I've always been fascinated by the sea, even though I grew up landlocked in Saskatchewan. Perhaps it was the acres of prairie grass and wheat fields stretching out to the horizon. In many ways, growing up on the Prairies is like being out in the open water.
When I was younger, my fondest dream was sailing around the world, just like Joshua Slocum in Spray. I devoured books about sailors, especially that special breed that went to sea alone. The circumnavigation of the world all alone, with just the fish and occasional bird for company.
The first sailor I remember encountering (in print) was a 16-year-old kid from California called Robin Lee Graham, who sailed the 24-foot Dove around the world from 1965 to 1970. He wrote a book about his adventure, called Dove, which I read when it came out in the early '70s. I think it was that story that got me interested in the whole circumnavigation genre.
I've never followed through and sailed anything, despite my keen interest. I've always rationalized that by saying that sometimes its better to keep dreaming than get bogged down in reality. Whatever. I did own a small dinghy sailboat briefly, but that's been the extent of my sailing career. Lately, kayaking has become a new passion. However, living on the beautiful west coast of Canada, who knows? Maybe those dreams of heading to the open sea have a better chance of happening here, where I can walk to the ocean.
But I'm still a sucker for sailing stories and these days I'm following another solo voyage around the world. But thanks to the magic of modern communications, I'm able to keep track of this guy in real time.
Glenn Wakefield sailed out of Victoria on Sunday, September 23 aboard Kim Chow, his Phil Rhodes designed Offshore 40' sloop. He's embarked on a solo, non-stop circumnavigation west about from Victoria, making him the first sailor to attempt the voyage from North America. He's hoping to sail back into Victoria next July, 10 months after he left. It's a fascinating story about one man living out his dream and you can follow along at his website.
Although I don't know Glenn, I do know his wife, MaryLou, who is handling the PR side of things from her Victoria home. Each day, Glenn radios a report to a ham radio operator, who then emails MaryLou with an update, which she posts on the website. She's also able to send Glenn email, although he's been having some problems with his on-board computer, so I'm not sure how well that's going.
You can follow along on the daily updates at this page, although there's no RSS feed or email option. But it's going to be a fascinating journey. I'll provide occasional updates as it unfolds.