Westward-sailing Victoria man hopes to circumnavigate the world

Victoria resident Glenn Wakefield sailed out of Victoria Monday in a second attempt in six years to become the first Canadian to non-stop solo-circumnavigate the world by heading west.

The 63-year-old, who runs a construction company in Victoria, sailed out of Cadboro Bay at 1 p.m. on Labour Day, heading west, hoping to complete the 30,000-nautical-mile journey by June 2014.

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“He jokes that this time he won’t save the good scotch and the good chocolate for when he rounds Cape Horn,” his wife MaryLou said Monday.

Wakefield was forced to abandon his first attempt at the record, which began in September 2007, after stormy seas rolled his boat and left him with a concussion as he unsuccessfully tried to round Cape Horn.

He had sailed sailed 20,000 nautical miles over 221 days before he was rescued by the Argentine navy, after his ship was wrecked in the storm, losing its life raft, solar panels, dodger and a hatch. He had to abandon his boat, the Ken Chow.

He is now aboard the West Wind II, a 12-metre-long sailboat he bought in 2010 and named in a nod to this second attempt.

Wakefield has enough food stored to last a year, two months longer than his desired sailing time of 10 months.

His wife admits she’s concerned about the many tasks Wakefield will have to perform during the journey.

“It’s physically and emotionally very hard on him. When the weather’s really bad, he has to be vigilant about his safety. It’s always a bit of a juggle to keep your spirits up,” she said.

Like the previous adventure, Wakefield will be in contact with ham radio operators around the world should problems arise.

He will also be in touch with his wife via email, which she said is reassuring.

To follow Wakefield on his journey, go to www.glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.com

nwells@timescolonist.com

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