Monday, June 30, 2008

June 30, 2008

Current Position (as of 8:41pm PT): 21.03N, 139.28W

Photo ©2008

Check out Lisa Gizara's web site for a slide show of amazing photos of Zac pre-departure

Zac and Laurence onboard Intrepid

I woke up to the radar alarm this morning showing 'something' out there. There was nothing on the AIS Ship Radar. What ever it was disappeared eventually. The cloud cover causes the boat to be drenched by the morning. Fortunately it burns off by 10am or so. It isn't as cold as it was a few days ago even without the sun. I will reach the famous 20 degrees north tonight. I'm looking forward to the sailing paradise with warmer temperatures and fish jumping out of the water that Brett & Mike from Ocean Rescue TV assured me of!

New Daily Routine:

Wake Up

Check Bilges

Check Sails

Turn on Music

Wash Dishes

Clean Boat

Check Batteries

Tune Sails

Call Home

Eat Lunch



Check Sails

Check Email

Eat Dinner

Check in with Mom & Dad
Set Sails/Check Course
Go to Bed

I did see a bird today. It was a small white bird a bit like a seagull. It flew around the boat a few times checking me out and flew off leaving me a package to remember him by!

I did set the fishing line again today. The reel screamed, I ran, the reel stopped screaming, I reeled in the line to find the remnants of a Barracuda that something had gotten to before me. There wasn't much meat left on it so I threw it back. I'm beginning to feel a little like Job.
Thank you for the emails and blog comments. I have been having some trouble with my email. I will call SailMail tech support tomorrow to hopefully figure out why it is freezing up on me.



Sunday, June 29, 2008

June 29. 2008

Current Position (as of 9:23pm PT): 21.33 N, 138.14W

Another slow day. Light winds and smaller swells made for a relaxing day. Did the usual boat maintenance and chores. I set another fishing line today as I have been looking forward to some fresh fish. While I was checking email the reel started to scream (something on the line). I ran up to reel it in. My pole was bent way over like it was something big and then it just went loose. Again my lure was still there but whatever it was got away again! I tried increasing the drag on the pole and will see if next time the hook sets better. Looking forward to a nice Mahi Mahi or tuna or who knows what?

It looks like the tropical storms off of Mexico have not become anything to worry about and will not turn into hurricanes. My problem seems to be not enough wind. I have had about 8 knots all day. It is still a little flukey. The ClearPoint Weather forecast shows more of the same for the next 2 days so I am heading further south to pick up the stronger winds there. Photo ©2008

When you all pray that the hurricanes don't travel too far north, please add that I would really appreciate some wind. At least more than 8 knots.



PS. This photo was taken while anchored at Catalina. We'll try to add some photos taken during the preparation phase until my photos from the journey are gathered in the Marshalls.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Current Position (as of 8:15pm PT): 22.17W, 135.39W

A calmer day today. The wind has been lighter averaging about 8 kts all day with periods of time with 15 kts. I am making a pretty consistant 5 knots and am more comfortable as the swells are smaller and not as steep.
I set out a fishing line today. The line screamed suddenly for about 2 seconds and stopped. When I finally hauled everything back on board there was no fish but the lure was still there. I have lost a lot of lures but have never had a fish escape from one! So no terriyaki fish tonight though I have been in the mood for some meat. I'll try again tomorrow all being well.
The boom vang came detached from the boom early today and banged against the dodger. It took me an hour to line up the holes with the pin while rocking and rolling up on deck. Hopefully it will make for some interesting film. Spent some time checking the other pins and attachments this afternoon.
My mom asked me today if I felt like quitting ever. I don't feel like quitting at all but I am tired and wishing for wind to get me going faster! I wouldn't mind pulling over for some In N Out either.
Many questions about wildlife but I really haven't seen very much. I had a few sharks following the boat when I was first out. I saw a few small white birds with long tails a day or so ago. I haven't seen any trash either. Pretty much sky and water out here.


Why aren't you stopping at Hawaii?
Hawaii is right on course to the Marshall Islands and if I need to stop for any reason, I will. Because I left later I need to make some distance to keep up with my weather windows. I am basically working backwards from the Indian Ocean. I need to be able to leave Darwin in September and Mauritius by November 15th.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Current Position (as of 8:18 pm PT): N23.28 W134.51

The yawing (swerving off course) conditions that I had yesterday had me up until about 1:00am. Things were settling down a bit so I crashed (went to bed down below). I was up a lot but managed to get a few good hours in after about 4:00am when things really began to settle down (about 12knots of wind). Unfortunately, they continued to settle down so that I had about 2 knots of wind this morning and rain. Not enough to have my shower (besides it is still to cold for that sort of thing). After my morning routine I went to call home to check in but the sat phone wasn't registering for some reason. I grabbed old Leviathan (my MarineNav computer) and dragged it over to the Single Side Band radio and sent out a few emails. I haven't figured out the problem with the lap top yet. By then, the sat phone was working so today has been a really strange day. In fact, this whole trip has been strange in the sense that it has not been what I expected. It keeps me thinking though and I am still totally focused on my goal.

Many people ask how I keep from going crazy. I try to keep in touch with family, eat well, sleep as much as I can but mostly I have to keep my thoughts focused on the task at hand. Can't get too caught up in what ifs. Like tonight, I really want to get more speed out of the boat but I am still pretty tired so I will focus on getting some sleep tonight while I can and figure out my sails again tomorrow.

During the lighter winds, I was able to go up on deck and check everything and tidy up some lines etc. The wind picked up a bit so I was able to make some headway. I watched the movie Ned Kelly today. I am able to put my portable DVD player out in the cockpit. That helps to pass time and hear other human voices. I had to pause the movie 5 times to check and tweak. I had a good nap. My lee cloth was not made properly and so can't be used so I am often being tossed out of bed. When I was thrown out of bed during today's nap I just grabbed my pillow and slept on the floor. If someone knows a good canvas person in Majuro, let them know I'm coming.
I made a feast for dinner. Some left over Top Ramen mixed with a can of chicken noodle soup, 2 pieces of toast with butter and a can of fruit cocktail. I was so full I had to lay down for an hour before calling home to check in. When I was little my dad would come home from work and ask me what I learned that day. Today I learned not to over pressurize your alcohol stove. I am missing the hairs on my right hand to prove it!

The winds have picked up to about 12 knots again. Wind and swells are fluky, coming from different directions at times and wind filling in and then dying down. The swells are farther apart today which makes them less intense.

We are keeping our eyes on Tropical Storm Boris today. So far he has about 30 knots of wind and is moving NW at 8 miles per hour. I am about 1500 miles from the storm so hopefully we won't get too close.

Thanks for the emails and comments. My mom forwards a bunch to me each day. It may take a while but I will try to answer as many as I can.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Current Position (as of ): Sorry no position came through tonight. - Mom

Rough night last night. The motion of the boat and slapping of the genoa made it hard to sleep. There are the most incredible stars out here. I have never seen anything like it. There are thousands of stars in a black, black sky. There is a hazy, cloud-like thing up there too. Not sure if it is the Milky Way? Awesome!
The wind increased early today to 20-25 knots. BTW a knot is a measure of speed. One knot equals one nautical mile per hour. One nautical mile is equal to 1.15 miles. Nautical miles are measured in relation to lines of latitude somehow. One knot is about equal to 1.15 miles per hour. The term came from the old sailors who measured how many knots on the line (rope) paid out in a certain time period. One of my favorite books to read was an old, mildewy book called the Origin of Sea Terms. Very interesting stuff.
With the wind increase came an increase in wave/swell size. When I was between 2 swells, the water was as high as my first spreaders (metal bars that hold the halyards from the mast). My first spreaders are 15' high. It was pretty scarey when they started to crumble at the top. Because of their angle, they are pushing my boat off course. Then the boat turns slightly and heals over so that the toe rails (rail around the top edge of the boat deck) are in the water. I have been fiddling with this a lot today. It has helped to head more south which was recommended by David, the forecaster who is helping me. Apparently, there is a high (calm) heading in my path so a little southing should keep me in the wind anyway.
Please pray tonight. I am getting pretty tired and still have to deal with this awkward motion.


What do you do with your trash?

I really don't have that much trash. I am keeping it in a plastic garbage bag in the bilge until I get to the Marshall Islands.

How do you take a shower?

Actually, I have not had a shower but I have to just wash with a wash cloth etc. When I hit the lower trades and there is a rain shower, I will go up on deck with my shampoo and soap for a quick shower. The reason for this is water conservation. We are hoping to pick up a water maker at some point in the journey. This will allow for safer water in foreign ports and fewer limitations on how much water I use each day. I have 3 water tanks with 90 gallons and about 10 gallons of bottled water on board.

What kind of photos and video are you taking and when can we see it?

I have a still camera (Nikon D200) and 7 video cameras on board. I have one HD camcorder, 2 surveillance-type cameras that are mounted outside. One of these is mounted on the mast and one above the solar panels on my transom. They are low resolution but should hopefully capture what it looks like outside. I already have taken some amazing footage of life on deck with these swells (should be called awfuls), hopefully capturing the motion of the boat for you all. The other 4 cameras are a sponsorship from Panavision. They are mounted inside the boat so that I can turn them on at any time to record what I am doing. I am currently working with a production company on an idea for a Discovery or Travel Channel show. Hopefully, with the amount of footage being captured, we can make something amazing! Unfortunately, I am unable to transmit photos or film with technology available. The technology is there but the energy costs are too high. I may be able to get some equipment once I am out of the Pacific that uses less power and is able to transmit better.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 25, 2008

Current Position (as of 9:41pm PT):,-130.9063&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

I was woken at 6:00 this morning by the radar alarm and a ship on a collision course. Of course the ship was 20 miles away but I had to sit in the cockpit and watch for it, changing course a bit for it to pass safely. I am still making good distances everyday. The wind is hitting my aft starboard quarter (back right side) and making it difficult to keep wind in the genoa (big sail in front). I have spent the last 2 days fiddling and tweaking the sails, lines, and course to try to improve on this without much success. I may try to attach the spinnaker pole to the end of the genoa tomorrow to force it to stay out and stop flapping constantly. This has really made today frustrating.
I have started to do some onboard exercises: sit ups, push ups and pull ups. I don't want to get too out of shape. Did some more cleaning along with the usual boat maintenance. My laptop died today. It may be that it is just the screen that is dead. It sounds like the machine is actually running but nothing on the screen. Fortunately, I have another computer, Leviathan. Tomorrow I'll hook the laptop to Leviathan's monitor to see what can be done.
Today had more than it's share of problems but I'm still making good progress and tomorrow I should hit the 1000 mile mark.
I am nearing the coordinates of the so called Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is where scientists believe about 100 million tons of plastic trash has accumulated trapped by underwater currents. It is supposed to be twice the size of the USA! I can't even imagine what that would be like. I will report more in this if possible.


How do you navigate?
My first choice is my RayMarine C70. It is a radar and chart plotter combination. It has so many functions it is the main instrument I use for navigating. I am using C-maps electronic charts that are interfaced with a GPS signal so when I look at the C70 I can see my position (lat/long) in the ocean and how fast I am going, whether I am on course, etc. I also have the computer navigation program MaxSea. I also have paper charts with parallel rules that I can plot my position on using a handheld GPS. Now for the question of the hour...yes, I have a sextant on board and no, I do not know how to use it! To be honest, when it came time to load all my gear on board and out came the 3 large Sight Reduction Table books and Almanac well, I left them at home. I have several backup GPS units that take up a fraction of the space of one of those books. I would like to learn celestial navigation one day. I also have on board about 20 cruising guides of the various areas where I will be sailing. These books tell you where the reefs are, what the weather patterns are and how and when to go where you want to go. I also have on board Pilot Charts of the world's oceans. Each chart shows prevailing weather patterns-- wind, currents, wave heights, visibility, surface pressure, sea surface temperature etc.

Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 24, 2008

Current Position (as of 8:17pm PT):,-128.8544&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

First of all, thank you to everyone who is concerned about what I am eating and if I'm eating. As a former linebacker I have never been one to skip meals. I have worked hard to gain and maintain my weight. Out here, however, I just have not felt very hungry. I am not seasick. Just not hungry. The constant motion of the boat makes me kinda sleepy and lazy feeling. Not that I am being lazy. So today I have been eating beef jerky, a few Cliff bars, a Balance Bar, a few oranges and a can of clam chowder soup. I eat less out of hunger and more out of discipline. I know that I need to keep up my strength. I do feel a little weak from not excercising. Mom is finding some elastic bands that were recommended for excercise at sea. She is also researching the solar ovens that were recommended. Thank you to everyone who sent money for my meal(s) in Majuro. I am still thinking about fact someone from Majuro wrote to tell me of the best restarants there!

A few people have asked if I have a daily routine. As I wrote down what I do each day, I realized that I do have a routine, sort of. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is check the bilges for water. I do this several times a day but always first thing. It is normal for boats to take on a little water. I have several bilge pumps that pump this out when it reaches a certain height. If too much water is getting in then you have to search and figure out where it is coming from. Next I clean up the boat. Still don't know how it gets so messy! Then I brush my teeth and go out to check the sails. I check the radar and scan for ships. I call my mom every morning to give her an update. Then I eat breakfast and read. Time goes by quickly as by the time I am getting sleepy from reading, it is usually about 2:00pm. After my nap I check email, watch a DVD, check my course and make dinner. I usually go to bed between 7:30 and 9:00. I call home most nights to check over the boat with my dad, talk to my siblings and give mom another update. The days go by quickly and I have never been bored yet. This is probably because in between all these things I am checking and tweaking sails and lines, checking my course and the boat.

After winds as much as 25 knots yesterday day and evening, my wind dropped today into the low teens. That with the slap of those swells has made holding my course more difficult today. I have had to head up off course a little to keep the boat from bashing around. The forecast calls for more wind so I hope it comes soon. I liked making 6 knots steady. Today has been more like 4.5 knots average. Because I have been on the same tack (heading or direction) for awhile I went on deck to set up the running back stays. This is an added line that runs from the middle of the mast to the back of the boat deck to give extra support to the mast that is being stressed by constant pressure. It is pretty wild up on deck but fortunately it didn't take too long. I was wearing my inflatable life jacket that was sponsored by It has a built in harness that attaches to a line that is attached to the boat so if I slip and fall, I won't fall overboard. The inflatable part is activated by contact with water. They are much more comfortable than regular bulky life jackets. This jacket also has a pocket that my Spot transponder fits into. This is a water proof device that can send out an emergency beacon to rescue authorities world wide if I need help. It transmits my coordinates so I am 'easy' to find. It is how I am sending my daily coordinates as well as it has an OK button that just lets people know I'm OK and where I am.

That's it for now. Until tomorrow.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More Wind

Current Position (as of 8:53pm PT):,-126.7918&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1
Another good day. I didn't sleep too well because of the swells slapping the aft starboard quarter of the boat. They were pushing the boat slightly off course and making a motion that just didn't feel right which made it difficult to sleep. Sometimes the motion was so strong it would round the boat up into the wind so I would have to get up and reset her course. Part of this problem is to do with the design of the boat. I'm looking forward to the swells changing direction tomorrow as shown on the ClearPoint Weather forecast. I've really been liking my Monitor windvane. I have been playing with it since I left Catalina. I am getting pretty good at setting it and adjusting it.

The wind patterns are becoming more normal coming a steady 15-20 knots out of the NW. I have been going between 5 and 6 knots most of the day. When the boat gets on top of one of these Pacific rollers she slides down at 7 knots!

I've been rummaging through my food more. I hung up my hammock and filled it with fruit which I've been eating all day. I found some cherries that were practically walking off the boat. Yuk! For all of you who think that it is wonderful that I heated a can of soup a few days ago, I was attempting to make some Top Ramen today. I know its bad for you but it tastes really good at sea. Because the boat was rocking so much, the stove couldn't gimble far enough and it was spilling so I just ate it half cooked. I've been thinking of the $100 that Ray Cech sent me to go towards a meal in Majuro, my first landfall. I've been thinking about that a lot. By the way, I have known Ray and his wife Joan since I was brought home from Santa Monica Hospital to our boat in Neptune Marina.

The wind has died down some tonight (about 15 knots). I am sailing with 1 reef in the main sail and 3 reefs in the genoa. Not sure what to expect with the wind tonight. Have not seen any ships today. Hoping for a good nights sleep because I didn't have a nap today.

Thanks for all the emails and notes.

Dear Jim (Fulton),
Thanks for the riddle.
Decrease? I'm thnking of a propeller.
LMK and send another.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Current Position (as of 5:44pm):,-124.4869&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Today was an ordinary day. I was woken by a ship alarm at 4:00am and stayed up to watch her pass. I did more rigging work and cleaning. Who is making all this mess? The wind picked up today as expected. I had nearly 20 knots all afternoon. It began lightening in the afternoon. I have made decent progress although I have these annoying sharp swells hitting my aft quarter that are making steering awkward. I have made my second waypoint and am on course to waypoint 3 at 24N, 132W some 550 miles away.


How did you make your dream come true and how do you endure even under criticism?

When I first came to my parents with the idea of sailing around the world we just discussed if it was even possible. They thought it was and we set about trying to find a boat. No body was going to sponsor a boat for me as a young unknown so I went to and began to search for a boat. The type of boat I needed was way out of my price range. My dad was asking around the marina about boats for sale and heard of my current boat which was then called Nantucket Sleigh Ride. I was able to buy the boat with money I had saved repairing and selling sailing dinghies in the summers. I sent out about 100 Sponsorship Proposals to marine companies and received a pretty poor repsonse. I just kept sending letters and calling people and working with my dad. Pretty soon I had a lot of equipment sponsors and people from all over the marina were getting involved with the project. I guess the point is to have a dream, pursue it and don't give up. It helps to have your parents behind you like I do. If you really believe in what you are doing, you just accept that people will criticise you. Answer your critics but then keep going.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June 21, 2008

Current Position (as of 9:00pm PT):,-123.0535&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Position link sent from my Spot.

There was no wind again last night. I had to head off course so that the tiller pilot would steer. I went 11 miles backwards! As my course was heading towards Guadelupe Island off of Baja Caifornia, I was remembering the late afternoon when my family arrived there on our cruise to Mexico. We had been sailing for a day and a half when we arrived and had just dropped anchor when a panga (Mexican fishing boat) pulled up along side us. After lots of Spanglish and sign language, 12 live lobsters were plopped on our deck in exchange for a 12 pack of cheap beer. As a kid I remember being totally excited. My mom and dad tell the story from a different angle. They were exhausted and not really in the mood to contain, kill and cook 12 lobsters! My dad pulled their heads off and removed some tube that was not supposed to be eaten. My mom was down below cooking them and serving them with melted butter. They were good times. But today it is canned soup alone.

The swells have smoothed out so that even though there is no wind at least I'm not rolling around anymore. I was up early and spent a few hours checking the rigging and life lines. I was able to get all of my SailMail which is the email service that comes through the Single Side Band radio via a special modem called a Pactor III. I hadn't been able to check it recently because the frequencies were always busy or else the rolling of my boat made it difficult to make the connection at all. I had great reception today and was able to get all my backlogged emails. It has been warm and sunny and with the calm I actually made my first hot meal since my bacon and eggs at Emerald Bay. Even heating a can of soup is a big job out here. First I have to move the spare deisel container from under the cabinet, then find the pump, pump up the alcohol reservoir and then light the fire. I had clam chowder with a toasted onion bagel. Very nice!! I have begun to take a nap every afternoon. This afternoon the wind picked up a little bit and I am sailing along at about 3 knots. This is great! Compared to going backwards that is. The forecast calls for increasing winds tonight and tomorrow. I should be telling a different story then.

I spoke to my dad today for the first time since leaving. He had been on 2 yacht deliveries. On the way to San Francisco he had terrible weather and really rough seas. On the way back south he had no wind! It was good to talk boat mechanics and weather with him.

The link below is to a friend named Jenn Edney's blog. She is a photographer for the Ventura County Star who was assigned to my story way back. She has taken a bunch of her photos and made a photo essay.

Not much more to say for now. Looking forward to making some headway tomorrow.



Friday, June 20, 2008

A Good Day

Current Position (as of 7:43pm PT):,-122.4651&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1
Position link sent via Spot.

I didn't get much sleep last night because there wasn't enough wind to steer the boat with the windvane and the tiller pilot doesn't work well with the motion of the boat on the swells. I had another big green mile wide blob show up on the radar this morning with the accompanying big black cloud but nothing came of it. The wind came and went but mostly went. It is an unbelievable amount of work to continually tweak lines (ropes) on the boat and vane with this flukey wind. I'll just get everything set and the wind changes.
The swells flattened out some during the day. The calmer conditions allowed me to get some jobs done today. I cleaned up the whole boat and did some more reorganizing. I was totally psyched to find my bag of socks! I haven't been able to find them since I left and my feet were always cold. I have also fine-tuned the radar alarms so that I have a better balance between the 4 mile RayMarine alarm and the 50 mile AIS alarm. One doesn't give enough notice if on a collision course and the other was keeping me up all night letting me know every ship within 50 miles. I have set it up so that the AIS warns me at 50 miles out after which I hit a 'snooze' type button that tells the AIS not to tell me again until the ship is 10 miles out. Then for backup the RayMarine radar alarm sounds when the ship is 4 miles out.
I was able to check email and eat some good food but the highlight of the day was getting up on deck clinging to the boom in the swells with one hand (and yes I was harnessed and tethered mom) and jerking and whacking the main halyard with other. After about 45 minutes I was able to free the line from the mast step! This was the highlight of my day because I was not looking forward to going up the mast in these swells!
I became pretty good at being hauled up the mast when we replaced Intrepid's rigging. Whenever there was an issue at the top of the mast, I was called upon to take care of it. Nobody likes the job but I actually got pretty comfortable up there after awhile.
The forecast predicts that by this time tomorrow I will be cruising along with winds between 12 and 19 knots. I can't wait. I actually made good about 50 miles today which is a miracle in itself! Is it Friday night? I wonder what my friends are doing? I'll be glad to get some sleep and am crashing at 7:30!

Where is your first stop, how long will it take you to get there and how long will you stay?

Check out my new Route page. It has a proposed itineary which means that it may change. For now, my first stop will be in the Marshall Islands in Micronesia. They are about 4,500 miles away. If I average 1,000 miles a week, I should be there in 4 1/2 weeks. My dad is flying out to meet me there to help with any boat work needed and help me reprovision. Because I left later than expected, I won't have a lot of time there. I hope to stay at least a week or two to rest and reprovision and see the sites. I need to make my way west in order to make my weather window in the Indian Ocean.

From Hazel Stange (8 years old): How long have you been planning to go around the world?

Because my family have always been sailors, we read a lot of sailing books. My favorite one was called The Boy Who Sailed Around the World Alone. It is the story of Robin Graham who sailed a similiar trip to mine a long time ago. (1966?) It made me want to go where he had gone. I was probably 7 or 8 when my mom read that to me. That is when I started thinking about a big sailing trip.
Caution: If your children read this book they will want to sail around the world!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ships, squalls and wind!

Thank you for praying for wind. I took a picture of Intrepid's icon on the ClearPoint Weather screen. I am in a bubble of wind surrounded by no wind. Very cool!

I had a better night last night. I was only woken up twice and that by shifting winds not ships. I did do a lot of sailing in the night. Why does the wind come at night? That was weird but what was more weird was about 10:00 this morning this huge black cloud with 4 arms reaching down to the sea was on the horizon. I thought it may be a squall or something so I jumped up on deck to reef the main sail just in case some strong winds came. As I was up there fiddling with the lines, my proximity alarm went off. This is the alarm that warns of objects within a certain distance of my boat. I looked out to sea to see that there was a huge container ship about 3 miles off headed straight for me! I ripped the reefs out of the sail and ran back to the cockpit, started up the engine and hauled out of there. The ship passed me no more than 1/4 mile behind me. A bit too close for comfort for me.
Then, of course, I still have this 4-armed thing looming over me. Wind was going from 7 knots to 20 knots all of a sudden. It is incredibly hard work to be constantly tweeking lines on the sails and lines on the windvane while sliding around on these rollers. The windvane is working better now or should I say I am working better now. It takes some experience to figure out the exact way the vane works with your boat. Just when I get everything set, I slide down these rollers and the windvane gets off course or the wind dies and everything is flogging. My dad always said that every time the boom whacks, it costs you $1. You can't just sit there and listen to it damage itself, so up you go...

I have another situation that I am watching. My main sail halyard has wrapped around one of the collapsible mast steps. I don't know how it got in there because the mast step was closed. Now the line is inside the closed mast step. I'm hoping it will work its way out of there or else I'll have to go up the mast to free it.

I had pretty good wind this morning, then flukey winds this afternoon and of course picking up again this evening. Apparently I am sailing into a large calm. Hopefully, it won't last too long. A day seems like a week these days.

Thanks for the notes and emails.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Route

Many people have been asking for a map of Zac's route. Until the web site is finished getting some new graphics there will be a link at the bottom of the Home page that leads to his itinerary. This will be on it's own page soon with comments on how the route was chosen etc.
Thanks for coming!
Terrible night last night. There were at least 6 ships on the horizon thru the night which meant me half awake and half asleep watching them until they passed. The swells are huge. Must be from the weather system up north. Dad and Abby got pretty beaten up on their yacht delivery to San Fransisco. I did have a decent amount of wind for a time and managed to make over 120 miles in less than 24 hours.

And that was the end of the wind. I was thrown out of bed this morning and spent today rocking from gunwall to gunwall (sides of the boat) in at least 8 foot swells with no wind to stabalize the boat!

Then the good news: I've sailed into the edge of a high pressure ridge that is expanding off the coast of Mexico. wind. This is not a good thing for a person whose purpose in life is to go!

There has been a disruption to the usual weather patterns which has caused the normal clockwise flow of wind to scatter in a totally random pattern. My ClearPoint Weather screen looks like an Impressionist painting. The area where Intrepid is is light blue to white which means very little wind.

I've been feeling anxious about the situation and about the boat. My mom says it is the lack of sleep and normal for what I'm doing but I feel really bad. I'm tired and I'm tired of rocking around going nowhere. The weather should go back to normal by the end of the week but that seems unbearable at the moment!!

Mom and dad reminded me that I can do this and I know I can.

Pray for wind!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From Zac via Sat Phone:


The reason that we didn't post my position yesterday was because I made a planned stop at Emerald Bay at Catalina Island for some time with the boat with no distractions. This is so familiar because I spent two summers living here with my family when I was about 10 & 11. With all the media attention last week it was very difficult to get on board the boat for any length of time without distractions unless we were seatrialing. I arrived Saturday evening about 7:00 pm after an awesome sail over in some nice winds. I spent Sunday reorganizing and sleeping and Monday Dad came over with Greg from Itik Productions to waterproof the cameras and install my new anchor, donated by Quickline. My sisters Abby and Jessie came with him and spent the day swimming and hanging out. Photographer, Lisa Gizara, came to help out and take a few last photos. Harbor Steve made dinner for us. We just sat in the cockpit and watched the sun go down and the nearly full moon rise. I couldn't help wondering when I'd have such a time again.

After cooking some bacon and eggs, I dropped the mooring this morning around 11:00am and rounded the west end of Catalina Island. I settled in to my first way point only to have the wind die and the swells roll in. It was pretty crazy rolling like mad and not being able to do anything about it. A quick look at Clear Point Weather showed me that the wind would be filling in soon so I pressed on and by about 3:00 had a good 12 knots and was traveling at 6 knots myself.

The following position was taken at 2:19pm Pacific.

My web guy is out of town but will be posting a new page on the web site that will have my course outlined as well as my itinerary. For now I will give a daily position report.

Since this will be my first night at sea alone, I will answer the question of how do I sleep at night. Intrepid is equipped with 2 radar systems. The first is a RayMarine radar and chart plotter. The radar is set to scan the horizon every 5 minutes. It looks out over the sea as far as 24 miles. If it 'sees' anything a mark will show up on the screen. At night, I can set the radar alarm so that when something appears, an alarm will sound. Secondly, I have an AIS ship radar. This was a sponsored piece of equipment from Dr. and Mrs. David Lowenberg. All commercial shipping (ie. BIG ships) are required to send a signal out over the VHF radio that is picked up by this great little unit. It will show the location of the ship and if you run the cursor over the ship, it will show what type of ship it is, how fast and what direction it is going and even the name of the ship in case you need to hail them. As far as steering goes, I can set one of three autopilots, a device that steers the boat for me on a set course. Another night time safety routine is to turn on running lights; a light on the mast, bow (front of the boat) and stearn (back). I am planning on sleeping in the cockpit tonight, teathered of course to my harness and the boat.

Thank you for all the great emails. I am hoping to be able to answer a few of them when I get into a 'groove' as they say.

Until tomorrow.



Monday, June 16, 2008

More Photos

Spoke with Zac several times today. His email wasn't working until later this afternoon so I (mom) will sum up his first day.

Spent the day restowing and organizing my gear. It was really frustrating not being able to find things that I needed including the power cable for my Pactor III modem. This modem allows me to send and receive email through the Single Side Band radio. It was on the chart desk on Friday night after having been removed for seatrials. I thought the camera guys took it when they took their gear off the boat. I eventually found it in a bag of electrical things that had been stowed behind the salon settee or livingroom couch in boat-talk. Sweet success! Have checked email and weather and all is well.
On a positive note, all power and charging has been amazingly good. I am running my fridge, computers, radio and charging Sat phone and ipods and have more than enough power. Thanks again Mike!! My power is being generated entirely by solar panels and a wind generator so this is really good news. Have had some trouble with the self steering wind vane. Not sure if it is just me??? Will press on with this.

Mom here...we are still having long days and nights here tying up loose ends with the boat show and many emails which I am forwarding to Zac in small bundles. His Sailmail email account can't handle large volumes of mail so it has to go through his land based mail for now. Laurence (dad) is leaving tomorrow on a yacht delivery and will be missing his first mate. Not to worry, he has a replacement! Zac's sister Abby (14) has been wanting to be the youngest girl to sail around the word for about 3 years now! She will accompany Laurence up the coast to San Francisco and back down again in a different boat.

Thanks for checking in. Will post again soon.

Marianne for Zac

PS We though it would be fun if people would email questions they had about Zac, his boat and his trip. If you have a question, email it to and he will endeavor to answer a few everyday!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A note from Mom

Zac left the docks of Marina del Rey today as scheduled at 1:00pm. There was an electric excitement in the air as friends, family, media and kids who'd read about Zac in the newspaper all came down to see Zac off. We are estimating between 200-300 people. A Coast Guard helicoptor flew over head and the main channel buzzed with boats cruising past to catch a glimps of all the activity. Zac was honored by local dignitaries who declared June 14th 'Zac Sunderland Day'! He was followed out of the harbor by about 15-20 boats and another helicoptor flying photographers. It was an amazing turnout and was only fitting for such an amazing story that looks like it has only just begun!

There was a stiff breeze and after Zac got settled was cruising comfortably under a main with a single reef and genoa. After 2 hours out, the wind had lessened to 11 knots and Zac was still cruising along at 5 knots!

We are all exhausted here but wanted to keep you all updated on Zac's progress. He has a lot to do in the next days; stowing, organizing and finding everything that was stowed and organized for him!

We, as a family, have been amaingly blessed to experience this with Zac. It is our hope that you will all be blessed as well!

More photos and info to come!

With much joy,

Marianne Sunderland

Friday, June 13, 2008

D -Day!

Whew! My blog was not posting there for a few days. Bad timing as there has been a lot going on. First of all to all who have been emailing about where to see me take off tomorrow...

Burton Chace Park
13650 Mindanao Way
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 305-9595

Questions & press begin at 12:00.
Board Intrepid and chase boats 1:00

The Marina del Rey Boat Show will be going on at the same time. I think you can still see me take off from the park without going to the show which is $10 for ages 12 and up. The view would definitely be better from the show though. Parking is down Mindanao in the overflow parking. There are lots of signs. Good Luck!

Since the last posting...
We had a great first day at the boat show. Lisa Gizara, who has been taking a lot of the photos you see here in the past week, helped set up our booth with Darrell Steffey, who has been amazing with organizing our booth and coordinating with Duncan and Don at the boat show. Not only this but working on tying up Intrepid's bulging eletrical systems. Last I saw him tonight he had (at about 10:30) come up with a shore power cord since my mom took mine out of her car and left it at home. I don't know how he got it but, in his usual way, he saw that we needed something and just took care of it. JP spent half a day finding and fixing a water tank leak while his own boat's refit goes undone. Peter, Amparo, Rwanda, the list goes on...

We had a long sea trial on Thursday with NBC on board a chase boat with my dad. They got some great footage and will use some of it for The Today Show tomorrow. Friday was spent adding running back stays to the rig for extra reinforcement. Also had to perfect the reefing lines. Thanks Mike and Brett! Al from Panavision came down and hung out with us to run the wires to the cameras throughout the boat. Greg Lawson hung back and video taped the whole scene with food lined up along the entire dock and Lisa organizing everything into food groups! He also did impromptu last day interviews which should be interesting as we are all way tired.
People ask me what is going on inside my head. I tell them I can't wait to get out to sea so I can relax! Of course there will be a lot of work still to do underway. Hopefully it will make my first leg go by quicker. At 4,500 miles and figuring 1,000 miles a week, I've got at least 4.5 weeks until I see the Marshall Islands in Micronesia. What will you all have done in 4.5 weeks? Think of me out there!
My mom will be posting my emails here on my blog while I am away. My shipboard email is very slow and not able to handle large quantities of mail so keep sending them to and I will get them via home. We will be expanding the web site in the next few weeks including making a way to sign up for feeds and updates, a whole page on Intrepid and her refit and equipment, my course and location and a new photo gallery with albums of photos taken so far. Come back soon!
Until tomorrow,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Last Things

Phew! Another long day with so much going on it is hard to relate it all to you!

Dad and I got to the boat early to prep it for display at the Marina del Rey Boat SHow where I am leaving from. There was a media preview time from 11-1 when the press could come down before the show starts to shoot 'B roll' (background shots) for their coverage of the show this weekend.
This weekend!! Haven't really had time to digest that with all the busyness.

Lots of interviewing and a last tweek of the rigging before heading out for an awesome sea trial. Wind was up and sun was out. Very nice. Oliver from UK Halsey Sails gave the sails his blessing and pulled up the spinnaker for a photo shoot.

Have been working with the electronics and software and getting to know their settings. Also stowing what seemed like a few things at home but now looks kind of ridiculous in my little home. Even the pots and pans have to be small.

We were given a booth at the Boat Show even though my mom tried to give it back! Come and check us out. Artist and friend Tim Hill designed a few T shirts that will be available at the show.

Mike Smith has gone home. Don't know what we would have done without him!

Darrell and Peter are hanging tough, helping with all the many details left to be dealt with.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Home Stretch II

Busy days with Peter K., Darrell, Steffey, Mike Smith, JP, Dad and my 10 year old brother, Toby, all checking off their final lists of work. Actually, Toby discovered Need for Speed on the computer and keeps sneaking off to play!

The engine is in and has been checked off by Yanmar for the warranty inspection. Mike Smith has returned to complete the installation and coordination of all things electrical. Dad is dealing with all the loose ends and Toby is cleaning up after us again. Poor bugger!

Computers are installed and getting their software and driver updates via Mike. MarineNav has sponsored me with their Leviathan computer. It can provide incredible processing power and tons of hard drive storage space for navigation software, charts, music, and video. Plus it is compact and draws very little power. Installed at this point are: Clear Point Weather - weather forecasting softeware which will be received via Sat Phone, Maxsea navigation software, various nautical publications including - Flags of the World, Sailing Directions, Pilot Charts, and Bowditch (glad I don't have to pack that one!).
By the way, for all you kids out there, one of my favorite books as a kid was the story Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. It is the story of Nathaniel Bowditch who lived during the time of the American Revolution. He was from a big family that was so poor they were forced to sell him as an indentured servant (ie slave) at the age of 12 to a boat chandlery in town. It is the story of how he works all day and then studies at night. When he finishes his servanthood he goes to sea and discovers that the navigational equations being used are full of errors. While at sea he recalculates the information. He also invents new ways of doing celestial navigation and teaches it to the common sailors on board to keep them out of trouble. There is more to the story but you'll have to read it to find out!

We are right on schedule to move Intrepid to Burton Chace Park for the Marina del Rey Boat Show that begins Thursday the 12th and ends on Sunday the 15th. I will be taking off from there at about 1:00 on Saturday the 14th. Everyone from the Show has been great. I am really looking forward to hearing Mike Harker speak on Friday night. He just completed a year-long solo circumnavigation and will be speaking on his adventure. Good guy to know!

I see that the archives are working on the blog again and the RSS feed will be set up sometime tonight or tomorrow. It looks like I can post photos to the blog as well.

Additions to the web site are in process. There just isn't a lot of time these days for computer work. I'll try to write everyday this week if possible but for sure when I head out on Saturday.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Blog Repair?

Just a quick update today. Engine installation is going well. Hoping to fire her up today! I want to thank Boatswain's Locker for giving us a great deal on the engine and Duncan McIntosh the producer of the Marina del Rey Boat Show who has offered some support in this area also.

I have had many comments on how my blog is not working well. We are making a change to that today that should take care of the problems of seeing older posts and archives. Let me know what you find!

I'm busy with media today; interviewing with The Log Newspaper, CNN and later this afternoon with an Italian journalist who writes for several major mags over there.

You can see my interview with CNN Young People Who Rock here:

I have received some very cool equipment sponsorships that I would also like to mention:

Pure Fishing has set me up for round the world fishing! I will be commenting on these babies as I go! Thanks again Bob!

Adventure Medical Kits has sent over a medical kit for my ditch bag, the bag you grab if you have to ditch the boat for the life raft. They are also sending over a medical kit for land-based travel in my various ports of call.

Panavision is sending over 4 video cameras to be mounted in the boat. I will be meeting with a few of their technical guys to set them up strategically around the boat.

MarineNav has sponsored me with their Leviathan computer system. Still working through the set up and will comment more on its capabilities later.

OK - that it all for now. Sorry to be so short but I really have to run!


Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's a Yanmar!

In the end, we decided on the Yanmar 30HP engine. With the old engine removed and the area prepped, Dad, Tim, JP and Walter manouvered the beauty into her new home. There is a lot of work to position the engine just right. There is still some talk of sponsorship in this area.

The guys down at the boat have been working tirelessly on Intrepid.

My thanks go out to Darell (with the electrical), JP ( with the engine), Peter (spent half a day tweaking the auto helm yesterday) and has been on the boat for over a week now, Walter (with the engine and any and everything else), Rowanda (cleaning and detailing after all the guys) and David Benson. David has been with the project pretty much since the beginning, coming down several days a week and helping out with everything. Yesterday was David's last day as he is leaving for vacation tonight. Before he left he tied his lucky coin to one of the grab rails on the boat. Don't know how much good it will do but I appreciated the thought. All of us here at Intrepid will be missing him.

Today we're continuing the engine installation we have been working hard to get it all in and set up by the weekend. Mike Smith is coming in from North Carolina this morning. Mike wired most of my boat last time he came out. It will be good to have him here to fine tune things.

It exciting to be working with the Marina del Rey Boat Show. They have a lot of great ideas and it should be a cool place to depart from. The show takes place at Burton Chace Park beginning June 12th. I am scheduled to leave from there at around 1:00. More on this to follow.

Have been looking more closely at the weather. For my first leg at least, I'll be working with David Morris who is a professional meteorologist. He will be using, among his professional tools, the Clear Point Weather system that I will be using to help me learn to interpret the complexities of marine weather. I wonder if I can get school credit for this! As of yesterday, my course looks clear and we will strategize to get and keep me in the wind as quickly and consistantly as possible.

So much to talk about but I've got to get back to it here.Cheers,


Monday, June 2, 2008

Breathing Room

First off just wanted to clarify the situation with my engine. The engine has been a topic of debate since the beginning and was not a sudden problem. In the end, the kindly but unorganized mechanic who thought he had a box of spare parts - didn't.
I have been getting a few concerned people saying that if my boat wasn’t even seaworthy enough to get out of the harbor how am I going to make it around the world. I would have kept my old engine if I had had the spare parts. The new engine will be important in waters with coral reefs and narrow passages.
The extra time is good - gives us more breathing room to finish up some loose ends and sea trial the boat some more. My grandmother from England will be out for my depature. This is so cool because she is super supportive and a great person. My new departure date will coincide with the Marina del Rey Boat Show. Should be a good time on the 14th.
Last Sunday we took a day off the boat for the first time in about a month but still spent time studying charts and courses and answering about 200 emails and sponsorship stuff. Today we're trying to secure an engine and possibly sponsorship for it as the cost of a new engine is running the budget dry.

In my last update I forgot to mention the help of Darrell Steffey. He has been on board daily for the past few weeks and has been a core contributor to the cause here as well as inviting local political figures to come out and see me off. I think he even sent a letter to President Bush. I guess it doesn't hurt to think big! Pete from Lady K has also been down most days and been a great help.

Any way got to finish packing.