Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sleeping, Sharks and School

Latest Position: 04/05/09 1550Z 7 05.548S 18 28.184W

I am happy to say that Intrepid is still in the wind. We have spent only a few hours on and off in lighter winds. I've got a steady 20 knots now that is filling the sails nicely and we've been moving along in the 6s for over 24 hours.

I'm ticking off the miles to Grenada - only 2800 to go! I'm starting to wish that I was in an Open 50...

Since I'm going to be out here for awhile, I have answered a few more questions today:

James (9) and William (7) MaGuirk asked if I've ever fallen out of my bed.

Yes, many times. I have a lee cloth that is like a sheet of canvas that is attached to my bunk and also to the cabin top. It does help me to stay in bed but it has broken a few times. When it is very rough I sometimes pull my mattress on the floor and sleep wedged in there. One time while I was sleeping, my kettle flew off of the stove and hit me in the head. I still don't know how that happened!

What is the coolest animal I've seen out here?
It would have to be the sharks. They are kind of scary but they are awesome to see up close.

What has been my favorite port of call so far?
It is hard to pick my most favorite place because they are all so different so I will tell you my top three.
1 - Cocos Keeling Island in the Indian Ocean is so remote and quiet and amazingly beautiful it has to be one of my faves.
2 - Durban, South Africa isn't the most beautiful place but it has a great sailing community and friendly people who have become like family to me.
3 - Cape Town, South Africa has the good sailing, friendly people and is a beautiful place. There is a lot to do there. It is probably more like California than any other place I've been.

Jamie Wasson from Pennsylvania asked if I have stayed in touch with any of my teachers back home and how am I handling my school requirements. What grade will I be in next year?

I have been homeschooled for most of my life so, yes, I have kept in touch with my teacher. Hi Mom! I played football at a private high school for a few years but I have not kept in touch with any teachers or coaches there. Since I started taking high school classes in junior high, I was ahead. I have earned some class credit for my trip like World Cultures, Oceanography and Seamanship, Composition, etc. I will be a senior next year and plan to finish my last requirements and graduate while I finish my book and documentary. I have been thinking of what I would study in college but haven't decided yet.

Seth Spearman asked if the "Do Hard Things" shirt that I wear is related to the book Do Hard Things by the Harris brothers.

Yes it is. My mom heard Alex & Brett on the radio one day and bought the book. She went on their web site but they did not sell t-shirts there (at least at that time) so she had one made online. Someone saw a photo of me in the shirt and word got to Alex & Brett who sent me a few of their shirts and another copy of the book. It is a great book for young people to read. It shows a pattern of lower and lower expectations from today's youth and destroys the myth that that is how is needs to be. Young people can do hard things!

John Merkl from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin asked if I find it hard to be alone for long periods of time at sea and has the tranquility and peacefulness changed me in any way.

The first 3 days out of a port are tough and I really miss everyone. After that, I get used to being alone. After a few weeks at sea I do start to get restless and am ready for a new experience. Days and nights are the same because you are up a lot in the night. There are no Friday highs or Monday lows - everyday is the same out here. As far as peacefulness goes - it is not very peaceful out here. The wind rushes and the boat is creaking all the time. When I'm in port it is peaceful. Cocos Keeling on a calm day is the epitome of peaceful.

Ok, have a mean headache today so will say good bye for now.



Blogger Willyboy said...

Sorry to hear about the headache. Make sure to stay hydrated. Probably not the source of your headache but that can be a sign of insufficient hydration. If you're wondering why my pet warning is about dehydration it's simple - I've been dehydrated in the middle of no where and it is very unpleasant not to mention dangerous.

Sounds like you're clipping along nicely - that's good to hear. Sharks *are* very neat beasties and have a mostly undeserved bad reputation. Glad you're seeing them from time to time - do you know the type? Also cool to have dolphins with you. That's nothing but good omen.

Stay safe, Cap'n...

Cheers to you and all,

milford, ohio

April 5, 2009 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Jamey said...


If/When you plan your next circumnavigation or long distance sail, what non essential accessories (ipod, books, etc..) would you take or leave behind?

April 5, 2009 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Nicki said...

Ouch!Falling out your bunk doesn't sound like too much fun!

Way-to-go Zach! Nice job with getting ahead in your studies,especially since you are doing this awesome expidetion! I've been home-schooled for most of my life too!(And am luv'in most every minute of it!!)
You're writing a book? SWEET!

Well, best of luck, God Bless, and hope your headache goes away soon!!

Nicki, 16 IL

April 5, 2009 at 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got a question.

How do you guys pay for things.

You sailing along decide you need to make a stop for repairs and provisions.

How is payment made thereafter?

Do you carry US$ cash in a lock box on board or something? Or is everything with a credit card(s).

Take for example repairs and provisions on St Helena. I think it is their own currency. For example Trevor the mechanic who fixed the engine and did something with the windvane. Does they guy say let me give you a hand and he does it for free. When you leave you buy him a case of beer or something? What about provisions. Food and water supplies. How do you pay for that in the supermarkets, if they don't take credit cards. US$ from a lock box on board? And bigger repairs like in Cape Town, parts and supplies. You mentioned the local workers wored for 120 Rand a day 12 dollars :-) what about all the other parts. How to pay. You see Mike make a pit stop, hey haul his boat out with a crane and store it on land on scaffoling. In the US that would cost a fortune. Do you guys just whip out a wad of cash or a credit card.

Very curious about that.

April 5, 2009 at 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Volvo Ocean Race
crews have mentioned
headaches. Their
remedy? More liquids.

Open 50 would be faster
but you would then have
running backstays, excess
mainsail roach, water
ballast tanks and weak
contact with hull and keel!!

Islander 36 is a good boat.
I think you can back the jib,
tie the tiller, and take a rest.

Do you have a thru-hull
valve on the engine exhaust
pipe? Seawater up the
engine exhaust manifold
can wreck your Yanmar!


April 5, 2009 at 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan Singapore said...

Hey Man,
Well it's down to the Final in the March Madness NCAA NC x Michigan State Tuesday in Detroit. Baseball opens this week. The NFL is finally culling their ranks of players that run foul of the law. Plaxico Burress looks like his career is in serious trouble. Vick might be out of jail soon but no word if he will apply to be reinstated, but I think very likely. He's young, made mistakes, but will be probably be given a second chance. Fair enough since he faced the music when he had to and the fans I think will respect that.
Glad to hear U got wind moving U along nicely. I liked your story about the Full Monty. When I sailed we had lots of home canned/jarred goods that we prepared in a kitchen for a few weeks before we blasted off. It was good to have one hot well made meal a day. Some of the best meals I have ever had.
Be safe, check your harness, and catch some fish.

April 5, 2009 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger MindWalker said...

Zac - you continue to amaze me and your countless ZacPac members!

As one of your oldest aficionados, I can wait with my questions but, by all means, I'm eager for the day you'll be back at home and occasionally available for interviews.

Until then, continue trusting that Hand on your Shoulder. Thanks so much.

April 5, 2009 at 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Bill Jamison said...

Nice to hear you're making so much progress! Looking on Google Earth I estimated that you're already over 1,000 miles from Saint Helena and just passed the 20,000 mile mark for the trip. I hope this leg continues to bring you fair winds to keep you moving safely and swiftly along on your journey home.

April 6, 2009 at 12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac, you sound nice and chilled!
That's good but hope the headaches aren't too often. Maybe tension, or as a couple of others have said...hydration levels.
Love your answers to the many questions people have for you...especially letting us know your top three ports...wonderful...the Cocos Keeling may see a rise in tourism!
Stay safe Zac.

UK friend

April 6, 2009 at 4:47 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

It's nice to read all your answers to the questions a lot of bloggers have posted. You give us the human touches in your answers. I can tell that you had really good times and it's apparent that you'll remember certain places and certain people for a long time.

It's nice to know you have plenty of wind and your making great time. Enjoy the sail and you'll arrive even without an Open 50!!!

Sail On,
Douglas Pistoen
MDR, California

April 6, 2009 at 6:09 AM  
Anonymous canadian_meisjes said...

Ow. A kettle to the head doesn't sound like a fun way of waking up.
Thanks for taking time to answer questions. :)
~Jessica from Alberta, Canada
'Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.' - Joshua 1:9

April 6, 2009 at 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


This may be a question for your mom and dad, I am wondering how much do you estimate this trip will cost excluding buying and prepping the boat for the trip.

I am riveted to the computer every time I get a post and it only confirms my long time desire to break away form the grind and start sailing the world.

By the way, I amazed how well the boat has done given this is its second time doing this. What a statement for Islanders and your dad for strengthening it.


Newport Beach California

April 6, 2009 at 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to hear you're moving along nicely. Marianne, if you read this could you post the mailing address for packages for Zac in Grenada????
We'll be sending down some salmon jerky for him.
Kodiak Mike

April 6, 2009 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Sherna Taylor said...


Am surprised that u would ask Zac details about how he handles finances on the trip.
R U serious? Some questions are better left unanswered. Let's wait till he is back home in MDR to get the details.


April 7, 2009 at 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac,

I try to come to this site at school or at home when ever i am able to, and check on how you are and how far you are. I am still wishing you tons of hope, luck, love and peace throughout your wonderful journey to where ever you are planing to end-up. God is watching over you at all times and when ever you are hurt and sick. Plus, dont get ocean sick, ouch that would be awful.

Anya Casterton
14 years old
my email is

so email me!

April 7, 2009 at 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE you and hope you are safe.

April 7, 2009 at 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got finished reading "California Dreaming" I got a real feel for the influence this voyage had on Zac and would suggest to everyone that is, or is going to follow Zac's round-the-world adventure to read it.

Zac was at a very impressionable age during their Amazing Grace voyage and his participation in the day to day challenges certainly molded his keen love of the ocean. The California Dreaming narrative is a must, in my opinion to fully understand what Zac is doing today.

April 13, 2009 at 2:53 PM  

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