Sunday, March 1, 2009

So Close and Yet So Far II

Latest Position as of 03/07/09 at 1600Z 19 09.147S 001 43.141W (290 miles from St Helena)

We spoke with Zac very briefly this morning. The winds are quite light - in the under 10 knots range. This is very frustrating for Zac, however, the forecast calls for the winds to increase in 12 hours to the 13-17 knot range. Over the past 2 days he averaged 100 miles/day which is certainly better than he has experienced in the past but not close enough to the desired max of 150 miles per day. Unfortunately, his sat phone was having some poor reception and now appears to be out of power. All being well, he should arrive in St Helena on Wednesday afternoon. The St Helena Yacht Club is on the lookout and has offered to escort him into the anchorage which is not the greatest. It is quite deep - between 17-21 meters! Check out this warning from the Noonsite web site:

WARNING: All vessels anchor in James Bay but the holding is very poor. Ensure your anchor is well set before going ashore and check the position of your vessel on a regular basis. Many a vessel has had to be collected on the horizon after it had dragged anchor.
Landing on the slippery quay can be quite hazardous if a swell is running, which often the case. Occasionally it may be impossible to land. From

I had a brief Skype chat with Jen on Friday. She was taking care of Internet business and then hoping to spend Saturday exploring the island. She was blown away by all of the positive and encouraging emails she received. One thing that hasn't been mentioned here is that Jen is very new at this. We actually met Jen while Intrepid was in the Anchor's Way Boat Yard in Ventura. She was doing an internship at the local paper the Ventura County Star while taking photography classes in town. She had been assigned to take photographs for an article by John Scheibe. She began to follow Zac's story for a school project, coming down to the yard to lend a hand and take photographs. She is certainly not the 'leach' that she had been accused of though she is learning the difference between what perhaps should be done in the industry and what is done as far as copyright infringement and the protection of same.

We got the Sharpie out today to update where Zac was on our world map that hangs in the living room. How amazing to trace his journey and think of all the water that has passed under his keel.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allmost there mate!
Take your time droping the pick in the bay, i have mates who woke up one day to find the boat 20 miles off shore, the water is a good 20m deep there. Have a cold beer with Jen and get ready for the loooong haul.
Late Mate,
Erik Bjerring,
Cape Town

March 1, 2009 at 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that
the Zac round-the-world
project has a lot
of friendly Southern
California people
helping him attain
his goal!

Congrats to all!

[@Jen: small jpg pictures
posted on the blog make sense
to me. Even dial-ups can
see them!]


March 1, 2009 at 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


thanks for the update. It must be really worrying for you that your contact to Zac by Satphone got interrupted, but he will do fine as he did always. And then from St. Helena onwards, the contact will be there again. I guess the stay in St. Helena will be short given the anchorage situation or does Zac have enough rope to make the rode >100m. But I am not an expert here. A scope of 5:1 may not be enough depending on the ground. Zac is very prudent and knows what to do having again local support. He is an awesome sailor.

All the best,

PS: The part on Jen was partly unnecessary. Almost all that follow Zac know that Jen is as much support to the effort as anybody else and really enjoy her view. Replying to those who just want to dump their own conflicts and miseries here, is not helping them, the blog, or you. Just ignore them or, if necessary, moderate the blog.

March 1, 2009 at 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan Singapore said...

Getting there. It'll be good for Zac to have a break and see some people.

March 2, 2009 at 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMAZING indeed to think of Zac's journey amd ALL that water.I am still in awe of it all. I will be forever, I think! This young man has captured my heart...his courage,humility,love of his family, his expertise and his great desire to fulfill his dreams, has blown me away.I am soooo glad that I have been a tiny part of it all.
Thank you Zac and all the Sunderlands.Thank you too to the faithful Zac Pac who have made me laugh and taught me lots about people, places and sailing!
As for Jen....I admire her too.
Again, a wonderful person following her dream and making a fabulous job of it.
Lovely to hear how you came to know each other....what a great story.
Do hope the wind picks up for Zac ....very soon.

UK friend

March 2, 2009 at 12:46 AM  
Anonymous cindyincincy said...

AMAZING, indeed! What a blessing to be able to follow this journey and "meet" so many interesting people through blogging. I feel as though I have a connection to people all over the world through Zac's Pac and that is an AMAZING thing to me. Welcome to Kwan Yee Cheng from Hong Kong!

Yes, of course we are all waiting for words from Zac, but in the meantime are very grateful for updates from Marianne and Jen and Erik and Croaker and anyone else who shares their positive energy, wisdom, vision and joy.

Best wishes to all and especially the Sunderland family as they wait for news of a safe and sound anchorage. CindyinCincy

March 2, 2009 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello All,

Thanks again Marianne for the great post and Zac's update. Hopefully that sat phone will get a new set of batteries in St Helena. Let's hope that the wind starts blowing again and Zac can get those 150 miles per day in.

@ Jen, so now we know the association between The Sunderlands and Jen. I just wanted to Thank You Jen for everything your doing here. I enjoy every picture you send us no matter how it comes to us. All I care about is seeing Zac's journey and you place great visuals for us to look at and admire.

@ Marianne, Thank You for giving us Jen's story. Hopefully people will understand a little better now.

@ Zac, enjoy the sail and you'll be on land again very soon.

Sail On,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

March 2, 2009 at 6:15 AM  
Blogger doulos said...

Zac is making excellent time, with his latest position already at 030709! I've enjoyed following his travels for the past 3-4 months and am looking forward to watching him on the Panama Canal web cams. So sorry that some feel the need to complain about Jen's photography. Best wishes to you all.
- Mike in Colorado

March 2, 2009 at 6:28 AM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Thanks again, Marianne, for your update. Did we miss “So Close and Yet So Far Away I”? Just curious about the “II” in the blog title. Glad to hear that Jen has made it to St. Helena and will be waiting to greet Zac and take more incredible pictures – I look forward to them! I’m sorry that Zac’s not moving as fast as he would like and that the sat phone seems to have finally given out – cannot wait to hear that he’s made it to St. Helena soon… I also look forward to hearing about that interesting place and what I’m sure will be another group of local supporters. I’ve been fortunate to experience the kindness of strangers in my own travels, and I’ve always strongly believed our world is full of people’s kindness and generosity, but it’s been so special to see that belief come alive in each place Zac has stopped. In my prayers as always. Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

PS I know you are still working on Zac’s route, but please remember to provide us with the next address we can send mail for Zac :)

March 2, 2009 at 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on! Capt.Zac!
Ordinary lad doing extraordinary feats,guess that makes him an extraordinary lad!
Straight Wakes!
Mike S.

March 2, 2009 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go. May the winds bring you into St. Helena soon. Enjoy your stay and have jen take some hiking pics for us.
Cheers to all Zac-Packers and the Sunderlands.
Kodiak Mike

March 2, 2009 at 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job Zac!Your'e almost there!

I know you can do it.

May God help you through everything

March 2, 2009 at 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! Good luck with your trip. Godspeed.

p.s. my friend says that you fight pirates :D

March 2, 2009 at 9:16 AM  
Anonymous GPS Nav said...


Welcome back to the Western Hemisphere. You've crossed the International Dateline, the Equator and now the Prime Meridian! The nortbound crossing of the Equator looms in your near future. I wish you continued good luck and fair winds. God Speed

Mike Filler
Master Navigator, USAF retired

March 2, 2009 at 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there all Sunderlands and Zac Packers,

So nice to get the updated information. Thanks Mum. Zac, you are so close to St Helena. Will pray for a little miracle to get you in there and keep Intrepid safe while she is docked.

I would so love to see that map on your wall, Marianne. Wow, what it must say to you each day.

Thanks also for the "rest of the story" on Jen. Jen, we love you.

Many prayers,
Bend, OR

March 2, 2009 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac,
I hope that you will come home safely.

March 2, 2009 at 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac,
How are you? I hope you'll come home safely.

March 2, 2009 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Hello Marianne,
Thanks for the post!!!
Sail Zac SAIL!!!! ~_/) YEHAAAA!!! :)

Thinking of you, your family and all my fellow Zac-Pac fans!
Anita Miracle <><
Waterloo, NY
Captain SV Wombat
Avid Zac fan :)

March 2, 2009 at 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Hi Marianne,

Thanks again for your great post. You are quite a Mom and I think not only have we all learned from Zac, but we've learned a great deal from you as well. Your example of love, support and strength is incredible and us other Mom's admire you.

I have a 17 y/o son also, and I'd be approaching the "emotional wreck" phase by now, by not having seen him since June of last year.

I enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for all you give us.


March 2, 2009 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...

Hi Marianne, Zac, Jen, Laurence & Zac-Packers:

I laughed at Anonymus's (whoever that might be) remark that his friend said that Zac fights pirates. I don't think that's exactly true. I don't even think that it's on his 'bucket list'. He'll probably leave them alone if they'll leave him alone; however, if they want to rumble, they won't find a Schmoo! (Does anyone gathered here know or remember what a 'Schmoo' is? LOL)

Isn't St. Helena the island where Napoleon spent his last days? If my creaky memory serves me, it is and there must be some historical and interesting things to see there. Knowing about it/them wouldn't hurt of some future history test, or in a cut-throat game of Trivia. Check it out, Zac.

We're all standing (sitting?) by for word of Zac's arrival in St. Helena. Wonderful that Jen will be there to greet and visit with him. That means more fantastic photos of Zac, Intrepid, and their adventures!

Happy Sails to You All,
The Croaker

March 2, 2009 at 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

@ Mike in Colorado -
Do you have any good links for Panama Canal web cams? I know we'd all love to be able to watch Zac and Intrepid as they pass through it! While we're waiting for him to arrive, we can all peruse the site. Thanks in advance.

The lack of battery charge in the SAT phoneis making me a bit anxious. Although, I'm encouraged to know that he's already pretty close to St. Helena. Fingers crossed!

March 2, 2009 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger John Gezelius said...

I know that he has yet to make St Helena (island resort made popular by that famous French adventurer, Napoleon) but have we any idea where his next port call will be? I recall that Trinidad - Tobago was in the mix at one time, or possibly Grenada. You might drop me a note off-line with that.

March 2, 2009 at 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done - this is all so exciting - wishing you well Zac.


March 2, 2009 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger doulos said...

Panama Canal Web Cams
The Atlantic side: Gatun Locks

Nearing the Pacific end of the Gaillard (or Culebra) Cut. This should be a good place to see Intrepid pass. It would be sweet if they turn the camera to see Zac under the Puente Centenario bridge:

And the Miraflores Locks at the Pacific end:

(These cams are hosted by the Canal operations company at

A good site for picking up many port and cruise cams:

And a link to the Wikipedia article about St. Heleena:

- Mike in Colorado

March 3, 2009 at 6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Zac I hope you make it.

March 3, 2009 at 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool picks on the last one, Go for it Zac always thinking of you!
Anna M,

March 3, 2009 at 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Axel said...

Looks like that when you check on Mikes page, your IP address is forwarded to totaly money. I already got 2 e-mails from them. Trying to unsubscribe - the unsubscribe page is not available. I think that is a dirty trick to collect addresses.

March 3, 2009 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger davejb851 said...

It is great to know that things are going well, (other than the phone) miles are passing under the keel, and Zac is working his way towards home.

Is it just me or does it seem like what a short time ago June was? Of course for all the family it's been forever, but it seems like just yesterday there was the discussion of diverting to Hawaii.

Finally, all of those who have been joyful observers of this trip, many who joined along the way, and some who join in daily, know and understand what Jen has committed to this trip.
Her time, her expense, her equipment, effort, expertise, and I am sure her heart. Most wouldn't question her ethics, or motivations.
She has shared her incredible craft, and allowed those of us who sit behind a computer screen, to in a small way see the progress, realize the time as it moves, and enjoy as best we can the experience.
Thank you Jen for that.
No person, no professional undertakes this sort of effort and commitment without some thought and plan on how to best recoup at minimum the cost of doing so. With a plan and a dream of photojournalism in her future, those plans are and always have been part of this and any project she will undertake in the future.
Ansel Adams didn't give away his pictures! Annie Lebowitz doesn't do charity! And neither should Jen!
And someday perhaps her pictures will have the effect and the price tag to allow her to do what is in her heart, chronical the world through a camera lense.

March 3, 2009 at 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

@ Davejb-
I really enjoyed you sharing your thoughts (as I usually do).

You sort of hit the nail on the head and if I understand you correctly, not only are we observing Zac pursuing his dream, but we're watching a budding photo-journalist (Jen) pursuing a dream of her own.

They are both young souls and should be commended for taking risks that most of us (myself included) could never dream of.

Well stated! :)

Ha, Ha, my word verification word is: "booke." Interesting!

March 3, 2009 at 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Any idea when Zac's due to pass threw the panama canal? I just saw a sail boat that could have been Zac but not sure?

March 4, 2009 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

oh wow so cool..i just got a close up!! Its's not Zac but how cool!!Thanks doulas for the info

March 4, 2009 at 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Axel about
If you look at any website your IP address goes to that sever. Otherwise it cannot send you the page you are requesting.
But that does not allow the server to send you emails.
I check Mikes website frequently and also post there and never got any email from them. must have gotten your email elsewhere.

@Everybody: Don't stop checking on Mike. It is safe, afaik.


March 4, 2009 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Zac's positioning determined solely from his SAT phone? Google tracking only shows his position from the same time of the last blog entry. Doesn't he have a full time transponder on board?

March 4, 2009 at 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a picture of Marianne's "war room"???

I picture Marianne sitting in a big leather desk chair at a half moon desk with computer screens, microphones, charts and maps plastered to the walls, telephones, SSB radios etc?

Can we get a pic. of Zac Trac Central?

March 5, 2009 at 8:10 AM  

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