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

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

A small fraction of the people behind the Christmas Hamper Program in 2019. From left to right, Larry Olsson, Patti Larson, Kathleen Hammond and Gladys Dyer. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
In the giving spirit? Here is what you can do this Christmas season

Support Revelstoke Community Connections Christmas programs this year

Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16, 2019,  outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)
First Nations reconciliation personified at Okanagan College

President Jim Hamilton’s foresight has opened post-secondary education doors for Okanagan College’s Indigenous students

Sunny the cat jumped out of the truck at the Revelstoke Landfill earlier this month and was quickly reunited with his owners. (Submitted)
The cat came back with the help of two Revelstoke landfill workers

Sunny jumped out of the truck at the landfill in November

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
North Okanagan cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Most Read