Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Making Progress

Latest Position: 04/01/09 11 46.674S 12 40.068W

I'm almost parallel with Ascension Island now so I'm glad to be making relatively good time. The wind has dropped off a little today but I have still been able to make 5s all day which is good. I'm pretty sure there is something wrong with my solar panel regulator. I'm not getting nearly as much power as I should be which means I'm going to have to run the engine to top off the batteries every couple of days.

We have been talking about the book of my trip and thinking back over some of the amazing things that have happened along the way. There was a time when I was off of Durban. Remember I was caught in a Southerly Buster and just couldn't make the tack into port. At one point I was just sitting there off of the harbor, my lowers had just gone due to a broken bolt and my engine wouldn't start, there were ships all around me and it was pouring with rain. You would think that I would be terrified. I probably was to a degree but since the situation was just under control there was this rush of exhilaration to be on the verge of danger but able to stay safe. Hard to describe, but this is what I wanted when I set out on this trip. Not trouble but excitement and adventure.

Then there was the time between ports off of South Africa when I was sitting up in the cockpit at night watching and waiting for a ship to pass off of my radar screen so I could reset the alarms. I had fallen asleep without resetting the alarms. I felt someone grab my shoulder and shake me. I woke up and looked around but there was no one there! I sat up and realized that I was on a collision course with a ship. I was just able to alter course in time. If I had not been woken, I might not be writing this today.

I guess you could say that Someone is looking out for me!

Since things are pretty quiet out here it would be a good time for your questions about my life at sea. You can ask them through the comment feature at the end of this blog or email them to I'll try to answer a few every day.



Blogger Diane Wilkinson said...

Thank God!

April 1, 2009 at 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Jim, Yuma, AZ said...

Have you been keeping a log?

April 1, 2009 at 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That "Someone" has impeccable timing!

Awesome blogs. Keep'em coming!

@Helio re: English
English by international treaty is the official language for maritime communications as well as for aerial communications. Obviously, this is for safety reasons, right? Zac made the comment in the previous blog probably to mean that they couldn't converse more and get to know each, other than what's probably required ... standard marine communication phrases.


April 1, 2009 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger davejb851 said...

I'll ask a question, actually a couple:
What one thing have you missed most during your long legs at sea.

You mentioned not being in a panic while trying to get into port. Do you feel your self confidence was ever tested to it's limit.

What do you imagine the first night, in your bed at home, with Mom, Dad, and all the rest of your family close by will be like.

April 1, 2009 at 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be redundant but could you tell us of your daily routine on this long leg.

What are you reading and filling your mind with these days?

Such a privilege it is to support you, Zac, and yes the Lord is in your boat - or better yet you are in His and He cares much for you.

Fair Winds,
Bend, OR

April 1, 2009 at 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great up date especiall about the 'hand' that woke you up. I am sure that I know who that was. You have many people praying for you and I am sure it was He who woke you.

Keep the reports coming,


April 1, 2009 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...


Amazing entry. It makes a lot of sense to me. There was that hand shaking youin the night. There is divine intervention and there is also some sort of sixth sense that kicks in from time to time. Could it be that you are so tuned in to what you are about that you simply knew that the ship was out there and action was required? I think, perhaps.

You also mentioned the 'exhilaration of being on the edge of danger and being able to remain safe.' How may bells did that ring. At times in the past I have placed myself at the threshold of danger and at others, allowed myself to be drawn there. The feeling of 'being alive' is strangely intensified when there is a threat present. I say the feeling of 'being alive', but it could be just the feeling of 'being'. Happily, it can be attained for me without skydiving, bungee jumping, or swimming with sharks. In your case, it's at it's best when it is you out there with Intrepid, your meager resources, and your competence dealing with forces of nature while manipulating all the data to achieve an equilibrium. What an accomplishment!!

I hope that your book will include coverage on the following three area:

1. The trials and challenges you faced,
2. Your actions to resolve them, and
3. Specific things done to Intrepid to bring her up
to standards you and your father felt were
necessary for this adventure.

I also hope we'll have a means of a reservations for advance purchase of the book.

The Croaker

April 1, 2009 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hey Zac,

If that is an intro to your upcoming book, I can't wait. What an incredible story of God looking over your shoulder. That made my night. Thanks so much for sharing, and for blogging again. It makes me realize how much I missed that part of your journey.


April 1, 2009 at 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you elaborate on how much your faith has been instrumental to you on this journey? I gather that there are more stories to tell such as feeling someone waking you up in time to avoid a collision. This trip you are on is not only a journey of adventure but an internal spiritual journey as well.

April 1, 2009 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Mouse on a Motorcycle said...

The more I read about solo circumnavigators, the more I'm amazed at how G-d speaks directly to people, or even wakes them up with a shoulder shake, when they aren't distracted by company. Who's to say that Slocum's Portuguese pilot wasn't an angel sent to protect him?

The ability to trust in G-d, and exercise your own G-d given abilites at the same time, is just more evidence that Zac, without benefit of church, or sages, or complex theologies, is maturing spiritually as well as physically, mentally, and in seamanship.

I want to thank everybody here who has bought the album "Death and Coffee" with the Zac-inspired song, "Set Your Sails." It's still available here! for $5.00 for a limited time. When Passover starts, the price will go back up to $7.00, so now's a great time to buy a couple of copies for those friends that you like, but not enough to buy them expensive gifts.

Still praying daily Numbers 6:24-26
Mouse in Whittier

April 1, 2009 at 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Good to hear your doing well. It won't be too long before you can sink your teeth in a double double and suck down a cold shake!
I read the part about a hand on your shoulder waking you..someone was there, I believe your grand dad is your sailing angel.
stay safe
Laura Bermuda Dunes

April 1, 2009 at 10:19 PM  
Anonymous JiffyLube said...

You're making good head way Zac.

Looks like once you pass Ascension Island, you won't have another place to pull in if you need to until you get close to Fernando de Noronha.

Maybe this is a good time to throw a line out to fish. Keep busy to ward off the boredom. Read a good book. Do you have any music you haven't listened to yet? Maybe you can pick up a radio station.

Keep the blog going so we know what's happening.

April 2, 2009 at 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac Good to read of your amazing adventures. Keep safe in the hands of the Lord. GranW

April 2, 2009 at 3:47 AM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Hey Zac! Good to have so frequent updates from you and very glad you're sailing right along. Very glad you're working on your book and that you're getting the time to do so. I have a few generic questions:

* What are you eating now, anything different you picked up on St Helena?
* What are you reading, if anything? Any "schoolwork"?
* What music are you listening to?
* Do you still have cameras onboard, recording? Is there plans for a documentary or some other use of the footage?

Take good care out there... Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

April 2, 2009 at 4:44 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Zac,

What a great post. Keep all those memories written down somewhere. I'm glad you have time to reflect back on the good times and also the challenging times. Someone grabbed your shoulder huh!!! I thought this was a solo navigation? I guess someone really is looking after you. Gently put but very effective Zac.

Keep those great posts and cherished moments coming our way.

Sail On,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

April 2, 2009 at 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Grant Fjermedal said...

The Atlantic Ocean must agree with you because ever since leaving St. Helena your writing has gone up about 4 nothches in quality and interest.

Keep those GREAT stories coming.

I'm fascinating about your being shaken awake by an unknown hand on your shoulder.

Sounds like a ghost of an ancient mariner looking out for fellow sailors on the sea.

Or, maybe your Guardian Angel. Either way that's a great story.

Would be fun to hear about when you had to wrestle the jib onto the boat when you lost your forestay, and what it was like to lose your boom, and what has been the biggest wave you've seen so far? Any rogues?

Keep up the great writing.

-- Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

April 2, 2009 at 6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to hear your thoughts Zac.
Glad that you have time to be leisurely and able to reflect...
You have certainly got plenty to reflect on!
All sounds pretty cool out there for you.
Just hope the wind keeps at a good speed so that you can make steady, safe progress.
Thanks for keeping in touch.

UK friend

April 2, 2009 at 6:21 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth / USA said...

Guess it wasn't so much a "solo" circumnavigation after all, eh? So glad you're staying safe after all this time... So many of your followers have joined your family in making hand-wringing a new career!

April 2, 2009 at 6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have answered this before but my biggest question is When Do You Sleep?!! And How Many Hours Do You Get To Sleep?

April 2, 2009 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Had dinner last night at the Blue Water Grill in Newport Beach and the four of us talked of your adventure and how interesting it has been for all of us to live it through you.

Like someone else asked it would be interesting to hear if your already strong faith has been altered or strengthened during this adventure.

Blessings as yu continue on heading back now into the embrace of your family and friends. Steve

April 2, 2009 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man you had an Angel experience there Zac. I certainly have been praying and sending Arc Angel Michael to keep an eye on you. It seems he stepped right in when need be with that ship. My question is "Outside of the scary moments, and there have been a few, what is a really great experience that you remember most?" I would think you have seen some incredible stars, planets, sunsets etc. That must be life changing? Chris Carnaghi
Alhambra, CA

April 2, 2009 at 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl in San Diego said...

Thank you Zac for the wonderful post today! Just so inspiring.
Thank you Father for keeping this young sailor safe!

April 2, 2009 at 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

Thanks so much for sharing some of your reflections with us, Zac. You've also confirmed something that many of us already know, and that is that we are never truly alone.

In addition, your words sound as though you are realizing that you've been on this great vacation and are now on the trip back home, which is always filled with bits of sadness as we come to terms with an adventure that is coming to an end.

With that said, my question for you is; Do you see yourself taking Intrepid back to any of the places you've been? If so, where would you like to sail to next?

Also, on a more emotional scale...
What is the biggest laugh you've had on your trip and why?
Have you ever been brought to tears, and why?

Do you ever talk to yourself while at sea?

Oh! How are you gonna celebrate crossing the equator? I suggest dancing naked on deck (weather permitting).

April 2, 2009 at 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Betty E. said...

Hey Zac,
I could 'hear' a little something different in your writing...could it be 'excitement' or a little 'maturity'?..whatever, it sounds great!
Zac pac is right, that hand that shook your shoulder had to be all the prayers that are offered for your safety..glad you paid attention and didn't just turn over and gone back to sleep!... talk about adventure and excitement!....we are here living it with you!...
Keep safe and sail on!!!
Betty E., Lomita, CA

April 2, 2009 at 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Axel said...

Hi Zac.
Great blogs. Love to read them.
Is there a chance to get some dates/positions for the trip from Darwin to Cocos? Need to know where I was LOL.

April 2, 2009 at 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of music are you listening to? Is there any new stuff that you want sent to you in Grenada? Also
do you have a set-list from your show on Saint FM?
-Kodiak Mike-
Kodiak Alaska

April 2, 2009 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Wayne said...


Are you or your Mom in contact with Natasza? From her last blog on the 29th she lost her autopilot and her wind vane steering. Your probably within a days sail of each other at this point.

April 2, 2009 at 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got a few questions.

You said you went for a swim en-route to St Helena.

How does that work. Do you bring the boat to a stop, tie a rope around yourself and jump over the side? How do you get back up onto the boat?

Simiarly you mentioned you jumped into the water at St Helena to fix the wind vane. At first I though how bold then re-thought, man, its freezing he must have had a wet suit on. Did you have a wetsuit on for that as well as the swim en-route to St Helena? Shorty or long john?

There's a small outboard pegged to Intrepid in the pictures. Is that for a tender and is it a blow up dinghy? Can't see a rib of any size fitting intrepid unless deflated. Have you used it at all anywhere? How long to pump up? How do you wrangle the outboard onto it if you are by your self. You pump up the dinghy, put it in the water tie it up, then lower the engine into it, then get in and someone affix it, or do you do that onboard Intrepid. Can you use the mast as some sort of crane of sorts?

I take it the pump up dinghy isn't the life raft. Do you have on of those proper ones, that's in a case and auto inflating?

You have the solar chargerer and the wind charger. Is there anything like a ram jet charger like on aircraft. A turbine under water that you can use the forward movement to propel it to generate lectricity?

Do you have an astronmy book? With all the opportunity and time, probably make a lot of sense to study the stars :-)

Did you stock up on biltong from Cape Town. What type? Any left?

Is 2008/2009 an unusual year for sailing for some reason, if so what is the reason. Seems so many circumnavigators on the water right now. All those Polish girls, that English guy Roll the Dice, that Aussie couple in Durban. The routing almost seems like a highway and the ports truck stops. Is this normal every year?

Once home, I can't imagine it will be possible to sit still. It seems anyone who has done this has to continue sailing at lenght. What's the next ideal boat for you. I came across an interesting article -- you must know the guy Mike Harker from Cali as well. Got a super deluxe 50' cruiser and sailed around the world as well. Is something like that the next plan. Cruiser or racer. Is there anything like that small charters to sail around the world, not as crew on a tall ship or mega yacht, but something smaller and just passengers.


I'll think of some more questions maybe :-)

April 2, 2009 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your parents could send you one item from home to be dropped onto your deck right now, what would that be?
Two things I most look forward to in your book are -

Getting to know the culture of the places you put into port through the people you befriended in each place.

How the God who knows you best and loves you most has surprised you with His presence at sea.

Zac, you are amazing. And fellow Zac Paccers, I love reading your comments. I would love to meet each and every one of you.

On my knees,
Bend, OR

April 2, 2009 at 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the book is a great idea. But what I want to know is if you are open to the idea of traveling a circuit of speaking engagements to the students of the country. If I can raise the money to get you and maybe a family member here would you please come and speak to my students. I can accomodate you and the family in my home if you are so inclined.

Craig Schreiber
St. Gregory School
Houma, La

April 2, 2009 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Student question:


After you have finished this voyage would you ever consider attempting another around the world voyage.

Alli Collins
Fifth Grade
St. Gregory School

To date, what was your favorite part or place during the voyage.

Willaim (Fluffy)Miller / Austen Fanguy / Cameron Fanguy

April 2, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Willvp/East London said...

Hi, Zac,

here 2 questions to keep you busy (!):

1. Pollution: is there a lot of pollution out there? Difference between oceans i.r.o quantities? did you see bulk pollution i.e. floating contaners or other things?

2. Your Post-circum-Trip: are your future ideas, as you mentioned to me, taking any shape in your mind on how and when to go for it?

big handshakes from all the family here in East London/South Africa (inclusive your partner drummer Nicholas, now 7 hey)

April 2, 2009 at 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Jessica A said...

Hi I read about you in Malaysia's newspaper... you are awesome and inspiring!^^

I wish you good luck and God Bless You^^

April 2, 2009 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Are you brushing AND flossing??? LOL!!!
Anita Miracle RDH
Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"
Avid Zac fan, proud member Zac Pac!

April 2, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Art Guy said...

Far be it from me to burst anyone's bubble, however the hand that shook Zac awake was most likely not the hand of God. It was the hand of a sailor or sea captain lost at sea. This has been documented in numerous books about long ocean passages where a solo sailor had perhaps fallen ill or was simply asleep and in imminent danger. In many cases the boater actually awoke and saw the image of someone standing at the helm. If God was involved, perhaps he sent the entity.

April 2, 2009 at 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

My question is how will you adjust to being home once this trip is over? Don;t you think you will miss being wunderlust and free? Will you do another long trip?

April 3, 2009 at 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I noticed that you havent been writing at all about landing any fish. Are you trying to catch fish at all or are you too busy with everything to bother?

Matthew in Florida

April 5, 2009 at 6:51 PM  

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