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

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, Megan Gaddy was busy sorting bottles donated by residents throughout the Shuswap to support the cost of emergency surgery required for her dog Lucy. (Contributed)
North Okanagan-Shuswap residents step up for pet owner facing emergency vet bill

Megan Gaddy busy sorting donated bottles to bring her black lab Lucy home

Mayor Terry Rysz receives the ceremonial first poppy from Legion president Bill Moore and vice president Marty Goble. (Sicamous Legion/Facebook)
Sicamous Legion adjusts Remembrance Day to pandemic

Live-streamed ceremony and changes to poppy campaign in the works

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

A four-vehicle accident on the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous destroyed two cars and a section of bridge guardrail but remarkably injured no one. (Sicamous RCMP Image)
Sicamous’ Bruhn Bridge site of two collisions

Although a total of five vehicles were involved, no one was injured

Russ Hodgkins, left, Mayor Terry Rysz, Deb Heap, Legion Vice President Marty Goble and Sicamous councillor Jeff Mallmes meet to celebrate a Communities in Bloom award Sicamous received for work done at the Legion hall on Main Street. (Submitted)
Sicamous projects get Communities in Bloom awards

Work at the legion hall and the Red Barn Arts Centre recognized

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

Most Read