Saturday, June 27, 2009

Damage Report from Laurence

Position: 06/27/09 1551Z 21 34.554N 107 48.302W

To say that Zac saved the best for last with his latest stopover would be an understatement. Though I had a busy week planned here in California, all had to be put on hold while I flew out to take care of Zac's latest business. I was concerned that the latest situation would be catastrophic and that the repair would be lengthy. I was also concerned that the problem could have damaged the mast as the the chain plates that support the rigging on the port side of the vessel were attached to the damaged bulkhead.

Personal life was a bit hectic at the time. We had just moved back into the house after spending the past week and a half at a nearby hotel having been displaced by a water leak in the attic. My car had broken down and my dear step mother and niece had just arrived for a visit from the UK. It really made for quite a colorful time. We took the challenges in our stride with much prayer. However, I was not ready for the news of Intrepid's cracked bulkhead, as this also coincided with a rather nasty tropical depression that would later be upgraded to a Catagory One Hurricane. Both of these things had Zac heading for Paradise village for a safe harbor and repairs.

Laura, my step mother, who has always had a passion for boating, joined me as she would be back in the UK by the time Zac returned to the USA. I had tried to envisage how I would go about the repair rather hoping for a simple solution that wouldn't delay Zac any longer than necessary. Any way that I looked at it, I knew it would be complicated and demand a great deal of time and concentration. This was not going to be an easy task. On top of this, ABC news were going to be filming Zac and conducting interviews along with Pete and Al from the LA times, and of course our faithful Jen. If there was a time that I didn't need any media distractions, this would have been it. However, all were respectful of my space and what I needed to focus on and we all worked well together.

Zac arrived on a turbulent ocean with reefed sails. He navigated the small entrance to the harbor with his usual diligence. A wave picked Intrepid up like a toy as she surfed into the safety of Paradise Village with a rather proud father looking on.

Zac was tired and in need of some serious R & R. Our timing was perfect. We had just arrived from the airport, parked the car, walked out to the breakwater and there was Intrepid on the horizon. We spent the rest of that evening securing accommodations, evaluating the damage, figuring out where to get supplies to undertake the task at hand, and meeting the good folks of the Paradise Yacht Club who kindly treated us to a much appreciated meal.

The following day we launched into repairs. It didn't take long to realize that I would need to remove the complete bulkhead. I set about removing the headliner, cabinets, and cutting into interior molded glass. As soon as the marine stores were open, I left to pick up supplies. This is always a more colorful task than it might seem. It involved going to 4 different stores, having some very confusing conversations in my Spanglish and yes, I will confess, I was pulled over by the @#^&*(^%~ PV police department for some of my not so famous driving maneuvers. This all took 4 hours of valuable time.

Back at the marina, there was quite a hive of activity. With Hurricane Andre pending, extra lines were in order and preparations were made in anticipation of the storm's possible arrival that afternoon. I was in the thick of it with the rain above decks; white overalls on to minimize fiber glass exposure and intense heat. I was wet through with sweat the whole time whilst working on Intrepid which combined with fiberglass dust was not a good combination. The discomfort level was off the scale.

I worked through to about 11:00 pm and was back at it the following morning at 7:00 am. Tools I couldn't bring on the plane I borrowed from neighboring yachts. Zac had his list of work that he conducted and also handled his interviews with ABC and the LA Times with great patience and courtesy. Pete and Al, from the LA Times, have followed Zac since his departure last June and are both great folks. We enjoyed their company.

The hurricane was due to hit us around 11:00 pm on Tuesday. I was working late that night and was glad to learn that instead it skirted Carbo Corrientes, 20 miles away. It headed west out to sea then hit cool water and dissipated to a tropical storm. As work continued on Intrepid, I was growing more confident that we could get Zac back out on the ocean soon and minimize his delay. I made a template for the new bulkhead and after cutting and fitting the wood I fiberglassed it in with the help of Rick, who I knew from the US. His help was much appreciated. The repair was strong and I was relieved to have completed one of the more challenging tasks on Intrepid to date.

Mike from PV Sailing helped us with other tasks at hand which included a tear in the Genoa, the track pulling away from the mast, and tuning the rig. Zac undertook the oil change, replacing the water pump, and belts. Once the hurricane had headed west the weather was very nice though still hoooooot and huuuummmiiid. What an added bonus it was that we had been to this beautiful place in 2000 and remembered the dock master and his wife who were so helpful then. Mike from PV Sailing had also repaired our sail back in 2000. It was good to see some old friends.

The repairs were completed and the weather abated. The conditions were right for Zac to head out to sea. As he headed out of the marina, he was followed by us in the panga and the ABC crew in a rather spectacular tender from Gladiator, a 130 ft Bennetti. Sam, the engineer gave a healthy hoot from Gladiator's horn which was very appropriate.

Zac left Pardise Village and headed to La Cruz to pick up the genoa from Mike and have the rig tuned. We said our good byes. Mike gave Zac some of the latest weather info and then he was off. We stayed with Mike and his family a while and shared in some refreshing ales. Then we headed to Punta de Mita , a beautiful spot, where we had spent six weeks in 2000 waiting for a part for our yacht before heading further south. It was interesting to be back here after such a long time. We had a meal at one of the palapas that overlook the ocean. Laura, Jen, Pete, Al and I watched the tiny sail in the distance as Zac made his way out of the huge bay between the the Tres Mariettas and out into the Sea Of Cortez. The sun was setting and all looked well. We toasted to Zac as he continues his journey home


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow,I am tired and sweaty just reading about it all! great job! What great detail in your story Laurence and thanks for the update....Keep sailing Zac, keep sailing.

Ray & Deanna
Clovis, CA

June 27, 2009 at 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...





June 27, 2009 at 11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a Dad! Thanks for your eloquent description of repairs. Sending up fervent prayers that PV truly was the last of the repair trips needed during this adventure. And, I'll bet somewhere there was that big bowl of ice cream for a fine and fortunate young man.

Blessed be,

Woodland Hills, CA

June 28, 2009 at 12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UNBELIEVABLE efforts on everyone's part, I have to say, and once again a testament to Zac, his remarkable family and new and old friends. Astonishing what you were able to achieve in a few short hours.

Best, Evan
Kingston, NY

June 28, 2009 at 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laurence, not only are you a gifted shipwright. . .you also have an extraordinary gift to put words on paper! You paint quite a verbal picture for those of us who are lucky enough to read your storys!
Thank you Sunderland Family for a wonderful year of adventure (smile).
Peace - J.

June 28, 2009 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Thank you for that Laurence. Crazy stuff!! What a guy!!

Did you tell the @#^&*(^%~ PV police department that you were from California? That would have been enough to explain your driving habits, eh?! I was most happy to have a chuckle after Zac's latest scary episode with the cracked bulkhead.

Once again, you are an amazing family? I can't even find the words to describe the Sunderland family. I am guessing now, that Zac's Grandma was there to see him sail into Marina Del Rey, but you know, the ocean is like a cranky boss, and you don't ever know when and where you will be for certain! Go with the flow, so to speak....

Treat yourselves to a massage~~~You have earned it.


June 28, 2009 at 1:46 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Thanks Laurence for the great blog!! I've spent a summer in Texas; the heat and humidity were offensive! I can only imagine what it was like for you while working on Intrepid! You're a wonderful father & Zac is truly blessed <><

So our young man is off again; this time headed HOME! My prayers as always are with him, as are God's angels.

Sail on youn man, sail on!!

Anita Miracle
Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

June 28, 2009 at 4:18 AM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan Singapore said...

-And how good were those beers as Zac closed in on that sunset. It just might have been the best beer U ever gonna have. Fiberglass/sweat/humid/federales/dodgy spanish/ripped sails/broken bulkheads...But in the end it all "gel'd" ..Yachty Karma

June 28, 2009 at 5:01 AM  
Anonymous Captain Sandy said...

Great job in difficult conditions.

Zac's fortunate that the bulkhead didn't crack far out to sea.

Do you have any photos to post?

June 28, 2009 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger Uncle Hectic said...

Oh man, that's amazing how fast you made the repair. In high school I worked for a marina doing fiberglass repair, and I can attest to how miserable it is. For anyone who doesn't know, the fiberglass dust is worse than itching powder, it gets into your skin and won't go away and it is seems the more you sweat, the worse it gets. It really is horrible, and makes for the most uncomfortable working conditions. I seriously can't imagine the pain and suffering Laurence endured; with the heat, the humidity, the enclosed space....oh man, it must have been so difficult. Zac is very lucky to have a shipwright for a father, especially one with such a high pain threshold. Nice job Laurence!

June 28, 2009 at 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank God that there are men like you that are so committed and encouraging to your family. This nation needs more role models like you. Perhaps more young people would reach for their dreams than resort to distruction if they had a folks like you and Mariane. Zac is right you are a hero!
Heather in the east.

June 28, 2009 at 6:42 AM  
Blogger STEVE B said...

Sir Laurence,

Sounds like long hours of misery while some great memories with old/new friends were being made.

Some questions for a shipwright:

Would the damage normally retire a boat the age of Intrepid were it not for your skills Laurence? (Would the cost of repairs exceed the value of the yacht?)

The engine has continued to be a source of frustration. With all of the work done prior to leaving were these problems normal or are you disaoppointed and surprised by all of the headaches surrounding the engine? Would you do anything different with regards to the engine?

Zac recently completed his longest sail of the voyage. If the bulkhead had broken, say at the half way point, it sounds like Intrepid would have likely been demasted. With engine problems would an open ocean rescue heve been required?

With the weather window closed and Zac facing tropical storms, rough seas and difficult sailing conditions what is the risk that other aged parts of Intrepid may sustain catastrophic failure? In other words,
would the strain of the past year on Intrepid require that the boat limp home to retirement or would you turn her to Hawaii for a back to back circumnavigation?

Glad all went well. Praying for a quick sail home for Zac.


June 28, 2009 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Mimi & Desi said...

Laurence, Zac, Jen, Grandma, PV, team Zac, Mom & sib's @ home, ABC, LAT....Wow!!!! What a story. World Guinness for best juggling act! There's so much more involved in Intrepid, & that ocean beating against her every second, than most can even imagine. "The eye on the weather horizon" had to be the best...a son sailing in, safe. You all did an incredible job, juggling confusion & Intrepid repairs. A fabulous add to so many that have preceded, and what may lie in the future. We'll pray...for bright sunny breezes & Zac's swift journey home...SAFE! It is our prayer. Good Dad, good son, good family, good friends, & good packers. I'm not sure one could ask for more. Anxiously awaiting, Atlanta, Mimi & Desi

June 28, 2009 at 7:23 AM  
Anonymous The Writer said...

You are such a well-rounded, gifted individual not only in specific talents, but also in LOVE for your family!
You have taken your God-given talents and multiplied them. Prayers are still going up for Zac and your family.
You have an incredible son who has his head well-grounded!
You are equally an incredible father!
Happy Sunday and Happy Lord's Day! Give my regards to your family. (George Cox, Wilmington, NC,

June 28, 2009 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger rick749 said...

I think the position information for this post is a bit off. According to Google Earth Zac is in the middle of New Mexico.

June 28, 2009 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...


I know we do not receive many entries from you but when we do they are always great. This one was no exception. Thank you for taking the time and describing to all of us your challenges with your personal life situations just prior to the repairs. The descriptions of all the repairs to Intrepid was invaluable (for me) and I'm so glad we could all read about it directly from your point of view. You have a great ability to write exactly how you feel and it's very apparent every time I read one of your entries.

Thank you so much for fathering Zac and always watching over him. I'm sure watching Zac coming into Paradise Village this past week really made you feel proud. Your love and emotions for Zac and all of your family is so apparent and it's something you can't hide. This is a fathers dream especially a shipwright Dad to see his son sailing in under all those difficult conditions and handling it so well. You saw it for yourself and I know you must have had a huge lump in your throat just watching Zac. I know this was Zac's dream but you must feel so PROUD of him. Thanks for letting Zac's dream become a reality.

Laurence you did a great job. We'll all look forward to our time together again in MDR awaiting Zac's return. Please feel proud Laurence, look back at all the criticism you received early on. I'm sure now that Zac proved he can do this all the critics about your parenting skills will not be heard of again. Marianne, not taking any credit away from your role here either. Without your okay this would have never happened. You invested so much time here alone that I can't even understand how you can also Mother all the children and coordinate Zac sailing around the world too. You both made the right choice letting Zac do this and no one will give your decision any second thoughts when Zac docks into MDR again over a year later.

Let's get Zac home safely and then we can all celebrate an incredible journey filled with so many different emotions for Zac and the Whole Sunderland Family.

Sail Home Zac,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

June 28, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Scot said...

I've gotta say Laurence, I've been following this since launch last June and as much as Zac has been amazing, so too have you. This could never have happened without your incredible talents and knowledge. Pat yourself on the back, for as much as you're justly proud of Zac, I'm sure he is of you. You are his unsung team mate in this.

June 28, 2009 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Tomi said...

@ Lord Laurence
You Sir, are truly an amazing Dad. In my eyes you have so verily earned the title of Sir. God Bless you!

@ Lee/MDR
What a most fantastic post you keyed 6-27-09. You had me in tears, bless you, your wife & your 3 daughters. May your daughters each grow up to emulate Capt Zac!.

@ ZacPac
If you haven't stopped by Capt Zac!'s store, time is quite litterally running out. Get your Zac! memorabilitia while they are available. (PS- thx Bec for finding the ESPN mag for me!)

@ Team Sunderland
Thank you ALL for continuing to be Capt Zac!'s support. I'm quite sure if you weren't there to love, pray & remind him of this most eppic adventue that his goal was to complete a circumnavigation it'd never have been done. Thank you for continuing to post his words/thoughts as well as your words thoughts prayer requests. God Bless the lot of you!

Thx for allowing us, Capt Zac!'s ZacPac the pleasure (& sometimes terror) of following along in this most amazing journey!

Bear Hugs!

June 28, 2009 at 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been following Zac's voyage & am proud of the work he has done but more than that how the entire family has worked so diligently and consistently to keep Zac's trip on track - you guys are amazing!!

Laurence, you are incredible in your own right but also as an example of fatherhood during what for many kids is a really difficult time period/transition to adulthood.

June 28, 2009 at 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Laurence,
Thank you for that descriptive detail on the repairs. When you share those details, we who are praying receive such encouragement. You show us that God is listening to our prayers and answering them right and left as Captain Zac sails homeward. What a God and What a Dad. Wow, is all I can say.

God Bless,
Bend, OR

June 28, 2009 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Pascal Jim said...

When the Book is written, it will not need inflated passages editors want to insert....This tale will have the exciting realism of sea stories written by Nordoff and Hall.

Godspeed Zac, and cheers to this remarkable assembly of sailors, shipwrights, photographers, landlubbers and those of us in drydock...

Jim in Pasadena..

June 28, 2009 at 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Hey Zac --- Glad to hear repairs went well and you are really on your way home!

What an incredible family you have. Just incredible.

@Lee... BEAUTIFUL post yesterday. Thank you for sharing!

Blessings -

June 28, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few new pics on Jen's blog of Zac leaving PV. Looks like the green growth got scrubbed off the bow. No pics of Laurence's totally heroic efforts; darn!

(scroll down some to see Zac)

June 28, 2009 at 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac and Laurence:

I have enjoyed reading your blog about your round the world sailing adventure. Each day when I come home from work one of the first things I do is to check your blog for updates. I don't know what I am going to do once you complete your journey. I will miss hearing about your triumphs and trials. It has been an amazing journey, and one through which I have enjoyed learning about your experiences. I wish you a safe return to California. Do you have any idea of when you will arrive home? God speed. Marjorie Forster, Baltimore, MD

June 28, 2009 at 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

@Jen... What beautiful photos on your website from PV!! Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us from all over the world! You have made Zac's journey come alive for all of us. Thank you. Will be looking forward to YOUR book as well as Zac's! :)

Blessings -
WA St.

June 28, 2009 at 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

what a crazy last couple of days you have had.
I spent the last 4 days at the river in Parker AZ.(check out pic on my facebook if ya get board haha)
I have an Internet phone but it's a pain to post on the blog with it.. i was able to read all the post but planed on posting today.
So awesome how you and your dad work together and get It done!!
I wanted to share my little water experience with you all.
I have never been much of a water person..i will get in the water but if i don't know whats under me, I'm out of there we rent a boat to try wake boarding with another couple and 2 kids..we get 10 min down the river and the battery goes dead..we had to row over to the closest dock( not very far if you have ever been to Parker..maybe 1/4 of a mile across)but i still freak out lol..after getting a new boat delivered by the rental guys were back out on the water for the day and part of the next..i wake up during the night thinking our toy box is floating in the river..come to find out it's because i was on a boat all day and was still rocking and rolling.
I can't imagine what you have been going through Zac but i can tell you have a major fan here in Bermuda Dunes..i can't brag on you enough..i share your story every chance i get and turn on people every day to your blog!!
@lee..all i can say is It's a good thing that post was a 2 parter because i was crying like a baby and had to take a break! You really hit the nail on the husband and i never had children and i too feel that if i had a son, i would hope he would be just like Zac!
Looking forward to meeting all of you and of course the one & only captain Zac!
Until then..stay safe on your home stretch!!

June 28, 2009 at 7:16 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Let's hope this is the capstone and that there will now be no more significant challenges as Zac makes his trek home. This whole episode has added to the entire adventure in a way that I am sure you were not hoping for, but has showcased the meaning of team in a huge way. Congratulations to "TEAM ZAC." Steve

June 28, 2009 at 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Mimi & Desi said...

Dear Zac...Just lying here watching a movie with Desi when my plasma screen blew up. Burnt wires...thought the house was on fire. Hazards on land & sea. A good reason for us to stop & blog, then read your Dad's incredible story, & last, look up latest location. Thank God my laptop wasn't plugged in it's usual spot..or it would be blogs. Desi just reminded me he'd like so much to come to your welcome home celebration, me also. Stay safe & keep us informed about progress. You realize after all this, you're going to have to keep up, I went to in-out burgers, surfed today, went to know, the usual stuff! We're addicted to Zac! We're having a great time following you. Have a sky full of stars, great winds, & hopefully no major events for a few days. Thinking of you...Mimi & Desi

June 28, 2009 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger JBo said...

Way to go, Dad!!!! We are praying Zac home!

June 28, 2009 at 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Zac's meant to be sailing around the world single-handly, shouldn't he be dealing with such repairs himself, without running to daddy for help?

June 29, 2009 at 3:25 AM  
Anonymous heidi said...

Laurence you are a wonderful Dad and a speedy shipwright. Without you, Zac wouldn't have been on his way so fast! Bravo...

June 29, 2009 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone wrote:

If Zac's meant to be sailing around the world single-handly, shouldn't he be dealing with such repairs himself, without running to daddy for help?

Nope. You silly landlubber :-)

Single-handed means with one arm tied behind your back. Has nothing to do with a Dad who builds and repairs boats fixing a boat he built and repairs.

June 30, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

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