Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

G'day to all,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and and looking forward to a good new year. This has been a very exciting year for us at home base. The Point Yacht Club in Durban has been very hospitable to Zac, with many new friends and some great help. That has always been the case as he has pulled in across the globe; Hawaii Yacht Club in Honolulu, Meico Beach Yacht Club in Majuro, Royal Papua Yacht Club in Port Moresby, Darwin Sailing Club in Australia, Grande Baie Yacht Club in Mauritius and even our own Westlake Yacht Club here in Thousand Oaks. Zac will soon be looking for that all important weather window to see him through to Cape Town. For those who know and are familiar with this part of the world there is an appreciation and respect for the importance of weather on Zac's next leg. It is good that Zac is enjoying a break and preparing Intrepid for her trip home.
Reflecting back on the year, it has certainly given me a few gray hairs, some sorrow and also a great deal of joy. When Zac bought his yacht with his savings nearly a year ago now, I knew that the refit and modifications needed to turn this rather tired looking sailboat into the blue-water cruising yacht that you know as Intrepid, would take a massive effort. Not only by myself, but from friends, family and experts in the field. In short, we needed a miracle. We are greatly indebted to those that came alongside and helped. What was never written about were the hours that Zac, Mike and I worked during the last month of prep. There simply weren't enough hours in the day. And then there was the delay to theinitial departure date of two weeks due to an unresolved engine issue. We decided to replace it with a new one that was partially sponsored by Boatswain's Locker.

Zac bringing Nantucket Sleigh Ride aka Intrepid up from Long Beach Harbor

It was at that time that I received the crushing news that my mentor and old running coach died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Had the situation been different, I would have been back on a plane to the UK to pay my respects and celebrate his life with those that were closest to him. Paul Hart took three ordinary young boys and turned them into the finest athletes of their time . I sat a long time on a hill in the wilderness contemplating the effects Paul had on my life - not wanting to come to terms with his death, but also realizing that any more delays to Zac's project could cost him the trip. I knew we had to push on despite the sad loss of a dear friend.

What a great send off for all those present at the Marina Del Rey Boat Show on that sunny June 14, 2008. Such excitement and jubilant farewells! I was very relieved, excited, proud and sad...a huge effort had been made and now it was up to Zac.

The newly refitted Intrepid departs Marina del Rey
I know that during those early days there were many that were unsure of Zac's abilities. But as the Zac Pak and readers looked on, Zac silenced those critics and impressed others with his ability to handle the adversities that faced him. Remember the communication break down before entering the Torres Strait, the imposing vessel off of Indonesia (we will never know what they were doing), the broken tiller, boom, gales and many other challenges along the way.

Through all this there have been those that have prayed for Zac's safety and for that we are surely indebted.

Though the trip is far from over, there will be more challenges that Zac will have to face as his voyage home unfolds. I would like to thank all of you that support, encourage, pray and read this blog.

May you all have a truly fabulous new year!



Anonymous Karyn in Simi said...

Happy New Year to all the Sunderlands, and Zac Packers! May you all be blessed with healthy, happy and loving new year!

Zac, thank you for your very kind email, it is good to hear you are enjoying Durban. I just watched Dove, the movie, tonight and am reminded of all the challenges you have in front of you as well as behind. Be safe, and I am proud to have done any small part in helping your dream come true!

Karyn in Simi

December 31, 2008 at 10:04 PM  
Anonymous JiffyLube said...

Happy New year to Zac and family.

2008 has indeed been an unusual year, not only for Zac but for the world as a whole.

What new an exciting events will be in store for us all in 2009? Who knows, but I'm hoping it's better than 2008!

I've been following Zac's adventures since he first left MDR (can't believe it's been that long ago), so I guess I'm hooked for the duration.

Good luck to all, and a Happy New Year!

December 31, 2008 at 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read this with tears in my eyes, I wish God's blessings on you and your family and all of the Zac Pac. May 2009 be a good year for us all.
Marnie MV/CA

December 31, 2008 at 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Jeffry said...

Cheers and Happy New Year-

Southern Comfort III


December 31, 2008 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...


Thanks very much for a splendid summary of Zac's Adventure and the update.

It's now a New Year with new challenges for us all, but we're all still right here in the "Amen Corner".

It seems hardly possible that it's been 6.5 months since we began tagging along on this trip. Time really does fly when you're having fun! ... and someone else is doing the heavy lifting.

Best Wishes for the New Year to all !!

The Croaker

January 1, 2009 at 1:06 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Well done Laurence; Thank you and Happy New Year to all!!
Anita Miracle
Waterloo, NY

January 1, 2009 at 2:03 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

To Laurence and Marianne,

As a parent, I can only imagine the colors of the feelings you have endured thru the past half year since Zac has taken off from MDR...fear, pride, exilaration,'s quite a mish-mosh of emotion!

Being an observer for this journey has been a privlege, so thank you and Zac for sharing.

My sailing daughter and her father saw Zac off from MDR; we can't wait to share in his return...perhaps in a regata????

Happy New Year to Team Zac, and to all the Zac Packers!

January 1, 2009 at 2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Laurence for your update.
What a fitting end to the 'old' year and a a great welcome to the 'new' year.
It is good to reflect and then it is even better to move forward.

It has been a completely new experience for me to follow a blog so intensely and to care so much about the people involved.

You all have a special place in my heart.

A very Happy, Healthy, Fulfilling and Peace filled New Year to all and all my Zacpac friends.

UK friend

January 1, 2009 at 2:51 AM  
Blogger Billabong Blog said...

Happy New Year to ALL.

Best wishes for a fantastic 2009!!


January 1, 2009 at 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to the world. Zac you are a part of the new events of the world starting this day. Know that many are watching you and your family for the professional way that you have handled the successes and the problems. Even in the problems people can see the way your family pulls together. Know that we are with you in this experience and are wishing you the best. May your wisdom be seen is all that you do.
Happy New Year


January 1, 2009 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger HJS said...

Zac, we are absolutely confident that you will FINISH THE COURSE through bad weather, breakdowns, and discouragement. Since the test of your character is what it takes to stop you, we know you've got what it takes! Hang in there! Your friends--the Sala family

January 1, 2009 at 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laurence,Marianne, kids-
Happy New year to you in Thousand Oaks. And thanks for the uplifting look back at Zac's incredible journey. Sail on, Zac!
Kodiak Mike

January 1, 2009 at 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac is a extraordinary young man which seems only fitting with parents like you two. Best wishes for a safe, and perhaps less eventful, remainder of the trip.

January 1, 2009 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger Berry Blog said...

No doubt your mentor, had he been able to tell you, would have encouraged you to keep on keeping on with this wonderful project with the Zacster.

I am terribly curious now how far up the African Coast he will go before crossing the Atlantic. Will he do the canal or go round both capes?
Maybe I'll find that answer somewhere in the posts I'm catching up on today.
-Charlie in Maine
Bless you all in the New Year.

January 1, 2009 at 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac, Laurence, Marianne, and all brothers and sisters,

A very Happy and Blessed New Year to you !!!!! What a blessing and privilege it has been and is to be a Zac Paker from the very first day. I look forward to early morning as I get to start my day by praying for each one of you including Intrepid. I am frequently reminded of the Biblical accounts of all of Paul's time at sea and in port and all that the Lord taught him and brought him. The same is true for our Zac, eh?!

May you all have sunny days and fair winds and may you feel the support of those of us out here loving the involvement in such a courageous adventure.

Lovingly and In His Service,
Bend, OR

January 1, 2009 at 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, just an idea.

Wouldn't it be fun for each of us around the world who are Zac Pakers to put on our Zac t-shirt if we have one or just a shirt if we don't, take a digital picture of ourself and send it to Marianne and Laurence to assemble for Zac as a rememberance always of who was out here supporting.

Marianne, is this something you might want, or is it too overwhelming to think about right now.

Just a thought, Kathy, Bend, OR

January 1, 2009 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Happy New Year Zac, Team Sunderland, Zac Packers, and all bloggers.
May 2009 be the best year ever.
Bob in OKC

January 1, 2009 at 9:06 AM  
Anonymous The Kittiwake Kids said...

A Happy and Blessed 2009 to Zac and all. Thank you Laurence for a peek into your heart.

January 1, 2009 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger PBSTAR said...

During or before your journey have you spoke with Robin L. Graham (the first 16 year old to circumnavigate the globe solo in a sailboat)? or read his book "dove"?

January 1, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Scot said...


Thank YOU for letting us in on this adventure. It's been a real ride. I've felt the spray, the wind, the no-wind, the tension, the nerves, the emotion, the ups and the downs just being a reader.

I was sorry to hear about your dear friend and mentor. How sad he didn't get to be a part of this all, I'm sure he would have been (or is) one of Zac's biggest supporters. He's probably had a wing over Zac and been speaking to him this whole time.

May the new year see a smooth and safe trip home.

And a happy new year to all.

Scot Roberts

January 1, 2009 at 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

Thank you, Laurence, for your wonderful post and allowing us to be a part of Zac's inspiring journey. Happy New Year to you, your family and everyone.

Dick & Gin

January 1, 2009 at 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are all praying for wisdom for you for each decision everyday ....and safety for the New Year ahead .
God's speed to you !
the Grants in NH

January 1, 2009 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Fulgum said...

Happy New Year to the entire Sunderland family and all the Zac Packers all over the world!

An ambitious 2009 awaits!



January 1, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Anonymous CindyinCincy said...

Best wishes to all for a healthy and happy 2009! CindyinCincy

January 1, 2009 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Tomi said...

Ditto to the previous posters' comments.

I like Kathy's idea of doing an group collage of all of we ZacPac'ers in our shirts. Great idea!

May this new Gregorian calendar year bring us all what our hearts truly desire.

Happy New Year Y'all!

Warm Fuzzy Hugs!

January 1, 2009 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger STEVE B said...

Even though I have read the blog as the events around Zac's trip unfolded it is still amazing to me when I read Laurence's summary. I remain grateful that Zac, Team Sunderland and even the Zac Pak have taken the time to share Zac's Adventure on this blog. The adventure has truly caused me some heart stopping moments, a lot of concern and even more levity and laughter.

Here is hoping for a very happy and succesful 2009.

Steve B
Birmingham, AL

January 1, 2009 at 6:05 PM  
Anonymous Grant Fjermedal said...

Great post from Laurence. It provided some great backstory for the voyage.

Meanwhile ... Mike Perham after taking a month off to troubleshoot his autopilot, has resumed his journey. (

He left the Canary Islands off the top of Africa a few days ago and is approaching Cape Verde.

The big worry is that his autopilot is acting up again. Seems he should pull into Cape Verde, but being a young kid eager to see the world, he's just posted an update saying he's continuing onward.

Cape Town, his next logical pit stop is 4,500 miles away. Suppose if the AP goes out, and if he's not able to install a backup while at sea, he could hove-to for naps, but I'm not sure how a hotrod boat like his would hove-to (which means to park for the night, nose headed into the wind.)

Got to love these crazy kids. Let's hope the gremlins don't show again in his autopilot, but it is sure going to add a background element of suspense to every blog posting he does.

Zac's boat -- quite humble compared to the racing machine Mike is using -- is much better off because he has a far simpler autopilot system, and if that were to go out he has a great Windvane system to handle the automated helming for him.

Mike's boat is made to surf at crazy speeds -- more than 20 knots in a strong wind -- which means that an old fashioned wind vane for steering wouldn't work. (In comparison it would be surprising if Zac saw boat speeds much more than 10 knots down wind, though if he were coming down a big wave it could certainly bounce beyond there.

Fairly soon Zac and Mike will be sharing the South Atlantic Ocean, let's hope that they both do well and have safe journeys all the way home.

-- Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

January 1, 2009 at 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Thanks so much for the update, Lawrence. A very happy and healthy new year to you, your family, Zac’s support crews around the world, and the Zac Packers. So much looking forward to this year – following Zac’s adventure on his way home. Take good care, all. Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

January 2, 2009 at 6:21 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Happy New Year,

I hope everyone reading this had a great New Years. I wanted to say Thank You to Laurence for another great post. It's a great way to end 2008 and start an exciting 2009.

This last last year I'm sure has been one of many changes for the Sunderland family. I never thought that Zac would ever have so much prayer and support for what he's currently going. It's always great to hear from everyone who loves what Zac is doing and also the huge commitment from the whole family. Your whole family sets a great family example of how all family members should love and support each other.

This next year will see many changes and challenges. I wish our country and the global economy the same success that Zac is currently experiencing with his sailing challenges. Many though it was impossible but with prayer, support, and friends anything can be achieved.

Zac is setting a great example of setting goals for yourself and achieving them no matter the obstacles he faces. We all could learn something from this 17 year old young man named Zac Sunderland.

I wish Zac and the entire Sunderland family a great New Year. I'm hoping this year will be remembered your entire lives as the year of so many challenges and so many major accomplishments achieved. I can't wait to see how this year turns out.

Find that Window Zac,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

January 2, 2009 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Happy New Year to Zac and family; also to all the 'bloggers' and ZacPac! It certainly has come in like a lion for me. Hopefully it will go out like a lamb.

I will check the blog before I leave. I must travel east for a few days, so I know I will have Zac Blog withdrawal symptoms; probably asking everyone if I can use their computer to check on you Zac!

I hope you have a safe and uneventful journey if you have the opportunity to set sail toward Cape Town.

I also read Mike's blogs and am sending prayers his way as well. I do think it would be pretty darn cool if they could meet while at Cape Town! Yes I do!

It is wonderful that you have met so many people at the yacht clubs and other places along the way, Zac. I know I would be honored to meet you, even if it was just to hand you a sandwich or offer to do your laundry. I envy those who get the chance to meet you as you make your way around the world. I bet it is hard to say good-bye to them when you have to depart. So many people, so little time!

Doin' fine in 2009!

Sal mubarak!

January 2, 2009 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger MindWalker said...

Zac, Marianne and Laurence -

All previous comments say everything that I could wish for your New Year. Obviously, you Sunderlands are not only respected, but loved by so very many people world-wide.

That place in our hearts is not just for this year; know it's for the lifetimes of all Zac Packers.

Laurence - I so share the heart you experienced at your loss last year. I, too, lost a mentor just a few months ago. Interesting, isn't it, how much another person can shape so much of our being, often without our awareness.

Should you care, I wrote of my beloved teacher here:

January 2, 2009 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Happy New Year Zac and Sunderlands and Zac Packers!!

I have wonderful memories of the last 6 months with Zac, and I am excited about his journey home.I can't wait to see him when he enters Marina Del Rey's harbor this year!!

Thank you Laurence for the nice blog reminding us all of Zac's wonderful accomplishments, and I am so sorry to hear of the loss of you beloved coach!

Love you all!! Prayers and Best Wishes headed your way as always Zac!!

North Hills, CA

January 2, 2009 at 11:34 AM  
Anonymous EmilyAnne said...

Hey Zac! Hope you had an awesome new year and may many great adventures come your way!

Lots of hugs and can't wait to hear from you soon!

Fayetteville, NC

January 2, 2009 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Simba said...

A very HAppy New Year to you Zac, your family and all the Zac Packers
from the Indian Ocean.

Birgit from Rodrigues

January 2, 2009 at 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Mark Sims, Simi Valley, Calif. said...

Any plans to hook up or communicate with Mike Perham as you both journey around Africa at the same time?

January 3, 2009 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Daveh said...

Grant - Great post... As you know I've been traveling with the kids for the holidays....

Agree with your comments, hope Mike's AP stops being a problem and that he and Zac have fair weather and conditions in the Southern Ocean... May God bless you Zac

Just finished flying a 1933 biplane and spending a day on The Bounty in St. Pete, made the kids watch Mutiny On The Bounty last night... Interesting......

May 2009 be a better year for all...

Daveh & Skipper

January 3, 2009 at 3:39 PM  
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July 30, 2010 at 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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April 6, 2011 at 6:07 AM  

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