Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cape Town Log - Laurence

Excerpt from Laurence's log:
So here I am on the 747 400 Lufthansa flight on my way home. I'm torn between leaving Zac and saying our farewells and missing the rest of the family back in the USA. What a great trip it has been full of great experiences, much work, and great achievements. I’ll give a quick run down of the highlights.
I know that many of you are intrigued to know the details of the Mike and Zac meeting. Both Mike and Zac have far too much in common to be arch rivals. Both are matured well beyond their years and displayed a healthy respect for one another exchanging the many varied experiences that they have encountered along the way. I can’t help thinking about the magnitude and chance of this great encounter of two of the worlds' youngest solo circumnavigators meeting by happenstance or by divine appointment on their quests to be the youngest to circumnavigate the globe. This is truly one of the greatest days and inspirations for young sailors world wide. We had lunch together and whilst the lads had much to discuss Peter, Mike's father, and I had equally as much in common and a bond of respect, knowing that we had both been through a similar paths in supporting and managing similiar campaigns to date. After lunch Mike and Zac, along with Jed and Jen, went to look at Mike's boat. We all had a great time though in the backs of our minds was the thought of the pending work that still needed to be carried out on both vessels to see them through their next legs safely. It was time to say our farewells and get back to work. Both young lads have come a long way and have vast distances to cover before either one accomplishes his goal. Please be mindful of their well-being and pray for both.

Zac and Mike Perham checking out Mike's spectacular Open 50

©Laurence Sunderland

Jed, a young lad that Zac had met and became fast friends with in Cocos Keeling, lives in Cape Town and was eager to show Zac around. Kathy and Richard, Jed's parents, offered their beachfront condo to us to help offset our expenses. Seth, Jed's brother who lives in the condo, and I took it in turns to make some culinary delight as our evening meal. We didn’t manage to poison one another and I think Jen may have put on a few pounds which means our cooking must have been a success. It was very generous and much appreciated and many thanks to Richard and Kathy.

Entering Cape Town Harbour with it's 'Table Cloth'

©Laurence Sunderland

The V&A Waterfront Marina is a very special place to be moored: not only is it a very beautiful location, close to all the important amenities, it is also very safe . Eric and Jeff from Wiltel Marine and the local Bavaria & Aicon dealership have really been very accommodating and a great help in many different aspects. It has meant that we could really achieve a great deal of work and have Intrepid in the best shape she can be in for the Atlantic Ocean.

The work list was varied and extensive see list below
1/ Run new main halyard
2/ Change out broken U-bolt on bow
3/ Caulk deck fittings
4/ Change broken camera aft.
5/ Change mast boot
6/ Run lazy jack lines
7/ Tape up mast steps (halyards keep getting stuck behind them)
8/ Inspect camera monitors aloft and get them working
9/ Service engine
10/ Tune Rig
11/ Locate all charging equipment for cameras
12/ Repair life lines
13/ Run new jack lines
14/ Check all ground tackle (anchor, chain, lines etc)
15/ Troubleshoot solar panels - not charging properly
16/ Pick up courtesy flags, charts and guides for next legs
17/ Fuel vessel
18/ Provision vessel
19/ Clean vessel inside and out
20/ Wash all boat covers
22/ Glass-in delaminated tape on lower shroud bulk head
23/ Clean all metal work
24/ Lubricate and clean salt off all running rigging
25/ Engineer auto pilot to work off of wind monitor

This is the majority of the work list which we were able to knock out. Intrepid looks like the majestic vessel that left Marina del Rey back in June. Now with some 16,000 nautical miles under her keel she is ready to come home.

The excitement keeps on mounting in Cape Town. I’ve just learned that Minoru Saito, who also is attempting a non-stop solo circumnavigation will be stopping in Cape Town. Zac will delay his departure by a few days to meet Minoru who is attempting to be the oldest person to solo circumnavigate. He is an amazing person. For more info on Saito-san check out his web site at The '8' in his web address stands for this being his eighth solo circumnavigtion!

It is no surprise that Cape Town has earned a reputation as being a yachting mecca where you can just about get anything done to a yacht that you can think of. It was also Cape Town where half of the Vendee Globe fleet limped into after taking a beating in the Southern Ocean.

Cape Town certainly appears to be a very spectacular place with quite a diverse culture.
We worked long and hard days only stopping for those media engagements. We enjoyed the very spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain which was occasionally coverd by the 'table cloth'. When a north easterly blows it covers the flat topped mountain in a cloud. It is really quite a spectacular sight to behold. Unfortunately, there was no time for a trip to the top of Table Mountain. The one afternoon we had free Zac decided to visit one of the local missions and bless them with a donation of food which was aboard Intrepid and would not be used. It proved to be quite a humbling experience. Many of the young folks either had TB or HIV and a short life expectancy. It was very sobering but we were all grateful for being there and being able to give a little.

I really wanted to see Mike and Peter Perham before leaving but as the day for my departure drew near I had a few curve balls to deal with that brought my time in South Africa to a close. I left for the airport knowing I’d given my best. Now it is time for Zac to say his farewells as he ventures out into Atlantic Ocean.




Blogger Fulgum said...

Thanks, Lawrence, for the heartfelt update. It brought a lot of perspective to the Cape Town stop. I also wondered about the Zac and Mike meeting.

Thanks again.



P.S. Great pics!!!

February 11, 2009 at 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Laurence, you should write a book. I had joy and celebration and tearful moments reading this.
Thank you for words and photos.

Remaining on my knees for each of you,
Bend, OR

February 11, 2009 at 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

Laurence- Thank you for your comprehensive and very thoughtful post about your stay in Cape Town.

Zac summed it up best on his "facebook" when he said, "I am sad to be leaving Cape Town." We all understand why.

I'm grateful that you had an opportunity to meet Mike and his dad, and am also excited for Zac to meet Minoru. Synchronicity is most definitely at work here as Zac has the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet his fellow circumnavigators. It really drives home the point that the record(s) are secondary; it's the journey, relationships, and comraderie amongst sailors that is most important. What a gift to behold. It is obvious that both you and Zac understand this.

Looking forward to your safe return to your family here in CA, and Zac's departure from Cape Town following his meeting with Minoru.

February 11, 2009 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Sherna Taylor said...

Laurence, what a wonderful piece you have given us. I heard the pride in your voice at the wonderful things that Zac is doing.

It brought tears to my eyes as I remember that Lad that left MDR and also Marianne'comments that you were choked up as you spoke to him about crossing the Indian Ocean.
Now as the proud father you have done your deed to get your son safely home.

Your words really enlightened us on all that has happened in Capetown. Now i have added it on my list as one of the places to visit. Thanks for the pics.

Zac, I hope you get to meet Minoru Saito. What an opportunity for you to meet; the young and old both trying to do cicumnavigate the globe.

So often on this blog I have written of the generosity of people around the world, but we cant help but focus on this as a reminder that for the most part people are generous and kind.

Years to come as you recall this adventure the things that you will remember most are the relationships you estabalised and the generosity of strangers in particular

Laurence, Have a safe trip home. We will all send collective shield of prayer to surround Intrepid as Zac heads in to the Atlantic on his way home
Thanks again.

PS My plans to meet Zac in Trinidad are now on hold. I went home to the Caribbean for Christmas and came back to Arizona and was laid off from work. Still keeping my fingers crossed!!

February 11, 2009 at 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a splendid and thorough post. You answered most of the questions I had and then some.

The picture of Zac and Intrepid entering Cape Town Harbour made me all goose-fleshy. It is an award winning shot even without the significance to us Zac-Packers.

Hope that you are reading this safely back at home with Big Ben trying to climb your leg into your lap and that Marianne is a bit more relaxed now that half of her big guys is home. Now, we await the other half. It's going to happen soon!

Prayers for Zac and his family and for Mike and his family. Now to go and check out the older dude.

The Croaker

February 11, 2009 at 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That defies the odds. Reading Minoru Saito's website, he has an article from a December 2008 magazine about himself and.....Zac....and Mike. An article about the oldest and youngests to be sailing around the world.

All happen to cross the same point at the same time. WOW.

Hope they get a picture of all three together in Cape Town. Something like this will never ever happen again. Ever.

February 12, 2009 at 1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Full on awesomeness deluxe. From the captains log:

Today's Report

Saito was on schedule to traverse the Cape of Good Hope by about 11 am today. He was within 25 nm at today's morning (0700 JST) position. He reported that sailing conditions continue to be difficult due to cross winds and seas. Nonetheless his 134 nm DMG was under sails alone.

At 7 am Tokyo time (12 midnight local, now 7 hours behind JST) he was reporting 5.5 kt boat speed, under sails. The 8-hour Clearpoint prediction was for mostly steady winds at 25 kt from the ENE changing in 20 hours out of the E at 16 knots. A high is bringing clear skies and steady winds from the east.

Added Comment

As some of you may know, there are three solo sailors right now trying to grab a bit of history: Minoru Saito, 75, as the oldest, while Zac Sunderland, 17, and Mike Perham, 16, are competing to become the youngest ever to complete a solo world circumnavigation. Mike turns 17 on March 16.

By an incredible stroke of luck, Zac has been in Cape Town for a short time and was due to leave today. But when he heard from his mother, Marianne, that Saito-san was due to arrive on Friday, he immediately agreed to be on hand at the dock when Saito shows up tomorrow.

Considering that Saito-san started from Yokohama 11,500 nm miles and 133 days ago (on Oct. 2), and Zac from Marina Del Ray, Ca., 14,000 nm and 243 days ago (on June 14), this meeting at almost both their respective half-way points is nothing short of unbelievable!

And, we assure you, COMPLETELY unplanned and unstaged. In fact it was all arranged just this morning by email.

Wait... it may get even better. Here's the rest of the story:

Mike Perham is ALSO in Cape Town and if we can get through to him, we hope he can also be part of this very special, historic rendezvous. Mike started from Portsmouth, England last year and arrived in Cape Town on Feb. 2. He and Zac were already able to meet last week and apparently hit it off.

You can read more about this on Zac's blog.

Mike's blog is here.

So -- does anyone know Paul Harvey's number? How about Ripley's?

Talk about serendipity!

(We want to point out that both Saito-san and Zac receive contributing sponsorship support from Clearpoint Weather. We appreciate the efforts of Eric Durland of Clearpoint, and Marianne Sutherland to pull off this astounding rendezvous in such short order.)

February 12, 2009 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Everyone,

Thank you again Lawrence for that great post. Your entry of Zac and Mike was truly inspiring. It's great to see two young lads going such a great job. I guess it takes great parents to lead both sailors along the right path.

What a long list of repairs but at least they were all taken care of. Great job getting Intrepid looking like the day it left MDR. You both worked very hard and I'm sure you both are proud of all the work accomplished.

Now here is another great story. If you want another inspiring story click on this link.


Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

February 12, 2009 at 6:46 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Wow that list is pretty long..amazed you both got a chance to eat and sleep!
The pictures and post were great and i must say brought a tear to my eye a few times.. especially the part about "intrepid ready to come home" got me good!
So Zac, you get to meet the older version of youself i cool is that!
Do be sure to exchange something of one of your shirts :}
Enjoy your last days in CT and don't be can always go back to visit.
Be Safe on your next leg..

February 12, 2009 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing the adventures of Cape Town with us.
As Always, continued good thoughts and prayers to Zac and Team Sunderland.
Tucson, AZ

February 12, 2009 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger STEVE B said...


Enjoyed reading your perspective and thanks for giving us some insight into Zac's stay. Too bad that you could not have met Saito.

Rest up!

Birmingham, AL

February 12, 2009 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard about the two satelites colliding in space and one was the Iridium phone. Is this going to affect Zac's ability to talk to the folks on the next leg of his journey?
Dave in Tacoma, WA

February 12, 2009 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Thank you Laurence; such a wonderful and thoughtful post. I'm sure it was difficult to leave Zac. He is a remarkable young man.

Thank you to the poster who shared Saito's blog. Will have to go to the web site and check it out.

Prayers being sent out for wisdom, strong faith, and continued protection from God's angels.

Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

February 12, 2009 at 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all been said....awesome awesome awesome!
The whole of today's blog....awesome and goose bumpish!
Thank you thank you.

I am so glad that I am a Zac Pac er!

UK friend

February 12, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Wow... Lawrence, your perspective is so heartfelt and grounded, and always a joy to read. Thank you for this update. The enormity of it all -- the many tasks to accomplish, the meeting of father & son half-way across, the serendipitous meeting of two great young adventurers, and now the potential meeting with Minoru Saito – I’ve run out of words! Amazing, fate, serendipity, grace, blessing. I continue to be in awe of all that Zac, his family, and people across this wonderful world have put forth. Peace be with you all, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

February 12, 2009 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

Laurence, great post, great...

How providential is it that Saito will be there at the same time, amazing… I’m VERY glad Zac is lagging back for the meeting with him, he will remember that moment for ever and ever…

Safe travels…

Daveh & Skipper

February 12, 2009 at 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The awesomeness of this is awesome. Can somone help us landlubbers just how awesome this awsomeness really is?

It would be awesome if some awesome person could do that :-)

Even more awesome is that Jed got Zac going with dodgey, and Zac got Mike going with awesome.

Check Mike's awesome blog, he's now in the awesomeness of it all, stating awesomenisity for all things awesome, when before he never awed at some ness before.



hehehe we're all part of history watching participating and wishing well for all on these voyages.


February 12, 2009 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Tomi said...


Thx fellow ZacPac'ers for putting my own thoughts into perspective & for just being you! ;D

I'll try not to restate what's been said thus far. Glad you got the leaky window above Capt Zac's berth & the electronics repaired. Sad to hear Capt Zac's still having trouble w/the solar panels. Hopefully the adjustments/fine tuning will keep that particular gremlin at bay. Am interested to read how the linking the autopilot to the wind-tiller works out over the next several weeks.

Such a nice touch Capt Zac w/you sharing your food stores w/those much less fortunate.

Just a couple thoughts on meeting Capt Saito-San (not that you need them of course). If/when you present a gift to the Elder Capt, please make sure to have it wrapped in something red (indicates high honor being given to recipient). The lower the bow, the higher the respect being offered, when meeting someone of higher station (how this applies to equals is a matter for etiquette masters). Please don't be nervous when asking questions of him, if he chooses not to answer, he will evade (go around the answer) your query - thus giving you both an "honorable" out of the subject.

Just me own thoughts, learned from an elder Japanese neighbor several years ago.

May your remaining days in CT be pleasant, restful & full of wonder/joy Capt Zac.

Warm Fuzzy Bear HUGS!

PS -
Thx again Lord Laurence & Lady Marianne for all you do to keep we ZacPac'ers updated!

February 12, 2009 at 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a great read, Dad! Do you have any plans of meeting Zac at any other juncture?


February 12, 2009 at 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan Singapore said...

Good going on the Handy Mandy front! ((If U ever get bored swing by my place there are about a million things that are in need of repair)).
Seriously though Zac will fine. Did U manage to upgrade the menu in the Captains Lounge? I hope he dines on more the just jerky on this leg. If not then by the time he arrives in Trinidad he have hardening of the arteries :-)
Anyway Be safe.

February 13, 2009 at 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saito's log:

Heading: At dock (4:30 pm JST / 9:30 am local time)
Boat speed: 5.2 kt (7-day average: 5.24 kt)
Distance in last 24 hours: 125 nm
Distance made good: 11,780 nm (21,817 km) -- adjusted to 12,100 nm actual
Distance remaining to Yokohama: 13,825 nm -- adjusted

Yokohama ETA: 110 days (based on 7-day ave. boat speed)
Days until Yokohama 150th Anniversary Port Celebration: 107

To WP7, Midway to Cape Horn, 1,850 nm
(from Cape Horn)

Weather: Clear
Barometer: 1010 hPa
Waves: 2.0 m
Wind (from): 8 - 9 kt SW
Current (from): 0.6 kt SE
Engine: 4 hr @ 1800 rpm (12 L)
Generator: 13 hr (13 L)
Main: 2 pt
Staysail: 0%
Genoa: 80%

Today's Report

Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III arrived at Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town at 0930 local this morning under beautiful skies and mild winds from the southwest.

Saito-san called several times during his approach, and at his last call was sitting in the RCYC Clubhouse enjoying conversation with British sailor Mike Perham, the 16-year-old solo circumnavigator from England, and his father Peter. A while earlier Saito met with Zac Sunderland, the 17-year-old solo sailor from California. Zac and Mike are vying to become the youngest sailors to complete a solo circumnavigation.

Saito-san was clearly delighted to be able to share stories with the pair, whose ability to make landfall in Cape Town already puts them in the ranks of grizzled single-handers twice their age. In Saito's case, 4.4 times.

Added Comment

Zac leaves probably tomorrow, going west and Mike soon after, going east to a short stopover in Hobart. Saito will leave Monday or Tuesday continuing west. Each with incredible stories to tell, including one about a surprise rendezvous that shows how very small this world truly is.


We have adjusted distances to reflect the route Saito-san took over the Indian Ocean. Accordingly, Cape Town is 12,100 from Yokohama, and the total distance of the voyage is now determined to be 25,925 nm (up from 24,970 nm). This reflects the more northerly route taken, and an anticipated more northerly route in the South Atlantic Ocean to Cape Horn. (Further adjustments may be made.) The percentage of the voyage completed to date is now 46.7%. He has 110 days remaining to Yokohama based on the average DMG over the last week, plus the days of the Cape Town stopover


February 13, 2009 at 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

@ anonymous - Thanks for the update from Saito's log. I'm glad to know it worked out for Zac and he to meet one another. I can't wait to hear Zac's impressions of the experience.

It's wonderful and quite amazing that all three (Mike, Saito, and Zac)of these mens journeys delivered them to one place at the same time. Good stuff!

I wish them all safe travels as they continue on their individual adventures.

February 13, 2009 at 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did any of the TV stations do a joint interview of Mike and Zac?

If so - are there any links to the interviews?


February 13, 2009 at 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to take anything away from Zac's achievement but with all the stops, rests and repairs and assistance this event isn't "really" a solo circumnavigation of the world in its purest sense or is it?

Has there ever been anyone to accomplish this feat non-stop?

All the best! It's still an amazing trek.

February 25, 2009 at 9:30 PM  

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