Sunday, March 22, 2009

Almost There - One More Repair

Enjoying a rest!

In the last few days I've mostly been sweating over my engine with Trevor, a local mechanic who has been an amazing help. Together we've been ripping apart my injector pump and finally found 3 broken springs that were stopping my engine from getting fuel. In short, Trevor managed to find some new springs and the engine is good as new - well seeing how it is new and it breaks down all the time I don't know if that was a good analogy but any way...
It felt great to finally have that up and together. It really does things to your head being stuck on the second most remote place in the world where the next ship that could have brought spare parts won't be here for 4 weeks! It was a big weight off the shoulders. In light of the newly fixed engine I went out and celebrated with a couple of my friends from the island, Pete and Josh - good times! Today I've been buying some final provisions and trying to find someone to machine a peice of my self steering gear which hopefully will happen on Monday. Thanks to Hans and the guys at Scanmar who analyzed photos of my trusty windvane and wrote up detailed notes of how to repair it.

Looking forward to being off soon and back on my way to Panama.

Today is Mother's Day in this part of the world so Mom thanks so much for being the best mom in the world. I definitely wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all of your tireless help, support and love. Love ya!

I gotta run and get some last minute stuff done over here so I'll keep you guys up to date on the final repairs.

Until then, peace.


Anonymous JiffyLube said...

Good to hear that the new engine is working like new

Have you checked out the waiting time to get through the Panama Canal yet?

March 22, 2009 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger John Gezelius said...

Having been an quality assurance engineer for a defense contractor (Texas Instruments) and having done / assisted in a number of tear-downs to ascertain the root cause of the problem, we would call this a "light-bulb moment". Think cartoon strip.

I really do hope that the new springs do the job. In an ideal world you won't need the engine until you motor into a port in the northern / western hemisphere but I fully appreciate the need for speed in other situations! May they be few in number.

Grenada? Trinidad-Tobago? French Guiana? What is the next move in the game of "WHERE'S ZACHARY?".

March 22, 2009 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

Peace back at ya, Zac. Hope everything goes as you're hoping....

milford, ohio

March 22, 2009 at 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't thought about the remoteness of your situation, but it really could have been bad if you needed parts. I'm sure glad to hear you got things up and running again.

ps. you sure make new friends easy, (good for you! that's an excellent trait that will take you far in life)

March 22, 2009 at 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A buck on those broken new springs having been made in China.

March 22, 2009 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Zac, here's hoping the engine repair is going to keep you moving ahead on the next leg of your journey back to those of us who call California home. What stories you will have to tell! Blessings. Steve

March 22, 2009 at 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac , congrats on getting the engine up and running. Now i am concerned about hurrican season in the caribean. it will be starting soon and you have a long distant voyage ahead of you. Now you will be ok the closer you get to the caribean . But out in the open ocean is the scary part. They usually start to build early in the season out there. i am sure you know all this. but be carefull and sail safe. Try to leave ASAP because you are cutting it kind of close.

March 22, 2009 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...


Good post with good news! We'll trust and pray that the broken springs were the entire problem. Also hoping that you'll only need the engine when entering port.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one awed at your facility for making friends and bringing out the best in those who can and will assist you: Trevor is a prim example.

Happy sails to you and we're ready when you are, but not before. You're calling the shots and you've proven to be a good shot caller!

The Croaker

March 22, 2009 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

Ouch, a last minute windvane repair also! Man...

Good luck, this next leg is the mental test...

Daveh & Skipper

March 22, 2009 at 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just want to echo that-Happy Mother's Day to a WONDERFUL Mom-good job to the entire family. God Bless Zac! Hoping you get back here to sunny Calif. real soon.

March 22, 2009 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Zac said...

Regarding waiting times to transit the Panama Canal; word of mouth says 2 weeks and the Internet says 3-4 days.
Next stop Grenada!
Marianne Sunderland
PS Hurricane season in both the Pacific and Carribean begin in June.

March 22, 2009 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Fulgum said...

Hi, Zac, Thanks for the updates. Boy! You've been through a trying period. In this case, it was patience. If it were me, I probably would have lost my cool a long time ago. Specifically, I am referring to your continuous problems with your engine. Hopefully, that is the end ot it. Is St. Helena haunted by Napoleon's ghost?

Uh, oh!


On to the Americas!!!!


March 22, 2009 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Sherna Taylor said...

Hi Zac
Glad to hear that your engine is fixed and you are almost on your way.
I grew up in the Caribbean and with regard to the huricane season and the Atlantic, as kids we learnt ;
June..coming soon
July ..Stand By
August..its a must
October..Almost Over

Here's hoping that you are out of the ocean and on dry land by June.

btw... If you were in Grenada you would have been enjoying a 4 day regatta..Caribbean style..
regards and safe journey

March 22, 2009 at 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac,

good to read something from you. Keeping fingers crossed that the last repair is succsessful and then off you go for the last long stretch to cross the Atlantic.

All the best

March 22, 2009 at 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Grant Fjermedal said...

Smart to be getting the windvane part. The windvane will sure be needed on this next leg of the trip.

Hope you have about 15 knots of wind just aft of beam all the way home. ;-)

Would be interesting to hear more about tearing down the engine. Who found the broken springs? How hard was it to find replacements? Are they Yanmar springs, or something that Saint of a helper came up with?

Would be fun to hear about your celebration, too. ;-) Where does one go to celebrate on the island? You must be the toast of the island. Sure you'll be missed when you are gone.

This next leg of your journey should be wonderful. Plenty of ocean to enjoy on your way home.

-- Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

March 23, 2009 at 5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude! NATASZA CABAN is on her way to St. Helena. Work slowly on the repairs! I'm thinking this would be much better than meeting up w Mike Perham. SWEET!

March 23, 2009 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

Hey, guys, Jen is in Fortaleza, Brazil as of 7am CST 3/23.

March 23, 2009 at 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Very good to “hear” from you, Zac. So glad the engine repair got figured out without waiting longer for parts. Hurray for you & Trevor! I think we’re all anxious for you to get on your way, no one more so than you, I’m sure! What a wonderful place to be isolated, sounds like the people are incredibly friendly and the pictures have shown a uniquely beautiful setting. After your extended stays in Cape Town & St Helena, being out on the ocean for about a month will be very different, I’m sure. Feels like you are so close, but yet still so far away – some long stretches coming up. I remember the part in Robin Graham’s book about his voyage up the Pacific back to S. California – seemed like the longest part of his trip, as he was so ready to be back in port but it was many days of slow sailing…

All my best, you’re in my prayers. Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

PS – Marianne – you are an inspiration to me as a mother. I only hope that, when my little ones are older, I can be as supportive and as willing to let go at the right times as you are. You are such a blessing.

March 23, 2009 at 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

@ Marianne -

"Awwwww!" Happy Mother's Day; isn't that the best?

@ Scott - Yes, it's on to the America's !

@ Dave H - A mental test is right... It's a long trip under best conditions.

Sail safe, Zac.

March 23, 2009 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac ol' buddy, So good to finally hear some news from you. Now next we need to hear that the engine runs, and runs, and runs and can do more than 30 minutes.

How long do you expect it to take to get to the Pacific?

Peace Out Bro,
Bend, OR

How do mom and dad feel at this news?

March 23, 2009 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Pieter o/b Lady K said...

The winds in your part of the ocean look favorable at the present time: 15 to 20 on the starb'd quarter. Will be glad to read that you're back out there, heading for Granada.
A big THANK YOU to the wonderful people of St Helena for receiving visiting sailors so warmly and assisting whenever they can.
J-P left Mazatlan for the Marquesas this morning (solo); now I have two of you to keep track of.

March 23, 2009 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Many thanks to The wonderful people on St. Helena who welcomed Zac into their home and also to those who worked long hours to get the engine going!!
Zac, fair winds and following seas.
Be safe!
Anita M. Miracle RDH
Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

March 23, 2009 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger davejb851 said...

Zac, Nice of you to make a special thanks to Mom, you'll soon have lots of time, and in truth the rest of your life to thank Mom and Dad for all they've done to get your kiesta(sp?)around the world.

Just get yourself and your boat the hull out of there!

March 23, 2009 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Nice Post Zac,

I'm sure Mom really enjoyed reading those lines from you Zac. Great job telling Mom exactly how you feel and how much you really appreciate her and everything she does. Like they always say "A Mom's work is never done".

Great picture chilling on the boat.
Good luck with the repairs and I hope you'll be on your way soon. Take care and check that provision list twice before you leave.

Ready for a Sail,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

March 24, 2009 at 6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the rush? I'm thinking if it were me I'd want to spend more time in those remote places. Anyway it is good to hear from you, Zac, after so long. What's the next stop and good luck.

March 24, 2009 at 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Dude. NATASZA CABAN is was 170 miles out of St Helena yesterday. Zac should wait for her, she says she's just there for half a day. They can convey up to the Caribbean.

What's interesting is she's done virtually the exact same route as Zac. Darwin, Cocos Keelng, REunion (not Maritius), Durban, East London, Mossel Bay, Cape Town and now onto St Helena.

Highly enteraining blog. Great writer and great sense of humour. Love how she's always dropping things :-)

And quite the babe ;-)

March 24, 2009 at 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac - Is there any piece of eqipment that has performed without flaw or repair needed , since you left on the trip ??

March 24, 2009 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like everyone is having a blast. Jen's partying it up on her cruise as well:

March 24, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Bill Jamison said...

It's great to hear that all of the work is almost done and you're ready to start your journey home.

These kinds of problems are incredibly frustrating but they are also learning opportunities. Not just learning how to fix this specific problem, but learning how to cope with issues and how to creatively fix them. It's an invaluable life lesson that you have the privilege of learning at a young age.

Zac I admire your spirit and your drive, it will serve you well throughout your life.

Have a safe journey across the Atlantic!

March 24, 2009 at 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our prayers are still there asking God to keep you Safe the rest of this leg of the journey. Do you realize what He has seen fit to get you through ....? (just engine wise ?) Also, I am sure you are aware that you missed the creation of a New island in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Tonga (Micronesia) by an underwater volcano March 21...Missed it by a month. You truly left Madagascar by days of the unfortunate beginning of a civil war March 17 or there abouts. I've heard these events on the BBC radio. So, THIS is why we've been praying a lot.
Lord willing all will be calmer the last legs home : )
In God's timing !!

March 24, 2009 at 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Willvp/East London said...

Song for Zac, when he is leaving St Helena:

I am sailing,
I am sailing,
Home again....
to be with

and all sing a'long !

March 24, 2009 at 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Natasza's latest entry (Polish versions: 24.03.09 1700 zulu, 70 mil do Św. Heleny: 16 35 S; 004 47 W), says she's now at 60 miles out. It would be super cool if Zac and her can meet. How many solo navigators can one get to meet on a solo navigation :-)

Probably make land in about 10 hours or so.

It's incredible how small the ocean suddenly is. Mike, Saito and now Natasza. Really heart warming blog hers, same under funded recycling of goods and equipment to get her expedition off as well. Same encounters trying to sail into Durban that Zac had, same Torres Strait nightmare as Zac. Like Zac dropping his sat phone in the sink, she even dropped hers in the actual ocean. Luckily it was mil.spec and waterproof and floated until she could turn around and retrieve.

Man, the stories they could share would be incredible.

March 24, 2009 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

So, it's Tuesday evening here, Wednesday AM there...

What's the deal with the last minute Windvane repair???

Daveh & Skipper

March 24, 2009 at 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok lets take a look at the hurricane season. It is the end of March now. It will take Zac approx two months to get from where he is to the Panama canal. This includes a stop in Grenada. That takes us to the end of May . Then there is up to a two week wait to go thru the Canal in Panama. Now once on the Pacific side Zac is in prime time Hurricane season. It starts in the beginning of June. Zac you are cutting this very close. I know from sailing on the Sea of Cortez most boats will venture to a higher latitude to avoide these strong tropical storms. You better get going soon and hope that you do not need repairs when you arrive in Grenada

March 24, 2009 at 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having just read through Natasza's entire blog. I note before she even departed, she was heaping praise on Scanmar for their superior assistance.

What that means of course is that her boat too has a Monitor Windvane just like Zac.

What that means of course, if they do get to meet, he can compare his broken one with her fixed one and determine what exactly is broken and how to fix it. Nothing like side by side comparison when it comes to mechanics :-)

March 25, 2009 at 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lot's of time. @ 6 knots non-stop St Helena to Home = 56 days.

Call it May 25th back home.

Add say 1 week Grenada + 2 weeks Panama Canal (both max). Add another week for the doldrums.

June 25th home.

1. First Hurricance in 2008 was in July.

2. The routing back home is outside the Hurricane Belt once you head West around South America:

Trinidad and Tobago, Bonaire, Curaçao, Aruba, Providencia Island, San Andres, Panama and onto the home stretch.

It may look like a close call on paper. But so was the entire voyage.

Awesome :-)

Also looks like Natasza is now in St Helena. Hey, if she's not worried heading that way this late, neither should Zac be.

March 25, 2009 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

DaveH - Zac just updated info on FB indicating the windvane repairs are ongoing. He sounds a bit frustrated again...


milford, ohio

March 25, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger STEVE B said...


Great that you were able to find the broken springs instead of setting sail only to find that the engine is not starting in a time of need. I would much rather find something broken and repair the problem.

@ Zacpac (Daveh?)If you are on the second most remote place on earth what is the most remote place on Earth?

Hope you have a fond farewell soon!


March 25, 2009 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

So...stranded on St. Helena....with Natasza Caban. Not bad...not bad at all!

I do hope you get underway soon and have good winds at your back Zac! But this layover is turning out to be as fantastic as any! I bet another trip up Jacob's ladder is a possibility since Natasza is there. She will want to go up I'm sure.

As always, be safe as you sail.


March 25, 2009 at 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SteveB, i'm thinking maybe that station on Antarctica?
Rock On Zac

March 25, 2009 at 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tristan da Cunha

Part of St Helena.

1,750 miles to the nearest land mass.

280 people on it.

No regular shipping.

The most remote inhabited Archipelago.

Then again maybe Zack means Intrepid at any given time while sailing :-)

March 25, 2009 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

@ SteveieB – That would be Antarctica…

I can’t believe how much time Zac has spent in St. Helena, cRaZy in my humble opinion, just nuts…….. Risking the Baha storm season, could cost him a full 4 months…

Sorry to be negative, but I’m just shocked… Engine Springs and Windvane should have been queued up for work day #2, day #1 is a day of rest…

I’m sure I’ll get beat up about this… sorry…

Best Regards,
Daveh & Skipper

March 25, 2009 at 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Axel said...

@ DaveH
I have no clue why he is sitting there in the middle of nowhere.Well I guess it's about time to check if some nastyness starts to develope on the African coast even thou it's kind of early.

March 26, 2009 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger Daveh said...

@ Axel

It's too early for the Sahara / African storms, they start to brew in July, but really in Aug-Sept.

The, Caribbean basin starts in June, but June is usually a low month, as is July… those months (June and July) see more Gulf starts, or starts near the Bahamas for origin.

The southern Caribbean is typically a safe place, many people move their boats south to Trinidad / Tobago area, in fact, insurance companies penalize you if you don’t go there. So if Zac is in that area, then he’s sitting pretty good.

The rub I have is the time lost and the Pacific storms, which often start out with a bang in June off the Baja Coast, of which he has to traverse for many days/weeks, often without a good port to duck into easily and quickly, and the good ones can be crowded, which in a storm is a horrible situation… (as you know, crowded anchorages aren’t good in good weather)…

I just don’t understand the not lining up work efforts right away, and of all things, the windvane…

This could cause him a 4 month delay to wait for the Baja coastal tropical season to subside… WHICH IS FINE, IF THAT’S A PART OF THE PLAN, A SLOWER TRIP AROUND, MANY HAVE DONE IT, AND IT WOULDN’T MAKE ZAC ANY LESS OF A SAILOR OR A MAN, NOT IN MY EYES ANYHOW… But I think many of us have been watching for him to keep the pace… But if he wants to lay back, hey, that’s his prerogative…

Sorry to rant…

Daveh & Skipper

March 26, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

hangin with Natasza...nice!

March 26, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I have a feeling that Zac will be heading out soon and there will be a big exciting story behind his delay. Speaking of storms, parts of Oklahoma are supposed to get a foot of snow tomorrow. This global warming thing is getting serious down here!
Blessings to All,
Bob in OKC

March 26, 2009 at 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! I think I know what is up. Checking Natasza's latest blog entry tonight [google translated].

Zac's partying with Natazsa and has become her agent for radio shows :-)


26.03.09 - wypływam27 - 03 - 2009 Thursday

morning woke up and I do not see. I do not see the wind!

A little later

about! the wind was, "I go" so late in the evening today (hopefully just before midnight:) tomorrow, Friday!
I flew all day and pepper (weird saying, interesting, how do you have? certainties of some witches). even had a show on the radio - thanks to Zac!
Hazel at the end of the ride took me to the island - is lovely, so much history and green on the other side ... I got to travel the fruits that the island's NO:) Hazel is in the freezers of his hotel stocks, which do not store uraczysz, pears, grapes, only to run out of bread in the shop and decided it just did not have. How do I do not like to be, it is like what happened there, or not? Liquid today, 3,800 miles from me and move the equator. we'll see how it will be."

March 26, 2009 at 5:24 PM  
Blogger John Gezelius said...

Storms in the Pacific . . .

But just think HOW FAST HE COULD SAIL with a 40 50 knot wind!

March 26, 2009 at 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when zac arrives off the coast of Guatemala he will have to cross the Tehuantepec This stretch of sea is very very scary. At the best of times the seas will be 9 meters and the winds will suddenly come up to 50 60 knots with out warning. Mainy sailors will try to venture 150 to 300 miles off shore to try and pass these storms. Others will hug the coast and head straight north hoping to take shelter if things get to rough. After that he has the coast of the Baja. The trip north can be horrible with strong head winds and confused seas off the nose. That is during the calm season. He will be arriving at the height of typoon season in the pacific. This will be probably one of his hardest passages thus far. i can only hope and pray that he sets sail soon. every day he is on St Helena is a day closer to the pacific storms. Time to move Zac, and next time dont wait to arrive to make repairs get things planned before you arrive in port.

March 26, 2009 at 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

For those of you that have facebook, Zac posted a great pic with Natasza. Im sure it will be here this evening or tomorrow.

March 26, 2009 at 9:23 PM  

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