Monday, April 6, 2009

More Atlantic Ocean Q & A

Latest Position: 04/06/09 1445Z 5 50.233S 20 00.029W

Still making good time but the thought of being at sea for another 3 weeks minimum is weighing on me. I'm trying to keep busy with writing, school and talking to friends. I finally broke out my stash of freeze-dried food yesterday. I pumped up the trusty (or not so trusty) alcohol stove and heated some water for Chili, Rice and Cheese with Blueberry Granola for desert. I am really full for the first time in a while.

My headache is gone now, thanks for the concern. It may be dehydration or nutrition or stress. I get them once in a while and they are pretty intense.

I'm nearing the ITCZ and the forecast is for more convection (rain/storms) and fluky winds. David Morris is on top of it and may reroute me a bit to avoid a big, nasty in the forecast. (Ugribbers can look at 4S and 23-26W in a few days!). I have noticed that the Atlantic Ocean doesn't have the big rolling swells like the Pacific. Maybe because the Atlantic isn't as deep?

I am currently about 700 miles from the equator so I'm looking forward to having some kind of milestone to tick off on this long passage.

More questions:

Landon Scott asked what was the scariest situation that I have found myself in?

Definitely has to be when my forestay broke free while I was in the Indian Ocean. The wind and seas were so strong and rough which had the boat rolling and pitching so that I could hardly move around on deck. My stainless steel pulpit on the bow was smashed in by the weight of the roller furling drum on the end of the forestay flailing around so my life lines were loose and I had nothing to brace myself on. Just when I thought I had furled the sail and fastened the whole mess down to the deck, it would break free again and out on deck I would go. That went on for quite awhile. I finally was too exhausted to do anymore and fell asleep down below. When I woke up the wind had lightened and I was able to manage things better until I was able to make an emergency stop in Rodrigues Island.

Eric DeLio asked what were the worst conditions you have have seen to date and where was it?

Just off of Papua New Guinea I had a day of steady 30 knot wind gusting to the low 40s with a big, sharp swell all on the beam. The boat kept getting swamped by waves and thrown off course so that I had to hand steer for almost 24 hours. The night was especially bad as I could not see the waves coming and couldn't brace myself for them.

Roger Bacon asked why having an offset shaft is such a problem for an electric autopilot.

Because there is a skeg, the prop shaft is offset so it can be removed without removing the rudder. This puts extra torque on the rudder which puts extra pressure on an electric auto pilot that was rated for a boat of Intrepid's class, size etc.

Intrepid's skeg-mounted rudder

OK, back to it here.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. You'll have to come up with an awsum ceremony as you cross the equator again. Have your mom post your mailing addy in Grenada when she gets some time. Gonna send ya some good eats. Sail on, dude!
Kodiak Mike

April 6, 2009 at 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac,
My 6th graders have a question: when you get home what is the thing you are most looking forward to eating or doing or seeing?
Mrs. Libby's 6th grade class

April 6, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for more answers Zac!
Don't like to think of your most scary times...I find the whole thing of being in the middle of the ocean so scary anyway and I am not even there!
I thought you would say the encounter with what you thought might be pirates....but the ocean is more scary than that!
Glad that old headache has gone.
Wonder how you can overcome those thoughts about being at sea for so long at a stretch....I guess just keep in mind why you are doing it and remember your goal. Maybe have small goals....Like you say the equator is 700 miles...a great there something after that you can work towards...a smaller goal. So you are looking at the hill rather than the mountain. Little by little, steady safe progress is good.
Thinking of you.
UK friend

April 6, 2009 at 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Art Guy said...

Hey Zac,
Why don't you try fishing again? That may help you knock off some miles. Keep in mind each mile you sail is one mile closer to home. Best wishes, Art Guy. P.S. Do you have your crew lined up for transiting the Panama Canal?

April 6, 2009 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Sail Zac Sail!! Yeha! ~~~~~_/)

Blessings and a Big ((((HUG))))
Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

April 6, 2009 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

Well Zac, I did the math. Think of it as 'miles per day,' and not the whole thing. I looked for shortcuts, but don't see any. I do see some clouds around you and hope they are pushing you forward and not causing any nasty waves.

Eat, sleep when you can and enjoy the beauty when it is available. Twenty some days goes fast for us who are busy with everyday life; yet I bet they are sometimes hard when all you can see is ocean all around you, and all you can hear is the creaking Intrepid (and maybe some 'tunes' if the ipod is working.

We will are breathe easier when you reach you next destination.

I pray you and Intrepid are holding up out there, and not needed too many 'repairs.'


April 6, 2009 at 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're closing in in the cause of your headaches. They are caused by many things and many of those fall under th4e general category of 'body chemnistry'. My own headaches may sometimes be caused by dehydration because water bores me and I try to limit soda, coffee etc. consumtion. My usual quick fix is to eat a snack, even if I'm not especially hungry. It works for me.

So, the equator in about another week? Good sailing to you mate.

Yo gud buddy

April 6, 2009 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Sherna Taylor said...

Thanks for the update, It was nice to see the Q & A and get information that we dont normally get on the blog Seems like you are cruising along nicely.
Hoping for fairwinds over the next the 3 weeks.

Goodies await you in Grenada (and you dont even have to share :)

Sherna T

April 7, 2009 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...


It's great to know you're still making good time. Keep busy and the time will fly by. I guess it's nice to feel a full belly every now and then.

I'll say a big THANK YOU to David Morris who is always watching the weather for you and Intrepid. I'm sure David will steer you well.

Enjoy the ocean, keep writing, and answering all those questions. You're doing a great job answering so many blogger questions.

Sail On,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

April 7, 2009 at 6:04 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Article from Yachting Monthly:

April 7, 2009 at 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl in San Diego said...

Hi Zac,
Just think in just a little over a week and half you will be on the down-side to Grenada and then less than a week and half to the warm green waters of the Caribbean. At that point you can begin practicing your reggae! In the meantime you can prepare for your second solo Equator crossing!
Please remember you always have a friend you can call on at any time to help you and He is just a prayer away.
Thank you agin for taking me along on your adventure, Zac!

April 7, 2009 at 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Zac --

Been a real joy reading your Q&A and frequent updates. I appreciate your honesty in your answers -- very refreshing! I especially like how you dispelled the misnomer that being out in middle of the ocean is peaceful :) Very funny! I can’t imagine what you’re going through with all the alone time, the constant keeping up with everything on the boat, etc. You obviously have strong will! You’re doing great, keep it up, and you’re in my prayers.

Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

April 7, 2009 at 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Grant Fjermedal said...

Embrace this time at sea.

Savor every day of it. For all too soon it will be over.

My longest passage was a 24-day sail from Victoria, B.C. to Hawaii. Certainly wasn't alone, as there were 12 of us onboard our 50-footer in the Victoria to Maui Sailboat Race, and it seems like we laughed most of the way there.

But one of my stronger memories is of how sad I was in the hours before it ended. I just wanted to keep on sailing. Of course, upon landing in Maui there began a huge and endless party, which certainly cheered things up.

But to this day I recall how I wanted to just keep sailing, and sailing, and sailing.

So, embrace this passage and pull from it all you can. And keep up your great writing. Over the past week you've been producing the kind of copy that could be pulled into a fine sailing book.

-- Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

April 7, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best of Luck on the remainder of your journey.

Balmoral Sailor

April 7, 2009 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Anya said...


Hope everything is coming along okay and safley throughout your wonderful journey to your awesome destination. Love is always following you.
One Question I have for you is: how long have you been sailing along with your SailBoat?

you are

[]D [] []\/[] []D [] []\[]!!!

April 7, 2009 at 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Article from Yachting Monthly

Very unwise to talk like that only half way there. Indicates that the mind is preoccupied with the least important thing. :-(

Which reminds me, Zac's headache I think is a delayed reaction after reminiscing about the pot falling down and hitting him on the head :-)

April 7, 2009 at 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Hannah said...

Salve (Sal-weigh), Zac,

(Excuse the Latin greeting, but Dad is a Latin teacher, so I use Latin once in a while.)

Do you ever get lonely? Are you dreading getting home and having to switch routines? Does your Mom teach you your high school classes or do you take classes from an online school? Do you ever get bored when nothing is happening?

Are the headaches migranes? Dad gets those a LOT, so to get rid of them he takes advil and drinks strong coffee and takes a nap. That might help if they keep on happening.

Still praying that the rest of the trip will go well.


April 7, 2009 at 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan Singapore said...

I was telling my lil guy, Conan, your story about your scary nights off PNG in messy 20 footers in a pitch black night and your other story about your flying furling smacking U around. He was taking it all in, transfixed and silent he hung on every word when suddenly he asked me. "Dad, are cajones the same as balls?"
Pretty good insight for a 7 y/o.

April 7, 2009 at 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here's a question, is the wind generator still working and isn't it enough to keep your batteries charged or are the solar panels the main source to charge the batteries.

You're doing great, hang in there.

April 8, 2009 at 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my name is Lindina, i am 12 years old and i have been reading alote about you. I would really like it if you email me. If you do then here is my email address thanks... Oh and could you possible send me your websites name? my mom loves reading about you and would like to know if you have a website. Thanks a ton! And hope the best for you...... hope the air isn't too hot.... :)

April 14, 2009 at 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Trevor Leslie, London UK said...

Rory Gogan Singapore said...
I was telling my lil guy, Conan, your story about your scary nights off PNG in messy 20 footers in a pitch black night and your other story about your flying furling smacking U around. He was taking it all in, transfixed and silent he hung on every word when suddenly he asked me. "Dad, are cajones the same as balls?"
Pretty good insight for a 7 y/o.

Now THAT is a real MasterCard (think AmEx!) moment... PRICELESS!



April 21, 2009 at 2:27 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home