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


Blogger Bill Mann said...

Thanks for the update. I can now try to get some sleep after the sleepless night last night.

You have once again proven your maturity Zac, as if you had to prove it again.

Wishes for fair winds and smooth sailing.

Bill Mann
South Pasadena.

October 5, 2008 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac-
Of course you had to do your own blog- it is yours!!!!! So much drama, so much....... As a mom, I just have to add a note to your mom that we were all so scared and worried about you, can only imagine what your parents were going through. Don't you just hate these unanswered questions- why were they there and what about their creepy behavior?!? Just have to give you a big cyber-hug and say God bless you, dear boy! You are so special to so many people, yet still a teen in the fact that you WILL do your own blog. Big smiles and more hugs.
Marnie MV/CA

October 5, 2008 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Marianne,

Thanks for posting Zac's words. What a huge relief to hear everything is good. It was a rough night and day. I'm so grateful he is all right.

Zac it seems is quite in control under pressure. Very impressive as usual. Congrats on the new family member it looks like you will have upon Zac's return. I hope you like cats!

Get some rest. Your kid has proven himself again.

Best regards,

October 5, 2008 at 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, the power of prayers & positive thoughts have worked. What wonderful news to hear that my friend, Zac is ok.

October 5, 2008 at 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Sterling said...

wow, glad to hear everything is ok. i was freaking out a bit reading that!

October 5, 2008 at 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you for the update. Now I'll be able to sleep tonight. Drama on the high seas. Our captain had every reason to be worried. I'm so glad everything turned out alright. Praise God!

Now to the everyday tasks of heating food and considering an on-board cat. I like those considerations much better!

Zac, you are always in my prayers, as is Team Sunderland. My relief is immense! Thank God, also, for the Zac-Pac. What a fabulous group!

Sherman Oaks, CA.

October 5, 2008 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger rbwilson said...

What a relief to us all,Zac! I expect you now have an even better detailed plan of how to react to a wide variety of suspicious contacts. You handled this one perfectly!

Bob Wilson/Laguna Niguel

October 5, 2008 at 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac and team Sunderland,
Praise God you are safe tonight. Our prayers will continue on your behalf. Thank you for alerting us to your need and allowing us to pray with you in your difficulties.

October 5, 2008 at 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Welcker Family said...

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October 5, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Kristi said...

Thank you Lord. Thank you for Zac's safety and for his trust in you. Keep him safe through unsafe waters and complete the good work that you have started in him.

We care Zac!!

Hi Marianne...lets have a nice relaxing pedicure & lunch!!

Simi Valley, California

October 5, 2008 at 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Zac-John Wayne! Lol, great job handling the whoever and whatevers on the water, glad to hear you are packing some protection and you obviously have the ability to use it properly...if needed! Prayer got you out of that one. Enough drama for the remainder of the trip...OK? Take care!

Ray & Deanna
Clovis, CA

October 5, 2008 at 9:31 PM  
Anonymous laura said...


October 5, 2008 at 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 5, 2008 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

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October 5, 2008 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Alls well, that ends well!! Thank goodness! Zac, your blog was so well written it had me at the edge of my seat!! Thank you for taking the time to write. You must have been exhausted after that little scare.

I hope this is the last time, but I am sure we are going to have a few more sleepless nights until you are home safe and sound. Stay alert and don't forget the (Zac Packers) are all with you and thinking about you every minute of the day!

Thanks again for letting me be apart of your adventure. I feel blessed just to be able to be a part of the Zac Pack!

North Hills, CA

October 5, 2008 at 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Dick A. Fresno CA said...

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October 5, 2008 at 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac and Team Sunderland:

Thank our Lord for your safety. I never doubted the power of prayer and positive thinking, but my confidence level is at a new high!

My eyes are misty with relief. If I feel this way, I cannot possibly imagine what Laurence and Marianne have been through.

Also what Capt'n Zac has been through. What a story to tell your grandchildren some day!! I imagine you'll be telling it to Toby, Ben, and the rest just to see their hair stand up.

Everyone can sleep tonight and tomorrow will not be nearly as along a day.

May God continue as copilot. He's certainly both a zac-Packer and a member of Team Sunderland!

The Croaker

October 5, 2008 at 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steady now. The glass may be bullet proof, but the fiberglass is not.

The poor fisherman was just trying to sell you some fish. While trying to motor over to you, he dropped his coffee, bent down to clean it up and just about ran you over before he could throttle back. As he sat there idling in your wake, wondering why you were bugging out so fast, he thought he should look at his radio again, to see why it was not working. Oh well, he might be able to sell some fish on shore. He punched the throttle and turned the boat twards home.

I know there is always two sides to the story, but you can never be too careful on the open ocean. You did the right thing.

Now make up some lost time and sail man, sail!


October 5, 2008 at 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 5, 2008 at 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info. My Sundays are packed full. I had been praying and hoping that Zac would be fine. As soon as I got home late tonight, I immediately checked for any updates. I sure am glad things turned out the way they did. Hopefully, we won't have another scare like that one.
God Bless!

October 5, 2008 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger MissWarren said...

Hehe, Zac, you will never have trouble getting girls with all the stories you are piling up!

October 5, 2008 at 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Gangsterick said...

Wow...sounds like an adventure! Just reading this last post sent chills down my spine! You handled it like a pro!

October 5, 2008 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger KShanks said...

Ps. 34:3-4 "Come, let us tell of the LORD's greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears."

So glad to hear that you are safe, Zac. I commend you for being so level headed in the way you handled the situation. Great job. A 357, bulletproof glass and a shield of protection from the Most High God - the pirates would have a tough time gettin' to ya!

We will continue to keep you in our prayers, as we have from the beginning! May God's peace surround you and brind you rest.

~the Shanklands

October 5, 2008 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Tomi said...

Amex to the previous posts. Seems the ZacPac is in unison on this blessed news. Like others will sleep much better now.

Thank you Oz S&R! Thanks ClearPoint for your forward thinking. Most importantly, thanks to He who answered our Prayers. Lastly, but no less important, thanks to Team Sunderland for their wise upbringing of our dear Capt.

Am very grateful that just a cold meal & pondering a warm furry shipmate are Capt Zac's main worries right now!


October 5, 2008 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Tomi said...

Ditto & Amen to the previous posts....

October 5, 2008 at 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Another thought after I submitted my post: Now that the crisis is past and I've reread everything, it registered. Yes, a ship's cat! What a great idea. Hopefully, you'd be able to have one checked and vacinnated by a vet. Don't forget that cats are protein eaters and do badly when given carbs. Fish? Wellllll ... and don't forget sand and a sandbox. Never had a cat until a year ago when we came upon a kitten that needed us. He's a Burmese Brown (like a Siamese except for the chocolate color). He is best friends with the yellow lab member of the family. They stop and touch noses whenever the pass and sleep together ... something like the lion and the lamb.

Good luck with a new friend,
The Croaker

October 5, 2008 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger Galileon said...

OMG! That's BLOODY EXCITING! I'm glad you're safe though Zac, keep up the good work...incidentally, you will be visiting my homeland in some time (Mauritius), but sadly I'm in the uk atm, so I won't get to visit you when you get there...

ps: just read a worrying comment about the fibreglass not being careful, dude! good luck...

October 6, 2008 at 12:56 AM  
Blogger davejb851 said...

As always, planning and foresight become that much more important when one is 700 miles from safe harbor.

So very glad that all is back to only having to worry about the big open that's a load off, huh?

Seriously Zac, now take the bullets out and keep them dry. Better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

Sail on, Captain!

October 6, 2008 at 1:20 AM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan Singapore said...

He was probably shadowing U asking himself if U were catching fish! Well we all know the answer to that... :-)
Even if the guy had a radio unless U could speak Bahasa he probably saw no need to speak with U.
Anyway U lived to sail another day. Next time something like this happens ring me up and I will FedEx my 3 ex-wives directly on board the pirate ship!
Be safe lil Buddy

October 6, 2008 at 2:02 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Hi Zac,

Quite a scare for you I am sure, sounds like you handled it with the maturity we all know you have.

Is there a certain procedure to follow in that situation? I for one am glad you have protection on board and am sure you know how to use it as any help you may have had coming was a distance away.

When I started to read this new blog, it was 4:30 am EST, I was a bit tired but now I'm wide awake!!!

Happy to hear you are safe Zac, sorry your meals will have to be eaten cold (I told you about those MRE's..should have gotten some) ;)

God Speed,
Captain SV "Wombat"

October 6, 2008 at 2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a journey! Your words had me on the edge of my couch! Glad that you are safe.

I absolutely disagree with the poster about getting a cat ... cats and water do not mix! Not to mention, not very safe for the cat.

October 6, 2008 at 4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 6, 2008 at 4:18 AM  
Blogger Heather Wilds said...

Thanks for the update...seems like we're all losing some sleep while we worry about our Zac. So proud of his quick thinking and fast response.

October 6, 2008 at 4:47 AM  
Anonymous Rick/VA said...

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October 6, 2008 at 5:02 AM  
Anonymous Hannah said...

It took me about two hours to get to sleep last night because your newest blog post was so short and I was worried. I'm still praying for you.

October 6, 2008 at 5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting comment anonymous had about the fishermen "flinging off bad spirits"...hmmm...yes good pause for thought where there's a weapon to hand BUT Zac you kept your head and wits about you so I am certain you will continue to do so. Be careful out there. You handled this one so well, amazingly quick thinking.

Jane et al, Portland

October 6, 2008 at 5:30 AM  
Anonymous Wheat said...

I feel like im listening to Peter Pan and all of his famous pirate stories! I can't wait to read your book Zac!!

October 6, 2008 at 5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So thankful you are safe and sound Zach. My heart was skipping many beats over this. I would guess that you and your family's hearts were racing and skipping even more so. I count it a privilege and honor to get to know you through your blogs! It must be a calling from God to pray for you and your family. There has been no other way to explain it, except it has been a God-thing for me! It has been such an interesting adventure to be sharing with you. Thanks to you and your family for enabling so many of us to take this trip with you. The cat is a great idea.
May God provide one with just the personality that would bless you. Shalom, Shalom, from Iowa

October 6, 2008 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger mike3k said...

Thanks for the update. That's a big relief!

Definitely get a cat. They're great companions. A sailor gave Hemingway a 6 toed cat, which he treasured. Its descendants still live in his mansion.

October 6, 2008 at 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Axel said...

Hi Zac.
Perfect crisis management. Congrats on that. I can understand the radio issue sort of but what I don't understand is that a 60-70 feet object does not show up as an echo on your radar. Maybe Dave can jump in on that and explain it.
How long are the waves you are having with the 8 feet highth? Well I am not a cat friend but it's probably the right size animal for a boat LOL

October 6, 2008 at 6:18 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Everyone,

I have not been around for the last 9 days while in Florida. Bill Mann sent me a email that I received a few days ago. Since I only have my Palm Treo I only checked my yahoo emails while gone. What a scare to get into the blog this morning and read this. In a way I'm glad I didn't read the last blog entry or I might have been like Bill going through a sleepless night.

Thank God everything went well. Zac you handled yourself like a grown man and I'm really proud of you. All the drama is making me eat my nails again. Hopefully you won't get another scare like that one again. I'm sure it was emotionally draining for you to experience this. We'll hope and pray something like this doesn't happen again. Dad and Mom I can't possibly imagine how you must have been feeling through it all. You all did a great job protecting Zac the best you could being so far away. Even sister sending text was involved and trying to help.

It's great to know Team Sunderland always has it's blog members to help out in any way possible even if it's just prayer. Take care Zac and like always please be very careful.

Sail On,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

October 6, 2008 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

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October 6, 2008 at 6:53 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

I have been away all weekend, and just got home and fired up the computer to see what the latest is with Zac.

Very scary.

Strangely, while I was out of town, I watched a show about modern day pirates on the History Channel. It just aired yesterday.

The Indonesian pirates are SCARY! And ruthless and brutal. And completely outside of the law. In fact, sometimes they ARE the law.

However, those guys are out to take down the big container ships, because they can reap a huge forturne in booty there. Not sure that they would bother themselves with a little boat like Zac's, even tho he does have expensive and nice equipment. I don't think they bug people just for the sport of it. They are in this for the financial award.

So hopefully Zac will be spared any trials with pirates.

Once again, Zac handled himself with great maturity.

Santa Monica

October 6, 2008 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

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October 6, 2008 at 6:57 AM  
Anonymous canadian_meisjes said...

Oh man.
Go and get some sleep now.
~Jessica and Rosemary from Canada

October 6, 2008 at 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Karyn (almost) in Simi said...

Wow! Glad all is well.

A cat huh? Are you going to name it yourself or by committee (i.e ZacPac cat committee)? Something Tiller? Or perhaps geographic depending or point of Coco?

this could be entertaining!

May the rest of your journey not include anymore adrenaline rushes of the piracy sort.

Be safe.

Karyn (leaving Ky today - hurray for home!)

October 6, 2008 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

I believe the details of what the other boat was should not have been mentioned because those who have nefarious intentions could read the blog and know how to circumvent Zac's "security". I'm glad things turned out fine, but I still worry about him. He should sail a bit furthur south when approaching Africa.

peace be with you Zac,

October 6, 2008 at 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 6, 2008 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

Hey, great to see the news. I knew you were alright but I love to hear the play-by-play! Especially now that I know there is a happy ending for it. BLESSINGS on you MA and L for the agony. PEACE be with you!

I also wondered if you had a gun aboard and am glad you do. I am quite sure you will never have to use it, but better safe than unprepared. Esp. with 'pirates.' I don't know how else you would keep someone from boarding your boat if they were trying to do so.

I have to vote 'no' on the cat. I can't imagine a cat being very happy on a tiny boat. *Unless* he had a plethora of little fishies to keep him satisfied... ah-hem...Otherwise - keep your protein for yourself! Not to mention the problems with the little kitty tether... ;)

Take care all. - LA in MN

October 6, 2008 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Daveh said...

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October 6, 2008 at 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Eric Crossley said...

Zac, thanks goodness you are safe! You reacted in a steady and mature manner and we are very proud of you. Hopefully things will be quiet as you continue your journey across the Indian Ocean. Technology is so valuable!

Get some rest and stay safe!

October 6, 2008 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

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October 6, 2008 at 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too am relieved ...while I don't have much original copy...I do agree with the one person who posted earlier, "Please take the bullets out of the gun now", and

the Cat...
just get one that is full grown and
used to hanging around marinas. Who knows Zac, you may get really lucky and find a "pointer cat"---one who can point out schools of fish for you. Can't you just see it, hanging his little head over the side with saliva drooling from it's mouth?

Daveh, if you are stumped by the boat not being picked up by the radars...all wood?...then who should we ask?

Yes, Marianne, your son has a very heavy keel...
Fair Winds Zac,

October 6, 2008 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

I hadn't checked in since early last Friday and when I did this morning, oh my what alot to catch up on. What a tense weekend for everyone.
So happy to know everything is okay now.
Sending prayers and good thoughts to you daily.
Stay safe Zac!
Tucson, AZ

October 6, 2008 at 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear all is well. Zac, you never cease to amaze me... such maturity for someone so young. You are a role model for young people all over the world.

God bless you and your family.

Mission Viejo, CA

October 6, 2008 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Daveh said...

@ Kate -

Agree about wooden vessels not sending much of a radar signature, but even on an old wooden vessel of that size, there should be a periodic signature from the pilot house windows, steel booms for rigging of long lines/nets, large steel winches for running and retrieving lines, often ss-cable, etc… all should send some kind of a signature…

In Florida / Bahamas we have a lot of old wood shrimp boats, 60-70’ in length and the light up just fine on the radar with the windows, metal rigging and other sustentative materials.

Maybe the vessel near Zac didn’t have any of that??? 150nm offshore?? Humm…



October 6, 2008 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

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October 6, 2008 at 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl in San Diego said...

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October 6, 2008 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Will said...


Great to hear that you're ok! I have to salute you on your steadfastness in that situation. Hope you catch up on the lost sleep!

October 6, 2008 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger rbwilson said...

According to "Target Detection by Marine Radar", by John Briggs, the factors that give a high radar return are frequency, thickness of the target, its dielectric constant (higher is better), and lossiness. The dielectric constant of wood is about 1.9 for hardwoods, giving a reflectivity 16 to 21 dB lower than that of metal. That's why the return was so weak.

October 6, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

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October 6, 2008 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

Dave or someone want to expound for us landlubbers - what does it mean that Zac has "quite a heavy keel."?

October 6, 2008 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

Joy on Journey: Non sailor that I am, I assumed it meant something like "well grounded" and / or steady and unflappable... But that's based on context and knowing what a "keel" is... :)

October 6, 2008 at 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart was in my throat reading that!

October 6, 2008 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Daveh said...

@ Joy of Journey

I believe that Kate was implying that Zac is very well grounded, analogous to a vessel with a heavy keel is “stable” and “upright”… But that’s just a guess…


October 6, 2008 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

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October 6, 2008 at 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Daveh

Thanks for the atempt at the radar
explanation, RBWilson also.

About the Keel comment, Marianne was so impressed by her son's ability to bounce back after "the Incident" that
she said he had a heavy keel...I certainly was agreeing with her on that one. Some teens I have been around are prone to drama, Zac appears to be able to differentiate the real cause for panic from the other. I believe he did the right things, even charging his phone without dropping it. Could have just been another fishing boat...I have read they like to charge up on you but
well, we just don't know.

It appears there are ways to deflect radar, from my reading.
But that technology would not jibe with a fishing boat. Weird?
Ghost ship? Nah!


October 6, 2008 at 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Discovery Island said...

Years ago, I had a fishing vessel that was heavy keeled. It was built in 1908 with Alaskan yellow cedar double planking, which made it very difficult to keep paint on it. The 42' boat rode the swells like a duck. If you watch a duck in lumpy swells, it pretty much keeps the same attitude as the wave passes under it. This is typical of a heavy keel. Firm foundation, steady Eddy, level headed.., all the same thing.

Also, concerning radar contacts; Zac was running into a heavier sea of 8 feet or more. If he had set his radars for sensitivity twards a calmer sea to pick up large ships, he would not have picked up a smaller wood vessel very well, without increasing the sensitivity. And, in doing so, he would have picked up an increase in 'clutter' in direct proportion to the increasing seas.


October 6, 2008 at 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, I missed reading the blog over the weekend, and I missed a nail-biter! Always keeping you in my prayers, Zac and all of Team Sunderland. You are an amazing young man and family, and I am so glad you’ve chosen to share this experience with us. Very proud to be a Zac-packer and supportive in my small way. Take good care.

Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

PS I love cats, can’t imagine them on a boat, but I did read Robin Graham’s book, seems they can work out well, go figure!

October 6, 2008 at 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Hannah said...

I'd get a kitten because old cats lose their teeth and sometimes don't want to be on a boat (and show it by biting or clawing you I bet) and they eat wet cat food that is more expensive then one of those ten pound bags that you get at Wal Mart for a doller. Don't for get to super glue the litter pan to the boat or you will get gross and un-nameable stuff all over.
Are you going to keep on working on your blog when you finish going around the world? When you write your book I'm buying a copy.

October 6, 2008 at 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

Zac, kudos to you!

You never cease to amaze us for the way you handle difficult situations. You have, again, showed us what a matured 16 y/o you are. Glad to hear you have protection on board, in case you need it. Hopefully, you will not.

After reading about your ordeal, we can now breathe a little easier knowing you are safe. We will continue to pray for your safety.

God speed and keep watch over you.

Dick & Gin

October 6, 2008 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

That is so scary!It just maid my heart stop for a few seconds, its good to know hes alright!Ill keep you guys in my prayers.

Bloggers check my blog!

October 6, 2008 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Diamond-X said...

You can't stop the Zacinator!

October 6, 2008 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 6, 2008 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Fulgum said...

Oh my God!

I can see that we're all going to be worrying throughout this leg! You can't know who is friend or foe here.

The Zac Pac is ready to leap into action if need be!



October 6, 2008 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous JiffyLube said...

It would be hard to say what was on the Captain's mind of the other boat, but the boat's action would have concerned me also. Like another person indicated, they could have just been trying to see how your fishing luck was. They might have wanted to see if Zac needed any help, since there probably aren't many other boats in that area...could be boating courtesy. Maybe they needed help. Maybe they have fishing territory rights to certain areas, and they were making sure you were leaving their area. Sounds like they would not have had any problems over taking Zac's boat, so I would think that if they were pirates, they would not have stopped so close to their target. Since nothing happened from that event, we will never know what their intentions were, but it's good to hear that nothing developed.

October 6, 2008 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger johnnyBgood said...

thank God my heart is strong. zac---you continue to amaze me. remain safe, you are ALWAYS in our prayers.
john baker/w hollywood/ca/USofA
A CAT??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 6, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 6, 2008 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger Golfgirltammy said...

I have been reading this blog from the onset. (Probably one of the most interesting blogs around...and this last post had me at the edge of my chair). Your son is growing in strength and maturity by the hour, maybe by the minute. Way to go, Zac...stay calm, stay collected, stay safe. You are handling everything with great finese. We're all watching out for you. And Marianne, how do you do it? As a mom myself, I'd have my fingernails biten to the quick by now. I think the cat should be called Magnum!

October 6, 2008 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger rbwilson said...

Zac - look for an asteroid tonight hitting the Earth's atmosphere at 0246Z, bearing about 280 degrees. It's going to hit the Sudan. From Sky & Telescope:

Last night (Sunday, October 5th), a telescope on Mount Lemmon, Arizona, detected a tiny moving blip, the signature of a small chunk of rock moving rapidly through space. Twenty-five observations have been done since then by professional and amateur astronomers around the world, and the object's orbit has been pinned down with fairly high precision. It is almost certain to hit Earth's atmosphere around 10:46 p.m. EDT tonight, October 6th. (That's 2:46 a.m. October 7th, Greenwich Mean Time.)

I hope this gets to you in time!

Bob Wilson/Laguna Niguel

October 6, 2008 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Hannah J said...

What a great story of answered prayer! I like this blog - I found it via Zac's story in WORLD Magazine a few weeks ago.

October 6, 2008 at 4:27 PM  
Anonymous DRC said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 6, 2008 at 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Zac you are one level headed dude!
On the cat issue, that's not a bad idea. As long as he or she did not help you sail in any way. Do you still get the "solo" title if you travel with feline? ok just kidding :)

October 6, 2008 at 5:48 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

@ Bob Wilson...

Bravo Bob! I read about the asteroid and didn't even put the two together!

GREAT potential experience for Zac...


October 6, 2008 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Daryl said...

Wow! Now guns, too!! This will certainly be a best seller. How exciting (and scary). I'm glad Zac is okay. It was all those prayers, I'm sure.

from Iowa

October 6, 2008 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Donna H. said...

Just up and about after having surgery last week. Even in the hospital, Zac, you were so often in my prayers. When I came home and read the last several posts on the blog, I knew without a doubt that God was once again showing us all that He is watching over you and is with you always. Prayers for continued pleasing winds and your safety will be from my heart every time you come to mind, which is quite often throughout the days and nights. God is with you.

Donna H.
North Richland Hills, TX

October 6, 2008 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger Clay said...

Ahoy Zac,

I was away and missed the past few days. Just read about your ordeal.
Lets hope it was a local fishing boat curious about who's in their waters and made sure you where not in distress. Your a cool dude Zac, you be the man.

HELP: Anybody know anything about having Yorkshire Terrior puppies.
My little girl is going to have
pups I wanted to know what to expect. I had talked with a vet, but he won't see her until the day after or if she stuggles after 4 hours. Could you e-mail me if you know something about it. Can't find what I need on google, it's all about breeders and I'm not.
Thank you

October 6, 2008 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger Tomi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 6, 2008 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger Tomi said...

Clay -
Just keep her warm, have fresh water nearby & plenty of towels.
Canine moms are smart, she'll instinctively know what to do. Once the wee ones are born, she'll take care of them, just leave her be - but keep the lot of them warm w/fresh water nearby.

Good luck mate!

October 6, 2008 at 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear all's well. It's great to hear of the challenges with reefs and direction through them, and how you're surviving with no stove. Drag. I teach 7th and 8th grade and they love to hear of your travels and experiences. Do you have a sextant? curious? Bon voyage. Lisa, Costa Mesa & future voyagerin a 36'Beneteau

October 6, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac & Friends,

Didnt check your blog all weekend and glad I didn't because I would have been worried. You did the right thing and all of are proud of your quick actions and also pray to keep you safe. Possibly at your next stop we can get a few cannons for the boat to keep the pirates at bay.

Great idea on getting a cat, we know a guy that lives on his sailboat with a cat and he even taught it how to swim in case of emergency.

Spoke with your mom thru email and im trying to get a package mailed to CA so that it can go out with the team to meet ya on your next leg.

Keep on sailing Capt Zac your doing great!

Matthew in Florida

October 6, 2008 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Sugarbear7 said...

Glad everything is good and you are safe. Also glad you have your 357. Keep it dry and shoot straight!!!!
Good to get a cat also. Great, not only for the company but also for the calming touch both ways.
Take care, smooth sailing.
Hiram, GA

October 6, 2008 at 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 6, 2008 at 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Discovery Island said...

Sorry Zac Pac,
I have no use for cats as I hunted often for birds in Idaho and they were a big killer of the chicks, which often decimated the population.

I have heard stories of boaters who, when in dire need of food, have evidently used them for crab bait. Only evident to others when they returned to port without the cat.

Zac, I would suggest a dog. They are easier to train and it would keep you from being tempted - seeing as you have proved to everyone you are a better sailer than you are a fisherman.


October 6, 2008 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Gleaming Waters said...

It was probably all those large angels surrounding Zac's boat that scared off any priracy plots!
Yeah! God!

October 7, 2008 at 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 8, 2008 at 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you people totally unaware? Carrying a gun on board a boat is enough to get you arrested and thrown in prison in many countries. Telling the world you're carrying one on your boat isn't very wise.

October 8, 2008 at 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO glad that all is well, Zac!! You gave us all a real scare. I'm really happy to hear that you have a fire arm and protective glass. Just one more notch in your sailing belt!

Regarding a boat cat: having lived aboard a boat for years, I have yet to see a cat that was happy staying on board all of the time. Most of them wondered onto other boats, made boat owners mad and ended up in the water, most of them drowning. Sad but true! I don't know how a cat would handle being on board a vessel the size of Intrepid...and wonder how it would handle bad weather. They get sea sick too! I have a cat that gets car sick. Even if it didn't get sick, it would be scared to death. But if you DO get a kitty, better get a covered litter box and secure it! Nothing like wet kitty litter (which is like GLUE by the way and sticks to everything)!! There are other products that can be used beside kitty litter that might be a better solution and easier to clean up. One other thought: What about all the ports that you'll be entering. There will no doubt be quaranteens, different, depending on the port. Certainly not fair to the cat to leave it aboard all the time! ...and what about bringing the cat back into the U.S.? I know when I drive back into California from Mexico, I have to show a rabies certificate which is no big deal but don't know about a cat that's been in many ports, etc...
All things to think about!

Sail safely!
Nancy in Palm Springs

October 8, 2008 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger Piglet said...

I fell a few days behind and I read your parent's message saying you were having serious problems and then I read your message and my heart was in my throat! I am glad you tried everything and stood prepared. I am also glad that the boat finally stopped coming after you. Third world land transportation dangerous and so it looks like is being arouned fishing boats in the third world from reading John's account of these fishing boats. Zac, I hope you don't have to go through anything like this the rest of your journey. Blue skies and good winds.
- Rem San Rafael, CA

October 9, 2008 at 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 10, 2008 at 3:17 AM  
Anonymous Discovery Island said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 10, 2008 at 5:16 AM  
Blogger lita pita said...

oh my freaking gosh, i wouldn't even be able to tell Zac apart from the next guy on the street ( except for the fact that he is exceptionally beautiful :]) but i was so worried when i read he was faced with a potential pirate situation, that my mom had to remind me it was a 5 day old blog and that he was safe now. haha i was freaking out just a little bit. but i guess that is what i get for not keeping up with the blogs better. :]

faithfully praying, Elita

October 11, 2008 at 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is exactly this kind of hysterical and ignorant behaviour that give America and Americans a bad reputation worldwide. You sent distress calls on VHF, HF and sat phone, you pulled a gun and hid behind bullet-proof glass because a boat approached you! Unbelievable! You will get nothing out of cruising if you behave like this.

October 16, 2008 at 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 16, 2008 at 1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 16, 2008 at 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 16, 2008 at 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 16, 2008 at 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 16, 2008 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous ron said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 17, 2008 at 5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see all comments questioning Zac's behavior have been removed.

I guess this will be too!

Zac seriously needs to see the world without phoning mom twice a day. I have sailed across oceans in boats far smaller and less well equipped than Zac's and I have encountered strange vessels looking me over. Trust me, hysterical responses such as those described here are extremely counter productive.

You really have to loose that mind set that you are in a little piece of America to be defended at all costs. Until you do that, you will never leave America.

Good luck!

(to the admin as you delete this - just consider taking a slightly broader view of the world. Good luck.)

October 21, 2008 at 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac
we are a school learning about survival and decided to use you as an example.

We would like to ask you, what was it like being alone and facing pirates?????
If we were you, we would have been petrified!Was it scary for you or did you stay calm and not panic????? Were they armed,if so were you scared?!We all think your really brave.

From Hayfa and Ross

April 21, 2010 at 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a year 6 pupil in a school in England. Our English topic is survival, and your round the world trip in 13 months alone seems to fit in very well. I just read your blog on the pirate boat and I can't imagine how you must of felt. I know that I would be very scared and scream myself to death.I've been sailing before to the Isle of wight, but that was with my family and friends, and also for only one weekend. I thought it was great fun and we're going again this year! I took my small teddy bear, and everyone nick-named him 'Sailor Ted'! You always seem so busy, and I guess your life must be very exciting. I want to have things happening to me every day, but the most exciting things that ever happen to me is going to Art Club every Wednesday! Hope to read your blog again,

April 6, 2011 at 3:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi zac,im a year 6 pupil from long meadow school and our class is learning about survival and your life is a very good example! when you suddenly saw the pirate ship i bet you were terrified!!Reading your life story makes me think what am i going to do when im older... and even though i know that i will never go sailing for 13 months or break a world record,your adventure has made me desperate to go on a very exciting travel when i grow up...I will belooking forward to hearing about your next mission(climbing moun Everest

April 6, 2011 at 3:31 AM  

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