will be constantly busy on the trip, checking and rechecking everything on board.

“The first thing you do when you get up in the morning is walk the deck,” Wakefield said. “It’s a hand in a glove, your relationship with that boat.”

He said he has sailed over 30,000 open-ocean nautical miles in West Wind II.

“She’s an amazing boat.”

Another sailor, Bill Norrie of Calgary, brought his solo circumnavigation to a finish Sept. 3 at the yacht club, while Bert ter Hart completed a circumnavigation July 18 at Victoria Harbour

Last year, 77-year-old Jeanne Socrates arrived in the harbour to became the oldest person to sail around the globe non-stop and unassisted.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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