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)

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

The Town of Oliver is lobbying for funds to fix part of an irrigation system damaged by a rock slide last year that would have a huge impact on farmers and the entire region. File photo
Province to finish funding for Oliver irrigation system repairs

The irrigation system was damaged after a rockslide in 2016

Theo's now delivering to Summerland
Penticton Greek restaurant now delivering to Summerland

Theo’s restaurant is the first to deliver food to Summerland in their ‘Squidmobile’

The Vees are on their fourth straight win as they head into game five of Pod Season on Sunday. (Cheri Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees keep winning streak alive with 5-3 win

The Vees are now 4-0 to start the BCHL pod season

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
COVID-19 exposure at Penticton independent school

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in the Interior

Participants are encouraged to light a candle and watch the streamed event from home as speakers honor the lives of those lost to overdose from Gyro Bandshell in Penticton April 14, 2021. (Facebook photo)
Vigil for 5th anniversary of B.C. overdose crisis to be held in Penticton

To honor the lives lost to the overdose crisis and bring a call of action to policymakers

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Winter driving conditions returned to the Coquihalla Highway on April 10. (ICBC image)
Coquihalla motorists warned of fresh snow

Five to 10 cm of snow is expected today for the mountain highway.

Most Read