Dear Friends and Followers,
Many of you are friends and avid followers of our beloved husband and father Glenn Wakefield’s sailing adventures, and in particular, his valiant attempts at a solo circumnavigation of the globe via the ‘west about’ route. Completing this journey has been a dream for Glenn — and one he has prepared for virtually his entire sailing life.
After considerable planning and preparation, Glenn set sail aboard West Wind II on September 6, 2020, on his third attempt to complete this solo circumnavigation. Tragically, on September 16, approximately 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco, Glenn suffered a massive stroke. Before losing consciousness, Glenn managed to send a message to his family that he needed help.
Help Us Bring Glenn Home
We have launched this Go Fund Me campaign at a moment of great uncertainty. Glenn is in critical condition in a trauma center in San Jose, California, after a 48-hour ‘at sea’ rescue and emergency medevac to this specialized hospital. He has undergone surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain, and at this time, is in the ICU.
Because of COVID-19, Glenn’s family — his wife MaryLou and daughters Claire and Nicola — are unable to travel to see Glenn. The anticipated medical expenses for his stay and care at a U.S. hospital are undetermined at this time, but expected to be well over one hundred thousand dollars. Glenn did not anticipate touching U.S. soil, and as such, did not have U.S. medical insurance. An added complication, will be the costs required to recover and bring Glenn’s boat home, which is adrift off the coast of California.
The family is asking for financial support from the sailing community and from Glenn’s many friends from all over the world to help the family resolve his U.S. medical bills and bring him home to Victoria, British Columbia for care. Plans are underway to do this, while he receives the best possible medical attention in San Jose.
Glenn is deeply loved and we want so very much to bring him home.
The Rescue Mission
Many of you have reached out to send your love and concern and ask us what happened and how Glenn was rescued. The US Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) Alameda took responsibility for the rescue and launched a mission that had many operational logistics. What follows is an abridged description of the rescue:
- On September 16, MaryLou notified the US Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) Alameda of Glenn’s medical distress message. Glenn managed to relay that he thought he was having a stroke and needed assistance.
- The first step taken by the US Coast Guard was issuing a SafetyNet broadcast asking for any vessels in the area to assist if possible. MaryLou advised that Glenn’s GPS position was approximately 420 nm northwest of San Francisco.
- The Coast Guard and nearby ship M/V COLOMBO EXPRESS worked together and a small rescue boat was able to transfer Glenn, who was not conscious, to the larger ship. Rough seas initially impeded this phase of the rescue.
- On September 17, Glenn was hoisted from the M/V COLOMBO EXPRESS via the 129th Rescue Wing airborne division. Several in-air refueling evolutions were required during this operation and a total of 5 planes were involved in the rescue. Glenn was then safely transported to the San Jose Regional Hospital at approximately 1230 PDT.
Thank you from MaryLou, Claire and Nicola
This is a devastating situation for our family. We are shocked, saddened and filled with worry for Glenn’s recovery. Glenn is a person who pushes through difficulty and always comes out on top. He is strong, passionate and full of life. We never imagined he would be stricken by something like this. All the hours we have spent worrying about the gales and seas he has to manage… but never this. We want so much to bring him home as soon as possible. And to bare our souls further, asking for help is very uncomfortable for us, but ask we must, and we hope you will help our family to get through this terrible time by giving what you can to help us bring Glenn home and address his daunting medical expenses.
Thank you for caring. Thank for reaching out to us. We love you all and thank for your support of our family over the years, and of Glenn personally, then and now. Updates will be posted on Glenn’s Going Solo blog as we learn more about his condition and potential for recovery. To everyone involved in his rescue, his medical team in the U.S. and to our friends here in Victoria, we can’t thank you enough.