Saturday, May 31, 2008

Back to the Bilge

Kind of weird today to be at the dock and working still. Mom went to Burton Chace Park to put up a sign about my delayed departure while dad and I pulled the old engine out of Intrepid. We spent the day cleaning and prepping the area for the new engine.

There are 2 engines recommended for an Islander 36 like mine. Volvo and Yanmar are two brands that make reliable engines that are both lightweight and easy to find spare parts for. We are hoping to find a sponsor to come forward to at least sponsor the engine which we would install. Monday will be the day we decide. Speaking of spare parts, the reason that we ultimately decided to repower was that we had been assured of a hefty box of spare parts from a local mechanic for Intrepid's Palmer Johnson engine. When the guy finally went to get the box, there were no parts!!

Spares, as my Dutch Uncle Richard Schaefer put it "Spares, spares SPARES!...Especially for that engine. You'd be in Samoa for 6 months waiting for a water pump for a 1972 Palmer Johnson."
Enough said.

Volunteers during the home stretch were Mike and Brett from Ocean Rescue TV, Lisa Gizaro, David Benson, Rowanda and Pete. Awesome!

New sponsors include Navionics who came on board with C-Map electronic charts of the world. Thanks Tshombe! There are several other new sponsors in discussion. Will add next week.

Speaking of sponsors, a Paypal Donation button was added to the Sponsorship Opportunity page of my web site because so many people were asking for an easy way to support me. Very cool.

Okay. Well I am getting used to some sleep deprivation with these late nights and early mornings.

Some links to current media:




Daily News

If anyone can find our interview on BBC would you let me know? Thanks!


Friday, May 30, 2008

Last Minute Date Change

Good Morning!

I am experiencing my first major hurdle besides actually getting the boat ready to leave.

After careful consideration and due to a late and irrepairable mechanical failure, we have decided to postposne the departure date to June 14th. This date will coincide with the Marina del Rey Boat Show but more importantly will allow for time to repower (new engine) my boat.

The decision was made by my dad and I after painstakingly weighing the pros and cons. We don't want any compromises on the boat considering the huge undertaking she is about to undergo.

This is a huge dissappointment in some ways but pratically speaking it is for the best. I am sorry for any inconveniences this will cause. We are sending out emails and a press alert in an attempt to get the news out quickly and well.

In the meantime we are researching which egine is best suited for an Islander 36, where to get one and how to pay for it!!

My parents and I have done several interviews this week:



Australia Channel 9

National Public Radio


KLOS Mark & Brian Show

Ventura Lifestyles

Support has been amazing. There have been so many people volunteering their time and support. I am blown away!

Must get this posted and get back to work. Hopefully will post again soon.

Again, sorry for the trouble. Hope to see you all on the 14th!!!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Home Stretch

Four more days of prep! Hard to believe. Everything is coming together. There are still some systems that haven't been tested and the new sails arrive today. I'm feeling nervous about the amount of work left to do. The days are flying by so fast! Dad is staying on the boat, working into the night and up early making lists and coordinating all the amazing volunteers that have come out to be a part of all this. The LA Times article by Pete Thomas came out yesterday.,0,7974897.story
Thanks Pete (and Al)!

I did an interview with Fox 11 yesterday.;jsessionid=892A55CB3DD7BDC18AB0D6CD4DC2B6D5?contentId=6630402&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

I've done several radio interviews. I have a few interviews today. We've decided to stop the interviews after today so the dock can be clear and people's minds focused. I will do my interview with Good Morning America on Thursday now instead of Friday which is good. I'll need at least a day to organize the chunk of Costco that is sitting in the foyer at home!

There are so many thank yous to go out...
JR from Freedom Fabricators spent the entire day yesterday installing and customizing the stainless steel solar panel arch. His endurance to complete it in a day was an inspiration.

Mary Ellen Rose, rigger, spent a day on the rigging, putting together one of the new Shaefer roller furling systems and installing a lazy jack system. A lazy jack system is a series of small lines that when set, catch the main sail when you let it down. For a single hander this piece of equipment is imperative. Otherwise the sail falls all over the deck getting blown by the wind and tangled in everything.

Bryon Pheifer and Raphael came and put together the other new Schaefer furling system. Stan Harris, Dave Roberts and Carl Sernoff, who have been doing rigging for many many years have come down to inspect all the rigging. It is a relief to know such great minds are working on that criticalarea of the boat.

Darrell Steffey, who we we have known since we lived aboard the Tradewind 55 when I was little, has come down to organize electrical details. David Benson and friend Rwanda have spent many days pouring over dad's lists and making a few of their own! Charlie Dewell, who did a singlehanded journey across the Pacific to Tahiti via Hawaii has been down to offer words of encouragement, and technical advice on the Monitor windvane among other things. Jean Paul from Australia has come down in the evenings to volunteer with what ever needs tobe done. He spent the whole of one evening cleaning every crevice of the alcohol stove which we though we were going to have to replace. Mike Smith has been on the job though he is back in North Carolina. He is tirelessly troubleshooting and organizing information to make our jobs quicker and more efficient.

All said, there are so many people coming together to make this happen it is amazing. As far as sailing around the world alone goes, I'll be sailing alone, but I could never do this without the help of many people here in the marina.

I wish I had more time to write but there is still much to do. Thank you for all the emails of emcouragement. Mom is printing them up for me to read while undeway when hopefully I'll have more time.

I received a few messages about my old blogs not coming up and we have someone on it (thanks mom!)


Friday, May 23, 2008

Meetings, interviews, doctors and shopping...

This week I've been off the boat more as dad and his crew do the final installations and testing. Interior cosmetics are being handled by Tim Hill.

JR from Freedom Fabrications is installing a stainless steel arch for the solar panels which have been wired by Level-Line Marine. Monitor windvane is installed. Wind generator is waiting for JR's arch. Pulling together spare engine parts and other tools, parts, etc.

I am meeting with Dr. Lowenberg to go over last things with my medical kit today. My arms are aching from the 4 shots I received yesterday. Looks like once I reach the Soloman Islands I'll be taking a weekly Malaria medicine for most of the rest of my trip.

The course is being fine-tuned and meteorologist/forecaster David Morris is helping me at least for the first leg to learn to interpret the fabulous forecasting program from Clear Point Weather.

I have become quite comfotable doing interviews lately. I've lost count of all of them; Soundings, Latitude 38, LA Times (should be coming out in the Sports section on Saturday the 24th), Good Morning America, multiple media-type meetings and friendly local interviews. I'm hoping to do an interview with the guys over at Sailing Anarching. It has been fun. Discussing sailing and planning for my offshore passage has become second nature to me now. It looks like Good Morning America will be covering my journey until I return. Mom, Dad and I will do our first live TV interview on the Friday before I leave. It should air across the nation between 7-9am on the 30th. After that, I will speak to them via Iridium phone (also sponsored by Clear Point Weather) or when in port.

Mike Smith sent a fantastic camera over for me to use on my trip. It is a Nikon D200 and has amazing capabilities. Have been meeting with some great people in the TV business. They are helping me with cameras, equipment, storage of data, and oraganization of my film. I really hope to use this film for something amazing at some point. I'm also talking with some people about the possibility of writing a book upon my return.

Please come out to see me off on Saturday the 31st. I am leaving from the guest docks at Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey. The address is: 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. There is parking at the park and lots of overflow parking just down Mindanao Way.
I am planning to pull in to the dock between 10 and 10:30. I'll have an hour or two to visit and leave when the wind gets up around 12:00 - 12:30.

Thanks for the prayers and words of encouragement!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back in Marina del Rey

Sorry again for the delay in writing. There is always so much to do... I will attempt to catch you up here.
Our initial attempt to bring Intrepid down the coast ended quickly due to some minor gear box issues. Going back to Anchor's Way allowed Mike more time to connect electrical systems so when we finally headed south on Sunday morning, we were able to test out all the systems.
It was a beautiful day although not much wind. It was great to sail into Marina del Rey. Mom and Dad met Mike and I out in the bay. I've attached a web album here:

I'll post the photos from Dad's camera tomorrow.

We had dinner at the beautiful Westlake Yacht Club here in Thousand Oaks on Friday night. They presented me with a generous sponsorship and one of their burgees to fly on my way out. There is quite a sense of community support which has been great.

Sadly, Mike Smith went back to North Carolina Monday after a marathon 3 week visit. He has been an amazing help and has become a great friend and like one of our family in the process. He will surely be missed here at the Sunderland home.

The solar panels and wind vane arrived yesterday. They will be installed today. Hoping to put her through her paces this weekend.

Had a visit with the 'travel' doctor yesterday. Not terribly inspiring to learn that the majority of my trip will take place in the Malaria Endemic zones. I had a yellow fever immunization yesterday but it didn't hurt. Typhoid, Hep A, tetanus and polio on Thursday. Not looking forward to it. Better that than getting sick out there though.

Working through computer set up etc. Had a great meeting with Jeff Carter yesterday about various aspects of filming, organizing and storage. He is a wealth of information. I am so blessed to have so many experts so willing to help me.

Meeting with Good Morning America today. It would be great to have them cover my trip.

I know I'm forgetting things. Will write again soon. Thanks for all the encouragement and tips coming via email etc.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Intrepid in the water again!

I am happy to say that Intrepid has had a successful launch at Anchor's Way Marine in Ventura! Thanks again to everyone there who cheerfully helped us make Intrepid what she is today. We spent all yesterday checking through hulls, bilge pumps and running and checking electrical systems.

Mike Smith, friend Taylor Horton and I will sail her to Marina del Rey this morning. Looking forward to relaxing a bit at sea and playing with my new camcorder.

I have posted a web album of photos from our family retreat and also of the launch here:

We are now 2 weeks from departure. Please notice the change (again) of date. I am leaving on Saturday May 31st from Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey. Apparently the press does not work on Sunday (at least not for me!). The plan is to bring Intrepid to the guest docks around 10am. There will be time for photos and last things before the wind picks up around 11:30 or so.

The home page of my web site will have my departure date should it need to change again which we are not anticipating but with boats who knows?

Still much to do. Dad will be installing the wind generator, self steering device, a Monitor wind vane (thank you Hans from Scanmar International) and solar panels. Mom is organizing all my paperwork, food, shots, a possible haircut, and a final trip to the dentist. Mike and I will be working on linking up my computer to SailMail, the email service that comes through the Single Side Band (SSB) High Frequency (HF) radio and also to Clear Point Weather's weather forecasting software that will come through the Iridium satellite phone. I highly encourage any serious sailor to check out their web site at Not only do they have a great product that is user friendly, but they are fantastic to work with.

Will update again soon.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday May 13, 2008

I'm sorry to say that we are still in the yard! There have been a few setbacks. While pulling the shaft yesterday just to check things, the gear box separated from the engine. The shaft threads will need to be re tapped. Fortunately, the problem was found now and is not too difficult to have repaired. We're now hoping to go back in the water today.
On a lighter note, Mike finished installing the stereo system which I am looking forward to using. Mike has been great finishing up wiring the ship radar. This an amazing little system that picks up a transmission sent via VHF radio frequency by all commercial shipping vessels. This 'ship radar' picks up the transmission within a certain distance and sounds an alarm. Many, many thanks to Dr. David Lowenberg who has sponsored this piece of equipment. He is also putting together a state of the art medical kit for my trip. Awesome!!
I spoke to Jesse Martin from Australia. He holds the record for youngest around the world; non-stop, solo and unassisted! Amazing. He has written a book called Lionheart that documents his journey. It is like a guide book for what I am about to do though I will be stopping and will be able to accept help in port. When faced with the decision of whether or not to try to beat Jesse's record there were 2 major considerations: my father is uncomfortable with me going around Cape Horn with it's icebergs and violent storms, and I really wanted my journey to be more in the vane of Robin Lee Graham who sailed on the Dove back in the 60's. He stopped and explored so many cool places. With modern technology, many people should be able to experience this trip along with me. Anyway, it was very cool to talk to Jesse who could totally relate to the craziness we are experiencing now trying to finish the boat prep.
Other goings on:
Schaefer Marine has hopped on board and is sponsoring me for 2 new roller furling systems. This is exciting because they are considered to be the best in the industry. They will be installed next week.
Several media offers have come in which is interesting. More to follow...
Mom made the first shop at Costco and the house is filling up with food, clothing and supplies. I'm looking forward to moving on the boat and getting her set up inside.
Thank you to all who are sending emails of encouragement. I hope to continue to hear from you all when I am under way when I will have more time to respond!

Friday, May 9, 2008

May 9, 2008

Good Morning!
Just a quick note today...

Hull was gel coated yesterday.
Thru hulls almost completely replaced.
Plumbing (ugh) still in process.
Major day on electronics today. Mike Smith has extended his stay which will be fantastic. Hookng up computer, SSB, Pactor III. Dad is doing some woodworking to make room for the inverter/charger.
Looking forward to a good, long, productive day on the boat.

We have changed the date of departure from a Thursday to the following Sunday. We made this change (thanks Matt) because we want people to be able to come out and see me off if they wish. Therefore, the new departure date is now June 1, 2008 from Burton Chase Park. Will endeavor to be at the guest dock around 10 am.

Oh yeah, the interview with KABC News is online if you missed it. Click on the link below:

Mike and Brett from Ocean Rescue TV have finished the promo video they have been working on. When it is available, I will post it here before adding it to the web site. Mike and Brett have been fantastic to work with. They are professional and easy going which makes it easy to talk in front of the camera. You'll see what I mean when you see the video clip.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

May 8, 2008

So much has been happening and in the midst of it all we had a family retreat out in Solvang for a few days. It was really good to get a step back from the yard for a bit although Dad and I broke away every afternoon to check on things at the yard. Yard work includes the attachment of the hard dodger which now only needs its windows installed to be completed. Mike Smith has organised, run wire for and coordinated much of the electrical systems. It is a major hurdle to be finished with this aspect of prep. We're redoing a bunch of plumbing which is awful and time-consuming work. Anchor's Way Marine is prepping the hull for new gel coat. We should launch for sure on Monday.

A departure date of May 29, 2008 has been chosen. Barring any major issues I should be ready by then. We're shifting gears a bit, gathering charts, software and provisioning.

We have had a very generous sponsorship from Clear Point Weather. They are sponsoring me with a new Iridium phone and free minutes! They are also sponsoring Minoru Saito, the 73 year old Japanese man who is currently attempting his 8th circumnavigation! Again, it is great to have people get behind my trip with enthusiasm. Clear Point Weather is also sponsoring me with a free subscription to their weather forecasting system. Check out their web site. It is amazing to see how technology has advanced. I remember my parents receiving these scratchy black and white weather faxes not so long ago!

UK Halsey Sailmakers are fast at work making me a new set of sails. They have been great to work with. I'm looking forward to testing them out soon.

Also, I should thank Mona at West Marine in Marina del Rey for researching and helping us with all the equipment purchases. She has been a huge help.

Mike and Brett from Ocean Rescue TV are putting the finishing touches on a promotional DVD they have been working on. They are both super talented and totally easy to work with. Once they are finished, I'll publish it here somehow.

An article came out in the Ventura County Star on May 7th. Here is a link:

KABC news came out and interviewed me and the family yesterday. There should be a short segment on the news this evening.

We have interesting proposals coming in for filming my trip and making radio and video programs with it. Very exciting! I'd love to be able to share this adventure with others.

Okay. That's it for now. Will post again soon.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Latest

Another long day, week...

Progress on Intrepid includes:

- bottom work and paint finished

- hard dodger making major progress and ready to be attached

- Mike Smith is the man of the week. He has been working hard on installing and coordinating all electrcial systems.


Articles came out in The Log and The Argonaut newspapers. I think the Ventura County Star is going to do a story some time soon. I had a break on Friday and did a photo shoot at sea with Ocean Rescue TV and the Star photographer on board. We had a nice blow and it felt good to actually be sailing a boat rather than tearing one apart!


Thanks go out to many people this week.

Mike Smith has been an incredible boost to the team here - working non-stop (and cheerfully I might add) on Intrepid's electronics installations.

Dr. David Benson, a volunteer from LifeSail, came up from Long Beach and stayed overnight to help out.

Andy and all the guys at Anchor's Way Marine Boat Yard in Ventura for putting me up and putting up with me!

Tim Hill has lent his artist's hand to the dodger project.

Elijah, Ryan, and Brad for giving up their Saturday to come and see what on earth I'm doing.

I'd like to say more but I've got to get some sleep. Click on the link below for another album of photos. If anyone knows how to get photos to post to, I'd sure like to know!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

More Yard Time

Hello Again!
I will attempt to write in my blog everyday but lately the days are going by so fast, it is a blur.
It seems like we have been working non-stop on Intrepid. We ended up being in the yard for an extra week due to complications with the rudder needing to be refabricated. Andy and the guys at Anchor's Way have been great! They are knowledgable and helpful - I am learning tons. The delay in launch has given us more time to work on the hard dodger which means a ton of fiberglass layup (10 gallons of polyester resin and over 40 yards of glass). We've been having cold showers to rinse the dust off for going on 2 weeks now.
Another highlight of this week has been the arrival of Mike Smith from North Carolina. He is a personal friend of Jesse Martin of Australia who holds the world record for youngest, single-handed, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation. Amazing guy! Mike has offered his help with electrical installations which has been a huge help. He is a wealth of information and again I am learning so much from working with him.
The guys from Ocean Rescue TV are making a video of the project which should be really cool. I'll post it here on my web site when it is finished. Dad and I did an interview with the Ventura County Star a few days ago. More and more sponsors are coming in. It is encouraging to hear from people who believe in me and support my dream to sail around the world alone. The sailing community is a small one, but they are good people and do what they can to help.
Today there will be 5 of us on board with Dr. David Benson, a volunteer from LifeSail, coming up from Long Beach for a few days.
Thats all for now!