Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cruising with Questions

Latest Position: 04/02/09 1600Z 10 34.823S 013 57.338W

Cruising along here in the 'fives' and feeling pretty good about it since the forecast is for the wind to continue to lighten. I've got 8 knots of apparent wind which combined with my boat speed of around 5 knots means I have around 13 knots of wind behind me. Intrepid doesn't sail down wind very well in much lighter winds so I'm hoping that I can stay away from the 8 knots or less areas.

Thanks for all of your questions. So far I have received over 100 of them so hopefully that will keep me busy for some of this leg!

Bill Bourne's 6th grade class at the Parker Middle School asked if I brought any game systems to play while I'm at sea. They also wanted to know what food I eat and can I cook.

I did not bring a game system (I have never owned one actually) but I do have my computer and a few games. I got Guitar Hero for Christmas from my aunt and uncle but I can't play it while rolling around at sea.
I eat a lot of canned food at sea. When I left Los Angeles last June, I had a lot of fresh food on board like oranges, apples, potatoes and onions. Those kinds of things can be hard to find on a small island. In fact, there is currently a potato shortage on St Helena Island. The potatoes didn't make it to the delivery ship and the whole island is upset. Anything that isn't grown on the island has to be shipped in so fresh things are expensive, not very fresh and hard to find.
I have been know to eat cold chili straight out of the can on more than one occasion!

Don Murray from Marina del Rey asked what it feels like to be out in the sea for weeks at a time and what goes through my mind during that time.

When I left for Hawaii on my first leg, it was pretty intense having the sea all around me and knowing there would be no land in sight for weeks. It was especially hairy when I passed the continental shelf and the big Pacific rollers were all around me. They are long, tall swells that are found in deep water. Now when I am out at sea it has become normal for me. I just get up and do my jobs and take care of things just like if I were on land. There is a ton of blue all around me; blue sky and blue sea as far as the eye can see.

Dr. Simon Clarke from Kingston, Jamaica asked why I chose and Islander 36 for my trip and how does it handle, especially in heavy seas. He also asked if an electric auto pilot would be good as a back up.

I chose the Islander 36 for several reasons. It is a fairly inexpensive and dependable boat that is heavy enough to handle heavy seas yet also can move quickly in light air. Although Intrepid has gone around the world once already she was easily modified for my trip for extra safety and stability. Mainly, we added a cutter rig, new keel bolts, reinforced hull in front of keel, installed a hard dodger, reinforced cabin walls and bulkheads. It helps having a dad who is a shipwright!
She handles extremely well. I can go hull speed (around 7 knots) with 10 knots of wind on the beam. She also handles very well in heavy seas. I have been in as much as 20' seas with no problem. The only problem the Islander has is when going down wind. She tends to fish tail because of her narrow stearn.

I have had several electric autopilots on board that have burned up because they haven't been powerful enough to handle the pressure from having an offset shaft. The American Sailing Association has just sponsored me a brand new Raymarine SmartPilot that I should receive in Grenada. This is more powerful that my previous autopilots and should see me home.

OK I have to get busy here. Will answer more tomorrow.


Note from Mom: I have received several emails regarding the RSS feed on Zac's blog. If yours is not working for some reason, you will have to try to sign up again. I cannot do that from here.


Blogger Joey said...

Great job Zac ! I've enjoyed reading your adventures... i published some stories of my travels before "blogging"... Good luck and God speed !!!

April 2, 2009 at 8:34 PM  
Anonymous JiffyLube said...

I liked reading your responses to the emails you got, and I hope you continue this...especially items pertaining to how the boat handles.

Have you taken any waves over the bow or sides? Have you taken any waves over the stern?

April 2, 2009 at 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Parker Fritsch said...

Dear Zac,

It's me Parker! Sorry I haven't checked on you for awhile. My treatment has gotten kind of yucky. Did I tell you that they say that I now have skin cancer? They have to burn off all my sun exposed skin. It kinda hurts, but I'm getting through it. Next week we have to go to UCSF where they are going to do my face. I won't be able to go to school for awhile, so I'm kinda bummed.

I was trying to think of a really good question for you.....How do you get credit for going to school so that you don't have to repeat a year? Or do you have to repeat the year? How does that work?

I went to Disneyland last week to celebrate 4 years past my bone marrow transplant! It was really fun.

I have your calendar on my wall in my room. I'm gonna take it to school to show my teacher! Can you say "Hi" to Mr. Kliewer's class at Maple Creek Elementary for me? That would be really cool to show my class!

Hope you're ok out there at sea. Be safe....but have a BLAST!

Your buddy, Parker

April 2, 2009 at 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac's responses always sound so calm cool and collected for at 17yo, makes one wonder if Mom's filtering and rewriting them :-)

I think not though. Isn't it scary :-)

Same with Mike on his journey.


tnk nt thO. innit scary :-)


I think not though. Isn't it scary :-)

It's all a testament that today's youth are not lost.

I'm puzzled why someone [thing] like Disney who ya'll met didn't pick this up as a movie to be made, as say entitled "real kids of today".

All you hear or read about are 17 yo's either ggetting pregnant or stabbing to death each other over a wink. :-(

April 2, 2009 at 11:35 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Hi Zac,

Just a quick hello and wishes for a blessed day!

Stay safe,hugs
Anita ~~_/)
Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

April 3, 2009 at 2:15 AM  
Blogger webmaster said...

A mile stone ahead. By tomorrow Zac should have put his 20,000th mile under the Intrepid according to the Google maps track line. Think about that next time you drive to work at 55mph while Zacs average speed is about 6.

Well done Zac,


April 3, 2009 at 2:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was wondering what you plan to do with Intrepid when you complete your circumnavigation. I'm a sentimental guy and it would be hard for me to part with something so special but I'm sure you will want to upgrade at some point.

-Steve Kea
Orange County CA

April 3, 2009 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger John Gezelius said...

You position puts you just about midway between the west African coast and the Brazilian coast. Looks like a big ocean. Curious - how much water can you carry? Either in gallons or days? That would seem to be the limiting factor for how long you can stay out.

April 3, 2009 at 6:27 AM  
Blogger STEVE B said...


Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. It reminds me of the early days of your voyage but I still enjoy reading about your day to day thoughts, activities and of course the details of sailing solo around the world. I know many in the Zacpac have boats or extensive knowledge of blue water sailing but the details are never mundane to those readers that are curious on what it must feel like to aim your boat at the horizon.

Hope this continues to be a great leg!

Birmingham, AL

April 3, 2009 at 6:32 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Great job answering all those questions. It's great when you have the time to answer blog question. I'm sorry you received so many questions but at least you won't get bored. Wow, 100 questions.

It's great to hear that the sailing is going well. Keep it up and enjoy all the blue color all around you. I'm currently trapped in a office and see dry wall all around me. I have your calendar with a picture of you waving at me from inside Intrepid. It must be nice out there smelling and taking in all that ocean and BLUE scenery.

Sail On,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

April 3, 2009 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Laffing Dawg said...

I could never tire of the view - blue all around and sunrises and sunsets, wow.
Thanks Zac for answering all of those questions. I am particularly interested in what you will do with Intrepid after the voyage. What a great question from Steve Kea.

Have a really special day. May all continue to go well for you on this leg of your adventure.
Bend, OR

April 3, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Glad to hear you're still sailing right along, in the zone. And great to read the Q/A - nice change of pace for us Zacpac to get to hear from you so often! Take care out there. Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

April 3, 2009 at 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Grant Fjermedal said...

Sounds like wonderful sailing, Zac.

In the morning I'll take my Cal 2-30 out for the first big (and fun) race of the season. We'll sail about 6 miles down Puget Sound, round a chunk of rock, and sail home, while raising money for the local food bank. Not exactly an epic voyage, but great fun.

One of the fastest and best-sailed boats in the fleet is a sistership to Zac's - - an Islander 36 called "Whistling Swan."

Enjoy your sailing, hope the wind stays around 12 knots off the aft beam, as it has been for you. If it goes lighter, just go into a series of broad reaches back and forth as if you were racing in light air.

And, although not allowed in racing, you can set your whisker pole on the same side as your boom while cruising, which can be a big help when reaching in light air -- though you'd want to get it down as the wind picked up.

Meanwhile, out in the Indian Ocean, Mike Perham has just pulled into Hobart in Tasmania to do some repairs from the midnight knockdown he took a few days ago. He's hoping for a 48-hour pit stop, but he's got quite a repair list, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes him.

He's showing good sense to pull into Hobart as he'll soon be in the Pacific: Destination Cape Horn.

After rounding the Cape and heading back up the Atlantic, he'll also have to be on watch during the early part of the hurricane season.

Two brave kids, off to see the world, and thinking of the old Moon River song: "There's such a lot of world to see."

-- Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

April 3, 2009 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger sgkuhner said...

One question I have is: Did Hans Bernwall show you how to hook up a small autohelm 1000 to your windvane? By doing that it takes a small amount of battery power (about 1/4 amp) to drive your windvane when you want to steer a compass course rather than a wind course or when just going under power. That should solve the problem of your auto pilots burning out.

April 3, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the address for the blog feed. It is incorrect.

You need to add http:// to feed link []

otherwise it thinks is it part of the main address (as below) which is incorrect. Have a look somewhere in the settings if you see the address

just add http:// to it

April 4, 2009 at 2:40 AM  

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