A photo of Glenn Wakefield posted on his blog by his family on Sept. 17, the day the U.S. Coast Gaurd rescued him. (glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.com)

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

A Vancouver Island sailor’s third shot at circumnavigating the world solo has come to an abrupt halt after he suffered a massive stroke at sea.

Glenn Wakefield, 70 of Oak Bay near Victoria, set sail aboard West Wind II on Sept. 6 planing to go the ‘western route’ making his way to a point about 1,000 miles off the coast of southern Argentina. Wakefield, who kept a daily blog, experienced his ‘first blow’ on Sept. 13 being battered by gale-force winds. His last post was on Sept. 14, his ninth day at sea.

Two days later, Wakefield suffered a massive stroke, approximately 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco. Before losing consciousness, he managed to send a message to his family that he needed help.

Currently, Wakefield is in critical condition in a trauma centre in San Jose, California after a 48-hour rescue at sea and emergency medevac to a specialized hospital. Emergency surgery was performed to remove a blood clot in his brain and he is still in the intensive care unit.

RELATED: Oak Bay mariner sets sail on solo voyage to finish westward circumnavigation of globe

According to a GoFundMe launched by the family, medical expenses and care are expected to be over $100,000. As Wakefield didn’t anticipate touching U.S. soil, he didn’t have any American medical insurance. Wakefield’s boat is still adrift off the coast of California, which his family expects will be another added cost.

The U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Alameda took responsibility for Wakefield’s rescue. His wife MaryLou Wakefield was able to notify the RCC about Wakefield’s medical distress. A SafetyNet broadcast was sent out, asking any vessels in the area to assist if possible. At this point Glenn Wakefield was approximately 420 nautical miles northwest of San Francisco.

The Coast Guard, working with a nearby ship and a small rescue boat, transferred Wakefield, who was unconscious, to the larger ship.

READ ALSO: Sailor returns to Victoria after decade at sea

The next day, he was hoisted from the larger ship by the 129th Rescue Wing airborne division. Several in-air refuelings were required and a total of five planes were involved in the rescue. From there, Glenn was transported to San Jose Regional Hospital.

“This is a devastating situation for our family. We are shocked, saddened and filled with worry for Glenn’s recovery,” reads the GoFundMe. “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.”

Wakefield’s family is asking for financial assistance to help get him home and to cover the cost of his “daunting medical expenses.”

To make a donation visit bit.ly/33URRno.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

travel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

There have been 23 cases of reported cases of COVID-19 in the Nechako Lakes Health Area

’Herbert’ Shane Hartman with his daughter Isla. (Shane Hartman Facebook photo)
Love for daughter and drumming leads to author’s first book

Shane Hartman spent very spare moment writing and illustrating Isla’s New Drum

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

Most Read