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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac,
Engines, Engines, Engines... It sure looks like you've had so much trouble. I wish mechanical equipment was a lot easier to work with. I hope you have smooth sailing from here on.
How long do you plan on staying in Cocos Keeling? Will you have someone take a look at the engine?
Take care,

October 11, 2008 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hey Zac,

Oh no! Not the engine again! With all the work you have done on that sucker, you would think it would be running like a champ. Sorry to hear, and I hope you won't need it before you arrive in Cocos Keeling.

GLad your smokin across the Indian Ocean. Sounds like you are quire pleased. Couldn't be happier for you. Have a great Sunday Zac.


October 11, 2008 at 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Zac,

I have a friend that has sailed for 10 years singlehanded without a motor. His trick - get close to the harbour without much wind - put the dingy in the water, strap the ruder to neutral, and guide the boat with the dingy.

In my singlehanded sailing I have anchored singlehanded with no motor several times (including picking up a mooring at Catalina at night). Just remember to anchor out safely - away from obstacles - and then later you can reset.

Best of Luck,

October 12, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Billabong Blog said...


Yikes No Engine..

I checked the chart, some cruising guides, and Sat photos and the good news is it looks like a "sail-able" approach and exit (not too deep for anchoring, good downwind escape if the hook doesn't set first go). The problem will be trusting yourself and the water clarity (and of course having to do the lookout AND anchoring all by yourself).

The reefs always look close but with the water clarity there you'll feel on top of them and you'll still be in 30' feet. Just make sure you don't try to sail into the inner lagoon (where the quarantine anchorage is). You might be a little more exposed in the outer anchorage (the SE anchor symbol off Direction Is. on Cmap), but it's a much safer escape. I wouldn't anchor at Northern most entrance (in the pass), you'll get more current there and most likely end up having to set the hook "down the slope".

I have multiple cruiser friends who have been there this season and can help with "local knowledge" if you need it. Team Zac, you can contact us via this link.

@Zac Pac
For those virtual sailors, the anchorage is in the NE corner of the atoll (approx -12.0955,96.873), entered via the Northern Channel. If you check on Google Earth or Google Maps you'll be able to see the sand patches between the reefs. Most likely he'll be entering the lagoon with the winds from the SE, which is good. The atoll will block the 8ft swell and the trade winds will blow him back out to the safety of open water if there are any issues. Losing an engine in tight reef scattered waters is my biggest fear!!

Good luck Zac, I'm sure you will have no lack of prayers!!

October 12, 2008 at 1:28 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Hi Zac,
Hello Zac Pac

That bloody engine....UGH!!!! How frustrating for you.....and quite frankly the Zac Pac too! Best decision not to crawl around that engine room as rough as it is, good way to get hurt.

Look on the bright side.. WIND GLORIOUS WIND!!!! Looks like Billabong & Bluemambo had great suggestions for anchorage; between that and your book and of course your skill; no worries mate, you'll be right.

What's the hull speed for "Intrepid"; and what was your best speed thus far? Inquiring minds want to know :)

Well Zac, I know you have challenges ahead, but those are the situations in life that teach, change, and mold us all into the persons we are. We all live our story. You young man have a solid base, with your faith and parents that guided you in the proper direction. Blessings to them both.

You'll figure it out, I have a friend that likes to say: "it is what it is". Use your best judgement and go for it.

Thinking of you daily, keeping you covered in prayer. <><

Anita M. Miracle RDH
Captain SV Wombat
Avid fan of Captain Zac :)

October 12, 2008 at 2:56 AM  
Blogger Bill Mann said...

Just a little curious here Zac.

Do you ever get seasick while reading when the boat is tossing about?

I can read in an airplane (a large one, not a private plane) but I cannot read in a moving vehicle without getting violently nauseous.

Of course though, I would get seasick while watching the lift tender lower my boat into the water at MDR.

Godspeed Zac and enjoy the fruits of your run to the Cocos.

Bill Mann

October 12, 2008 at 3:58 AM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan SINGAPORE said...

I cant be of any help on the engine/bad diesel front. I wonder if it's just simply humidity.
U doing a great job all things considered.
How do the stars look at night? Nothing short of amazing I'm sure!
Catchin'any fish?
Hang tough, keep your spirits up. Soon U will be diggin into a Cocos/Keeling cheesburger!
NFL/MLB update 2mrw.

October 12, 2008 at 4:35 AM  
Anonymous Axel said...

@ anita

I think the hull speed is about 7.12 knots

@ Zac
Keep on flying :-)


October 12, 2008 at 6:04 AM  
Blogger davejb851 said...

As Americans we get real spoiled with the quality of our fuel.....but diesel is a touchy fuel at best, even with water filters and separators.

Single handed sailing and anchoring/mooring is an issue for so many non-powered sailboats. Just leave yourself room to come about in case you miss the first time. Take it from an experienced mooring misser. And always remember....downwind of the mooring.

October 12, 2008 at 6:13 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

@ Axel

October 12, 2008 at 6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooooooo it's getting so exciting to think you are nearing your next port of call.
Love the help, that people are giving you, Zac.
It's like one big family looking out for each it.
You'll make it just fine.

UK friend

October 12, 2008 at 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wonder if the fuel is contaminated by sediment put into suspension by the agitation of those big seas. I have certinly read about this happening to other boats. How does the primary fuel filter look, and how many times have you changed it?
If you have a lenght of fuel compatable tubbing onboard you could use a jerry can as an axillury fuel tank.

Anyway, good luck with your next anchorage.

San Diego

October 12, 2008 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Ah, trials and more trials. Makes us know we're alive.

Santa Monica

October 12, 2008 at 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Axel said...

Do we get a list of positions for Darwin to Cocos once you are there??

October 12, 2008 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Linda and Bill Camarillo, CA said...

Hi Zac, Team Sunderland and Zac Pac,

Engines are a pain on ships and boats of all sizes. Hopefully, the problem will resolve itself when you are in calmer seas.

Zac, are you willing to share any of your thoughts about your journey so far?

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

What has been your biggest fear?

What have you learned about yourself that was a surprise?

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

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

What are you surprised that you can live without?

It would be a great read.

Happy sailing.

Bill and Linda
Camarillo, CA

October 12, 2008 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

Zac - Maybe you would get "spoiled" if you came into port without a 'laundry list' of repairs. I don't think so.

I know the resources will not be the same as Darwin... for instance - no Dad :( but it *IS* an island - so you would think they would make resources for boats a high priority there. Anyway, I will pray that God starts lining up any resources you might need.

May I reiterate, you MUST make time to dive while you are there! Go see what lies beneath and let us know please. :D

Enjoy your journey, Captain Zac. Adventures like this don't come around every day.
Blessings. LA in MN

October 12, 2008 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

I just had a similar problem on my old diesel and it turned out to be a cracked intake fuel line and not contamination. Air was getting into the incoming fuel line and it stopped the engine. Check all your fittings and lines for air leaks when you get a chance. As far as anchoring under sail, I have witnessed it done as an art form by people who sail with no engines but it takes alot of practice. I have never HAD to do it. Take the advice of others on this post and make sure that there is enough room and an easy down wind escape. I personally would drop a small hook right off the stern going slowly down wind and just sit there on a stern hook if you can. People will come out and help you turn the boat around and re anchor it. Everybody knows that you are coming. People will help you.


October 12, 2008 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

Hi Zac,
Great to hear the winds are in your favor, except for going sideways, and you're moving right along at a faster rate.

Sorry to hear about your engine troubles. With your expertise and the suggestions of others, I know you'll handle it like a pro. You have shown us how you can handle tough situations, when the going gets rough.

Bill Mann,
You just made me realize I have been incorrectly saying "God Speed" instead of "Godspeed." Guess we learn something new every day. Thanks.

Keep on sailing and Godspeed!

Dick & Gin

October 12, 2008 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Bill Mann said...

What do I know? I never looked it up so I may be wrong.

I was the next to the last of six so by the time I was born, all of the brains in the family were already allocated to my older brothers and sisters so I got the leftovers.

I am not sure which is more difficult. Being as dumb as I am or admitting how dumb I am.


October 12, 2008 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The book probably says so, but if it doesn't: Attach a float the bitter end of the anchor line so you can abort the anchoring attempt by just dropping the line but still be able to come back and retrieve the anchor.

-Sven in MDR

October 12, 2008 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger jlh said...

Hey Zac,

Ahhhh, the good news and the bad news. Consistent winds and engine problems. We're so sorry the engine is stalling again. Hope it will be a quick fix!

Hope you get to Cocos soon and have some leisure time in paradise. As Joy said, take some time to dive. It sounds absolute beautiful.

Jennifer and Ben
Sherman Oaks, CA

October 12, 2008 at 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone know the dress code for the resturant fundraiser? Is anyone wearing Zac's shirt?

October 12, 2008 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

I'm getting jealous that I am not going to be at the fund raiser! I want to meet everyone face-to-face! :(

October 12, 2008 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

well, Zac would still be by phone... I meant the pac and mum and dad and stuff!

October 12, 2008 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger jlh said...


I was planning on wearing my T-Shirt to the fund raiser.

Sherman Oaks, CA

October 12, 2008 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger jlh said...


I was planning on wearing my T-Shirt to the fund raiser.

Sherman Oaks, CA

October 12, 2008 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

@ anonymous who asked about the dress code for the event in Marina del Rey on October 26th.

The Zac T-shirt is the preferred dress for the event. In fact, I was going to send out an email letting everyone know that they should wear the shirt, if they have one. If you don't have a Zac shirt, dress casually. I believe you still have time to order one and receive it in time for the get-together.

If you haven't hit the "Zac's Store" link to RSVP and pre-pay, please do it as soon as possible. If you are planning on attending, but you are not going to pre-pay, please send me an email, so we can have a name tag for you and put you on the reservation list. You'll save money if you pre-pay. It will cost $27 at the door, and it's only $20 if you pre-pay ($10 for children 12 and under).

Marilyn in Woodland Hills

October 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger STEVE B said...


Hate to hear about the engine problems. Still amazing that you can sail for so many nautical miles yet the engine is critical and only used for just a few overall minutes.

My luck with engines would have it running like a charm as soon as I got around a mechanic. Maybe you should try a different nut the next time you clean the tank.

Birmingham, AL

October 12, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl in San Diego said...

Hi Zac,
Gosh, what is with that engine?!
Are you using a 'Baja' filter or something similiar when fueling? Maybe it is a bad fuel problem as Rory had mentioned.
Good to hear that you are 'flying' towards Cocos, anyhow!
I'll say a prayer for your safe anchoring in Cocos-Keeling as I am sure the rest of the Pac will do as well.

October 12, 2008 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

@Steve b

Your comment about trying a different nut is probably an inside joke that will be lost on many! But so funny!

Woodland Hills

October 12, 2008 at 4:13 PM  
Anonymous shauna said...

Hi Zac,
I have been following you since before you left. Engine problem! Me too. Had a friend in town from Indiana..had the most beautiful warm day in Santa Barbara the boat all ready to go...then ENGINE problem! Okay really the heat exchanger. Seems you spend more time fixing them than sailing them! Except you! So this week I live vicariously through you! Thanks! FYI- our problem was calcium build up.

Shauna on the DOCKED Illusion/SB

October 12, 2008 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Steve said...


You are doing awsome.

At the next good port, yank that old fuel tank out and toss it in the dumpster. A new tank will be worth the peace of mind. Singlehanded voyaging is just too dangerous and serious to always have to worry about your engine. Thousands of miles I've cruised and have had almost no engine problems using double racor filters, and a clean good tank.

October 12, 2008 at 5:55 PM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

Zac... Good on the winds; bad on the engine. It's been a constant thorn in your side, that engine and its fuel lines / tanks. Well, perhaps you can get it sorted out in Cocos Keeling. I hope you make there safe and soon and can enjoy what looks like a real paradise. I hope if you dive, you get a chance to do some there.

Stay hydrated...

Cheers to you, Zac, and to all...

milford, ohio

October 12, 2008 at 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

@Bill Mann,
Don't sell yourself short. From reading your posts, I know you are a smart and caring person. BTW, I did look it up and you are so right. Thanks, again.

Hope you can get the engine problem solved. We're praying for your safe arrival into Cocos Keeling. Do you know what your estimated day of arrival is?

Keep on sailing and take care. Godspeed!

Dick & Gin

October 12, 2008 at 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac..if trash is in your is a easy fix. (When you get to S.Africa!) Buy a inexpensive auto 12 volt elect fuel pump. Use that to pump fuel through a Racor filter to another (plastic) fuel tank. Let your engine fuel pump, pump fuel through another Racor to your engine. You will have 5 or so gal. of clean fuel when you need it. For your engine 5 gal. should give you at least 10 hrs. running time. It works man and it will solve your dirty fuel problem. I've been blue water sailing since before you were born without even a burp from my Perkins. Be safe Captain. CaptRon

October 12, 2008 at 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Have you considered calling the "Car Talk" guys via satilight phone about your engine problems?

Andy, tx

October 12, 2008 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Zac & Everyone,

I can't believe these endine problems have not gone away yet. Hopefully you'll be able to get Yanmar to look at it in Africa.

Good luck the rest of your way into the Island.

Sail On,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

October 12, 2008 at 7:55 PM  
Blogger Glen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 13, 2008 at 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are truly blessed to be able to do this. I wish I was there too.
Thomas Shields age 14

October 23, 2008 at 3:16 PM  

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