Thursday, October 30, 2008

Update from Mom

Latest Position: 10/31/08 0305Z 17 02.338S 78 26.366E

From Mom:
Zac was cruising along this evening/his morning with a good 20 knots on the aft port quarter. This is the optimum angle for Intrepid sailing under Genoa alone. A few people have asked if he is using the mainsail with the repaired boom. He has used it but will only do so if he needs to to minimize risk of any further breakage. At this point, he does not need it.
He had had a terrible headache all day yesterday and so there is no blog from Zac today though he is feeling better. He did finally go up on deck to scrape drying, smelling fish off as the fish apparently landed on the high/dry side of the boat and have not washed off too well. He has some exciting plans for this afternoon which we will tell you about tomorrow. Yes, Rory, Zac received your t-shirt. He almost left it at Home Island as the postmaster brought it home with him so Zac could pick it up. Zac was picking up his boom from Parson and ended up leaving the shirt at Parson's house. He did go back the next day to retrieve it. This has probably been one of his favorite presents as there were no laundry facilities in Cocos Keeling and his clothes are getting smelly - even by his standards! Did you receive something from Zac?
He also opened his letters and gifts in Darwin. Being the rather unorganized chap that he is, many of them got wet en route to Cocos Keeling. He loves getting your letters and cards and has taken to buying postcards in port to fill out on his passages as responses to some of you all.
As far as Zac's holiday plans, he will most likely be sailing to Durban on his birthday, November 29th. He will have birthday presents to open including a microwave cake complete with candles. Thanksgiving is a few days after his birthday so we'll have to get him some turkey somehow in Mauritius. We have been planning and scheming about Christmas. He should be in Cape Town by then and in a position to relax more. At some point the whole family would like to go out to visit him but half way around the world with 6 kids may be a bit much - in more ways than one!
We had quite a few good questions asked on Sunday night when we had Zac on the phone. I think it might be fun as he is in the middle of the Indian Ocean to fire some more questions at him to answer here on the blog. In case you didn't realize it, you can read and leave comments at the end of each blog posting.
We are busy here preparing Laurence to go out to Mauritius via England where he will visit his mother and deliver our Christmas presents a bit early. Then on to Dubai and Mauritius where he will be bringing Zac birthday and Christmas presents and a list of things like chart protectors, french language tapes, a Pelican case for his ipod, more pens and paper, a spare bilge pump and a sea anchor. I am filling a small box for his halfway points. This is when the candy is gone the books are read and the DVDs watched. We tried this on his last leg to Cocos Keeling and he really enjoyed it.
Hoping this finds you all well.
PS If any of you have any knowledge of shipping a 13', 45 pound boom halfway around the world, let us know at

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sleep, Squalls and Storms

Latest Position: 10/30/08 0255Z 16 32.397S 80 57.703E

Last night the wind shifted around to be directly behind me. The swells are still confused making it hard for Intrepid to stay on track downwind especially in confused seas. This meant another rough night of sleep. I had a few squalls again which means keeping watch until they pass to see if I would need to reef down or not. It is really hard to wake up and reef quickly because your arms are still asleep and your fingers don't want to do what you tell them to do. I had one squall that hit pretty hard taking the wind from around 15 knots to 25 knots instantly. It also brought tons of rain that came down so hard it actually hurt.
My mom was asking me about my thoughts as I pass so slowly through the Indian Ocean day after day. I think that rather than thinking about one day at a time, it is better to think about the goal of getting into port and fixing the boat, doing laundry and oh yeah, having some fun!
At this pace, I should be arriving in Mauritius around November 8-10. I am scheduled to take one week there before timing my departure for Durban, South Africa. When I watch the weather forecasts on Clearpoint Weather I can see the storms passing through that area every 3 days or so. Amazing!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cocos Log Part III

Latest Position: 10/29/08 0346Z 15 48.636S 83 09.646E

So I'll pick up where I left off in Cocos...the next morning I took half of the boom into Parson the carpenter. It was quite a ride to bring it in with the 20 knots on the nose and the 6 foot peice of aluminum bouncing around in the dinghy. Parson thought he could fit the boom with some wood in a day or two. We had the word from David Morris to fix it if it took less than 48 hours so it seemed like a go. When I got back to the boat, Jed and I went over to Direction Island and found our way to the end of the island and climbed up the ladder on the side of this huge nav light marking the end of the island. It was 30' from the ground and from the top I got a pretty good view of the island. Then we went back over to the bay to this little floating pontoon and busted out some back flips for about an hour. We swam back to my boat and chilled for awhile then we went back to the beach and continued exploring the island for awhile. After circumnavigating the island on foot we went back to Ingrid for dinner. It was great to spend time with someone my age and to be on land and so free.

Last night I had a couple of squalls going into the night. Around 2 am the wind shifted about 30 degrees so I had to tack until it shifted around a few hours later. All told I had 3 sets of squalls so there wasn't much sleep to be had. The swells are still bad and it is raining. I was pretty tired this morning from lack of sleep. It is good to be making progress and it is good to be talking with everyone back home about plans for the future.



Monday, October 27, 2008

Another day in the life of a solo circumnavigator...

Latest Position: 10/28/08 0445Z 15 20.612S 85 24.720E

I'm still rocking and rolling out here in some pretty confused seas. (Swells coming from different directions) Intrepid doesn't know what is going to hit her next. Sometimes two big swells will slam together from opposite directions right by the boat make a huge pointed swell. Not very comfortable out here so I'm just giving an update on today and will say more about Cocos Keeling and other things another day.
Last night I had between 20-25 knots and was making an average of 6.5 knots. About midinght there was a ship about 4 miles off that I sat and watched for awhile. I woke up about 5 am to a series of small squalls. The wind died down to 12-18 knots though the weather called for higher winds. Maybe the squalls are stealing the wind. This morning I woke to find about 200 flying fish on my deck. There must have been a whole school of them that flew on board at once. Hopefully they will get washed off during the day. I don't like going on deck too much with this motion but I don't want to have to pick them off after they've dried on there either!
I am rationing my matches from now until Mauritius. My stove lighters have all died and now my matches are damp. I have 32 matches left but they don't always light.
Its hard to do much on days like today but I'll hopefully get to my list of chores some.
Thanks for coming out to LA yesterday. Glad you all had a good time.

Link to Karyn Newbill's photos from the fund raiser:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Indian Ocean & LA Gathering Update

Latest Position: 10/27/08 0526Z 14 54.775S 87 43.639E

We spoke with Zac this morning and he was cruising along at 6-7 knots in 20-25 knots of wind. Everything was shifting more aft (behind him) and his ride was becoming much more comfortable. Tonight, the swell is more sloppy and he is holding on for a wild ride!

The LA Gathering was a huge success made possible especially by Bill Mann, Marilyn Simcox, and Darrell Steffey who did most of the facility arrangements, reservations, PR and silent auction management. Then there was Lisa Gizara who hussled to get the final layout for the 2009 Calendar ready as well as designing and printing posters for the event. Greg Lawson was our MC and technical guy along with his fabulous assistants Matthew and Cade Lawson. :)
Michael and Sharon Broggie from our own Westlake Yacht Club came out to lend the use of their equipment and spent hours helping processing auction payments. The Mattesons managed the boom signing. Thanks to all of the silent auction donors. What a great display! There were many volunteers from the Zac Pac who manned booths and answered questions, printed forms, etc. etc. A big thank you to my mom for sponsoring all of the food for the evening. Thank you to my kids for being patient and especially for Abby for taking baby Ben for many walks on the beach and finally rocking him to sleep about 8:30 so I could eat dinner!
Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make this evening a huge success.
It was great to put faces on many of the names from the blog. There were many words of encouragement spoken, lots of eating, laughing and inspirational talk.
We ate, mingled, watched some cool video of Zac at sea, talked to Zac and asked him loads of questions. If you have photos of the evening that you would like me to post here on the blog, email them to and I will post them over the next few days.

No blog from Zac today. He has had a busy morning and has not had time to type but will get one out soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cocos Log Part II

Latest Position: 10/26/08 0200Z 14 03.481S 90 32.807E

Day 3 at Cocos:

The next morning 2 new boats pulled in and I went to Home Island to find a bank so I would have some cash to pay the carpenter. Then I caught the ferry to West Island again, got some more provisions and used the Internet cafe. I caught the 2:30 bus back to the ferry which was the bus that all the school kids take. I managed to wedge myself and my big box of food in somehow. All the kids on the bus were wearing traditional Muslim clothing so I felt a little out of place in that bus. But I am 10,000 miles from home so I guess that is normal. By the time I got back to Intrepid it was already early afternoon so I started finishing up the cleanup from my days at sea; washing all the salt off the windows and coiling up all of the lines. Jed and Sean from one of the new boats (Ingrid) came by and asked if I wanted to go snorkeling with them. I grabbed my snorkel, mask and flippers and hopped in their dinghy. We anchored the dinghy at the edge of a reef and jumped in. We swam all around the reef but there weren't many fish just tons of sea slugs and a few reef sharks none of which were over 6 feet. After we were done snorkeling in the 80 degree water we headed over to Prison Island which is a small, sandy island with a few palm trees about 1/2 mile from Direction Island (the yacht anchorage). Jed and I headed out to explore the island. It took us all of 10 minutes to explore the whole island. Then it was back in the water. Interesting things happen when you swim in such warm water. You don't get tired as fast and I could hold my breath for a good 30 seconds longer that normal. After Prison Island we went to Direction Island where our boats were anchored. Jed and I set off on some trail into the middle of the jungle-like island. After walking through trails that were more like tunnels for half and hour we came out on the other side of the island. This is the side of the island that gets battered by the trade winds. There were literally 100s and 1000s of flip flops washed up on the beach. These had been swept from all over the world. After we walked the beach for awhile unsuccessfully trying to find a matching pair we headed off down some trail hoping it would take us back to the beach we came in on. It took us awhile to make our way back through the maze of trails. We finally made it back to the beach just on dark. Sean and the dinghy were back at Ingrid so we swam most of the way back. Jed's dad Richard came and picked up us and informed us that sharks eat in the evening. Richard invited me back over to Ingrid for dinner. They had caught a Wahoo a couple of days ago and Sean, who used to be chef, had just made dinner. After dinner we sat in the cockpit and watched the sharks swimming around the boat and enjoyed our piece of paradise.

End of Cocos Log Part II

Right now I am sailing between 6-7 knots with 20 knots of wind off my aft port quarter and with an 8-10 foot swell on the beam. The forecast shows that the swell should be shifting around to my aft quarter in a couple of days. Not much going on out here but I'm making good progress towards Mauritius. I will be talking to you all at the LA Gathering tomorrow afternoon which is early morning for me. Hopefully, I won't over sleep and miss Dad's call!



If you are still interested in attending the LA Gathering there is still space. You can sign up in the morning on line or just come over to the restaurant around 3:00pm.

LA Gathering/Fundraiser
A celebration presentation of Zac's trip and a fund raiser for his adventures will be held on Sunday Oct. 26 from 3 to 6 pm at The Organic Panificio Waterfront Restaurant located at 4211 Admiralty Way (at the corner of Palawan Way) in Marina del Rey.
Laurence & Marianne Sunderland, Zac's parents, will provide an update on his trip, including never before seen footage of his adventures at sea and a computer video presentation of his planned route.
A question and answer session and a silent auction of donated products/services will follow. The highlight of the evening will be an attempt to contact Zac directly at sea via a satellite phone connection for an additional on the spot update.
Light appetizers will be served and a "cash bar" will be available. As space is limited, reservations are required.
Cost for the event is $20 pre-paid, $27 at the door and $10 for children 12 and under.
To pre-pay reservations go to Zac's website at, click on "Store" and follow the prompts.
For additional reservations, information or other payment methods: e-mail Marilyn at or phone (818) 703-1154.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cocos Log - Zac

Latest Position: 10/25/08 0555Z 13 24.912 S 92 32.561E

Cocos Log - Part I
I approached the entrance to Cocos around 10am. As I turned into the bay I had a 12' swell on the beam which made it a real event getting the anchor out. I managed to sail into the entrance but once I was in, the wind shifted around to the nose. I started up the engine which I had spent most of the previous day working on and motored into the bay. It was pretty hard even with the motor battling the 4 knot current that was pulling towards a big reef. Once I got out of the main path of the current I was able to follow the nav markers to the anchorage at Direction Island. I dropped anchor in 17 feet of water. I put up the quarantine flag and waited for customs. They came by and I got cleared in with no problems.
The people on the boat next to me lent me some 2 stroke engine oil that I had forgotten to get in Darwin for my outboard motor. I got the dinghy all set up and I finished taking the lines off of the broken boom. That evening I had dinner over at the the Swiss cruisers boat (forgot their name). It was great to have a home cooked meal (cooked by someone else). The next morning I took my broken tiller arm over to Home Island in my dinghy. Home Island is about 1.5 miles south of Direction Island and is where most people who live at CK live. They are all traditional Muslims and wear the traditional Muslim clothing of head coverings and robes. Home Island is also where you can catch a ferry across the atoll to the main commercial area of CK at West Island. I hopped on the ferry over to West Island hoping to find a bank and a carpenter for the tiller arm. When I got there I found neither. I went to the store next to the bank which was closed and asked when it would be open. The guy said Wednesday which was a pain because it was only Thursday. I got some provisions and headed back to the boat. On the ferry ride back to Home Island I met a nurse who had just transferred to Home Island from Australia and said she would help me find a carpenter. When we got to Home Island she took me to the house of the local carpenter, Parson. He said that he could make me a new tiller and repair the old one and have them ready in a couple of days. When I got back to the anchorage the other 2 boats had left and Intrepid was all alone in the anchorage.
End of Cocos Log - Part I

Right now I am 300 miles from Cocos with 25 knots on the aft quarter and a 10 foot swell on the beam which is making it really hard to type. I've been getting slammed by squalls since I left and the swell on the beam makes the ride comparable to the inside of a washing machine. But anyway, just getting back into the groove of being at sea. I'll get the rest of the Cocos blog out tomorrow.



The owner of the private yacht "Odyssey", a 58ft Hatteras Tri-Deck Motor Yacht that is also a US Coast Guard Inspected Vessel, has kindly made this yacht available to any "Zac Supporters" who would like to go on a 1-hr harbor cruise after the event. There will be up to 3 cruises depending on demand, boarding at 6,7 & 8pm at the docks directly behind the restaurant and returning on the following hour. The vessel will be operated by a Licensed USCG Captain and Certified Crew. Donations: $15 for Adults, $10 for Children & Teenagers 18 and under. Tickets will be available at the door.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

News from the Sea

Latest Position: 10/24/08 0325Z 12 31.122S 95 10.387E

Just a note to let you all know that Zac is back at sea and doing well. He left Cocos Keeling yesterday afternoon. He has a steady 15 knots off the aft port quarter and is making good time (between 6-7 knots) under genoa alone. Tomorrow is his younger brother Toby's 11th birthday but since Zac has crossed the International Date Line it is already Toby's birthday on Intrepid. Once that was discovered, it was decided that the present Zac had bought in Darwin and shipped home (a new skateboard) could be opened tonight! It was great to hear the boys laughing and so happy.

Everybody has been missing Zac. I do believe he will be a very different person when he returns but we still have the same laughs and jokes and fun as always.

Zac needed a day to get back into the groove of being at sea 24 hours a day and will work on a blog of his own for tomorrow's post.

Until Then,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On to Mauritius

Good Evening All
We can all start breathing again. Zac picked up the half of his boom that Parson, the woodworker on Home Island, had faithfully fitted with a wooden beam. (forgive my terminology here). He brought it back to the boat and and after an hour of jumping up and down wiggling, twisting and whacking the thing has a proper makeshift boom. He fastened screws all along the break to secure everything.

He has spent the past few days picking up extra provisions, water, mail and fuel. He has been in touch with Customs and will wrap up the last few jobs and head out early in his afternoon. He has really enjoyed his stay at CK. With no family, photographers or media he was happy to just relax and enjoy his simple life there.

Laurence was a bit choked up as he reminded him of the potential weather on this leg and reminded him of all the precautions he should be taking. We told him we loved him and are so incredibly proud of him.

He is looking forward to hooking up with new found friends in Africa as soon as possible. He already has a warm welcome from the Point Yacht Club in Durban, SA. They apparently have an order of their world famous pie and chips waiting for him! They have offered to hold his mail there if you want to get a birthday card out to him by the end of November or early December when he arrives.

Zac Sunderland
c/o Point Yacht Club
PO Box 2224
South Africa 4000

We'll all be celebrating when he finally arrives in Durban safely out of the range of any Southern Indian Ocean cyclones.

Laurence will be ordering a new boom tomorrow with the measurements that Zac provided today and will send it out to Mauritius where there are many more boat-type facilities available. He is due to arrive in Mauritius around November 12th but we are hoping for a faster passage. He'd like to be in Africa and not at sea on his 17th birthday at the end of November!

Many thanks are due to everyone in CK, cruisers and locals alike, who helped Zac get around, offered showers, meals and friendship while he was there.

On to Mauritius!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Update - Cocos Keeling

A brief update tonight on the long-haired adventurer:

We spoke with Zac briefly this evening (his morning). He was in good spirits after having been exploring the various islands that are Cocos Keeling. You can Google Cocos Keeling Island and find decent maps but there was nothing decent that I could take and post here. He has hooked up with the crew from the boat Ingrid over the past few days. Their crew is Captain/Owner Richard, 15 year old son Jed, and crew member Sean. Richard, from Cape Town, South Africa, is finishing up a 9 year circumnavigation. They have spent the past few days taking care of business and then exploring the place. Yes, they did snorkel. Not too many fish but a lot of colorful coral. Zac says the water is incredibly warm and that the sand is so fine it is like baby powder.

He picked up his tillers yesterday. The woodworker has Zac's boom and will attempt to fit it with some wood by the end of today which would have Zac back at sea tomorrow. Everything on the Island(s) is closed on Sunday so he had a great day of rest. He was having fuel delivered to the boat today and then he was headed back to West Island to visit the grocery store, Internet cafe, post office (thanks for mentioning it Rory!) and then back to Home Island on the ferry to check on his boom.

He actually met up with photographer Karen Willshaw whose web address I posted yesterday and she gave him her book of photos! I had been tempted to buy it myself when checking out her site which is in case you missed it! Incredible stuff!

Thankfully, Zac managed to find some time for fun and still get his jobs done. He is rested and weel fed and raring to get out there and over to Africa where he should have more time to play and adventure that ever before on this trip.

We have had a great response to the LA Gathering coming up in a week. Thanks to all who are helping with the details of putting this together: Bill Mann, Marilyn Simcox, and Darrell Steffey. It promises to be a great evening.

LA Gathering/Fundraiser

A celebration presentation of Zac's trip and a fund raiser for his adventures will be held on Sunday Oct. 26 from 3 to 6 pm at The Organic Panificio Waterfront Restaurant located at 4211 Admiralty Way (at the corner of Palawan Way) in Marina del Rey. Laurence & Marianne Sunderland, Zac's parents, will provide an update on his trip, including never before seen footage of his adventures at sea and a computer video presentation of his planned route. A question and answer session and a silent auction of donated products/services will follow. The highlight of the evening will be an attempt to contact Zac directly at sea via a satellite phone connection for an additional on the spot update. Light appetizers will be served and a "cash bar" will be available. As space is limited, reservations are required. Cost for the event is $20 pre-paid, $27 at the door and $10 for children 12 and under.

To pre-pay reservations go to Zac's website at, click on "Store" and follow the prompts.

For additional reservations, information or other payment methods: e-mail Marilyn at or phone (818) 703-1154.

Become another proud member of the "Zac Pac". Hope to see you there.

Please RSVP by 10/23.

Anyone wishing to donate an item, product or service for the silent auction, please contact Bill Mann by e-mail at or by phone at (323) 205-0417.

For those Zac supporters who are unable to attend this event due to prior commitments or geographical location and who would still like to support Zac in his adventure, you may do so by making a pre-paid reservation and inserting in the comments section, along with your name: "teenager donation". We will then see that a teen from one of the local youth groups gets the ticket to attend the event in your place, along with your name as the benefactor.

Thank you for your continued support, it is much appreciated.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Repairs in Paradise

Hello All,
Laurence and I enjoyed the warm hospitality of the Westlake Yacht Club tonight. We stopped by to drop off a poster for the LA Gathering on October 26th and were quickly sat down to a beautiful dinner! We spoke briefly and had a lot of laughs which were much needed.
In case you still haven't heard about the gathering, here is the info. Please seriously consider coming. Bill Mann is running what is turning out to be a splendid silent auction. There will be a lot of food and fun for sure!

LA Gathering/Fund raiser
A celebration presentation of Zac's trip and a fund raiser for his adventures will be held on Sunday Oct. 26 from 3 to 6 pm at The Organic Panificio Restaurant located at 4211 Admiralty Way (at the corner of Palawan Way) in Marina del Rey. Laurence & Marianne Sunderland, Zac's parents, will provide an update on his trip, including never before seen footage of his adventures at sea and a computer video presentation of his planned route. A question and answer session and a silent auction of donated products/services will follow. The highlight of the evening will be an attempt to contact Zac directly at sea via a satellite phone connection for an additional on the spot update. Light appetizers will be served and a "cash bar" will be available.

As space is limited, reservations are required. Cost for the event is $20 pre-paid, $27 at the door and $10 for children 12 and under. To pre-pay reservations go to Zac's website at, click on "Store" and follow the prompts. For additional reservations, information or other payment methods: e-mail Marilyn at or phone (818) 703-1154. Become another proud member of the "Zac Pac". Hope to see you there. Please RSVP by 10/23.

Anyone wishing to donate an item, product or service for the silent auction, please contact Bill Mann by e-mail at or by phone at (323) 205-0417.

For those Zac supporters who are unable to attend this event due to prior commitments or geographical location and who would still like to support Zac in his adventure, you may do so by making a pre-paid reservation and inserting in the comments section, along with your name: "teenager donation". We will then see that a teenager from one of the local youth groups gets the ticket to attend the event in your place, along with your name as the benefactor. Thank you for your continued support, it is much appreciated.

As for Zac in Paradise...
He has definitely hit the ground running. There has been a steady trickle of boats arriving at Cocos Keeling. They are all on the fast track to head down to Mauritius and beyond as quickly as possible to avoid any early storm activity. Zac has figured out the ferry system that takes people around the 3 islands in the atoll and has hooked up with the right people. He will have to blog about all of the amazing connections he has made. He was introduced to the woodworker from Home Island 2 days ago. Zac marveled at the man's shop where he was building beautiful wooden sailing boats all with hand tools. He was happy to repair Zac's tiller and fashion a new one out of a nice chunk of teak he had in his shop. Thank you to whoever it was that suggested the Home Island woodworkers!
Thank you for all of your emails of concern and advice regarding the repair of Zac's boom. His mission today was to haul the 5 foot piece of broken boom around with all of Laurence's ideas for possible makeshift fixes in mind and attempt a timely repair. The issue of repairing the boom is being weighed against the cost of delaying his departure into the already brewing Indian Ocean this close to cyclone season. He does not have the option of waiting for a new boom nor of waiting 2 weeks while a repair is made. With the well established weather patterns and expert meteorologist David Morris watching for danger from the satellite imaging, he should be able to be routed safely across.
On a positive note, Zac has been eating lots. He finds the canned food in CK to be a bit odd with mostly canned mac and cheese and canned beans for sale. He'd better do some fishing on this next leg! Meanwhile, he is filling up on fresh food which is fabulous. He hooked up with the local missionary doctor on Home Island, who had heard of him, and was given a once over and a shower. He weighed in at having lost just about 10 pounds. Probably mostly muscle as he had been working out pretty consistently with Laurence before he left last June. He did attempt to swim, the water is beautiful, but noticed a few sharks swimming by and changed his plans. Not sure where people dive there but none of the cruisers at Direction Island were swimming after that! Most of the cruisers/boaters who are there right now are part of a round the world rally and are at the tail end and passing through fairly quickly. We are speaking only once a day now because of the time difference. Hopefully, he will get his blog out soon because our sat phone connection has not been very good (in fact, neither has my cell phone?) and I miss a lot of what he says.
Thanks for listening. Zac should be back in a day or two!
PS: Here is a link to a wonderful photographer from Cocos Keeling. Her shots are absolutely breathtaking!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Welcome to Paradise

Zac will attempt to type up a blog tonight (it is still his late morning) but I will update you all as to what the plan is. Zac was immediately greeted by the other cruising boats at Cocos Keeling - 3 in all. They shared stories and fed Zac a homecooked dinner of meat and salad that he said was wonderful. They are all heading to Mauritius next and have set up a radio schedule for the journey. After weighing the pros and cons, it was decided to have Zac stow the boom (a weld would not be strong enough) and sail downwind to Mauritius under genoa alone. Zac proved this to be successful as he sailed the last 30 miles to CK under genoa alone with very little decrease in speed. Many thanks to Rob Jordan and Dave Hickson for their knowledgable advice.
When we spoke with Zac this morning he was planning on heading out to Home Island about 1.5 miles away from the anchorage at Direction Island to seek out the woodworkers to see about having 2 new tillers made. He will also be able to buy some food there for his next leg to Mauritius. He sounded really good and was inspired by the other cruisers to be about his business and join them on the passage to Mauritius and his halfway mark!!

The following link is the most amaizng article on the history of Cocos Keeling Island:

We are still planning on having a gathering which is now a fundraiser in the Los Angeles area. The following is an update about that evening and how to get involved:

Join us for a presentation of Zac's trip and a fund raiser for his adventures.
When: Sunday Oct. 26 from 3 to 6 pm
Where: The Organic Panificio Waterfront Restaurant
4211 Admiralty Way (at the corner of Palawan Way)
Marina del Rey
What: Laurence & Marianne Sunderland, Zac's parents, will provide an update on
his trip, including never seen video of his adventures at sea.

A question and answer session and a silent auction of donated products/services will
follow. The highlight of the evening will be an attempt to contact Zac directly at sea via a
satellite phone connection for an additional on the spot update. Light hors
d'oeuvres/appetizers will be served and a "cash bar" will be available.

RSVP: Cost for the event is $20 pre-paid, $27 at the door and $10 for children 12 and under. To
pre-pay reservations go to Zac's website at Click on the 'Store'
logo and follow the prompts. For additional reservations, information or other payment
methods: email Marilyn at or phone 818.703.1154
Please RSVP by October 20th

Anyone wishing to donate an item, product or service for the silent auction, please contact Bill Mann by email at or by phone at 323.205.0417.

Finally, the new posters are for sale in Zac's Store. Our fabulous Jasmine from Qbaroo did the lay out and design, photo from Mr. Pat Reynolds and inspired and funded by an active Zac Packer who wishes to remain anonymous. We will have some of the posters at the LA Gathering if anyone is interested. Check it out!
Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Limping to Cocos Keeling

Good evening all!

It has been a wild couple of days here. Zac has been busily preparing for his arrival in Cocos Keeling. Sunday afternoon he had a long list of chores that he was hoping to handle including cleaning up and organizing, sorting out his anchor and chain, gathering his paperwork, entering his waypoints into the spare GPS etc. Sunday night at about midnight Intrepid came off of a wave and Zac awoke to a loud cracking sound. He ran up to see what the noise could have been and found his tiller cracked in two. The boat headed up into the wind and rode the swells while he tried to figure out how on earth to repair the thing in the dark and, did I mention that it was raining?
After a few hours of trying different fixes, he found that screwing four hose clamps around the tiller would hold it pretty well. He was able to strap it back into the Tiller Pilot and get back under way. We spoke several times during the day. He was checking off his list and was going to have another look at the engine before having a nap last we spoke.
This morning I got a call from Zac early. I thought that maybe he was excited about his arrival at Cocos Keeling and couldn't sleep. He had been sleeping when he was awakened by a loud crashing sound and the boat slamming around. He ran up to see what was going on and saw that the tiller had come off of the Tiller Pilot causing an accidental jibe. This is when the direction of the boat is changed so that the wind switches to the other side of the boat. This can be a violent motion and causes the boom to crash to the other side of the boat. I'm not clear why Zac didn't have his preventer hooked up but I suppose he didn't feel he was in any danger of jibing under his current pointof sail. I cannot imagine what he thought as he looked and saw that his boom had completely broken in two! The boom is the metal bar that extends from the mast to hold down the bottom part of the sail. He wasn't in that much wind at the time (about 15 knots). He figures that the boom was weak because of age and an accumulation of wear and tear from heavy use.
He was still moving along at about 6 knots with the mainsail sagging. He managed to pull everything in and secure the boom and at last conversation was moving along at between 5-6 knots under genoa alone. He had made contact with Cocos Keeling Customs who were alerted to his condition and would be on standby if he needed any help. The plan at this point is for him to sail into the bay and drop the anchor as soon as he is in the lee of Direction Island. Hopefully the tides, currents and wind will be in his favor and he will have no problems. It is a risky move due to the reefs on either side of the channel.
He is still in excellent spirits considering everything and hopeful of finding a welder on the island. Of all the stops that Laurence has gone to meet Zac, this one would have been the most needed but he did not plan to go out having been to Darwin so recently. In fact, no one is going out due to the expense!

Perhaps the mysterious Indonesian fishing boat was successful in tossing their evil spirits onto Intrepid. But we don't fear because He who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world!
I expect a call from Zac sometime tonight to let us know how his arrival went. I will post again if it isn't too late.

On my knees,
Mom Sunderland

PS At 10:45 this evening Zac called to say that his motor miraculously started (and I do mean miraculously!) and he motored all the way to the anchorage! He is sitting in paradise as I type!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wind, Engines and Questions

The wind and seas have been intense and consistant over the past 24 hours. The wind is at about 25 knots and the seas at about 10 feet now. I still have this annoying cross-swell that slaps Intrepid off of her course every now and then. I had to adjust my radar because the swells are getting so big they set off the radar alarm from time to time.

I have been getting some good feedback on anchoring under sail in Cocos Keeling. Thanks to Billabong Blog and Rob Jordan and the other commenters who have ideas for me. My filters are clean so it has to be something with the lines or the fuel pick up again. I'm hoping to be able to rig something so that I at least have time to set the anchor properly. I'll have to get to the yard in Mauritius and have them cut a whole in the tanks so we can see what is going on in there.

Mom sent over a bunch of questions from Bill and Linda in Camarillo. Here they are:

What has been your favorite and least favorite part of your journey?

My favorite part of the journey this far has been my stop in Majuro. The locals are friendly and the lifestyle is layed back. I had a great rest and food at the Robert Reimers Hotel. It was the last part of my easy Pacific crossing - easy compared to what came next anyway!

My least favorite part of the trip so far was my stay in Papua New Guinea. Even though I had some great people there assisting me, I felt stuck there because of my engine problems and the limited parts and service available there. Every extra day I spent there was a day I could not spend exploring Australia.

What has been your biggest fear?

My biggest fear so far has been the fear of falling asleep and not waking up for an alarm. Second biggest fear was navigatin alone through reefs.

What have you learned about yourself that was a surprise?

I was pretty to realize that I am OK being alone for long periods of time. Although after about 2 weeks I start to get pretty bored and restless.

What do you wish you would have done before you left home that you didn't get to do?

Change out my fuel tanks!!

What do you miss most that you thought you wouldn't miss?

I am really missing football. Football is your whole lofe during the season. I have really missed it out here.

What are you surprised that you can live without?

I am really surprised at how I have adjusted to eating so little.



Saturday, October 11, 2008

More Wind!

OK so I am fully in the trades now. I have been making great time day and night. I have had a consistant 20-25 knots all day. There is an annoying swell that is hitting me on the port aft quarter and knocking me off course continually. I have altered course as much as possible but it hasn't helped much. I am reading through a book called Singelhanded Sailing by Richard Henderson. I have been reading up on how to anchor without an engine because all of a sudden I my engine is stalling out on me again. I start it up every now and then to make sure it is running. I think the rougher seas have stirred something up and has clogged it somewhere again. All of my usual tricks haven't worked this time and in 20+ knots and 8 foot seas I'm not really feeling like crawling in the engine room to troubleshoot. So, it seems, I will have to pay a price to enter paradise after all! Should be there in a few days.

Friday, October 10, 2008

In the Trades

The wind has been picking up gradually and has been more steady now. I have had a consistant 15 knots all day and am making between 6-7 knots average. The wind has shifted from the beam to the stern (coming from the side to the back) and the swells which are growing are now mostly behind me. It feels great to be really moving again. I haven't seen any boats in the past few days. I did have a squall that set off the radar alarm this morning which was unexpected because I haven't seen a squall in 3 weeks. Things are going well. I have been studying my charts and getting familiar with the approach and anchorage in Cocos Keeling. I have been reading up on some heavy weather techniques and taking care of the continual boat maintenance. I probably won't spend too long in Cocos Keeling as the longer I am in the Indian Ocean the closer it gets to cyclone season. As it is David Morris is keeping a look out now for any early activity in the area. It is not unheard of for an early cyclone to develope in as early as October and November even though cyclone season doesn't officially start until December.
I hear that you are all planning for a party in the next few weeks. Wish I could be there but I guess a few days in paradise will have to do for now!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Los Angeles Fundraising Night - Details

Los Angeles Gathering Information:

A presentation of Zac's trip and a fund raiser for his adventures will be held on Sunday Oct. 26 from 3 to 6 pm at The Organic Panificio waterfront restaurant located at 4211 Admiralty Way (at the corner of Palawan Way) in Marina del Rey. Laurence & Marianne Sunderland, Zac's parents, will provide an update on his trip, including on the water action video shots of his adventures at sea and a computer video presentation of his planned route. The afternoon will include a question and answer session and a silent auction of donated products and services. During the event, Marianne and Laurence will attempt to contact Zac directly at sea via satellite phone for an additional on-the-spot update. Light appetizers will be served and a "cash bar" will be available.

As space is limited, reservations are required by October 20th, and we strongly advise pre-paid reservations. Cost for the event is $20 pre-paid for adults ($27 at the door), and $10 for children 12 and under (pre-paid or at the door). To pre-pay for reservations by credit card, go to Zac's website at, click on "Store" and follow the prompts. For additional reservations or information, send an e-mail to Marilyn at or phone (818) 703-1154. Become another proud member of the "Zac Pac". We hope you will stay for dinner after the event and enjoy more time with your new Zac Pac blogger friends. (Not included.) Please RSVP before October 20th.

Raffle tickets will be sold for door prizes and we will have a silent auction, so please contact Bill Mann to donate an item for the auction ( Those of you who are not geographically close, and are not able to attend the event can help out by sending auction items. We don't have much time, so please contact Bill as soon as possible.

Look forward to seeing you there!
Team Zac

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Last night I was looking forward to the promised 10 knots but after about 4 in the afternoon the wind just kept dropping and dropping until it was pretty much nonexistent. Intrepid rolled gunwale to gunwale in 8 foot seas all night. By morning I had gone 13 miles sideways and 7 miles forward towards Cocos Keeling. This morning I did 2 interviews: one for the LA Times and the other for KNX 1070 AM radio in LA. It is 11 now and I am making 3.5 knots towards Cocos which is great compared to the slamming and rolling last night.

To all those who sent me things in Darwin: Thanks so much they have been a huge source of encouragement, entertainment and nourishment (if you can call biscotti nourishing!) along the way. I have been having issue with my email which is why you haven't heard from me. It should be all sorted by the time I get to Cocos. At the moment even the blogs are posted by me typing them and reading them to my mom every night. A big thanks to her!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Indian Ocean

Last night the wind picked up to 12 knots and I was going along between 6-7 knots most of the night. :) No fishing boats or ships last night so I got a pretty good night's sleep. The wind died of a little this morning but I'm still going 5 knots. I found the pump for my alcohol stove. It had somehow fallen out of the lazarette and in to the engine room and somehow made it's way under the engine. Looks like the wind should be building tonight so hopefully I'll get moving along a bit better. Looking forward to getting to Cocos Keeling. I should be getting there within the week. Meanwhile the days pass quickly with my boat chores, reading, cooking (yeah) and catching up on sleep.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pressing On

I was up most of the night last night on watch and passed 6 fishing boats. It's hard to see if you are on a collision course at night because they don't turn on their nav lights. Their decks are lit up with work lights so at least I can see them! I spent most of the night trying to figure out which direction the little white lights on the horizon were moving. This morning the wind shifted around to the nose so I altered course and was able to fill the sails again. After about half an hour the wind dropped down to 5 knots and the sails would barely stay filled. This has happened the last few mornings. The wind just dies. It is almost 12 here right now and it is filling in nicely. Hoping to make some good miles today and catch up on some sleep because I will have to go on watch again tonight. Thanks for all the blog comments. Mom read most of them over the phone today. Good to know you're all out there.

An Interesting note from John Knight in Darwin:

Hi Marianne and Laurence
Sorry to hear of the recent scare. The relevant distance is how far is he off the Indonesian islands, not how far from Darwin. Because they have fished out all their local waters the Indonesian village fisherman has to go farther to sea to catch anything. They were most likely laying long nets when they approached Zac and turned away when they were going to the beginning to pick it up again. This is their normal technique and is usually done late in the afternoon or early evening so that laying, fishing and recovery takes most of the night. Being almost certainly a wooden vessel they are quite likely not to show on radar.
You can keep an eye on the world pirate situation on line. It is monitored from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia where the latest information is available. They keep everyone inform and co-ordinate action when necessary. They will certainly be aware if anything is happening in the areas that Zac is crossing. Try " report.php" for latest reports and check where these are happening on the map. None of the reports on Indonesia is south of the archipelago.
Hope this helps as Zac will probably see a lot of small craft before he completes the circumnavigation and the likelihood that they are bad is very low along most of his route.
Regards John

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I am sorry for worrying you all with our post last night. Zac asked us to wait and let him write the blog about the day's happenings yet Laurence wanted to ask for prayer, thus my cryptic post. The delayed update is due to the massive time difference between us. We have only just heard from Zac who was catching up on some lost sleep and slept in this morning.

From Zac:
The wind stayed steady all through the night and I was making good progress. The swell picked up to about 8 feet and I was back to the climbing up and surfing down motion. Around 11:30am I was sitting in the cockpit when I saw a boat about 4 miles away. I took a look at my radar screen and didn't see anything. I took another look at the boat. We were heading parallel to each other and would pass well clear of each other. I went down below and switched on the VHF radio and tried to hail them on Channel 16 with no luck. I went below and got my camera and got some footage of them but it was still hard to make out who or what they were because they were still about 3 miles off. I was sitting in the cockpit watching them and suddenly they changed course. At this new angle we would hit. I moved the autopilot over a few degrees to get out of their path. As I did they changed course dead for me again. So I'm thinking, "I've got a ship that doesn't show up on radar with no flags and no radio response, deliberately heading straight for me 150 miles off the coast of Indonesia, a place notorious for piracy." I went down below and called them on the radio again and again, finally hailing them using the words "Securite'" which is the word used to alert another boat that there is possible danger. Maritime law says boats are required to respond to this call. Still no answer. I went up to the cockpit and saw the boat was closing in fast. I turned on the engine and slammed it into gear and altered course again so as to avoid a collision and get on a faster tack. I watched the boat which I could now see was a 60-70' long wooden fishing boat that looked about ready to break up it was so old. They altered course straight for me. I jumped down into the cabin and switched on the SSB High frequency radio which has a distress button on it that will transmit my position on all emergency channels if I push it. I grabbed my Iridium phone and turned it on. It flashed 'low battery'. I switched on the inverter and plugged it in to the charger and called home. I told them what was going on and gave them position as fast as I could. I hung up the phone and watched the boat get closer through the bullet-proof windows of my boat. A half a mile and closing, I grabbed the VHF and tried to hail them again with no luck. I put out a call on the VHF saying "Pan Pan" and that I was being approached by an unidentified and unnamed vessel. I gave my position and asked for help. I got no response. By now they were way too close and looked like we would just pass clear of each other. I move the autopilot over more and moved the engine up a few RPMs. We passed a couple of hundred yards apart and they stopped dead in my wake. I was moving along just under 8 knots and getting the hell out of there as fast as I could. The fishing boat stayed stopped in my wake for about 10 minutes and then shot off in the other direction. I called home and let them know what was up and they told me that they were in contact with the branch of Search & Rescue that dealt with piracy and that I would be getting a call from them soon. I got off the phone and sat in the cockpit wondering what it was all about and whether they would come back in the night. Since I couldn't see them on any radar I would have to wake up every 25 minutes to check the horizon. I talked with he pirate control person from Australia and they sent up a plane to check in with me a couple of hours later. I called up my friend Will who had heard about it from my sister's text message. I guess the 'Zac is getting attacked by pirates.' message traveled fast. Will's dad was on the phone with California Representative Elton Gallegly to see if he could help in anyway. But in the end all that happened was that I got really tired from getting up all through the night and I'll probably never know what the fishing boat was doing. Now I'm going to go hit the bunk and catch up on some sleep. Oh yeah, thanks for praying!

From Mom:
About 7:00pm PDT we got a call from Zac. He was concerned because a large old powerboat (not the typical commercial vessels traveling that route to Australia) had been heading straight for him at high speed. He had hailed the vessel many times with no answer. On top of that the boat did not even show up on either of his radars. When he called us the boat was still a few miles off. He quickly gave us his position, speed and course being traveled. Laurence suggested that he put a Securite' call out on the VHF alerting other boaters in the area that this strange unmarked vessel was approaching him in an alarming manner. We hopped off the phone and put a call in to Australian Search & Rescue. We passed along all of the important information and they passed it up to those in the position to do whatever could be done. Zac was nearly 700 miles from Darwin and had not had a CoastWatch Customs plane fly over for several days. Zac called back to let us know that the ship had stopped about 300 yards from his boat. There were no markings at all on the vessel; not even a flag. He didn't see anyone on board. He fired up his engine and began to motor away from the boat. After about 10 minutes, the boat turned and motored away from him. We talked for awhile gathering info and trying to think of encouraging words for each other. We received a call from the folks at Search & Rescue. They were confirming the details and then called Zac to check in on him and give them their direct line. Thank God for satellite phones and Clearpoint Weather, without whom Zac would not have had this piece of equipment!
CoastWatch was sending up their planes and would send one over the area where Zac was sailing even though it was out of their official range. They would peruse the area for the unusual vessel and also fly over Zac and check in on him. Zac felt better knowing that people knew where he was. S & R knew that there were Indonesian fishing vessels in that area and that they were very low tech, possibly not even having a radar. It very well could have explained the boats appearance, location and lack of technology but not their strange approach.

Zac was in good spirits tonight and was back to fretting about his lost alcohol stove pump and bemoaning the fact that he would have to eat his chili cold. He was also considering getting a cat on board in Africa as it seems that every other solo sailor had one. It would seem that our boy has quite a heavy keel, eh?

Thanks for the prayers and emails and calls. It is great to be able to call on you all.

Many Thanks,
Marianne for all of the Sunderlands

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Zac is dealing with some potentially dangerous situations this afternoon and evening. We have done all we can do to help him from here. Please pray for Zac's safety and peace of mind tonight. He wants to do the blog himself tomorrow so stay tuned...
Team Zac

Friday, October 3, 2008

Dolphins, Ships and Wind!

Last night the wind picked to 8-10 knots on the beam and has stayed steady. This morning I started stowing everything for the heavier winds that are certain to come. Around 10:30 am I was in the cockpit when I saw a pod of dolphins coming over to the boat. They stayed awhile and surfed Intrepid's wake. After about 1/2 hour, they took off. I'm amazed that they are the first dolphins I've seen since I left Los Angeles! I went back into the cabin and took a look at my AIS radar. I saw that there was a ship about 12 miles away headed towards me. I kept an eye on the radar but we passed a couple of miles apart without either of us having to change course.
I've been rereading Tania Aebi's book Maiden Voyage. It is interesting how the book reads so much differentl now that I am out here. I'm also reading a book that was sent to me by Mike Williams called The Chronicles of the Schooner Lusty I. It is great to read about other circumnavigators. The wind has stayed steady and I think I'll be hitting the heavier, steadier trade winds before long. It feels good to be moving again and I hope that the wind holds now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Torres Strait Part II

Last night I had real light winds and only made about 20 miles. Around 5am a little breeze picked up and I moved along at 5 knots. That lasted about 3 hours and now the wind is down to about 3-4 knots. Progress, if you can call it that, is way slow.
Torres Strait Part 2:
Entrance to the Torres Strait:
It was 4 am when I reached Bramble Cay. It was blowing 20 knots with hazy fog. I set course for my first way point. I had a good point of sail and was moving along at 6-7 knots. I reached my first way point just as the sun was coming up. By now it was a few miles within the shelter of the reefs. The swell died down from 8 feet to nothing. The winds dropped down a little to 15 knots. So I sailed along that whole day, dodging reefs and islands and constantly altering course. By nightfall I was nearing the entrance to the Vigilant Passage. This is an area where the course alters from the wide Great North East Channel and heads between a narrow break in the reefs. I sailed through. It was marked well and easy to navigate. By the time I got through the passage it was about 10pm. I was starting to feel the effects of the lack of sleep from the night before. I still had a good 80 or more miles til I was out of the Strait. I plugged my next way point into the chart plotter and set course for it. I had about 14 miles (2 hours worth of travel time) to my next way point. I was very tired so I got out 2 alarms and set them to go off in 15 minutes. I set them on either side of my head and slept. (Through my extensive experience with sleep deprivation I have learned that if you can get even 5 minutes of sleep it will make you feel almost as good as new and will give you a couple more hours on your feet.) After my nap I sat on deck with the wind keeping me awake studying the maze of reefs and nav lights against the charts. A couple of way points later, I was entering the Prince of Wales Channel which is the last part of the Strait and also the most difficult to navigate. As I approached the channel there was a ship on its way out. I hailed them and we decided which side we should pass each other on. We passed within a few hundred yards and then they were gone. The next way point took me between 2 shoals. They were marked with lights and I made it through fine and headed for the next way point. This one was nav lights about 100 yards apart. On either side was a reef. This one was relatively hard to aim the boat through so I ended up taking the boat off autopilot and hand steering through. Once through that I was in the Prince of Wales Channel and navigating by red and green nav lights which I found out pretty quickly were reversed from what we have in America. All those years of my dad shouting 'Red Right Returning' had to be reprogrammed to left instead. The sun rose as I was about 5 miles from the channel. I was going about 9.5 knots from wind and running with the current. I got out of the channel and set course for Booby Island about 15 miles away; the official exit of the TS. All went well until the tide turned and now I was going 2 knots. That was a pain because I hadn't slept accept for that 5 minutes and I was starting to fall asleep while on watch. I decided to hand steer for a little while to keep my mind active and awake. I passed Booby Island about 10am and set my new course and slept. The passage was a challenge to my navigation skills but easier than I had expected.
The Clearpoint forecast shows some wind coming this afternoon. I certainly hope so...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lake Indian Ocean

OK, so sorry for not blogging but there has been a lot to do the past few days. Being incredibly hot and sweaty makes it hard to get going. My email is backed up from the time after PNG when I wasn't able to receive them. I can only pick up so many per week and right now I have a backlog of over 200 emails! Right now it is about 8:000pm and there is about 3 knots of wind which is barely enough to keep the boat moving in the right direction. There is no swell so the sea looks like a calm lake. Not much happened today. I passed some oil platforms and a couple of ships, one of which came within a half of a mile of me. I contacted him on the radio and he already knew where I was so it was safe. Later in the afternoon I was doing something on deck and I saw a big white shape under the water. As I looked closer I saw that it was a shark. Not just one shark, I was in a school/pod of them! They weren't like the friendly Pacific dolphins that play around the boat. They were off after a couple of minutes. I guess I'll add that to my list of reasons not to swim at sea. I had been actually contemplating swimming because of how hot it is though I probably would not have done it.
So I guess everyone wants to hear about the Torres Strait. Here you go...I had just gotten off the phone with Mike Smith (Team Zac electrician extraordinaire). We were trouble shooting my AIS radar that for some reason wasn't working right. I set my phone down on the top companionway step and opened the Pelican case where I always keep it. Before I put it in, the drag on my fishing pole started screaming. I ran up top to real in the fish. The fish ended up snapping the line and when I went down below I saw the sat phone had fallen into the galley sink into a bowl of oil. Why was there a bowl of oil in my galley sink? The mechanics from Papua New Guinea were supposed to dispose of it but were not able to. I was to get offshore and dump it. Only 1/4" of the upper corner of the phone had touched the oil. I wiped it off with a paper towel and called Mike back to tell him that I had to deal with some issues on the boat and that I would call him back in the morning. Then I took the phone apart and saw that a fair bit of oil had gotten inside. I wiped it off the best I could and put the phone in rice over night to draw out the moisture. In the morning I put the phone back together and turned it on. It went okay and I entered the pass code. It came up with a message that said 'Phone Failure See Supplier'. That was really helpful since the nearest supplier was the best part of 10,000 miles away. I tried for awhile to get the phone working again but it was no use. I think I probably made it worse. The slapping against hand technique etc... Then I fired up the computer but for some reason it wasn't working either. I did manage to get an email out to mom and dad after a hundred attempts just to let them know that all was well with me and the boat.
The next day I got on the Rag on the Air Net and make contact with the people out of Majuro. They were able to relay with my parents back home. I had no idea what my parents had been through and that they were about to call on Australian Search and Rescue.
As I was getting closer to the Torres Strait, I managed to get a few way points that had been stuck on the computer before the screen died. Not sure how but the back light of the computer screen had stopped working. I went to use the other computer but water had dripped on the keyboard and I couldn't type in my password. With no comms except the SSB, I kept in touch with everyone through the guys from Moana and Majuro. I spent the few days before the Torres Strait with light winds and was able to study the passage guide again. The night before I got to the entrance at Bramble Cay, the wind picked up to about 20-25 knots so I reefed down and entered the Strait under sail. I arrived at Bramble Cay, the entrance to the Torres Strait, at about 4:00am. I never did see the light and there was a lot of fog. That was the first of many surprises in he Torres Strait. Stay tuned for part 2 of Zac sails the Torres Strait!