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,


Blogger James said...

Hi Zac. I hope you are successful with getting the two new tillers. May the genoa serve you well on your next leg. Hang in there Zac. Mauritas awaits you!

October 15, 2008 at 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

As I read the linked article on Cocos-Keeling islands, I was infuriated by this statement:

"Remarkably, their rule lasted right up until 1978, when the last "king", also called John Clunies-Ross, was forced to sell the islands to Australia for £2.5m ($4.75m).

He had come under pressure from the Australian Government and its trades unions, as well as the United Nations, none of whom was too enamoured by his feudal regime."

Who do the Aussie Government, their trade unions, and the UN think they are? Did they feel threatened by such a mighty kingdom and worry that it might take over the world? Why didn't they leave the Man alone with his little kingdom? They sound like a bunch of schoolyard bullies who destroyed a man's private paradise just because they had the power to do so and could not bear the thought that there was someone somewhere that was not under their control. What a bunch of oppressive tyrants.

October 15, 2008 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger none said...

Zac's guardian angel is on standby....

October 15, 2008 at 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again Zak and family...

At the risk of sounding like a know it all, I have found after around three hundred thousand miles of blue water sailing around this big ball we all live on, when cruising on any point of sail I NEVER have less than one or two wraps on the roller furling genny.... That way the luff can never pull out of the foil accidently and cause you major grief, especially single handed.. Cheers, Dusty

October 16, 2008 at 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad there are kind people around the world. God puts people in our path to help light the way. Peace to you Zac.


October 16, 2008 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Zac & Everyone,

Thanks again Marianne for the update on Zac's progress. Hopefully everything will work out fine and great job on the genoa sailing Zac. Hopefully you'll find someone to make the two new tillers.

We are looking forward to the MDR Fundraiser on the 26th. I wanted to say Thank You to Marilyn for everything you're doing to coordinated this event. We also need to thank Bill Mann for all his hard work preparing for the Silent Auction that will take place at the fundraiser.

It's great to see the new Zac posters are now available. Hopefully everyone will purchase a few and help the cause.

Zac, enjoy your time on the Island. Eat plenty of food and get that much needed rest your body requires. Remember to take pictures and video whenever possible.

Enjoy the Island,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

October 16, 2008 at 6:03 AM  
Anonymous Axel said...

Hi Zac.
That was a great welcome in CK. Dinner was ready LOL. Are those other boats in the same speed range as Intrepid? It's always good to know that someone you know is around somewhere. Enjoy your stay.

@ Marianne
Don't you charge shipping and handling for the shop items??


October 16, 2008 at 6:05 AM  
Blogger davejb851 said...

As I mentioned yesterday, I took the liberty to contact the "Islander 36 Association", and have already heard back from their Commodore, Ron Damsen.
He, firstly was already aware of Zac's problem, (obviously part of the Zac Pac) and secondly is forwarding my letter of inquiry to all members of his association.

Zac, be safe in your efforts, and hopefully we'll locate a new boom for you somewhere.

Again, and I know this is possible! Zac Pac'ers should....either contribute to the L.A. fundraiser or somehow direct funds towards the replacement boom. And thank you in advance.

October 16, 2008 at 6:25 AM  
Anonymous lisa said...

Hey Zac,

Well, your almost home!!! WOW!!! I wish I could be there to celebrate on the 26th of October, but I am in Kentucky, so it doesnt look probable, haha!

Zac, you are simply amazing and it has been a pleasure to travel around the globe with you!!!


October 16, 2008 at 7:02 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

It is so heart warming to hear of all the people around the world, near and far, who are reaching out to help Zac accomplish his amazing quest.

He has won the hearts of so many, and deservably so.

Good thoughts and prayers to you daily.

Tucson, AZ

October 16, 2008 at 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

Angels are truly everywhere! How wonderful to be greeted by the three other boaters to C/K and enjoy a nice meal with them. How nice that you'll be sailing in tandem with them on to Mauritus. It'll be nice to have some company to talk to over the radio, I bet.

I wish you luck in acquiring the new tiller (x2); definitely good to have a back-up. Ah, the things we learn "by doing."

So, we're approaching the half-way point of the journey. My Replogle Globe is getting turned little by little. Many thanks to those teachers long ago who taught me about longitude/latitude and identifying my coordinates.

The poster/print displayed and now for sale is absolutely beautiful. I love the photo, the layout, and am grateful for that "anonymous" blogger who helped to make it possible for us to purchase. Many thanks!

@ Mark and Adino in Mississippi:
I so enjoy reading your posts. You have a beautiful, melodic way of expressing yourself. While, I know that your words are intended for Zac; please know that I find them a lesson in patience, fortitude, faith, love, and perseverence. Your words are a reminder to me just how much we learn about ourselves and others on the journey we know as life. Good stuff!

All the best to everyone!
Melanie in Torrance

October 16, 2008 at 9:33 AM  
OpenID rklein said...

Hi Zac,

What a wonderful greeting for you on the Islands. That must have raised your spirits. Sounds like a good decision to sail jib-only rather than attempt a repair which may fail and cause more problems.
How much will that slow you down? How well will the Intrepid point with the genoa only?

But now enjoy Paradise!
All the best

For those who wonder what time it is at Zac current and future locations, check this page:
This page shows the current time for C/K and all the ports he plans to visit.

October 16, 2008 at 10:05 AM  
OpenID rklein said...

Sorry, the link above is not working, but the url is valid. Just copy and paste it.

October 16, 2008 at 10:11 AM  
OpenID rklein said...

Sorry, I have to make another comment about my kink to the clocks of Zac's future ports. I listed Saint-Denis on Reunion rather than Port-Louis in Mauritius, but they are close together and have the same time.


October 16, 2008 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger STEVE B said...


I hope you enjoy the unique opportunity to visit Cocos-Keeling. Hope your time in the Islands is relaxing.

Birmingham, AL

October 16, 2008 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Gleaming Waters said...

Really enjoyed the link telling of the Cocos-Keeling Islands. Ever since I read of Joshua Slocum's visit there (Sailing Alone Around the World) in 1966, I have wanted to see it for myself. I envy Zac! It's not too late, and in the meantime I will be content on 'my own' Island, Santa Catalina!
God speed you and keep you, Zac!

October 16, 2008 at 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding broken stuff on Intrepid...Helen Keller, the famous blind author and speaker, said : "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. Silver is purified in fire and so are we. It is in the most trying times that our real character is shaped and revealed."
Keep on keeping most of the water outside the boat Zak, you'll be back in LA in no time. Dave in Tacoma, WA

October 16, 2008 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Hi Zac and fellow Zac Pac!

Well done Zac! Wonderful to hear you've found some new friends there in C/K, I bet you'll enjoy the company to Mauritas!

Good luck in your search for a new boom, I'm happy that you have chosen that route, as new is usually better esp. on your next leg. As for the tiller glad you are purchasing 2! I have an aluminum tiller on "Wombat" any reason you prefer wood (wood tillers are much nicer to look at for sure LOL)?

Just about at the half way point!! I am thrilled for you. Did you think you would make such good time?

A nice down wind sail to Mauritis sounds wonderful! Hopefully the wind will be just as you need it to be, no more, no less.

As said before, I am pretty sad I won't make the fundraiser. NY is a long way from LA :( I would love to meet all of you; we have a special group, how blessed we all are.

@ Zac's family, Thank you for sharing your remarkable young man. What an adventure!

@ Glen, thanks for the email, your English is very good!
con su ayuda mi Sapnish mejorará. gracias.

@ Debbie, loved your note too, I think we'll have to plan to meet sometime....come to NY we'll take you sailing!

@ Mark & Andio, love your posts, very thoughtful and inspiring, thanks <><

@ The Zac Pac......what a community coming together for a special purpose, and at the same time lifting each other up. Blessings to all of you.

Sail on Captain Zac
Angels area about you
Worry looks around
Sorry looks back
Faith looks up

Hugs From New York State
Captain SV "Wombat"
Avid Zac fan!

October 16, 2008 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Welcker Family said...

Nice article in the times

You're doing great Zac! Almost halfway there! Woo Hoo!

October 16, 2008 at 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Georgia said...

hey Zac!
what your doing is amazing truely inspiring!
be safe.

October 16, 2008 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Clay said...

Sounds like Zac will be tracking leeward for awhile. He is in the most beautiful part of the world.

I agree with anonymous KG

that there are kind people around the world. God puts people in our path to help light the way. Peace to you Zac.

October 16, 2008 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

What a wonderful greeting at Cocos Keeling! It will be reassuring to know you will have sailing companions as you sail to Mauritius.

I don't blame you for wanting 2 tillers. I'm sure that was pure torture repairing your broken tiller in those conditions. What a trooper!

Two thousand six hundred and forty miles without a boom sounds like a long haul. Yet it sounds like Intrepid can manage fairly well as is.

I'm wondering if your new sailing friends have any 'pets' on board. I do hope if you decide on a cat, that you never, never go into the water to 'save' it if it is silly enough to go overboard. Perhaps a long fishing net to attempt a save it good enough. Kitties are like rabbits. There are always more than enough of them. There is only one Zac; although maybe later...a little mini-Zac....and Zacette? Who knows! My own 'Mama' cat had 25 of those offspring before I finally got her to the vet to put a stop to it. Someone was always letting that cat get out!

Steves comment was chilling. He made good comments; however:

Mark Twain quote...
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Praying always for you safety**

Becky in Colorado
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫

October 16, 2008 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Wow. Glad to hear that you are getting a couple of new tillers made. Make sure that they are made of the correct wood. To the people here at the Zac Pac that don't know, the tiller is usually designed to break before the rudder so that under heavy loads it goes instead of the all important rudder.
Zac as far as trying to go on without a mainsail because of a bent boom think that decision over again. I know that you think that it is just down wind to the next port but it has been my experience that the winds don't always cooperate. You may need a mainsail to work to weather at some point. Maybe have a "boom bending party" with the other cruisers. Put the boom between two palm trees and have everyone pull it back straight. If you can get it close to straight, Splint it with 2x4s on each side of the kink and lash or bolt it all together. Put the mainsail back on the boom in a double reef position and at least you will have some kind of sail to use.
Sailboat cruisers are very creative. Someone there should have an idea for a temporary fix.


October 16, 2008 at 10:27 PM  
Anonymous JiffyLube said...

I think it's great that Zac will have the company of other cruisers to the Mauritas, as that will make the next leg much less loney and safer.

A person doesn't expect a tiller to brake as much as a wheel system, but on a voyage like this an emergency tiller is a must. I have an emergency tiller that I had special made for my wheel system, just for such a situation as zac had. I will probably never need to use it, but if I do I'm covered...I call it insurance.

Thank you for all the updates Marianne, and I'm looking forward to seeing the daily positions on Google Earth showing Zac'z course to the Cocos-Keeling.

October 16, 2008 at 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Tim Harding said...

Hi Zac

What a great post from Rusty!

A double reefed mainsail and repaired boom definately sounds like a good idea and safer than no mainsail at all.

Being a landlubber I'd missed the point of the tiller being designed to fail to protect the rudder. Thanks Rusty!

Sail on safely,


October 17, 2008 at 1:21 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Zac & Everyone,

Hopefully you're enjoying the Island and also getting some much needed repairs done. Have a great time on the Island and please eat some good warm food while you're still on land.

Wishing you all the best with Intrepid and her repairs. Please don't forget, Take Pictures & Video.

R & R, Rest & Repair,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

October 17, 2008 at 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rusty claimed

>To the people here at the Zac Pac
>that don't know, the tiller is
>usually designed to break before the
>rudder so that under heavy loads it
>goes instead of the all important

Can you provide a single citation to substantiate that statement or do you just make things up as you go ?

-Sven in MDR

October 17, 2008 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Daveh said...

Man, if you didn't read the link o the history of Cocos that Marianne provided, be sure to read it, great little read, wild story actually....


October 17, 2008 at 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Good Morning all..
Looks like Zac is busy tending to repairs and hopefully getting some good food and rest..

I have to share my amazing experience last night to see the "OLDEST PROFMER "Miss Tina Turner" Oh My..what a show..2hrs and 45 min. of this amazing woman well into her 60's tearing up the stage at the L.A Staples Center..

So now it's 11:00pm on a Thursday evening and we hit the 101 for our 2hr. ride home and I'm thinking..i just watched the oldest woman perform on the same day i received my Zac shirt from the youngest to sail the's good..
much love to Zac and family... so looking forward to the 26th.

October 17, 2008 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger winehiker said...

I agree 100% with Rusty. At least *attempt* to fix the boom. If it's bent, have someone drive a jeep over it. If it's broken, take a hacksaw and clean up the ends. Find a suitable piece of steel about 0.75-1m long (2'-3') or aluminium to fit inside the 2 boom extrusions and then secure it with 4 10mm (3/8") bolts. It should be almost as strong as the original but to be safe reef the main to reduce forces. There are no doubt some resourceful individuals around.

As many sailors out there already know, there is a huge difference in how the boat handles on a reach with the force vector from the main *behind* the boat's center of gravity/center of bouyancy. While I agree that the Genoa or even a spinaker will work fine on a run - all bets are off if the wind shifts or you encounter rough weather/squalls etc. Be safe. Fix the boom.



October 17, 2008 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger winehiker said...

I agree 100% with Rusty. At least *attempt* to fix the boom. If it's bent, have someone drive a jeep over it. If it's broken, take a hacksaw and clean up the ends. Find a suitable piece of steel about 0.75-1m long (2'-3') or aluminium to fit inside the 2 boom extrusions and then secure it with 4 10mm (3/8") bolts. It should be almost as strong as the original but to be safe reef the main to reduce forces. There are no doubt some resourceful individuals around.

As many sailors out there already know, there is a huge difference in how the boat handles on a reach with the force vector from the main *behind* the boat's center of gravity/center of bouyancy. While I agree that the Genoa or even a spinaker will work fine on a run - all bets are off if the wind shifts or you encounter rough weather/squalls etc. Be safe. Fix the boom.



October 17, 2008 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Daveh said...

I’m sorry, but I just can’t believe some of the suggestions for this boom situation that I’m hearing…. From bending it back between two coconut trees and driving a jeep over it. Are you guys serious???

IF that boom is to be used in ANY manner, the “less” it is bent back the better. Most know that bending back will very often only weaken it further, especially if you get it very close to its original angle. Everyone knows that if you bend it too close back, or forbid past, it’s worthless metal at that point.

Using simple flat metal (vs. I-beam, or 90 degree angles) will not work, flat metal of ANY substance will bend in a heartbeat under moderate load.

Check out the wind forecast that I’ve posted on for the next week. These are trades that blow like this this-time-of-year, year after year after year, for 1000’s of years. If you have a low resolution monitor, you might have to scroll to the right to see Cocos Keeling.

However, this is a nearly dead down wind sail…..17

Yes, having some type of a main setup is a good precaution, even though not likely to be needed. Trades have blown the same for 1,000’s, of years and a squall is TEMPORARY. Note – how many squalls has Zac encountered during his last two legs? That would be just one…

However, I do agree, having a boom that could sustain “light-loads” would be a good idea, however, even the amount and size of any potential holes for fastener’s needs to be very carefully thought through.

A suggestion of “sleeving” the boom with a larger boom would be good, this would allow many of the existing boom connections (yoke, sail, cunningham, vang, topping lift, etc…) all to still be used because the old boom is sitting inside the new-larger boom. Inside sleeving is good too, but is often quite challenging.

Additionally, more needs to be inspected and potentially repaired other than simply the boom.

I would suspect that if the jibe was bad enough to bend the boom, then other items received MAX LOAD too, I would suggest a very thorough check of all the standing rigging, chain-plates, mast-head (topping lift if Zac has one) and the yoke where the boom connects to the mast, probably wouldn't hurt to inspect the vang depending on his setup... I believe in hydraulic vangs but always had a 6 to 1 old school block setup.

Also, the main probably took some serious load also, I'd consider a close inspection to prevent a head, clew, or tack blow out, check the luff, leach and foot closely too...

Sorry, but I felt compelled to share my $0.02

Daveh aka Dave Hickson

October 17, 2008 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

I have posted two additional images on

One is the wind forecast for S. Africa, where a SOLID boom is absoltely needed. I'm sure another very thorough check out of Intrepid will occur in Mauritius for the leg to S. Africa.

And I re-posted the 'wind-currents" images from several months ago for those who didn't see it back then...


October 17, 2008 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Porters said...

DUDE you are a BEAST! I read about you in God's World News. I'm homeschooled too, but have never been on a "field trip" like the one you're on. How cool! Keep up the good work. I'll be praying for you.
Cameron, SC, USA - age 11

October 17, 2008 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

Cool pic!

Bloggers check my blog!

October 17, 2008 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger adriana said...

hey zac glad you got to cocos safely , adriana

October 17, 2008 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...


I love to read your posts, even though I don't understand a word about the technical parts of the boat. You just seem so knowledgeable and logical.

I'd vote to follow your suggestions!

Woodland Hills

October 17, 2008 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

Hi Marilyn -

It's not really a vote, everyone here has a right to share their ideas and thoughts, but I was just trying to add some color to the boom situation.

However, I do appreciate your "vote"[laughing}

Take care,

October 17, 2008 at 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you just love all the care and concern, that is shown on here for Zac and his boom predicament.
He can't help but be 100% ok with all the knowledge and expertise that is shared.
And Daveh.....I always call you Davah in my head, when I read your comments....But I see you are Dave Hickson!
Thus Daveh.
You'll always be Davah to me!

UK friend

October 17, 2008 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

If you think I comment to much comment on my blog.

October 17, 2008 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

@ UK Friend -

Thanks, I laughed at your post... For a while, people thought that I was a woman (Daveh as is close to Dania or something) and they thought that Skipper (my Dr. of Clinical Psychology) was a dude, so when people looked at our picture, they were 180 off, very funny..

Zac and the Sunderland’s are great people, as all of us that follow Zac and that are sharing our ideas, opinions, and excitement, whether we always agree or not, this is a great community and I very much enjoy reading every post by every person, even when I may not agree 100%, I can appreciate everyone's perspective.

That is unless the perspective and objective is totally negative and derogatory and downright ugly….


Daveh / Dave Hickson / Daveh and Skipper

October 17, 2008 at 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...


October 17, 2008 at 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Hi Zac and Team Sunderland,

I can't imagine your stress level right now even though we've arrived on paradise island. I'm so sorry the boom when boom and the tiller cracked like a bat. (How do you like my technical terms?)


So impressed with your technical expertise. As a non sailor, it all sounds greek to me. I'm glad that we're all experts on something, although mine is not sailing. (Ask me about autism). I find that not only am I learning from Zac, but also from you. Thanks for the lessons. I'll just keep praying as it's all I can offer.


October 17, 2008 at 9:14 PM  

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