Friday, April 17, 2009

000 00.000!

Position as of 04/17/09 1650Z 0 34.617N 31 06.075W

When I woke up yesterday morning I was only 37 miles from my way point at 30W and the equator. I was making 5 knots and calculated a daytime crossing. But there are no guarantees when you are near the equator.

I was doing some adjustments on the wind vane at about 8:00 am. When I looked out, half of the horizon was black with huge patches of squalls bearing down on Intrepid. One mile before it hit, the wind dropped down to almost nothing. I reefed the main and waited for it to hit. The wind shifted and built to 35 knots - dead on the nose! I put another reef in the genny before the wind hit so hard that I could barely see the front of the boat or open my eyes.

Beating into 35 knots turned into 40 knots and it was getting pretty rough especially with the 8 foots seas to match. The first set of squalls lasted about two hours. When I came out of the squalls the wind died completely and the wind gauge arrow was spinning around in circles.

I sat waiting for some wind. I didn't have to wait long. Twenty minutes later I got slammed with another bunch of squalls. This went on all day - first no wind, then 35 knots on the nose. Classic equator conditions. Later in the evening I passed through a squall and on the other side the wind was steady.

Unbelievably, I was still about 30 miles from my way point so I adjusted my wind vane and went to sleep. It is pretty exhausting beating through squalls all day.

The AIS woke me up around 2:00am and I was across the equator and making good time.

This morning I had 20 knots on the forward starboard side slamming along in 8 foot seas. At my current average speed I should be in Grenada in about 2 weeks. It is great to bust out of the doldrums and be on my way again.

Its getting late here. I'm going to hit it.



Anonymous Grant Fjermedal said...

What a GREAT description!

Sounds like a day to remember for always.

Congratulations on crossing the Equator and breaking into the Trades.

Grenada should be extra sweet after the effort you've put into this passage.

--Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

April 17, 2009 at 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Rose said...

Yeah, Zac!

Sounds like you had a rough day, glad you are now back in the northern hemisphere.

Mouse time (on Hour World) is after 5 am for you, so it's almost morning. Have a good day!

April 18, 2009 at 12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


When you describe 8ft seas --
what is the distance between
wave peaks? Do you have
to be on the tiller during these
conditions? Or, does the self-steering system do a good job of it?

Have you heard from Natasha?
She hasn't entered a log report
since April 8th.


April 18, 2009 at 1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man, that sounds scary!
I am very happy to read that you are out the other side.
I was kinda waiting for something to 'happen' and I guess it did but as per were ready for it and as always, well prepared and ready to do what you needed to do.
Congratulations....yeeha...Grenada here he comes.

UK friend

April 18, 2009 at 2:31 AM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan Singapore said...


April 18, 2009 at 3:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! What I just read, about your equator crossing experience brought tears to my eyes! Zac, you are an amazing young man!

April 18, 2009 at 3:14 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Wow Z...from dull to not so dull!
I bet you are tired! Good thing you had time to reef, it wouldn't have been pretty otherwise....if you think you need to reef...then you NEED to reef; that's what I've been taught :)

Hang in there we're all cheering you on. Getting somethings together to send along to you in Greneda.

Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

April 18, 2009 at 3:32 AM  
Blogger Bill Mann said...

Way to go Zac!

Might not have to sharpen the shears if you keep this speed.

Anon from yesterday's post, yes California Dreaming is a great read. For those who have not yet clicked on the link, have at it. It will be the best five bucks you have spent in a long time.

Just be sure you have enough time to read the whole thing in one sitting as it is very difficult to tear yourself away once you get started.

If this is a prelude to Zac's book, then the literary world is in for a great surprise.

The humor shown by Laurence in his writing is just as interesting, if not more so, than the actual exploits being described.

Great job Laurence. It is easy to see where Zac gets his inspiration and sense of humor.

Hang in there Maureen as I am sure the squall will pass. If you need to unload, my email address is below.

A good weekend to all.

Bill Mann

April 18, 2009 at 5:02 AM  
Blogger myramir said...

Myr from Rodrigues island, a Belge one

April 18, 2009 at 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh you awesome young sailor ! There you are, across the equator... - heading home steadily and taking all the odds with such grace and calm - Zac, you are one of a kind.
My husband Karl (one of these "brutally handsome dudes...!") is back home from S.A. and telling the tales of your great achievements. We are all so proud of you. Sail on Zac - in our thoughts and prayers forever.
Mireille from Switzerland

April 18, 2009 at 6:34 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Zac,

I sounds like you went through a lot of squalls yesterday. Hopefully you're all rested up now. It's amazing how quick the weather can just change like the turning of a dime. At least you saw it, recognized the problem, and prepared for the battle. Handled and written like a true experienced sailor.

Hopefully you'll get some great wind and make the journey in less than two weeks. Take care and stay alert.

Sail On,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

April 18, 2009 at 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Glenn said...

Whoo Hooo!
What an adventure. I have been reading the blog since Hawaii and
enjoying every bit of it. Glad
you are out of the doldrums and
a little closer to home. It's
also fun to read the Q and A's
you have been doing.
Have a great day and God bless!

April 18, 2009 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger MathDadd said...

Three cheers for you Zac!

April 18, 2009 at 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Show steady she goes.

Balmoral Sailor

April 18, 2009 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Captain!

WOW! I really can hardly wait for your book to hear more details of the exhilaration you must feel at mastering the squalls and all mother nature has thrown your way. Your courage is astounding!

Try to capture and record your feelings now while they are fresh if you are not too exhausted. I imagine life will be a social whirlwind once you are back on land ...

To all the Sunderlands & fellow ZacPackers ... Best wishes for a great weekend! CindyinCincy

April 18, 2009 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger MindWalker said...

Comment from Mathdadd was, "Three cheers for you Zac."

I wanted to say the same thing. So, now it's up to SIX CHEERS for our young sailor!

Thinking of 'doing the math' got me also thinking of the mounting financial realities that Zac's family faces daily. Earlier on, I made a tiny contribution and it's time I sent another.

CHALLENGE: think how many THOUSANDS of us enjoy this adventure through Zac's Blog! We then shut down the computer and scuttle off to some or another venue of indulgence; grab a burger, buy a book, whatever.

Those of you who visit this site daily and who have not contributed may not have considered -- this BLOG and Zac's adventure are as worthy as any other indulgence. EVERYONE: just take a second and send $5 US. Or MORE if you can. Use Zac's CONTACT link and make a read difference.

April 18, 2009 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...


That was a great entry. Sounds like a lot more than doldrums is happening, and as usual, you are on top of it and all over it! Were you sitting with your sails flagging when you saw the squalls coming? Were you happy to see them, or apprehensive? Ya dun good, man, getting ready for them.

Oh well, another day of triumphs and victories for Zac. Just another day at the office, huh?

Now if you could just get a good tail wind to chug you on to Grenada. Stranger things have happened and like you someone said here, you cannot count on anything around the equator.

Loving this trip. What will I do when it's over? Maybe I'll take up bungee jumping or something. I'm beginning to see (be shown?) that we are only limited by our minds ... just do it!!

The Croaker

April 18, 2009 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We were born before the wind,
All so younger than the sun.
And the bonny boat was won
as we sailed into the mystic.
Hark now hear, the sailors cry.
Smell the sea and feel the sky.
Let your soul and spirit fly,
into the mystic..."

(Van Morrison)
Zac marks the Equator, northbound into the Western Ocean: April 18, 2009

April 18, 2009 at 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Halle said...


Sounds like a rough ride, congrats on making it though! Keep on keeping on!

-Halle S. in Oregon

April 18, 2009 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Sherna Taylor said...

What a great read, so descriptive, first it was so calm and then ....!!!

You make it sound so easy to handle, yet we all know that the experience called for swift action and fortitude

You are such an awesome young man,

We are all cheering you on. Congrats on crossing the equator.
Sail on, stay alert and keep safe

check your email

Sherna T

April 18, 2009 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Laffing Dawg said...

Congrats to you Zac. Back across the equator and into the wind again - can't top that except by your first sighting of Grenada. You have earned some nice time back on land. Job well done our friend !!!

To those who have read California Dreaming -I join you in saying "what a great read". To everyone who has not yet had the pleasure - what are you waiting for, download this book.

May your wind continue and even shorten your trip to your next port.
Bend, OR

April 18, 2009 at 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Bill Jamison said...

Zac congratulations on another milestone making your way back into the northern hemisphere. It must feel good to reach this kind of goal when you're out in the middle of the ocean with nothing to mark your progress.

Hopefully you'll make it to Grenada even sooner than you think!

April 18, 2009 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger D said...

Yeahhhhh for you Zac!!!! Been tracking with you on the whole trip. An extra congratulations on this part of the passage. God speed, God Bless. Love, Deb

April 18, 2009 at 6:53 PM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Congratulations! Great news and great blog! Hoping for good winds all the way to Grenada! Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

April 18, 2009 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger bakergirls said...

Hey Zac,
My family and I were enjoying a beautiful sunset dinner in Redondo Beach a couple nights ago. We were talking about the green flash that is often seen at sunset. We've never seen one. We thought maybe you had during your many nights at sea. Let us know your experiences.

The Baker's

April 19, 2009 at 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

@ Zac -

What an exhilirating post. Had me on the edge of my seat! Am so happy that you reached the trades. Be careful out there and remain vigilant. Keep up your strength and hydrate.

@ Anonymous -

love, love, love the "Into the Mystic" lyrics. That Van Morrison song has always been one of my favorites and it takes on special meaning at this time.

April 19, 2009 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

Jen is in the states...FACebook ENTRY:
" Jen Edney Finally made it to Ft. Lauderdale, exhausted from rough seas and final cleaning of the boat the past three days...heading to Omaha to 'recharge the batteries' then to Cali for some meetings then off to Grenada to meet up with Zac...thanks to everyone for all the support!"
3 hours ago

April 19, 2009 at 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure the first squall felt like a refreshing shower after enduring a week of sweltering humidity and no cool showers. There is nothing quite like a good shampoo in the cockpit in a worm spring rain. By the way, are you capturing this free fresh water? I have not read anything related to a water maker on board. Do you have one?

It is good to see forward progress once again. Here’s’ hoping your forward progress is smooth and fast. The trade’s should favor your course. The fickle schedules of the panama cannel are virtually unpredictable for small boats. Depends on the mood of the day I think.

Good luck and God speed.

April 19, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Fulgum said...

Hi, Zac. Glad to hear you're making progress again--and that you are busier than ever...AGAIN. Squalls sure beat the doldrums you had been stuck in before! Hope the wind stays on your back as you push to Granada!



April 19, 2009 at 5:40 PM  

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