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,


Blogger Jenny Link said...

Just wanted to let you know you are in my prayers every day, and I think your mission is incredible.

June 25, 2008 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger andrew said...

Are you doing or plan to do any fishing?


June 25, 2008 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Peterkg1 said...

Wow Zac, every day more challenges! You have a busier day on the boat then most people in a days work. Can't wait to see if you find any evidence of all the plastic bags. That would be amazing. How much trash are you seeing out there on the open seas? Sorry to hear about your computer. How much of a problem will that pose? I hope you get the display working again. Do you have communication with these ships that are passing by you? Has anyone who might have heard your story contacted you? Or is it normal for them to see a sailboat that far out?

I hope today will be better for you than yesterday. I'l say another prayer for you right now
Take care Zac.

June 25, 2008 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger cruz antony said...

Ahoy Zac!
Hope you are doing fine mate. Hope your computer starts working again. just give us a detailed brief about the garbages in the ocean. Millions of people follow your passage. This might be an oppurtunity to enlighten them about a clean environment.
Warm Regards,

June 25, 2008 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger John Wareham said...

My son and I are following your journey. Mahlan is a 9 year old Scout. We are originally from north FL, now living (land-locked) in GA.
He is very interested in knot tying and all things sailing.
Thanks for the inspiration. Wishing you all the best. You are our fav bookmark!

John and Mahlan Wareham

June 26, 2008 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Phoebe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 26, 2008 at 12:14 AM  
Blogger Phoebe said...

Hey! oh man I learned all about the trash vortex in science class when I was in South America. We did a whole unit on trash. One day we couldn't throw anything away...well we had to collect it all and then make something out of it. I made an umbrella with some duct tape...duct tape always comes in handy! But it turned out pretty successful. Anyway they call this trash vortex an entity and like no one knows about is pretty crazy. That's awesome you are spreading the awareness because a lot of people read this blog! I can't believe you are sailing by it! I'd love to hear more if I can.

P.S. Where do you put your trash? I guess you don't have all that much since there's only one of you on the boat, but I'm sure you have some. Doesn't it get a little smelly?

June 26, 2008 at 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Ricardo said...

Zac, it seems you may not be getting adequate sleep with all the passing ships ringing the alarm. Hope your able to catch up!

June 26, 2008 at 12:31 AM  
Blogger Fulgum said...

Definitely an opportunity to learn much about human impact on our planet Earth. It's really hard to fathom that we have so polluted the oceans that there is a mass of water bound refuse larger than the continental U.S. This trip is an opportunity on my fronts.

Doing great Zac!



P.S. I'd love to hear more info on this mass if you have the time.

June 26, 2008 at 1:58 AM  
Blogger Alessandro said...

Great trip ZAC, I'm reading about your navigation every day from my office in Rome, Italy... And I can feel the wind trough my hair... wish you all the best.. Alex

June 26, 2008 at 2:41 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Almost 1000 miles already! There's a feat within itself.

And if you see the Garbage Patch, please do tell us a bit about the part you stumble upon. I've often wondered about it, the strange place that it is.

Safe journey,

June 26, 2008 at 4:29 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

I look forward to reading about your journey everyday. I love being on the ocean (we are power boaters though).
Will you be posting any pictures?
Hope you are getting some rest.

June 26, 2008 at 5:18 AM  
Blogger Causeway Voices said...

Hi Zac,
I am so proud of you and what you are doing. I have your entire course plotted on Google Earth and update your location daily. Thank you for letting me see your journey through your eyes. For someone that is so young you indeed have the courage of the ancient sailors that came before you. I want you to know you are not alone because we all are in the boat with you in spirit. Again Zac thank you for allowing me to take this incredible journey through your eyes.

June 26, 2008 at 5:40 AM  
Anonymous DZ said...

Will you be able to upload any pics or vids while on the open water or will you have to wait for dry land? I think we all would like a little look at that great big mass of blue.
God Bless

June 26, 2008 at 6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear you don't know how to use the Sextant. I don't either, but I'm not in the ocean desert. Electronics fail, and even with backup units, the sextant would be your ultimate plan "B." Anyway, keep up the good work on your blog. All of us "wannabe" ocean sailors need your tips. The best ones are the ones that seem so insignificant that you don't even think about them. Regards, C-18 .

June 26, 2008 at 7:35 AM  
Anonymous DZ said...

They say "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

I think everyone following your journey finds hope in our future generation through you, Zac.
You are inspiring many that are following your story to do things they might not have been compelled to do before learning about you.

I would be interested to know who else Zac has motivated to get out and do SOMETHING???

June 26, 2008 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Peterkg1 said...

Hey Zac, me again. I was entering your last position in Google Earth, and it looks like each day you have traveled about the same distance. Does that kind of give you an idea that, that is how far your boat will travel every day of your trip? Or will at some time you could for instance double the distance, depending on the wind? When you plotted your course, did it give you for instance a date in the future you will return to MDR?

Also, speaking of trash, do you stow yours for when you reach land? How do you take care of other hygiene things like, relieving yourself? Do you have a head on the boat, or do it over the side into the water? How about a shower, shave? If you want, can you jump into the ocean to cool off? How hot is it out there?

I know, too many questions. I'm sure over time we will learn some of these things reading your blog.

Take care today Zac!

June 26, 2008 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger Foto said...

Good luck Zac! Following your great journey from here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

June 26, 2008 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Desertmom05 said...

Hi Zac,

Just have a few questions....
Do you have a camera out there to take pictures with. It would be nice to see pictures of where you are and the sunsets that you encounter.
The other question is, If a ship is 20 miles away on collision course about how long does it take to reach you?
I am a stay at home mom to 2 girls under 3 and I enjoy reading your blog as part of my morning routine.


June 26, 2008 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Zac, what an awesome dream! I have told your story on my blog and lets hope that i can reach a few more that will send in questions .. i have enjoyed reading of your journey so far!

June 26, 2008 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger travelnhsr said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 26, 2008 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger travelnhsr said...

Hey Zac,

Back in the 80's I followed Tania Aebi's solo, as an armchair traveler:

In May 1985, when Tania Aebi was 18, she cast off from lower Manhattan, alone, on her 26-foot sloop, Varuna. For the next two and a half years, with only a cat for company, she sailed 27,000 miles around the world, returning to New York the youngest woman to ever circumnavigate the world solo...

Believe it or not, she's at it again wth her boys: fellow traveling homeschooler tales

Anyway, been following your travels too!

Good Luck and hang in there!

The Travelin' Homeschooler
Bright Kids at Home

June 26, 2008 at 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Jerry Nash said...

The questions are coming fast and furious, and I think you will have little chance to get to them all, so I thought I would put out a couple links that could help answer some questions on pollution on the high seas and what can be tossed in the water. The 3-12-25 mile rule that the US Coast Guard enforces covers millions of square miles including inland waters (Great Lakes, rivers, etc...), but you are out in international waters now.
Anyone wanting to see what is legal to throw over the side can look it up on the following links:

International law still allows certain types of garbage to be discarded into the open sea, but many vessels have gone to burning their garbage in cans suspended over the rail. As science has and is continuing to document ill effects of open sea dumping, governments will have to tighten the screws on this type of practice.

On the other hand, I have a freind who years ago was ship wrecked, and found himself on a rocky shore with ice and snow. Fearing becoming frozen to death, he crawled around in the dark and found a plastic soap bottle, which he was able to make a fire with. He contributes the plastic bottle on the beach as saving his life. I do not see this as justification for throwing plastic into the ocean, but I was making the point that some perceptions need to change due to personal experiences.

Thanks Zak, for sharing your trip with us,


June 26, 2008 at 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Jerry Nash said...

A couple of errors on the links. Here are the corrected ones:

June 26, 2008 at 11:48 AM  
Anonymous The England Family said...

Congratulations on nearing the 1000mile mark! We continue to check your blog and location daily. Continue to stay strong through the challenges of the trip. We will continue to pray for safe travels.

The England Family
Brownstown, IN

June 26, 2008 at 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Rich B said...

Those of you asking about the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" can look here

June 26, 2008 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Zac! Tell me, do you wear your fancy-pants life jacket all the time? As a mother of 16-18-20-year olds, I'd like to say, "WEAR IT ALL THE TIME!!!" Best wishes! Watching your progress daily!

June 26, 2008 at 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart beats a little faster as I read your blog. As a mother of 4 I of course think of the usual things a mother thinks he wearing a life jacket? Is he watching his step? Is he eating right? When you mention things flapping and rope-tightening it is harrowing, but what stories you will tell! Your kids will think you're superman, their hero. You gotta make the good stories so your kids can tell your grandkids when you're old. They'll be amazed at what that weathered old man accomplished.

I heard about you on the news (I live in Lake Balboa and work in Thousand Oaks) then looked up your blog before you set sail. Later I read in the paper that you were delayed and then finally that it all came together. Here's another blog you might find interesting when you are web-surfing about an adventure of a different nature It is a blog by a woman who lives in Wyoming and adopted an orphaned coyote pup. Prior to landing in Wyoming she crossed the U.S. on a Vespa and has a blog about that as well: Enjoy!

June 26, 2008 at 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you pass through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, would you mind posting some pictures? I am doing research for a project and I would love to see it!

June 26, 2008 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger kgriffall said...

Great Job Zac, I was down in LA last week for work and read about you in the LA Times and immediately thought of Robin Graham. Funny you should mention his book and voyage and it made me want to sail around the world too but I just never got it together. You are doing it! Congratulations, and I'm sure you will make it. I went to Kings Point (US Merchant Marine Academy) and have sailed on big boats and small and have a lot of respect for sailing the Pacific on a very small boat!! Question: are you using an active radar reflector? - I don't think most people know how scary a crossing of several miles is for a small boat sailor much less the one you described in your earlier blog. That was too close for comfort and a small boat is very hard to see! As you might guess I am a bit older (graduated from High School when Robin sailed the world :) and learned celestial navigation. It is fine but GPS is much better!! Love it and don't worry about the sextant, it looks great but isn't much use with out all the other tools. Have a great time and glad we can watch your progress. Modern technology is great! - but what you are doing is still man against nature and an amazing adventure. Hang in there and I'll keep up with you.
Salt Lake City, UT

June 26, 2008 at 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anonymous here,;^}
With the wind so far aft are you able to sail wing on wing with your pole yet? Might make for an easier drive with your vane as well.

It's a huge lerning curve, this monster "shakedown" first voyage to the Marshalls. You'll learn more about your I-36's particulars each day-

I'm also sure your learning curve is straight up!!

Jeffry Matzdorff~

June 26, 2008 at 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac -

Wow 1,000 miles a couple of hot meals and a computer that is down. What else is new in your world?
Thank you for your blog especially where you tell us what something is like Genoe (big sail in front). It helps those land locked who don't know what you might be talking about. Thank you teacher.
Two questions that you have been asked before, how do you fish out there? Can you tell us more about the plastic bags? Thanks,


June 26, 2008 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger santac said...

Hey Zac,

It's great to see that your voyage has logged nearly 1000 miles already. Are you able to take and post pictures? Everyone is talking about that trash vortex and pics of it as you float by would be incredible.


Chris SM

June 26, 2008 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger dallen57 said...

Hey Zac, Sounds like things are going pretty good for you. Been checking in every day and enjoying your journey. I tell you I learn something everyday from you. I never heard of the garbage patch. I am reading about it now. Keep up the great work and I am praying for you every night. Stay safe! Are you eating?

June 26, 2008 at 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Molly and Maddy said...

Hey Zac,

I think that your journey is so cool, and it sounds like so much fun! Sorry about the problems you've been encountering... sounds bad. My sister wants to know if you've seen any sharks out there and how you get food (fishing, or food already on the boat).

In case your lonely I have a joke... (It's kind of cheesy but maybe it'll make you feel unlonified...

What was the pirate movie rated?

ARRRRRGH haha, you can tell all the pirates you meet that joke!

Can't wait to hear more about your trip!!!

-Maddy and Molly

June 26, 2008 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Big_Frank said...

Hey Zac

Make sure you are getting plenty to drink; food will make you cranky … dehydration will make you crazy.

Couple of questions – can you tell us how / why you chose the ports of call? I hear there are rules associated with single-handed circumnavigation – can you explain?

Don’t give up on the sextant – you have an outstanding opportunity to learn – don’t miss the chance you’ll regret it …

Keep the faith

June 26, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Anonymous dawson said...

Your a beast

June 26, 2008 at 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog and am impressed with your goals and sense of adventure. I hope when you reach land next you find an old sea salt who will teach you to how to use and care for a sextant. It is concerning that you are out there alone without the working basics of celestial navigation. Modern instruments are great but classical navigation is an important fall back. All the best on your journey. I look forward to following your progress.

June 27, 2008 at 12:58 PM  

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