Man sails the world solo, led by the Lord
Glenn Woiler arrived in Bermuda in August, his most recent port on a sailing journey led by the Lord.
He travels solo, with no fixed destination, on Silent Running, a second-hand 1999 Beneteau Oceanis 40CC.
Remarkably, he had limited sailing experience when he set out from his home in Washington State last June.
According to Mr Woiler it was sometime around 2018 that he became interested and began doing research on the internet.
“I had a 14ft sailboat as a kid, but I never had any sailing lessons. I just watched people and my brother was a sailor. And then a year or two before Covid I started watching YouTube sailing videos. Somewhere along the line I realised, I think I can do this. I want to do this before I can’t do this,” he said.
When the pandemic hit in 2020 and everything shut down, the 68-year-old thought he had missed his chance.
“But then in June of 2021, when we were still in various forms of lockdown over the country, I bought my sailboat, worked on it for a year then put it into the water,” he said.
“I have driven [across the United States] more than 60 times. When you are driving cross-country there is no rush or schedule to be any place. I go when I want to go, I stop when I want to stop, I eat when I want to eat, and when I get there I get there. Sailing seems to be an extension of that, just on a grander scale.”
On August 20, he arrived in St George’s Harbour and checked in with Customs agents there.
“I sailed here from the Dominican Republic, which I came from Turks and Caicos, before that I was in the Bahamas, before that I was in Florida and before that I was in Washington State.”
Mr Woiler worked in ministry until he decided to transform his talent for baking bread into a business.
“For ten years leading up to Covid, I was baking from home and selling in farmers’ markets in the cities of Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint in Idaho and in Spokane, Washington. I slowly found customers that appreciate whole grain bread, cookies, granola and bagels.
“I had never done this. I just knew how to bake bread, and so I decided in 2008 that I wanted to work from home. I didn’t want to work for anybody. I knew I could learn everything else [needed] to do this.”
People constantly asked about his business model. Mr Woiler ran his company without one.
“I just dove in and did it. That was my only income for ten years and in that ten years I was able to save some money to add to some other money I had, to buy the boat.”
Once his boat was in hand he decided to take the chance while he could as he felt that with the pandemic and everything “happening in the world from a Biblical perspective”, it was “just a matter of time” before borders shut and travel became far more difficult.
“I’m getting older and wanted to go out while I physically still could. I don’t know how long I am going to do it. People ask, ‘Where are you going after Bermuda?’ I say, ‘I don’t know.’”
Once a decision has been made, he does “some minor research” to determine what the country will expect of him on arrival.
“I look at weather apps and weather forecasts and I watch them for weeks and when it looks like the weather is going to give me good weather for the amount of time I'm going to be out there, I go for it. I also have a satellite phone where I can get daily weather reports.
“Bermuda, before I got here I looked up online and I just saw that the best thing for me was to come into St George's Harbour and then call Bermuda radio on Channel 16, which I did. They directed me where to dock and start the Customs checking process. I did the same thing for Bahamas and the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos.”
At every port he looks for a Seventh-day Adventist Church to attend. In Bermuda, he was able to worship with the congregation on Secretary Road in St George’s.
“It’s my habit to go to church on Sabbath which is Saturday, the seventh day, the same day Jesus went to temple,” Mr Woiler said. “I like being around people. It gets lonely being in this boat by myself a lot, so I go to town once in a while and if I can, you will find me in church on Sabbath.”
He also makes a point of sharing the gospel and his views on healthy living, with people he meets.
“I can’t go and lay hands on people and heal them as Jesus did but I can tell people how to change their diet and have better health and I believe that’s how we follow in His footsteps.
“So as I am travelling around on the boat, I meet sailors and people in the town. If the Lord opens the door, I start talking to them and give away books such as Steps to Christ or The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White.”
He admits that there is a personal quest he hopes to satisfy while on his travels: “I'm still looking for my female co-captain to sail around the world with me.”