Saturday, January 31, 2009

Repairs, Racing and Rest

We've been busy working here with not much time to do a lot of sight seeing yet. The repairs have been going well. We've got a couple guys working on the boat oiling the wood and getting the outside of the boat looking good. The best part is they work for the equivalent of $12 a day and they do a great job. Other than cleaning up Intrepid we've replaced the water pump, fixed a bilge pump, run a new halyard, fixed the life lines, patched up the main and a bunch of other stuff that I can't think of right now.
Jen and I went racing on Wednesday with Erik Bjerring at the Royal Cape Yacht Club Wednesday night races. It was pretty full with the wind blowing in the 30s and with that pushing kites! We ended up broaching and breaking the pole and a stanchion but we had a good race over all.
Last night I met up with my old friend Jed whom I had met while he was cruising with his father at Cocos Keeling. Dad and I went out to dinner with Jed and his mom and then chilled on my boat while our parents stayed at the restaurant and talked about us! It was great to see him again. We are going to a concert on Sunday so it should be good times.

This is Dad's last week here so hopefully we will get out to see some of the sights. Mike Perham is due to arrive tomorrow morning for a short repair stop. We should hook up somehow.

I've got to go finish sorting out the lazy jacks but I'll update you soon.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cape Town Update - Dad

Photos courtesy of Jen Edney ©2009

Entering Cape Town Harbor

Off of Table Mountain

Cape Town Harbor

Karl Maenz, husband of Mimille Maenz (on the left) a blogger from Switzerland visiting his friend (on the right) Henk Dubruyn here in Cape Town.
It's been nearly a week since I arrived in South Africa to meet up with Zac. I think I can safely say that I am not the only one relieved to have Zac in port at the V & A Marina here on the waterfront in Cape Town - compliments of Wiltel Marine. Fortunately, as you know, the trip from Durban to Cape Town was quite uneventful weatherwise - just the way we like it. Special thanks to David Morris, Rob Jordan, Bryan Mitchell and my beautiful wife for their expertise and diligence with watching the weather. The Clearpoint High Definition Weather proved invaluable during these legs.
Zac had met many great, helpful and friendly folks as he made his way around from Durban to CT. Rounding Point Agulhas Intrepid slowed to 2 knots battering into headwinds and counter current. Zac tacked SW to give himself a better angle on the wind as it was predicted to shift in his favor to help bring him around Danger Point and the Cape of Good Hope. And yes we all had good hope as we went out to meet him. I drove down to Point Agulhas to see Intrepid as she passed by but unfortunately Zac was far out to sea. The following day I headed for Cape of Good Hope and saw Intrepid having a delightful sail in 10-15 knots with flat seas. Although later that changed to 30 knots. Later that day I hooked up with Geoff from Wiltel Marine who took us out in Bavaria 33 to meet Zac. Eric Bjerring had been in contact with us for some time following Zac's progress and invited Zac to moor Intrepid at the docks in the V & A Marina. Willie Truter managing director along with all of the staff at Wiltel Marine have been very generous and accommodating. Zac will be racing with Erik from Wiltel on the Wednesday night races which he is looking forward to.
A quick survey of the vessel above and below the waterline has left us with about a week of repairs to do before Zac heads out into the Atlantic. I'll give details of these on my return to the US. Time is pushing and I should have been down on Intrepid one hour ago but wanted to say g'day to all.

Monday, January 26, 2009

All the Way Around (the Cape)

Latest Position: V & A Marina, Cape Town South Africa

I pulled in to Cape Town last night at about 9pm. The trip from Mossel Bay was good compared to the stories I had heard of what this coast is known for. When I rounded Cape Agulhas I started tacking and didn't stop till the final run in to Cape Town. I could not seem to find much wind that wasn't on the nose. However, the winds were the least of my worries. The shipping was my main concern with the best part of 20 to 30 ships passing me each day. I was constantly altering course and hailing them on the radio so we would pass clear of each other. After a couple sleepless nights I was about 70 miles from the break water on the morning before I finally arrived. The part of the harbor where Intrpeid is moored is called the V & A Waterfront. It is a new deveopment in Cape Town and is very nice. In order to get into this area of the harbor I had to pass under 2 swing bridges. Swing bridges are bridges that swing open to let you pass through. In Cape Town Harbor the bridge operators stop swinging at 10pm so I had to make a 6 something knot average in order to get in on time. I was messing with the sails all day trying to make the best of the dying and shifting winds and in the end I just made it, but not easily. I was going past Table Mountain about 15 miles from the breakwater with full sail up and about 10 to 15 knots behind me when I suddenly got slammed by 30 knots. In a couple seconds Intrepid rounded up into the wind. I put a couple of reefs in the main and pulled in some genny and was off again only to have the wind die off again as I got closer. Just as I was coming into the harbor I had 25 on the nose so it was quite a finish!
It was good to see Jen and Dad and get caught up on things at home. We had a late dinner and I just crashed on the boat.
It is good to get in and Cape Town seems like a real nice place. I'm still a bit wasted from the sleepless nights so I'll let you know how the repairs go as they go.
We did hear from Mike Perham's father and he was very friendly. I don't know about the publicist's comments but we are good to go and may have a quiet drink together before Mike speeds off to the Southern Ocean.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cape Town at Last

Hello All,
Been a busy day for all of the Sunderlands today.
I had only a brief call from Zac letting me know that he made it in to Cape Town riding in on a nice 25 knots from the south which was great until he tried to head south into Cape Town Harbor when the wind became (not again!) on the nose!
He was met at sea by Laurence, Jen and Geoff Tregaskis, who was kind enough to take them out in one of his Bavaria 33s to meet Zac off of the harbor.
They took Zac to a late dinner and everyone went home until tomorrow.
Laurence's internet service at the hotel is down - surprise! Will have to wait for more news perhaps tonight.
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. It is a day to remember for sure!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rounding Cape #2 - Good Hope

Latest Position: 01/24/09 0428Z 34 50.371S 18 44.283E
Spoke with a very tired but happily sailing Zac this evening/his morning. After another night of shifting winds and insane shipping he is expecting to arrive in Cape Town early this evening all being well. He has to get in before 10pm while the 2 swing bridges that need to be opened to enter the V & A Marina are still manned. If he can't make it in before then he'll stop in Hout Bay about 25 miles south of Cape Town Harbor.
Many thanks to Rob Jordan, Bryan Mitchell, Erik Bjerring and David Morris for their tireless efforts and odd houred phone calls and emails giving their experienced routing advice and weather info.
It has been a long passage for the miles covered but one he will remember for the rest of his life, for sure!
Update in the morning!

Map of the Western Cape of South Africa

Map of the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Town

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rounding Cape #1 - Agulhas

Latest Position: 01/23/09 0450Z 35 06.489s 21 13.175E - Rounding Cape Agulhas

Hello from Cape Agulhas!
I took some time between ship watching to type up a bit about my trip so far from Moessel Bay.
After I pulled in to the Mossel Bay anchorage I spent the night rolling around on anchor. At one stage I had 40 knots blowing through the bay. It died down the next morning and I up anchored and went into the harbor to fuel up before heading out. I had called port control before entering the harbor as is the custom here and they told me to come into the harbor, that I would see a fishing boat and that the fuel dock was right in front of it. I pulled in to the harbor and there were nearly 100 fishing boats tied up all over - double and triple tied all over the place!
I motored all around the bay looking for what could be a fuel dock. I pulled up next to Kahlua, a boat that had left Mossel Bay at the same time as me and asked where the fuel dock was. It turned out that there was no fuel dock but that you ordered fuel and they brought it down to your boat. After I got that all worked out I fueled up and headed out.
I pulled out to 25 knots on the nose! I tacked out heading back towards PE to make my way offshore. I have been out for a little over 36 hours now and its a battle between shifting winds and lots of ships. Apparently this is very good weather for this part of the coast so I won't complain. I've got 3 ships on the 6 mile radar screen so I've got to go do that navigating thing. Still hoping to be in Cape Town at the V & A Waterfront Marina by Sunday evening.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cape Agulhas

Latest Position: 01/22/09 0644Z 34 36.996S 21 37.792E (80 miles from rounding Cape Agulhas - the southern most cape of South Africa)

Zac called late this evening (giving me a scare) because he had slept in after a long night on ship watch. He has light wind on the nose and is making between 3-4 knots under power. His progress is not as great as we would have liked but he has had a head wind the entire time he has been out to battle against. Things still look good for him to round the cape and head north to Cape Town before the next massive low pressure system is expected to hit shore.

He was in good spirits in fairly calm seas. He is wondering if/when he and Mike Perham might hook up or pass one another. They look to be nearing one another. Still no word on whether Mike will stop in Cape Town or press on around South Africa to make his way through the Southern Ocean. Wouldn't it be great if the two could connect somehow!

Hoping for no news from Africa until a decent hour tomorrow!


On to Cape Town

Just a quick update from Mom...
Zac has pulled out of Mossel Bay and is headed west on what we hope will be his final leg around the Cape of Good Hope. His night of rest was interrupted by 40 knots of wind about 4:00am that came screaming through the bay. It was a good test of his anchoring skills for sure! Everyboody needs to get an UltraAnchor!
He met up with the other boats that he left Port Elizabeth with while at the fuel dock inside the harbor. Somehow they had been routed inside the harbor while Zac had been routed to the Yacht Club anchorage outside the harbor.
They have opted not to head out at this time but after triple checking the forecast and checking with his advisers, Zac has decided to go for it.
So for those of you who pray - please do!
All being well, he should be in Cape Town some time on Sunday.
He'll be checking in through out the day. I'll update with any news.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mossel Bay

I just pulled into the anchorage off of Mossel Bay after 40 some hours of sailing from Port Elizabeth. I pulled out with 2 other boats also hopping around the coast at around 8pm. When I got out of the breakwater the wind was blowing around 15 knots. I pulled up the sails and headed around to the point. About and hour after I left, I cruise ship left the harbor and proceeded to bear down on me at 20 knots. I turned on the spreader lights and hailed them on the VHF radio. I made contact with them and they said that they would pass a few hundred yards from me. Ten minutes later I was looking up at a massive cruise ship that was higher than my mast. Quite a start!

After that I set my course out to sea and sailed through light winds and a lot of ships - my first sleepless night. The next day the wind filled in and I was running down wind with about 20-25 knots going about 6-7 knots. The sailing was good but the shipping was a pain because they were so close they would stay on the radar so I couldn't set the alarm. They were going slow for some reason as well. I had to stay up and watch them constantly trying to figure out which way the lights were moving. For some reason they never have their nav lights on. They have a light on the bow and sometimes a light on deck.

I sailed through the next night through heavy winds and pumping sea and at around 3am I tacked and started heading in to port. I was off the entrance to the harbor around 9am and after making contact with Port Control and the the Mossel Bay Yacht Club found out that there were no moorings available. I went to an anchorage on the other side of the harbor and have been rolling around here ever since. The weather window should be opening up in the next 24 hours or so and I plan on heading out then. For now it is good to catch up on some sleep in preparation for the last leg of my trip around the Cape of Good Hope.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Passage Update - Mom

Hello All!
Zac's mom, Marianne, here. Sorry for the delay in posting. Laurence is off to LAX and expects to be in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon. He'll be visiting his step mother at London Heathrow during his 6 hour layover. Pretty cool! A big thank you to John Gezelius for donating his frequent flyer miles to get Laurence there.
Zac called this morning to check in. Daveh is correct about the wind. He had between 20-25 knots directly behind him. Unfortunately, the swells have been big, sharp and on the aft quarter making his ride pretty wild. The swells push Intrepid off course and cause the sails to backwind and then causing everything to slam around until Intrepid steadies herself. There is some delay while the wind vane steering corrects which is awkward. Zac was definitely not a happy guy as several times during our conversation he was thrown across the boat. He was tired from his previous night's lack of sleep. There are a huge number of ships all around including one cruise ship that decided to use him for entertainment for the passengers and came within 1/2 of a mile from him while they spoke on the radio!
After considering all the factors surrounding his passage, he has decided to head into Mossel Bay rather than push on towards Cape Town in one shot. Though, the worst of a south westerly wind should pass to the east of him, there is still enough of a south west wind to make him pretty uncomfortable. He'll slip in to Mossel Bay, rest up and head out when the low pressure system passes through.
I couldn't quite understand what Zac said about what the other 2 boats had decided to do. Our connection was poor this morning.
To say I'll be glad when everyone is in Cape Town is an understatement. I think we will all celebrate when the boys arrive!
I'll update again tonight when Zac should have arrived in Mossel Bay.

Monday, January 19, 2009

On to Mossel Bay

The next weather window has arrived in Port Elizabeth. I am off again heading west towards Mossel Bay with a small chance at running all the way to Cape Town. Thanks to everyone who has helped me to understand the weather: David Morris, Rob Jordan, Bryan Mitchell, Clearpoint Weather and my mom back home.
Here are a few shots of the weather:

This is the current weather with the wind turning to be more from the south and eventually the south east.

This is the forecast for 2 days from now with the wind shifting to come from the dreaded south west again. The light blue on the chart is the continental shelf. I won't be leaving the shelf like on my other legs as it is too far offshore. All the more important not to get caught out in a southwesterly!

I am traveling with 2 other boats both headed to Mossel Bay and then Cape Town.

Hoping to be in in less than 40 hours.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Addo National Park Excursion

Hello from Port Elizabeth!
I have finally had my first safari out in the Addo National Park. Good friends of my great aunt and uncle, Mike and Sandy Clarke, picked me up this morning for a drive out to the park. We spent quite a bit of time driving around looking for signs of wildlife! We never did see the lions but we got some excellent views of the elephants. I thought a bone or two from an old kill would be a good souvenir but Mike and Sandy thought it better if I didn't get out of the car. Never know who is going to show up out there. Thanks much guys for the day trip!
I am back on board and watching the weather closely for my leg to Mossel Bay. It looks good for tomorrow afternoon and possibly for a straight shot to Cape Town. Marta left for East London so I may see her when we both get to Cape Town.
Enjoy the photos!


Sandy Clarke and I at Addo National Park

Friday, January 16, 2009

Port Elizabeth - Zac is good to be in!
The night before I left East London I went to a BBQ at Will's son in laws' house. It was a great time but a late one. The next morning when I called to check in at home I was informed that the weather window that we had been watching for had opened up in the early hours of the morning but for only 24 hours. That would be just enough time for me to make the 150 miles to Port Elizabeth. I filled out my exit paperwork, started the engine and headed out of the harbour.

When I got out the wind was still shifting around from the south westerly and the seas were a bit confused. I pointed out for the continental shelf that is about 15 miles off shore. The wind shifted around and became steady about an hour later. I sailed steadily through the night dodging ships and regularly changing course to stay parallel with the coast and not head too far out to sea. In the morning the wind started to shift back around to the south west. I then adjusted my course to head into PE and away from the current and I was able to sail in. The coastline was green and lush and then brown with sand dunes.

I entered the harbor about 12pm and moored up at the yacht club. After checking in I met some friends of my great aunt and uncle who had lived in South Africa for many years and they arranged for me to go on a safari with them on Sunday. I also hooked up with Marta briefly. Her boat, Ania, is back in the water and she is planning on heading back to Durban and make that part of her trip again. There has been a lot of talk about what happened but I'll hold off on that because with Marta's broken English and the story passing through many mouths, I have no way of knowing the whole story. Fortunatley, Marta is well and her boat (which missed a reef by centimeters) is in good enough shape to travel.

I cleaned up the boat in the afternoon and met some of the sailors from the club and hung out there for awhile. Now I am getting some sleep. So I'll sign off for now. The weather is looking good for Monday or Tuesday departure all being well.


Port Elizabeth

Latest Position: 01/16/09 1000Z 33 57.758S 25 38.271E - Port Elizabeth

Zac arrived in Port Elizabeth around noon (African Time). All is well. He was met by friends of my aunt and uncle who lived in South Africa during the 70's. In fact, he has been met in port several times by good friends of theirs who have blessed Zac with meals and nautical advice in abundance! We are still amazed by the kindness and generosity of strangers and how supportive people have been.
Zac is getting acquainted with the folks at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club and will have a newsy blog by this evening as he is still looking for a good Internet connection!
Marianne et al

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Heading In + Q & A

A quick update from homebase before we head off to bed for the night...

Zac is about 20 miles from Port Elizabeth and has about 15 knots out of the SW. He has hopped off of the current and is heading in to the bay hoping to break some of the opposing wind behind Cape Recife. He is well though very tired after a night with little sleep. Looks like he'll have at least a few days before he can even think about heading on towards Mossel Bay and or Cape Town.

A nice photo and interview from East London (Thanks Will!)

From Marilyn:

Here is another group of questions and answers from Zac, Marianne and Laurence, as we try to catch up on questions that our dedicated bloggers asked in the blog comments. Be sure and check Zac’s FAQs for previously answered questions.

Q Do you ever run into fog out there?
A Yes, it’s sometimes foggy, and I just work off my radar. I had an unusual situation in Papua New Guinea where it was not only foggy, but very windy at the same time, which is not common.

Q Is it hard to find food provisions for restocking that you find appealing?
A Yes, it’s very hard to find good food that I like in remote countries. I bought some canned curried meat in Mauritius, which was horrible! I’m saving that for my dad, since he likes curry. I also tried some canned Mac ‘n Cheese, which was so bad, I couldn’t eat it! The chocolate is nothing like the chocolate in the US; but worst of all I couldn’t find any jerky, which has become pretty much a staple of mine until I arrived in South Africa.

Q What are you reading/studying when seas are calm?
A I’ve been reading Singlehanded Sailing by Richard Henderson and I've been rereading Tania Aebi's book Maiden Voyage. It is interesting how the book reads so much different now that I am out here. I'm also reading a book that was sent to me by Mike Williams called The Chronicles of the Schooner Lusty I. It is great to read about other circumnavigators.

Q Are you in contact still with any of the cruising folks you've met along the way?
A Not too many. Mom & Dad are in touch with Karen and the other cruisers from the Marshall Islands. I spoke to Chris and John (from Moana) who are back in Australia, and I hope to reach them on their land line when I return. I lost contact with Lady Sara.

Q At this point are you behind, ahead or just about right on your originally planned schedule?
A I’m pretty much on schedule.

Q Just wondered if you'd ever tried using that Dryel dry cleaning product while at sea?
A No I haven’t. Perhaps it’s something I should look into.

Q Does sailing with only the genoa actually reduce your speed?
A Not necessarily. It depends on the wind direction and speed.

Q Can’t you use the microwave when you can’t get your alcohol stove to work?
A Yes, but it isn’t mounted and easy to just pop something in and turn it on. I have to move a bunch of stuff, get it out, and it takes up a lot of space while I’m using it. Then, I have to store it away after I use it. It’s quite a hassle, especially when I don’t feel much like cooking.
Q Will you have to motor through the Panama Canal?
A Here are some interesting links about traversing the Panama Canal.

Q How long should the whole voyage take?
A A little under a year

Q Do you have a thermos on board?
A No, I don’t

Q Did you talk via radio with the other sailing boats you met in Cocos Keeling as they sail toward Mauritius?
A I didn’t. Most of them left several days before I did, because it took so long to fix the boom, so because of the delay, I lost touch with them.

Q That's cool that you can hold your breath longer in warm water... have you any idea why?
A Body temperature plays a big part in the use of oxygen. If you are cold or shivering you heart must beat faster and use more oxygen to keep you warm. In warm water, your heart beats slower, and therefore you require less oxygen, so you don’t need to take breaths as often.

Q What was the main problem with the engine? How was it fixed?
A The problem wasn’t the engine, and I still have a few unresolved issues. The problem is in the fuel tanks. They used to hold gasoline fuel, and we switched to diesel when we installed the new engine. There may be a coating in the tank left by the gasoline that the diesel is dissolving, and it clogs in the fuel pick-up line. This is very difficult to access. The ideal repair would be to take the tanks out and replace them, but that’s very time-consuming and expensive because they are underneath the engine which would need to be removed as well. Another potential fix is to cut a hole in the tanks and clean them completely, and then seal the hole. This also is not easy to accomplish, given my schedule.

Q Do you think the top decking is alright or did the furling motor damage it when it got loose?
A It’s fine but the pulpit (stainless steel on the bow) needed a major repair in Mauritius.

Q Does the genoa have any hardware at the ends which get fatigued or can damage the boat when its whipped around in the wind?
A The roller furling drum at the end of the forestay damaged the stainless steel pulpit. That was repaired.

Q So what do the Rodriguens do on their little seamount?
A The main occupations are farming, fishing and handicrafts. The island is heavily impacted by climate change--farming and fishing in particular. Local people report less rainfall, with winters becoming colder and summers becoming hotter. Soil fertility is decreasing, and livestock growth and food crop production have been negatively affected. There is a noticeable loss of biodiversity, while formerly eradicated insects and parasites have returned, all combining to increase farmers’ poverty. As for fishing, there are reports of rougher seas which hamper fishing, cooler waters, and more energy and money expended on smaller catches. They complained that the sea is more polluted, and that the island’s major lagoon is virtually without fish, while some fish species have disappeared from the seas. They also note that the sea level is rising.

Q What is it like when you get off the boat? Do you still feel like you’re still on the water?
A Yes, I have a little vertigo for a few days.

Q Your tiller pilot burned up? How did that happen?
A The gears inside were stripped. In Cape Town, I’ll get a mechanical auto pilot that steers using the wind vane rudder and uses less power.

Q Are you going to get a cat?
A No, unfortunately, I have decided not to have a pet on board. I’m thinking more of the comfort of the cat than of my own pleasure and companionship. Reportedly, most cats really don’t like being at sea. In addition, there are quarantine issues when stopping in ports and the messes that result when the boat gets knocked around (the kitty litter, too) in heavy seas.

Q When you get back, we would love to have the opportunity to hear you speak. Any chance to Skype or other videoconferencing?
A I will definitely be doing interviews, video conferences and connecting in all sorts of ways with all of the people who have followed my journey.

Q Does Zac ever need to shave?
A Yes, I shave every few days.

Q Marianne, How has Zac changed in your eyes at this juncture and are you surprised at how great he looks or did you expect differently?
A He is much wiser. He looks great, and has matured nicely in the months he’s been gone. His face has changed and is quite manly, as opposed to the boyish look he had when he departed. He still maintains his sense of humor, however, and he catches me being gullible when he makes “off-the-wall” remarks from time to time.

Q Will Zac be anchoring in different places along the coast of Africa during those legs you mentioned?
A The passage from Durban to Cape Town is a bit under 800 miles and will be broken into legs in an effort to time his time at sea around the regular storm activity in that area. The possible legs are: Durban to East London, East London to Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth to Mossel Bay and Mossel Bay to Cape Town with various small hideouts along the way just in case of sudden bad weather. With meteorologist David Morris watching the weather, he should be able to sneak in and out of port without getting too thrashed. Whether he does stop, depends on the weather and storms. It’s usually best to stay further at sea, because the waves increase in size in more shallow the water, closer to shore.

Q How did he celebrate Thanksgiving?
A Zac spent Thanksgiving alone at sea, but he had some good discussions with all of the family, as we passed the phone around.

Q Do you think the last half will take as long as the first, or longer?
A It should be about the same.

Q Didn't your parents think at least one additional language would be extremely beneficial on a trip around the world?
A Yes, that’s why I’m studying my French tapes. I took two years of Spanish in school, but knowing a little French has definitely been more useful on this trip so far.

Q At night being out in the middle of the ocean with no lights around, do the stars and the moon seem larger than they seem back home?
A No, it’s just the opposite. The moon, when closer to other objects, appears larger, so actually, it seems smaller at sea (except when near the horizon), because there are no close reference points. However, the stars are a lot brighter, because there’s no ambient light.

Q Do you think you will complete your trip by March, 2009?
A It’s looking like it will be closer to sometime in May or June, 2009

Q So are you keeping up with all of your exercises? What is your regime?
A It depends on the condition of the waves and wind. If I have time, and the boat is pretty stable, I do some push-ups and other simple exercises. If there are rough seas, or little wind with heavy waves, it’s just too hard to do anything other than concentrate on keeping the boat going in the right direction.

A Laurence took it to British Airways cargo terminal before hopping on his plane in Los Angeles. The boom went directly to Mauritius. Then, in England, he had to take the new forstay and roller furling system in the baggage compartment on the plane to Mauritius, which was quite expensive, but not as much as had he sent it on a cargo plane.

Q Is the Didgeridoo difficult to play? Do you play other musical instruments?
A It was somewhat difficult to learn at first. I also play the bass guitar.

Q After you circumnavigate the globe at 17 years of age in stormy dangerous conditions can your parents still give you a curfew or ground you when you return?
A Good question! I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that one!

Q Did you visit a doctor while you were in Mauritius? Do you have antibiotics?
A No, I didn’t visit a doctor, and yes, I have a pretty comprehensive medical kit including various kinds of antibiotics.

Q Can you explain what a sea anchor is and why you need it? Why do tires make the best ones?
A The term sea-anchor refers to the "parachute-style" anchor; but can also mean a tire, bucket, or any drag designed to slow boat in heavy winds and waves. It seems easier to set up and deploy the tires, than my fancy cloth sea anchor with all of its ties and strings.

Q I lived in Thousand Oaks previously for four years and went to some of the sailing camps at Westlake Yacht club. Did you ever do any of those, or were you focusing on larger boats?
A I only did ocean sailing, but Toby and Jessie, my brother and sister, will go to the Westlake Yacht Club sailing camp this summer.

Q I was wondering how much it cost to fund such an adventure and will you still owe money after the trip is over? Will the book deals and such be enough to cover it all?
A Besides the boat expenses, there’s re-provisioning, fuel costs, repairs (which have been significant), family travel (Laurence and the photographer to meet in ports) and other incidentals that add up fast. I don’t have a book deal or movie contract yet, but I certainly hope I will and that they will cover the costs.

Q By the way, are you still doing some fishing from time to time?
A No, I’m not.

Q What model is your new camera? Is it waterproof?
A It’s a Lumix 10 mega pixel, and it’s not water-proof, so I have to make sure I don’t accidentally drop it in a sink full of water!

Q What flavor was your birthday cake?
A Chocolate and peanut butter

Q Does it have frosting?
A Yes, A fudge-like topping

Q Do you have candles?
A Yes, two candles, one in the shape of a “1” and one in the shape of a “7.” Together, they equal 17.

Q Are you still wearing shorts?
A Most of the time, it’s still warm enough. In fact, I wore nothing but a bathing suit the entire trip from Mauritius to Durban!

Q As you head into Durban, what are your plans, what sights of SA do you want to see?
A I definitely want to go to Kruger Park, a wildlife preserve. A lot of locals have volunteered to take me around to do sight-seeing. I’ll probably sleep on Intrepid rather than bunk at someone’s home or at a hotel.

Q All money problems aide, what would you like to do there?
A I just can’t imagine that I’ll be in Africa! I’ve obviously never been there, and I want to see whatever there is to see, and perhaps do a little surfing.

Q Is there a good chance that you and Mike Perham will pass each other when in the Atlantic Ocean?
A Perhaps, because our route will “cross” at some point He will probably be further out to sea, whereas I’ll be closer to shore, so if we are in the same ocean, going in opposite directions, the chances that we would see each other would be very slight.

Q Have you started planning how your book will be organized?
A I’ve thought about it, but have no real plans as far as organization yet. Those ideas will probably surface once I complete journey.

Q Why do you always say “Cheers” at the end of all your blogs?
A I picked that up from my dad. He always says it. I’m not sure if it’s an Australian or English thing.

Q Why didn't you get a bigger boat?
A I thought this one was big enough. If there were a next time, I would probably get one that’s a little bigger, because it would go faster and have more storage space.

Q What's your favorite thing about sailing around the world?
A I think it’s the people I have met. They have all been so interesting and generous.

Q If you could have one thing on your boat that you don't have, what would it be?
A Definitely it would be a friend! But realistically, since I’m doing this alone, it would probably be a refrigerator or water-maker.

Q Do you ever miss your mom?
A Are you serious?! Of course I do!

Hope to have good news of Zac's arrival on Friday morning.
Good Night!

On to Port Elizabeth

Latest Position: 01/18/09 1526Z 33 33.894S 027 37.719E (98 miles from Port Elizabeth)

Well I picked a bad morning to sleep in yesterday as the only thing close to a weather window was opening up as I slept. I woke up around 9:00am and after checking everything grabbed my paperwork to check out of East London and get on with my trip around the Cape. It was rainy and calm as I headed out. Not a good thing when I only have 24 hours to make port before the South Westerly picks up. Fortunately, the SW wind that is coming is not too strong and so should not pose the threat that a gale would. For now I am sailing along in the Alguhas Current at around 6 knots. The seas are steep but still not too big at about 5 feet.
All being well I should be in to Port Elizabeth in my morning. Looking forward to seeing a bit of Port Elizabeth and hooking up with Marta.

Zac and Nicholas (Will's grandson)

Zac and Nicholas jamming on the African drums

Photos coutesy of Will of East London

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

East London - Zac

I spent the day I arrived in East London cleaing up the boat and catching up on lost sleep. It was hard to leave Durban and all the good friends I had made there over the past weeks. When the weather window opened though, I knew it was time to press on towards Cape Town. Overall I was happy with the trip to East London. Sure enough, once I got into the current I was hauling along under sail at times as fast as 9 knots! Pretty good for old Intrepid! It was a bit of a trick mooring up alongside 3 other boats that were, in the end, tied up to a jetty. That evening I had a great dinner at Will's house. When I got back to the boat I crashed so hard that I slept through my alarm set for 3:00am so I could be a part of a PBS interview being done at the house. Sorry about that - hopefully, we can reschedule...

All is well here. Still checking the weather forecasts looking for the next weather window. There was a question asking if this is the last leg of my trip. My trip will end in Marina del Rey, California sometime in late May or early June. This leg was the first leg of several that will take me around the Cape of Good Hope though. My next stop will be at Port Elizabeth, then Mossel Bay and then on to Cape Town. This next leg to Port Elizabeth is pretty short - only 130 miles or so. I'm looking forward to getting there and seeing Marta to find out what happened there. I don't know anything more about that right now.

@John G. At this rate I'll probably arrive in Cape Town after my dad but he usually likes to have a few days to adjust to the time difference and get hooked up with the marine people in port so it should be OK.

@Lauren: I have been cold in my bunk at times but not recently because it is so warm where I am. I did get hurt a few times on my trip. Once when the boat lurched suddenly I fell across the boat and hit my arm on the counter in the galley. Another time a glass broke during a wild wave and cut my foot pretty badly.

@Brennan: I have seen sharks and whales in the Pacific Ocean but not so much in the Indian Ocean. Pretty soon I'll be in the Atlantic Ocean so maybe I'll see some there. I have not seen any black things in the water! I have seen sea turtles in Mexico but not on this trip. Sea turtles are funny because they have very bad eyesight. When you sail up to them they seem to be looking really hard at you trying to see what you are. When you are really close they suddenly swim away! That must be why there are so few of them left. Turtle soup used to be a favorite dish in Mexico!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

East London Update

Hello All!
Spoke with Zac a few minutes ago. He is tied up in East London and has spent the day tidying up Intrepid, eating and sleeping. He had slowed the boat down to about 3 knots just riding the current during his night and hopped out of the current and in to East London later than expected. He was greeted warmly by the other cruisers who threw out some fenders for him to side tie (the last of 4 boats tied together!).
Many thanks to Will for keeping an eye out for Zac and reporting back. I got a little worried there for a minute but we had arranged with Zac to call in our morning unless he had a problem. He'll be in East London for a few days until the front passes through and then on to Port Elizabeth.
He was planning a quiet evening and will send over his blog this evening.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Good Passage

Latest Position: 01/12/09 15:39Z 32 33.485S 29 16.052E (75 miles out of East London)

Today was a good day though I have had only small 30 minute power naps since I left Durban 32 hours ago. The weather is as good as I could have hoped for with light winds to 15 knots and the free power of the Agulhas Current speeding me along. The seas are choppy and confused which makes for an uncomfortable passage. There have been quite a few ships but interestingly, they pass in between me and the shore. They must know what they are doing but for as for me, I prefer to stay out! I have some good food on board for this short leg though I have not been very hungry with all of the bashing around Intrepid is doing. The South African beef jerky is awesome. They have whole stores full of the stuff. I like it better even than the American jerky that I am used to.
At this rate, I should make it in to East London in the early morning. I have slowed the boat down by spilling air so that my approach is closer to 4:30 in the morning when the sun begins to rise. I'll be glad for a good night's sleep and to visit some family friends in port.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Good-bye Durban!

Latest Position: 01/11/09 1700Z 30 25.167S 30 55.556E (approximately 30 miles out of Durban)

I made my move about 10:00am (12:00am PDT) under cloudy, grey skies and with light winds. I waved goodbye to some of my new friends from Durban who had come down to the docks, not knowing if or when I'll ever see them again. Intrepid seems to be happy to be back on the ocean and is faithfully pushing through the confused seas. I have hopped on board the Agulhas Current about 15 miles off shore and am making good progress considering the conditions. The wind has shifted around to my aft quarter and with the current and light wind I am making a good 7 knots. The swells are more behind me now and are comfortable at around 5 feet.

I have been thinking of Marta's boat up on the beach and can hardly believe that it happened. She is a very accomplished sailor with many miles under her belt. We have all been warned about this area and with very good reason.

I don't know how much sleep I will get tonight. There are at the moment 2 ships within a mile radius of Intrepid. Its back to life according to alarms and radars!


Special Note from the famous Bill Mann:

OK, you asked for it. Zac asked for it and anon asked for it so now you got it!!

The weekly auction is back. This week we have a set of Plyometric Jump Boxes to get you in shape for Zac's Homecoming Party, another one of the fabulous Zac and Intrepid paintings and a surprise from Marianne's Mom that should be worth a lot of money after Zac publishes his book.

So visit and show our young Captain the support he deserves.


Bill Mann
South Pasadena, Ca

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Update from Mom

Hello All!
Mom here...
A few updates:
1. The date of Zac's last blog was somehow wrong. It was posted early this afternoon. I mention that because he is not at sea yet but is currently weighing everything for his final decision. The current weather window is not as open as he would like with a low pressure system due to arrive in Cape Town sometime late on the 13th and heading east towards him at an unknown rate. His trip would have to go without a hitch for him to pull it off.
2. Zac received an email this afternoon from Polish solo circumnavigator Natasza Caban informing him that their mutual friend, Marta, another Polish solo circumnavigator was rescued from her distressed boat between East London and Port Elizabeth. Natasza didn't have a lot of info and all I could find out about it online was that for some reason she anchored while only half way to port and ended up on the beach. Her boat was able to be towed off the beach and is currently at the yard in Port Elizabeth.
3. On a lighter note, this week's signed poster and head shot go to Cathrine Norton. Interestingly, the name was chosen by our own Kathryn! We will have to suspend the poster and head shot contest for now because we are out of them!! Laurence will have Zac sign more in Cape Town later this month.

Please pray for Zac to decide wisely when to leave and for the weather to hold whenever he does go!

Marianne - Mom

Friday, January 9, 2009

Countdown to Departure

Everything is going well here in Durban. I've just finished getting everything ready to leave. The weather is looking good for departue tomorrow early afternoon. There is a 50 foot catamaran in the marina that is leaving early in the morning that will let me know whether our weather predictions were accurate. I'll be heading for East London - 250 miles away. I have had a fun week with some friends here in Durban. One of the most memorable times was when a few friends from the Point Yacht Club came by and asked if I wanted to go for a sail. We went out in about 15 knots just sailing around the bay. After we were out for awhile we saw a massive squall on the horizon and it hit about 5 minutes later. At first the wind rose a bit and we had a little rain but then marble-sized hail started hitting the deck. It wasn't so bad at first. We just took down the genny and went close to the wind but the hail started pouring down about the size of a quarter around! The other guys went down below and William and I stayed up in the cockpit trying to see through the hail and see which side of the buoys we were on. The hail had been coming down for about 10 minutes and then the sun came out with hail still falling. Yes, there was a rainbow! We tried to tack back into the harbor but after about 15 minutes the hail finally stopped. We managed to sail back into the slip and tie up to the dock. By the time we got in we all looked like we had been paint balling (not sailing) with quarter-sized welts all over us. The next day I was talking to some guys at the club and they said that that happens only every 20 years or so. Later, on the news I heard that 12 people died during the storm.

I've been busy provisioning and getting checked out of customs. I have made some good friends in Durban which makes it hard to leave.

@ Parker: Hey Buddy! I actually have not seen any whales on this trip but saw a lot of them in Mexico when I was about your age. We were in Banderas Bay which is the big bay where Puerta Vallerta is. Once when my family and I were headed back to our boat aboard our dinghy in Punta de Mita we saw a baby Humpback whale breaching (jumping out of the water) with his mother swimming along beside. We drove our dinghy as close as we dared and just watched them swim by with this baby whale breaching over and over again. It was pretty cool. As far as food goes, I am getting used to eating diffeent things and don't really miss much anymore.

@Laura: Yes, I did receive the 'No Fear' sweatshirt. Thank you, it is very cool. It will be good for these next legs.

@Anon: Bill Mann was going to organize the auctions. Bill?

@Melanie: Hey, finding good internet access is nearly impossible here. I have not seen the pirate you posted. :) I'll hopefully have more success in Cape Town in about a week to ten days.

OK, I've got to get to sleep here and rest up for my journey tomorrow. Thank all for writing and hanging out while I am in port. I'll let you know how things go out there!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Weather Watching & Waiting

Everything is going well here in Durban. The repairs are getting finished and I’m still waiting for a good weather window for the next leg to East London. The trip to EL is only about 250 miles and I should be able to do that in 2 days easily. The problem comes when a storm from the southern ocean rips up the coast changing the wind direction and pushing the swells against the current making massive breaking swells. So it is extemely important to get a good weather window which will hopefully be here by the end of the week. I’ll be going up the mast tomorrow to finish up the rigging work. I’ve been talking with the local sailors and comparing notes with my other advisors. I'm looking forward to getting out to sea again and making my way home.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year Update - Zac

Self portrait with birthday camera
Hey All!
Well after pushing myself and Intrepid to our limits to cross the Indian Ocean before cyclone season this season, I have had a much needed break. I have been surfing and skateboarding, sightseeing and visiting friends. I've been in touch with a few old friends as well like Chris from Moana who is back to the grind in Australia after he and his father bought a boat in San Diego and sailed it back to Cairns. We initially met in Honolulu and had kept in touch until the Torres Strait. It was great to catch up and think back to our early days at sea together.

I am feeling rested and am now preparing Intrepid to round the Cape of Good Hope. Dad has made his flight arrangements with the great help of John Gezelius who has offered who knows how many frequent flyer miles to get him here! You will be glad to know that I have also been working with a nutritionist, Dave Grotto, via my relationship with sponsor Produce for Kids on preparing a shopping list for my looooong passage to the Panama Canal. Hopefully this will mean that I will have plenty of the right foods to keep me going strong for what could take more than 6 weeks. I have 2 stops on that leg; one at an Island called St. Helena and the other at Trinidad and Tobago off of South America.

From one extreme...

To the other.
If you have any questions about my route, there is a page dedicated to that on my web site. There have been new/old questions regarding my record attempt in relation to other records including that of Mike Perham. These questions are also answered on the site under the FAQs section. I hope it is clear that I am attempting to be the youngest solo circumnavigator. I am cruising and not racing. I am not being ratified by the World Speed Council in the UK. They would have verified my trip but with the short time before my departure and the great cost it would entail, we were not able to do so. Mike Perham, Jesse Martin and David Dicks attempted a solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation. We welcome your questions and input regarding this.

Ship off of Durban I
The FAQs have been updated recently thanks to Marilyn Simcox who keeps track of all of your questions from the blog while I am at sea and saves them for me. Also, on this page is a small spec sheet on Intrepid and her equipment and upgrades. The Supporters page was recently (finally) updated. If you don't see your name and it should be on there - let us know at

Ship off of Durban II
@PBSTAR: Robin Graham and his circumnavigation in the 60's was in large part my inspiration for this trip. In fact, my route is nearly exactly the same as his except that he was fortunate to be able to stop way more than I am. I have read all of his books (my favorite is The Boy Who Sailed Around the World Alone)I have not spoken to him but he did contact us by email and I think he is following the trip.
@MindWalker: The strangest food I have eaten recently is Ostrich. It is pretty good and is a lot like steak. Most of the food that I have in port is English style; a lot of meat pies, chips (fries), steaks etc.
@engine advice: Thank you for the interesting and varied input regarding the fuel tanks and fuel pick up etc. We are reading and thinking...

@Anonymous: What do I miss the most? Friends and family for sure.

@Scot: The importance of the record has to be kept in balance with the day to day, week to week running hard of my boat and myself. For now, to be able to do this trip is just so amazing.

Happy New Year!
Note from Mom:
This weeks signed poster and head shot goes to William Potts. Congrats! We have a few more signed posters. For every poster you buy this week your name will be entered into a drawing for a free signed poster and head shot.