Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Very Short Holiday - in Costa Rica!

Zac is out dodging fishing boats and their nets this evening but asked us to update his blog as he has had an incredible day.

After a long night of lightning storms and Panama-bound shipping Zac took an unexpected and very welcome detour today to the beautiful, tropical shores of Herradura, Costa Rica.

Talk about amazing coincidence! Blogger Neil Kahn has been following Zac for a long time and late last year emailed to say that if Zac was ever in Costa Rica he would be happy to host him for dinner. We have been in touch once or twice over the year but didn't plan on Zac heading in to Costa Rica until recently.

While in Herradura today Zac fueled up (many thanks to Neil for arranging), had an incredible Canopy Tour over the rain forest (see photos and link) and ate the best pizza he has ever tasted with one whole pizza for the road (so-to-speak). Zac hasn't eaten pizza in a year!

Zac on Intrepid with Neil Kahn's Ashuma in the background - photo courtesy Neil Kahn.

Canopy Tour in Herradura - photo courtesy of Neil Kahn

A canopy tour, from what I understand, is like an extreme zip line.

From Vista Los Suenos web site:

Our Costa Rica Canopy Tour is located in Herradura next to Jaco on the central pacific coast of Costa Rica and offers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the Pacific Ocean. Our canopy tour is set on approximately 222 acres of land and 50% of this is transitional forest which is a mixture of the dry forest of the north pacific and the rain forest of the south pacific.

The Vista Los Sueños Canopy is a very contemporary tour; it was designed by Costa Rican guides that have more than 8 years of experience in conducting Canopy Tours.

The main idea for our canopy tour was to give our clients the adventure of their life, so we made some of the longest cable runs in the central pacific area while maintaining safety as our number one priority. Thousands of vacationing families and friends have visited our tropical canopy adventure with shrieks of laughter and big smiles. Please join us during your Costa Rican vacation for your own personal zipline thrill of a lifetime!

As Zac heads back out into the Pacific tonight he sounded tired as usual but happier than I've heard him in awhile. Just some good fun with no hassles.

We are watching for any Eastern Pacific hurricane developments. The area that is currently being watched remains unorganized with less than 30% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone. David is watching everything closely and will be advising Zac as to his options. Zac will be making his decision on whether to head offshore or to hug the coast very soon.

From The National Hurricane Center at NOAA:
500 PM PDT SUN MAY 31 2009




Interesting view of water temperatures in the Eastern Pacific. The dark red area is the hottest water and also the birthing ground of most hurricanes in the area.

There are some very real dangers in the coastal waters of Central America. Not only are there a lot of fishing boats and nets but there are those who would try to steal Zac's boat or belongings. It is a small proportion of the population but still worth watching out for.

A site that we all frequent is It is a site that has all kinds of practical and safety information for cruisers for the entire world. It has been an invaluable help during Zac's trip.

Intrepid Heading out of Bahia Herradura into the Horizon
Photo courtesy of Neil Kahn

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Squalls and Ships

Position as of 05/30/09 at 1728Z 8 03.585N 83 48.033W

Slow and steady progress here with light winds, ships here and there and lots and lots of lightning. Isla Del Cano, nearby, is supposed to be the most lightning struck place on the earth. From Charlie's Charts: "The island seems to act as a massive lightning rod protruding from the ocean, for it gets struck by lightning more frequently than any other place in Central America. It's a biological reserve under the jurisdiction of Corcovado National Park." There is also supposed to be an interesting "4 eyed" opossum that is found there. Sounds like an interesting place to visit - a four-eyed possum would be a great pet for my little brother Toby!

Being off the coast of Costa Rica right now, I had a Costa Rican Coast Guard boat hovering around me for part of the afternoon. I thought that I might be boarded but they didn't seem to be too interested in me.

Ten degrees north will mark the end of the first chunk of this leg. After that it will be time to decide whether or not to head offshore to avoid the Nicaraguan, El Salvadoran and Guatemalan coasts (including the infamous Gulf of Tehuantepec) and find wind or to continue to hug the coast. David Morris will be watching any developments in the area to help determine which route to take.

Someone asked about my new UK Halsey main sail and why it was so good to have a new sail for sailing to weather (sailing with the boat pointed as close to the wind as possible). The reason is that I can get better shape with a new sail which maximizes the efficiency of the wind over the sail. That helps in pointing the boat as high into the wind as possible and maximizing my speed. It also helps to balance the boat properly.

David Douglas from New Hampshire sent this very interesting link with a lot of information about the history of cirumnavigating from Magellan to Slocum up to modern day circumnavigators. Thanks David!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Ships & Squalls

Position: 05/29/09 as of 1421Z was 7 deg 05.381N and 82 deg 16.869W

Since leaving Panama on Tuesday afternoon it has been pretty squally with plenty of lightning. In the Panama port area I must have passed 80 ships and continued off into light winds for the rest of the night. The next day the wind filled in and I was able to take a tack out to sea. I battled with light winds with a few squalls and lightning but not too close to the boat.

By mid day I tacked over up the coast still in light winds still dodging several ships. The new main sail works really great for light wind sailing and is helping me point high into the wind. I've basically had no sleep from watching out for ships for these first 2 days.

On Thursday the shipping was less and there was finally more wind so that I was able to do more sailing, though slowly, up the coast. There were tons of squalls on the horizon and in the evening a pretty crazy electrical storm. There was a lot of lightning striking all over the place. The time between seeing the lightning bolt and hearing the thunder was about 2 seconds. I put on all my foul weather gear and ended up sleeping in the cockpit. I have heard more than a few stories of sailors near Panama getting hit by lightning. I've got all of my hand held electronics in the microwave for protection just in case I am hit.

I was visited today by about 20-30 big, dark dolphins. Not sure what kind they are. They look like the bottle-nose dolphins like in Mexico but are darker. They were very curious and hung around Intrepid for a few hours. Pretty cool!


Checking out the mola clothes in Panama City

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weather & Routing

Position: 05/27/09 1553Z 07 23.607N 79 47.995W

It has been a long 24 hours for sure. The lightning and ships are decreasing the further I get from Panama which is some consolation for the lack of consistent wind. My passage from Grenada has definitely got me spoiled! Winds have been flukey and light. I am making decent speed now though I am off course a fair bit.

There have been a ton of questions asked lately and I was just too busy to sit down and write much. I will get to them as I head northwards.

There have been a lot of questions about weather and routing for this leg. That has been the main focus of my last few days so today is a good day to write about it. For routing, I was given 3 different options for this leg by experienced sailor and meteorologist, David Morris.

Option 1: The longest offshore route. This track heads southwestward toward Galapagos, and actually passes close to, or even south of, the Galapagos Islands to pick up the trades south of the ITCZ with a southerly component. It then heads west to 0° 105°W, then NW to 20°N 125°W. This track passes well to the west of Clipperton, picking up the NE trades further north, then heading into the southeastern ridge of the North Pacific High before tacking on to port tack for the sail into MDR. Of course, strength and directions largely depend upon the positioning and development of the North Pacific High. This late in the year however, an extended offshore leg risks potent East Pacific tropical development with nowhere to run. Good enough reason I think for us to put this little option 1 firmly on the back burner. The advantage of course would be that an entirely offshore passage would avoid the small boat traffic that you get in near shore zones, which is a huge plus if you’re singlehanding.

Option 2:
Hug the coast from Panama, along the Costa Rican Coast as far as 10°N, then head west, offshore toward Clipperton. From the vicinity of Clipperton Island head in a NW direction until at around 24°N 123°W you can think about tacking onto port tack to point up against the northerlies to MDR. Although the mileage of option 2 is more sensible as compared to option 1, the same caveats apply. That is to say that this late in the year, with the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season about to kick off, it’s probably quite a good idea not to get caught offshore. Option 2 also has the advantage of avoiding strong gap wind potential in the vicinity of the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

Option 3:
Hug the coast all the way as far as 20°N or even as far as the vicinity of Cabo San Lucas, before heading more NW, to diverge with the Baja coast, sailing close-hauled on starboard tack as far as 27°N 121°W. Then tack on to port tack for the close-hauled beat into MDR. The obvious advantage of this route is that relatively safe harbours are never more than 2 to 3 days away (max.). With the potential for East Pacific Hurricane formation never far away, that is about as far ahead as we can predict tropical naughtiness with a good degree of accuracy. After around 3 days tropical development may not always happen quite as predicted, but often does. Disadvantages of option 3 include the difficulties with nearshore traffic, and the potential for strong Gulf of Tehuantepec gap winds. These gap winds can be predicted fairly well, and nearshore traffic can be minimized by staying out of the immediate nearshore waters. The disadvantage of sailing further offshore will be an increased sea state, but steadier (less gusty) winds, during Tehuantepec gap wind events at least.

For now I will hug the coast as much as possible - aiming for 10 degrees north and then reevaluate. The area from about 10N to 20N is known for being the areas where hurricanes form this time of year.

This map shows this area of hurricane development.

Locations for formation of hurricanes in the East Pacific are the narrowest in the world, with a local maximum located near 15N latitude, 110W longitude.

This map may also help to show why when I left last year in the middle of June to cross the Pacific for Hawaii, hurricanes were not too big of a worry (though David may say otherwise!)

According David Morris:

The HWRF hints at a 1008mb low developing by 00Z on the 1st of June, at 9°N 109°W, but shows it fizzling soon after. Lastly, the NGP model hints at a weak low developing at 9°N 105°W by Jun 1st. Historically the first Eastern Pacific cyclonic development has started around the last week of May, so there’s a good chance that this system will come to fruition.

These are the dates of first named systems from 2002 to 2008:
Alma 29 May 2008

Alvin 27 May 2007
Aletta 27 May 2006
Adrian 17 May 2005

Agatha 22 May 2004
Andres 19 May 2003

Alma 24 May 2002

The big deal with this leg is weather and routing and will be reevaluated daily.

All for now - time to sleep!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Headed Home

I dropped the dock lines early this afternoon after an awesome experience in Panama. The people have been great as usual. A special thanks to the Flamenco Marina for sponsoring my slip and fuel on departure. It was a great surprise to learn that the manager of the marina is Josh Clark's father. Josh Clark set out to become the youngest solo circumnavigator about the same time I did. I never knew many details about his trip but he has since abandoned his attempt. According to his dad, he is currently in Germany.

I don't have time tonight with the lightning storms and ships for a long blog but wanted to let you all know that I am officially on my way home!


We will be testing out Zac's Newsletter function very soon. There will be an exclusive look at something very special in the first Newsletter. The purpose of the newsletter is to send out important updates such as any touring/speaking that Zac may do after his return, documentary release and book release. If you want the 'inside scoop' please sign up today! Sign up is very simple. Click on the red 'My Newsletter' link on the right here. => After registering with your email address you will receive a confirmation email in which you will need to confirm that you do indeed want to receive Zac's Newsletter.

Here are the daily position reports from Zac's Grenada to Panama leg:

Positions from Grenada to Colon, Panama:
05/07/09 Depart Grenada

05/08/09 1934Z 12 39.393N 64 48.277W

05/09/09 1637Z 12 54.212N 67 13.877W

05/10/09 2000Z 13 34.913N 70 21.423W

05/11/09 1500Z 12 01.923N 72 15.287W

05/12/09 1503Z 11 53.298N 74 35.899W

05/13/09 1521Z 10 58.906N 76 56.984W

05/14/09 1500Z 10 12.264N 78 45.054W


LINE DRAWING OF INTREPID -prepared by Mike Smith (with interior drawings to come - thanks Mike!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Lengthy Laurence Blog

Interesting view of the canal from land - Photo by Laurence Sunderland

G'day to all,
It is good to be back home again after so many days away this month. Here is a synopsis of my time with Zac in the amazing country of Panama.

I arrived in Panama the evening before Zac. A taxi ride from the airport took me to Shelter Bay Marina which is the marina that yachts transiting from the Atlantic to the Pacific stop at to take care of the formalities of transiting the canal. Saying that the weather was hot and humid would be an understatement. Of course being 1 or 30 lbs overweight does not help. The Shelter Bay Marina has a hotel that overlooks the marina and rooms were reasonable at $65.00 per night.

The hotel and marina are on the opposite side of the river from the city of Colon which is a small city that is crime ridden and not a place that you would wonder around alone. One has to travel into Colon to get groceries, go to the Port Captain to arrange the admeasurer (guy who measures the boat before transit) and pay the agent who posted the bond for Zac's transit. It is a 35 minute drive if you don't cross the river at the same time as a ship is passing through the Gatun Locks. If that is the case, then you may have to wait at the one way swing bridge for up to an hour. Shelter Bay is somewhat isolated and is surrounded by rain forest. It is built where the US forces base used to be. Russ, the manager, was eager to help with questions and was an invaluable help getting organized for the canal transit

The Thursday evening before Zac arrived, I was overlooking the Marina watching a healthy thunder storm brewing. I thought about Zac out there knowing he would be in for quite a night. Not only would he be dealing with the thunder storm, but he would have to be extra vigilant throughout the night because of the increased shipping.

Zac arriving at Shelter Bay in the rain - Photo by Laurence Sunderland

Early the following morning I spotted Intrepid on the horizon. It was raining with remnants of the thunderstorm. I managed to persuade one the marina workers to take me out to guide Zac in to Shelter Bay. Zac, though tired, was pleased to see me. He had just made the passage from Granada - 1300 nm in a little over seven days and the Panama basin would be the last planned stop of his solo circumnavigation.

We went straight into action organizing the transit through the canal. For all of you who plan to do this in the future, this is what you will need to do. If you don't have 4 x 125 ft lines you will have to rent them. Speak to Russ or if on the Pacific side talk to someone at the Balboa Yacht Club. It cost us $80.00 for the rental of lines. It is also recommended to have additional fenders. These are available in the form of plastic covered automobile tires. They are provided at $3.00 each. Ask the dock master or any local dock workers as they all seem to be willing to help.

Fenders a la Panama - Photo by Laurence Sunderland

You will also need to organize for the admeasurer to come and measure your yacht. For yachts transiting the canal for the first time, this is organized through the Port Captain's office in Colon on the Atlantic side. If coming from the Pacific side ask at the yacht club. Once this is organized, the admeasurer will come to your yacht, take the measurement and explain the transit through the canal in detail. After this, all you have to do is pay the fee that is determined by the length of the vessel. Intrepid's fee was $1500: $600 for the actual transit and $900 was a bond that has to be put up in case of break down or a need for assistance. This is returned after a successful transit. The funds had to be paid in cash (which is a new rule) and are paid to the City Bank and transfered to the Canal Authority.

Meeting with the admeasurer - Photo by Laurence Sunderland

Once the payment has been registered with the Port Authority, the scheduling for the transit is made by a simple phone call. The admeasurer gives you all the details of who to call and when. It is a great idea to rent a phone from the Shelter Bay Marina office. Most of these steps can be deferred to an agent if you choose to use one. We chose not to use an agent initially because of how helpful the marina was. Unfortunately, as we were going into the weekend and banks were closed we ended up engaging an agency that has an established relationship with the Port Authorities and who could post a bond for us. This was done to prevent any delays getting Zac's appointment as we are pushing the hurricane season in the Pacific.

Once all the formalities were taken care of and transit time of Monday the 18th at 1800hrs was given. Fortunately, we had arranged to buddy boat with Pura Vida, a rather nice catamaran owned and operated by Dallas, Wes and their wives, Lauren and Tiffany. Dallas and Wes are brothers in their mid 30s and are both electrical engineers. They are top guys as were their wives who furnished a spectacular meal up on Gatun lake the first night.

All boats transiting the Panama Canal are required to have 4 line handlers on board and one adviser, assigned by the Canal Authority, who is essentially a large ship pilot in training. The line handlers do exactly that. They handle the four 125' lines that tie the boat to the canal. There are two guys on either side of the canal on land that throw the infamous line with the monkey fist knot on the end. The line handlers tie a bow line around that line and the canal crew pulls the 125' 1" thick lines toward them attaching them to cleats. It is the job of the the line handlers on the boat keep the lines taught while the 50 miilion gallons of water enters the lock.

Zac's line handlers were to be Rosemary and her 13 year old son David from the sailing vessel Nina. They have both been through the canal before and were happy to help out. Brett, filmmaker, and I were the other 2 line handlers. Zac headed out to the flats by himself and all of us line handlers went out on Pura Vida.

We spent any time that we weren't working aboard Intrepid as line handlers aboard Pura Vida out of respect for Zac's solo circumnavigation and were only aboard when dictated to by rules and regulations of the Canal Authority.

Fernando, Zac's adviser, was brought out to the boat in a pilot boat out in the flats. He boarded Intrepid for the passage through the Gatun locks. Fernando was very courteous and professional and also a Christian. He was a great help. We approached the Gatun Locks just after dark. A small ship was already in the first chamber. We were rafted to Pura Vida and were to be rafted to a tug boat which is the best way to go through. What a feat of engineering and what a privilege to experience it first hand.

We would untie from the tug boat but stay hipped to Para Vida between locks. As the tug powered forward to move from one chamber to the other its huge props caused such turbulence that Wes from Pura Vida and Zac struggled to maintain control of their vessels. It was unnecessary for the tug boat captain to hot it up like he did and transitioning the next two chambers I managed to politely motion to him for a more dignified pace so as not repeat the situation of the first chamber. I think he realized his error and the situation did not happen again.

Before we knew it, we had been raised some 75ft to Lake Gatun. It was pitch black and as we moved away from the locks we traveled to a mooring area where we hipped with Pura Vida. Once moored, Lauren and Tiffany had prepared a wonderful lasagna and salad. We were all excited to have experienced what some call the 8th Wonder of the World. With lightning striking off in the distance, howler monkeys disturbing the night's silence and the beautiful, starry night sky above, I settled in on the trampoline netting of PuraVida for good night's sleep.

At the crack of dawn, the new advisers returned for the passage through the lake. Fortunately for Zac, Fernando returned which is not normal practice. As a fellow Christian, we shared something much deeper then just transiting the canal. We proceeded through the lake which is a huge, flooded man made basin. It was hot and humid - no it was hoooooottttt and huuummiiiiiid. I think you get the message. The scenery was magnificent as we passed ships coming through from the Pacific side. As it was my wedding anniversary, I decided to make a sign for Marianne hoping she might see it on the web cams as we were going through the Miraflores Locks. It is quite a long passage between Lake Gatun and the next set of locks. I think Zac was a little nervous of the engine breaking down given its track record which has been less than perfect .

All went well through Lake Gatun and after a 5.5 hour motor we arrived at the other side ready to be lowered into the Pacific Ocean. Zac was excited and we could all feel a fresh Pacific breeze as Intrepid was lowered back into her all to familiar ocean. Going down in the locks is easier than going up because there is less turbulence.

Once through the Miraflores Locks, Fernando was picked up by the pilot boat and Zac brought Intrepid to the Flemenco Marina. The Panamanian Tourism Authority put on quite a spread of local food for Zac and there were many reporters and local TV crews eager to talk to Zac which Zac took in his stride. Intrepid was fueled and interviews were conducted.

Interviewing in Panama City Photo courtesy of Panama Tourism Authority

A feast for hungry travelers - Photo courtesy Panama Tourism Authority

I had been surveying the boat and making repairs where necessary since she arrived in Shelter Bay. These are the repairs conducted:

1. Genoa removed for repair. The leach line had caught behind the upper spreader damaging the upper spreader and the sail.

At the sail maker - Photo by Zac Sunderland

2. Main sail was replaced with a new one. Much chaffing and flogging on the last 26,000 nautical miles and the sail was too tired for the beat North and West. Zac needed a new sail and UK Halsey came through yet again with a timely delivery and a great sail.
3. Tiller arm had too much play in it. Problem was rectified by using washers between rudder stock and tiller arm.
4. All new spreader boots were needed. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate what was needed so we used some of what the Australian's call, bush engineering, and took care of the situation with gaff tape and rag.
5. External Iridium phone antenna was installed compliments of Tom Brown and Mike Smith.
6. Upper spreader on the starboard side needed repair from leach line wrenching it and damaging it. Although if a welder was available, it would have been preferred we had to use 3 hose clamps covered with gaff tape to do the repair.

Tonight we will be in communication with meteorologist, David Morris to discuss the details of Zac's final leg. Zac should leave Panama early Tuesday morning. Though he is excited to be coming home, he has not underestimated the challenge of this final leg. He will be put to the test one more time with hurricane season looming and contrary winds and currents to contend with. He is anxious to see his home port of Marina Del Rey.

Please keep him in your payers as he embarks on this final leg of this quest.


Under the Bridge of the Americas back into the Pacific

View from the Country Inn - Photo by Laurence Sunderland

Friday, May 22, 2009

More Panama News

Walking through the jungle with Jen and friend

I'll pick up with day two going through the canal...

After our evening passing through the Gatun Locks, we had an awesome dinner on Pur Vida and ended up staying up and telling stories till pretty late. Eventually everyone found a flat surface and got a couple hours of sleep.

Passing through the Gatun Locks at night

I woke up aroud 5:00am to the screaming sound of howler monkeys in the mangroves. It is a pretty crazy noise something like the sound someone would make if they were being tortured. I didn't get much time to appreciate the sounds of nature before I saw the big steel power boat that was bringing out the adviser for the next part of the canal.

Prepping my new fenders - Panama Canal-style!

We got the same guy as the night be for which was great because he was a real chill Christian guy. We dropped the mooring and headed out. We still had to pass through the 20 some mile marked channel. It was pretty wide and apart from having to dodge the occasional ship or tug, it was an easy passage.

Cooking breakfast for the linehandlers

We continued along through the lake and as the sun got higher the heat started to go off the charts. Everyone was trying to find a bit of shade to keep from being BBQed.

Further down the channel, the lake narrowed and we entered the part of the passage that had been dug out- the Culabra Cut. This is where were a massive mountain had been in the way of the canal and they had cut a channel through it.

This is when the heat was getting crazy. It must have been radiating off the black sides of the cliff on either side of us. It was kind of like being an egg in a frying pan. But any way a couple of buckets of sweat later we came to the second set of locks - the Pedro Miguel Locks. On this set we would be going down and back to the Pacific. We rafted up with Pura Vida and entered the locks.

The guys on the sides of the locks threw out monkey fist waited lines - my dad was the only one to catch one on my boat. With our lines secured, we started the drop. I was at the helm to rev the engine or steer if the current was to start turning us. My dad and David at the bow slowly released the lines as the water level dropped lower and Rosemary, at the stern, was doing the same.

After this first lock we motored about a mile to the next two locks - the Miraflores Locks. They both went smoothly. That was where there was a web cam and unbeknownst to me we had thousands of people watching. Good thing we didn't screw up!

Intrepid tied to Pura Vida

Also, it was my parents' wedding anniversary so my dad made a sign that said '18 years of love' for my mom to see on the web cam. That's right, grab your pads and take notes. Anyway, after that we dropped down to the Pacific!!!!! It was awesome knowing that I only have one leg left and that I won't be crossing any moor oceans or seas - just the big old Pacific.

After the last set of locks we headed on over to the Flamenco Bay Marina. When we pulled in there were a ton of camera crews and photographers. After fueling the boat I spent a couple of hours answering the same questions into different mikes and cameras.

Then Brett, Jen, my dad and myself all jammed in the back seat of the Panamanian equivalent of a a Toyota Forerunner for a long drive to our hotel which, after two days at sea and in 100 degree weather, makes for a nasty combo.

We finally got to the hotel and then got some sleep.....

Dad flew out yesterday afternoon. We've been filming, working on Intrepid, picking up provisions and otherwise keeping very busy. It is all good. I'll be back at sea again soon.


Reuters Article:

More Media from Panama

Today is Laurence's last day in Panama. There are a lot of last minute preps going on. We'll keep you all posted as soon as possible. In the meantime here is some great media coverage of Zac while in Panama.

A nice article from Panama:

CNN online article with link (scroll to end of page) to the Anderson Cooper interview:

Leave your comments on their site and lets let CNN know that we appreciate their covering Zac's story.



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Zac on KCET Tonight

Bridge of the Americas - Panama City

Hello All,
Zac has been doing quite a few interviews the since arriving in Panama. I will post them here as they air.
Tonight at 8:00, Zac will do an update with KCET So Cal Connected. It also airs Friday at 8:30pm. It should be online some time this evening for you out of towners:

There will be a few more in the next day or two so watch here for more news!


Zac getting a different view of the Panama Canal

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Panama Days

It is great to be back in the Pacific now and getting ready for the final leg of the trip.

We have been doing some last minute repairs and talking about routes northwards. I have also been interviewing quite a bit which has kept me very busy.

The trip through the canal went very well. I ended up rafting up with some friends of mine on a catamaran called Pura Vida - it means something like pure life.

Anyway, we motored toward the first locks (the Gatun Locks) just as the sun was setting and by the time we reached the first set of locks it was dark. The canal operates 24/7 so we got raised through the first set of locks which consisted of three chambers each raising the boat about 20 feet.

The way we went through was with Intrepid tied alongside Pura Vida and Pura Vida rafted to a tug. The tug eventually lashed alongside the wall of the canal and as the water rose the tug would pull their lines in keeping the themselves tight to the wall. After the water rose we untied from the tug. As the tug revved their huge engines, their prop wash spun us toward the wall and with some creative steering and a slight bump of the wall while still rafted up to Pura Vida we motored in to the next lock.

The next two lock passages went smoothly and when we were finally raised to the level of the lake we untied from Pura Vida and motored over to a mooring. We hooked up to the same mooring as Pura Vida and went over to their boat for dinner and a great evening. At about 2:00am everyone just kinda found a flat surface and crashed. I was up at 5:00am the next morning. I was woken up by the howler monkeys just in time to see the boat with the adviser coming out.

Well I've gotta run but I'll try to finish up with day two tomorrow.



Link to Ventura County Star Article:

You Tube Videos of Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks Transits

Many thanks again to Jeffrey Vagt for recording and editing Zac's transits today through both the Pedro Miguel Lock and the Miraflores Locks.

Pedro Miguel transit:

Miraflores transit:

No news from the boys yet...


Back in the Pacific!

Screen shot of Intrepid passing through the Miraflores Locks

What a morning! I woke up with Ben, sat for a quiet few moments before the boys called with the news that they would soon be in the Miraflores Locks!

I got to the computer but there was no Internet connection! Not good.

It wasn't long before we were online and on the web cams at the Centennial Bridge and Miraflores Locks. The web cam handlers must have known that Zac was coming because at one point the camera zoomed straight in to the cockpit of Intrepid! (see photo above)

The banner on the bow is a sign that Laurence made for our anniversary - which is today. It is hard to describe the emotion of seeing them pass through the last locks, knowing how far Zac has come and having a love poster as well!

It has been an incredible day for sure.

They are heading over to the Flamenco Marina in Panama City and will hopefully find a slip for a few days. Zac's sail is due to arrive soon. He will have quite a welcome once he arrives. He has been invited on a tour of the city by the Tourism Department in Panama City. He has some filming to do and some photo ops for sponsors and then to the grocery store to reprovision and make that 'right turn' towards home!

Thank you to all of you who met this morning on the blog. It was a blast.

Unfortunately, there was a link posted last night while the comment moderation was off that apparently linked to a place with a virus. Therefore, I'll be turning the moderation feature back on - so sorry!

More news later...


The Miraflores Locks

Hello All,
I spoke with the boys this morning and all was well. They were indeed delayed last night entering the Gatun Locks. They anchored in Lake Gatun for what was left of the night and were up early this morning making their way with their pilot, Fernando, towards the next locks. First should be the Pedro Miguel Lock - a single lock. Next will be the Miraflores Locks (a set of three) which have an excellent web cam at the following link:

The estimated time of arrival at Pedro Miguel is 9:00amPDT/12:00EDT 1600Z.

Not much warning, I know. Zac didn't expect to be passing through so quickly this morning.

I don't think we will have the problems seeing Intrepid like we had last night - the web cams at Miraflores are very clear. We will be meeting on the blog comments (at the end of this blog post) if you care to join us. You don't need to have a Google account - you can post anonymously and then sign your name at the end of your post.

Take Care & Enjoy!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Through the Gatun Locks

Hello All,
We had a great time on the blog today watching the web cam at the Gatun Locks. It was difficult to know what to look for but finally we saw clear as anything, Intrepid side-tied to Pura Vida - a sizable catamaran that Zac planned to transit with.

I received a most welcome email from Jeffrey Vagt this evening. He had recorded the footage from the Gatun Locks web cam most of the afternoon, sped it up and posted it on YouTube! Here is a link:

If you notice about 00 :58 you can see two masts with mast lights on entering the lock, the lock fills and then they exit behind the wall. That explains their disappearing act earlier!

I will post tomorrow about the Miraflores Locks transit. The web cams there have an angel that makes it much easier to tell where everybody is.

Until Then,


PS Thanks a million Jeffrey!!

Canal Transit Update I

Hello All,
Spoke with the boys at Shelter Bay this morning. They are packing up Intrepid with food for the linehandlers and pilot, extra lines, tires ect.

Zac understood that they are to meet the pilot at 4:00pm Panama time but that they are likely not to be in the locks until 6:00pm. Right now the Gatun Locks web cam is pointed at the approach to the locks. You may be able to see them on the approach on the web cams but they probably won't be in the locks themselves until a few hours later.

Once in the canal Intrepid will be side-tied to a catamaran called Pura Vida. They expect to be anchored in Lake Gatun by 9:00pm Panama time/7:00pm PDT/10:00pmEDT.

Someone asked if the footage will be saved somehow. Yes, the Panama Canal Authority will save a hard copy of Zac's transit that will eventually be posted here on Zac's site.

Zac is planning on calling with any updates or newly understood time frames. The passage from Lake Gatun to the Miraflores Locks is about 30 miles long. Zac thought it would take until about 2:00pm Panama time tomorrow to get to the Miraflores Locks.

All for now. Will update as needed.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Panama Canal Transit Info

As of right now (Sunday afternoon) Intrepid is scheduled to begin her transit of the Panama Canal on Monday, May 18, at 4:00pm Panama Time. This translates to 2:00pm PDT/5:00pm EDT and 2100GMT. Zac and Laurence are working out details today including arranging to acquire the extra lines (ropes) and tires needed for the transit.

The map above shows the lay of the land. Zac and Intrepid are in the upper left hand corner of the map in Bahia Limon near the breakwater. I'm not sure yet where Intrepid is to be at her appointment time - whether she will be entering the lock or in the 'lake' outside waiting.

The first set of locks that is entered is called the Gatun Locks. There is a web cam at the following link that shows current activity in that lock. Zac will give me a call here at home, if possible, when he has an idea of when they will actually be in the lock. The Panama Canal Authority Public Relations people have been most helpful and will do what they can to be sure that the web cams are on and on Intrepid! Very cool! They have also agreed to provide us with a copy of his transit for posting here on Zac's site.

After transiting the Gatun Locks, Intrepid will anchor in Gatun Lake for the evening. There will be a canal pilot assigned by the Panama Canal Authority on board Intrepid who will not drive the boat but will tell Zac where to go and how fast etc. There will also be 4 line handlers on the boat. The job of the line handler is absolutely essential for a safe passage through the canal. The amount of turbulence created by pumping 50 million gallons of water into a relatively small space can wreak havoc on a small sail boat if not properly secured.

Once through the Gatun Locks, the pilot will be picked up and returned to the boat the following morning to complete the transit through the next set of locks - the Miraflores Locks.

There is also a web cam at the Miraflores Locks. When we have a reasonable estimate of when he will pass through there we will let you know.

If you missed Zac's interview on Fox News Channel yesterday, it is now online at:

Zac will be getting back to me with more info when he can but for now we wanted you all to have a preliminary heads up as to a transit time.


Colon, Panama

Shelter Bay Marina at night. Photo copyright Jen Edney 2009

I'm in Colon, Panama now after a fast trip from Grenada getting in in just under 8 days. The 12 hours before I got in were some of the craziest of my life.

I passed 80 - some ships within 3 miles of Intrepid with heavy cloud cover. It was one of those black, black nights - well it was until the lightning started flashing around 11:00pm. It was a constant battle changing course all the time. I even had a ship with no nav lights that I just missed. I had altered course about 90 degrees but in the wrong direction. It is almost imposible to to tell which direction they're headed when it is so dark and they are so close.

So at the last minute I saw the angle of the ship, swung the tiller all the way over and it passed about 50 yards off - so close I could hear the engines running. I hope they could hear me screaming at them off for almost killing me by not turning on their nav lights or answering their VHF radio. I've had some close calls on the trip but that was definitely the closest I've come to loosing the boat.

The night went on and on. I had a few more close calls but nothing too bad. I neared the breakwater of Limon Bay, Colon as the sky turned from the black of night to the grey of morning. I got through to Port Control and they cleared me to enter the harbor after a ship had exited. I motored through the breakwater and into Shelter Bay Marina which is kind of tucked away in the mangroves at the end of the breakwater. It was incredibly good to get off the boat and get some sleep.

This morning was busy trying to confirm my Skype connection with the Fox News Channel. My interview should be on line tomorrow. More canal transit details coming tomorrow. I could be cleared to go through either Monday or Tuesday. Colon is an interesting place. It has been grey and cloudy all the time, interrupted only by rain. There is not much here by the marina besides jungle and sea. We are hoping to see some of the area later today. I have heard that Panama City, on the Pacific side, is much different. I guess I'll know next week.



Mom Update

Hello All,

Zac and Laurence are doing well. Zac finally managed to get some sleep yesterday and is feeling more himself today. The boat will be measured today and then given an 'appointment' to transit the canal. They are hoping for a Tuesday transit. It appears not to be too busy these days. We had heard of month long waits in the past! More details to follow. As in Grenada, Zac has hit the ground running and has had little time to hang out yet.

The Panamanians have been extremely friendly and helpful and are planning all sorts of outings for him while he waits to go through the canal.

Zac is scheduled to do an interview on FoxNews Channel (FNC) today at 9:30 PDT/12:30EDT. If you get a chance - check it out!

More Later!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Panama Photos

Welcome to Panama & Goodnight!

Just a brief update from home this morning. Zac arrived safely at Shelter Bay Marina in the early hours of the morning. He had to weave his way through a sea of ships all waiting for their appointments to pass through.

Besides being up all night all was well - Laurence met him on the dock to catch his lines and I believe Zac will be sleeping for most of the early day!

Photos and further information to follow!



Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Oh Ship!"

This morning the wind dropped off some and my speeds reacted in kind. It has been squally and there have been a lot more ships today. I have been enjoying the day and not stressing over what time I arrive in Panama which should be some time late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Channel One News played a piece on my trip today. They have followed my trip from time to time over the year. They are the leading source of news and information for young people. The 12-minute news broadcasts are delivered daily to more than 6 million teens in middle schools and high schools across the country.

Here’s the link to the NEW story:

And here’s the link to the main page they have:

Note from Mom:

Since sending over the above blog, Zac has called to let me know that he has come within 30 miles of the entrance to Panama. The shipping has increased dramatically and as of a few minutes ago had 7 ships within 3 miles of Intrepid. He had just passed a ship within 50 yards which had him a bit shaken up. Too close for comfort. Some of the ships are not showing up on the AIS which gives him the ships position , heading and name. This makes navigating and communicating with a specific ship much easier. He is concerned about the reliability of his engine should he need it in an emergency.

Might be a good time for all of you who pray to send one up for our boy.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Panama Plans

All is well here on Intrepid. The wind has dropped off some so I am not making the great speeds that I was earlier this week but I am still fast approaching Colon, Panama. Life has been good here on board though the seas are pretty choppy giving me a rough ride for sure!

Shipping has definitely been increasing, though last night I had a good night's sleep with only one ship to watch out for all night.

It has been great to have stocked up on some good food in Grenada. One thing I have learned since being out here that I haven't mentioned much is that eating the right food makes such a huge difference in how I feel. It has been extremely difficult to get hold of good food and food that will last for weeks in remote ports.

While at home I could never be persuaded to drink Barley Green, the dehydrated barley juice that my mom loves. When I found a can of the stuff among the things she had dad bring out to Grenada, I was actually glad to see it. So every morning on this leg so far I drink a mixture of Barley Green and Gatorade powder in a small glass. Tastes pretty awful but I have been feeling great!

My newly repaired main sail blew out the top panel a few days ago. I have been sailing under genoa alone and still making decent time though my sailing angle is compromised some. UK Halsey Sailmakers have generously sponsored a new sail and will be sending it out to Panama City ASAP for me to pick up after I have transited the canal. It will be great to have a tight, new sail for the beat back northwards.

Mom and dad are working hard on arranging things in Panama. We will try to get the web camera turned on to Intrepid while in the Miraflores Lock and will be sure to let you know when we will be there if at all possible.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Flying Along

Still making good progress towards Panama averaging over 150 miles a day with about 25 knots behind me. If I am able to keep up the speed I should be in in a few days. Its nice to have a shorter passage after such a long trip from St Helena. The wind has been strong and steady and the seas rough and choppy.

I didn't write much about my stay in Grenada because I was so busy. It was good stop. We got so much done on the boat - it was just awesome. Mike Smith and Dad got a lot of work done and Christian and I did a lot of interviews and organizing stuff for when I get back. The people of Grenada have to be one of the highlights of my stay there for sure. I am always amazed by the kindness and generosity of total strangers where ever I go.

By the time I left St George Harbor we had finished the rest of the repairs on Intrepid and she is ready for her trip back to California. Other than that, I passed a lot of ships last night so I didn't get much sleep.

Dark here going to get sleep while there are no ships.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

An Update from Dad

Zac heading out of St George's Bay

What a whirlwind of a trip! The flights went smoothly apart from a few minor delays which had me running whilst they held the gate open to make my connecting flight to Grenada.

It was great to hook up with Mike Smith, whose expertize and help was much needed on this trip, and Jen who had been on an adventure herself as crew aboard a 37 ft Leopard power catamaran from Ascension Island in the South Atlantic to Florida. It was almost like a family reunion - much was talked about and Mike and I discussed the work at hand in detail.

When we arrived at the hotel room and I was able to check back with Marianne, I was met with the news that she hadn't heard from Zac all day. He would have been approximately 2 days out from St George's Bay. Knowing his conditions and the fatigue fatigue factor that he was operating under we were both very concerned. At the time, my mind went back to the earlier communication breakdown back in September when Zac was nearing the infamous Torres Strait.

Our arrival 2 days earlier allowed us to scope out St George's Bay and figure the most efficient way to complete the extensive work list. The first night in our hotel I was viciously attacked by a Tigertooth 2" cockroach. Still semi-comatose from my travels, I lunged into action as it ran across my head and then disappeared beneath the covers. Ripping the covers from the bed, it scurried over the edge and took cover beneath the bed. I lifted up the bed and threw it on one side to find my attacker scurrying for cover. One swift and well executed move brought an end to the Tigertooth Cockroach's life. Mike, who was sharing a room with me, thought I was playing one of my practical jokes. I thought I would keep the dead cockroach and present it to the reception in the morning. I wondered as I fell back to sleep whether my attacker was alone .

The following day there was still no word from Zac. We projected his course and went to the Grenadian Coast Guard. The reason for this was to try and make contact via on of their high frequency radios and also to put them on notice of the situation. The report was taken, and as Zac would be passing within 30 miles of Trinidad they felt confident that the Trinidad Coast Guard would be able to contact Zac. A follow up call revealed that no information had been exchanged and that all the efforts that we had made were for nothing. Later that day Zac managed to get a position out on his Spot transponder. What a great relief for us all. I would like to thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Ben with his Grenada souvenirs

We were very fortunate to have Guy Gittins, an executive from the Port Louis development, and Clyde from Camper Nicholson furnish us with a slip and a rather luxurious 2 bedroom bungalow called the Cinnamon Hotel. They also allowed us use of the launch to meet Zac and send him off along with the sea trials and photo shoot. This was faithfully skippered by Rodger who was also great company. Intrepid had traveled nearly 6,000 nautical miles since Cape Town and the work list was long and extensive. Without Mike's help, we would still be in Grenada. Michael from Sundowner, a 85ft Oyster, came alongside and rebuilt the winches and inspected the rigging. He found several things that needed attention. We also had Joseph and Cassey who I renamed Mary which she seemed to like. They were engaged to be married. They completely emptied everything inside Zac's boat that had been swamped earlier in the week by a rogue wave. Things were sorted, washed, dried and put back.

Zac with Joseph and 'Mary'

Zac was eager to get back on the ocean realizing that hurricane season starts around the the 1st of June. Not wanting to take chances, he would like to get back sooner rather than later. Zac is in excellent spirits and making good progress on his way to Panama.

If you would like to mail your letters to Zac's mail box, we will be certain that they get to Panama.

Zac Sunderland
1710 N. Moorpark Rd #212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Zac, Christian and I 'going local'

The Work List with thanks to Mike Smith

Upon reaching the harbor of St. George in Grenada, Intrepid had traveled more than 3800NM from St. Helena over a period of 5 weeks. Last full service was completed in South Africa, so many repairs were needed in a very short period of time. Over a marathon pit-stop of 6 days, the following tasks were identified and performed by the Formula-I (for Intrepid!) team while Zac was occupied by interviews and tele-conferences via Skype:

-The Solar regulator/charger had failed since South Africa. The original unit that had failed before Hawaii was serviced and successfully replaced into service.

-The A/C inverter failed rather dramatically (see A/C distribution panel below) and was replaced with a new identical unit, which was fortunately located on the island after a search of several Marine Chandleries.

-The A/C distribution panel was killed by rogue wave overwash. The resulting short-circuit left the inverter with a flaming circuit board and power failure. The entire electrical panel was treated with cleaner and sprayed with anti-corrosion spray.

-One DC outlet was repaired and restored to service at the aft chart desk.

-A broken signal line in the radar cable had caused radar failure. The entire cable was cut and re-spliced, taped, and sealed.

-The permanent-mount Iridium satellite phone antenna cable was found to be corroded and broken. While repairs could not be completed on-site, a new cable ansd adapter will be shipped from the US to meet Intrepid in Panama. Meanwhile, the hand-held antenna will be used.

-A new, more powerful Raymarine SmartPilot X-5 tiller system autopilot, kindly provided by the American Sailing Association, was installed and calibrated.

-The Monitor Windvane pendulum mechanism was slightly damaged and had missing nylon bushings. A repair/rebuild kit with new bearings and bushings and new pendulum were installed. The rig was readjusted to prevent a misalignment problem that had been a constant difficulty. All-new control lines were installed, a couple of worn bolts were replaced, and the entire rig was tightened.

-The port-side cockpit scupper drain was relieved (unclogged).

-A fraying lower starboard shroud was replaced.

-A Broken lower starboard shroud-plate was removed for welding.

-The upper starboard spreader had a stripped bolt that was removed and replaced. The fastener was re-tapped.

-A bolt was installed in the mainsail tack to restore smoother sail trim.

-Port side Lazy Jacks were repaired by replacing a line and re-routing other lines.

-Significant mainsail repairs were needed and were performed by a sailmaker

-Genoa tears were taped with sailtape.

-A diver cleaned marine growth from Intrepid's bottom hull.

-The Head was malfunctioning, and repairs included replacement of a non-return valve and disassembly/cleaning of the hand pump.

-All gear, cushions, etc., were stripped for cleaning and resorting. The entire cabin and cockpit were emptied and washed. Cushions and covers were sent to a laundry service along with all Zac's clothing.

-The engine oil pressure sender was diagnosed as defective, plus there was some water found in the fuel. A complete engine work-up included all new internal and external fuel filters, new water pump impeller, and cooling line check. The engine was cleaned and coated with anti-corrosion spray.

-A larger, higher-output propeller was installed in anticipation of the Panama Canal crossing.

-All four main winches were completely disassembled, cleaned, and lubricated, thanks to fellow yachter Michel Picot of "Sundowner".

-Some video cameras were dead due to salt water corrosion and were substituted and brought back for repairs

-Intrepid (and Zac!) starred in a total of 8 hours of photo session work. A well-known professional photographer was engaged by a respected sports magazine to produce a variety of portrait and functional shots for a June publication. More to come...

-Intrepid was completely reprovisioned, refueled, re-watered.

-Prior to departure, Intrepid was tested for a couple of hours in a sea trial, including compass swing and calibration, plus a "learn" run to allow the new autopilot to self-calibrate steering sensitivity. Several rigging tune-ups were made, and all systems were declared "GO".

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Caribbean

I'm off and on my way to Panama with 15 knots of wind dead behind me and a nice current making high 6s and 7s which has been fun. As I am going through dangerous waters at the moment I won't be posting my position. For more info go to Look at the reports about Venezuela and the Caribbean.

At night I turn off all running lights to make me less visible. I don't know how much good that will do. To be honest it makes be nervous.

It has been great to be out again and making good progress towards Panama.

Will blog more tomorrow with details of my trip to Grenada.

Have to get back to it.


PS I'll be mooring in Cristobal, Colon in Panama at the
Shelter Bay Marina
Fort Sherman, Building 30, Shelter Bay, Colon, Panama

Mail can be sent there to:
Mr Zac Sunderland
Yacht Intrepid

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In N Out - Grenada

Latest Position: 47 miles off St George Harbor, Grenada

From Laurence in Grenada:

Yesterday saw the completion of the job list on Intrepid though not without a few surprises. A last minute inspection of the rigging revealed some major issues which were dealt with at the speed of light (or almost).

The test sail was excellent. We went out into St George Bay to test both autopilots, check the sail repairs and run the reefing lines. We brought Intrepid to a sheltered part of the bay to swing the compass of Zac's new autopilot which was generously sponsored by the American Sailing Association. It was a blustery afternoon blowing a steady 20 knots with gusts near 25 knots. I will detail more of the repairs when I get back.

Mike Smith was an invaluable help as was Jen who photographed everything that moved and some things that didn't!

Michel from the sailing vessel Sundowner, an 85' Oyster, was on board to help with the rigging issues and also took 2 days rebuilding four of Intrepid's much worn winches.

Zac and crew had worked long and hard and were very tired. When we returned to the slip in the afternoon, Zac decided to delay his departure until the morning so he could leave in a more relaxed way - without rushing. We were able to get to the fuel dock and have Zac clear customs before the sun set.

This morning we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast at the Port Louis Marina compliments of Steve. Guy Gittins, who has been instrumental in arranging hotels etc here came down to say good bye. Clyde, who arranged the sponsorship of Zac's slip came down as well. It was a beautiful morning with plenty of sun and a nice breeze blowing through the harbor.

Zac decided to bring Intrepid further into the harbor to raise the main sail in lighter winds and was able to sail past the Port Louis Marina and the Grenada Yacht Club on his way out. The port Louis Marina provided a 35' launch, captained by Roger, that had been used previously as an America's Cup chase boat which was an excellent platform for the Grenada Broadcasting Network to film Zac's departure. Mike Smith was awesome behind the scenes filming Zac's departure from the hills behind the bay.

It was a jubilant send off with the local mariners blasting their horns and shouting out wishes of luck as he sailed by. It was a very proud moment for me as well as a big relief for the whole team. Job well done!

A huge thank you to everyone here in Grenada who stepped forward to be a part of this. On to Panama!



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Very Meager Update

With the list of work the guys had and the media schedule that Zac had planned while in Grenada there has been little time for chatting. Laurence, Mike and Zac have worked non-stop sun up to sun down to get Intrepid ready for the trek home. The radar needed some wires welded (more info from Laurence later), parts were exchanged on the Monitor wind vane (thanks Hans) and the burnt out inverter was replaced. Loads of little things were attended to and Intrepid had a rousing test sail today with all on board in a nice 20 knot breeze. As it is when time to leave port, there was too much to do and too little time so though Intrepid is ready to go, Zac plans to head out in the morning. I'm sure in a day or two we shall hear the whole story from Laurence and Zac.

For those of you who enjoyed the news segment on Zac's trip that aired last week, there will be an update this Thursday at 8:00pm and Friday at 8:30pm on KCET's SoCal Connected program. If you are not local you can watch it online at Last week's program is still on the site and will be until the end of the season. Again, if you like what you see, be sure to let KCET know.

We have received quite a few questions regarding Zac's return plans. Michael Broggie and Gary Calaroso from the Westlake Nautical Foundation are heading up the logistics. God willing, Zac will be returning to Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey sometime towards the end of June. Michael and Gary are working hard to ensure that things will go smoothly and that there will be ample opportunities for all who wish to come and welcome Zac home. More updates to come!

Also, please take the time to sign up for Zac's Newsletter. There are red star-shaped icons on the web site and the blog. It is a simple process. Enter your email address and follow the directions on your confirmation email. This will be one way Zac will be keeping people up to date on what he is doing and where he is going prior to his return and afterwards.

I'm afraid that is all for now. I would nag the boys for more information if I could but I am at the mercy of their schedules as well!



Monday, May 4, 2009

Grenada Update

I hit the docks running here in Grenada. I've got to fill you all in on the last 3 days before I got in. I had called home on Tuesday evening to check over the weather and update my position. I put my phone in the drawer where I keep it while underway but keep forgetting to turn it off which drains the batteries by morning.

My radar had been broken and I had been waking up every 20 minutes to check for nearby shipping. I got in my bunk and started the long night of messed up sleep. I was up around 11:00 that night when I saw the line holding up the port side lazy jack was chaffed through and was now dragging in the water. I clipped on my harness and went out on deck to pull in the lines. It was pitch black all around with the green glow of phosphorescence lighting up the sea.

As I was pulling in the line I heard a roar like a huge wave breaking. I looked up just in time to see the white water and glowing phosphorescence of a 30' rogue wave as it broke over Intrepid. I grabbed the mast the best I could. The decks were under water and I was just able to hold on when the water cleared. I went back to the cockpit and immediately noticed that I only had 2 (of 4) washboards in the companionway hatch and the inside of the boat was drenched.

I flipped on the bilge pump and flipped all the switches off on the drenched electrical panel. As I did the inverter caught on fire for a couple of seconds and went out smoking. Needless to say, it never worked again which meant I had no AC outlet power and no way to charge my phone or computer.

The next days passed slowly waking up every 20 minutes and getting more and more tired. The wind was shifting and lightening all the time so it was slow going. Thankfully, I didn't see many ships til I got closer to Grenada.

The night before I got in I had light winds but was making enough progress. As the night went on, a fog rolled in and I was up all night looking hard in to the darkness for any sign of ships lights. Luckily, I did not come across any. As the sun rose and the fog burned off, I saw Grenada, the first land in 34 days! I sailed around the southern end of the island and set a course for the bay. I began hailing port control at about 5 miles out but heard nothing. Then I saw a small speed boat with my dad and everyone on board. They showed me into the harbor and where I would be docking Intrepid. Needless to say, it was a huge relief to see everyone and finally be in!

Since arriving in Grenada I have been busy getting to know Christian Pinkston. Christian owns a public relations firm in Washington, DC and has kindly offered to handle the PR from now til my return. We are blown away that Christian would do this pro bono and that he would fly down to Grenada to help out as well! He is a great guy but is keeping me pretty busy. I have interviewed extensively with ESPN Magazine for their June issue. It has been an awesome experience to work with the entire ESPN crew.

I did an interview via Skype with the San Jacinto Christian Acedemy in Amarillo, Texas. Christian thought of this, thinking it would be a great way for me to talk to kids without all the travel. Should have some clips of the interview soon.

While I have been busy with eating, sleeping and media, my dad and Mike Smith have been hard at it on Intrepid. They ave been incredible - working long, hard days and checking off the repairs. All being well, I am still on track to pull out of Grenada on Wednesday.

Have to run to another interview now....I'll write more tonight.