Friday, June 26, 2009

Homeward Bound

Position: 06/26/09 1800Z 21 03.350N 106 49.920W

There was no way I was going to be able to get anywhere with a broken bulkhead so I changed course for Banderas Bay which was about 115 miles east of my current position. One hundred fifteen miles with a broken bulkhead went pretty fast running down wind with about 25 knots behind me.

As I neared the bay visibility went down to about 2 miles and the wind filled as I reached the entrance to Paradise Village Marina. I was reefed pretty heavily. My engine was not running at the time and the sea was too crazy to raft up to the panga that was waiting to tow me in. I sailed through the breakwater and once inside the harbor I tied up to the panga and they towed me into a slip.

When I arrived my dad, Jen and my grandmother from England were there on the dock. My dad took a look at the bulkhead and made a plan for breaking it up the following day. Then we met up with Dick, the dock master, and I got cleared in. After a good night's sleep at the hotel we went to work. I replaced the raw water pump on the engine and did some laundry while my dad went to the marina store and got all of the supplies we needed to fix up the bulkhead.

Hurricane Andre moved up the coast and the day was squally and rainy with the spin off cells. Everyone in the marina was adding extra dock lines in case Andre made his way into the harbor. We added extra docking lines to prep Intrepid as well. The whole place was buzzing with speculation on what would happen. I didn't get much of a chance to see Paradise Village but what I did see I could easily remember from my days here as a kid. They still have the small zoo of rescue animals. The mother tiger that had the 4 cubs is gone and her cubs are grown. The monkey is gone. The marina is much the same but they have built a yacht club for the sailors.

Also, the ABC crew and Al and Pete from the LA Times showed up in the afternoon to get their stories. Dad worked late into the night and by about 10:00pm had decided to remove the whole bulkhead and replace it. The next day we spent the day being filmed doing the most obnoxious job of removing the bulkhead and troubleshooting the rig. It is a good thing those cameras don't have scent recording!

The next day was more cameras and Andre had tracked out to sea and dissipated. Dad finished glassing in the new bulkhead as I pulled off the sails and fixed the track on the mast with Mike from PV Sailing. He took the genny back to his sail loft to sew a patch and repair a split seam.

The next day I was ready to leave. There were lots of small jobs to finish up. A diver cleaned the bottom of the boat. The engine oil and belts needed to be changed. We cleaned up all of the fiberglass and work materials off of the boat and dock and I was off followed by the news crews. I sailed 7 miles to La Cruz and picked up my newly patched genny from Mike's sail loft. He tuned the rig and we took a look at some weather forecasts on his computer. I said my good byes to everyone and was off. It was an interesting position to be in as the last time I sailed between the Tres Marieta Islands and Punta de Mita on the northern tip of Banderas Bay I was 10 years old and my sole responsibility was setting and keeping an eye on the little storm sail on my parents' boat. Now, it was just me with Intrepid and the sea.

Last night I passed the prison islands called the Tres Marias and now I am tacking my way towards Baja. Intrepid feels strong and ready for the ride. I am so grateful to my dad who was an absolute hero on the stop.



Anonymous Tricia in Vancouver, BC said...

Thanks so much for the update, Zac. What a whirlwind! And so great you got to see your Grandma before the publicity gets more intense. Praying for fair winds, safety, and wisdom and patience for you when you get home to all the media pressure. Hope these last miles are a little less trying than the previous few hundred.

It's been a joy and a privilege to follow your journey. Thanks for letting us all accompany you however we can.

June 26, 2009 at 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Zac, God be with & Intrepid are almost home!


MDR via Santa Clarita

June 26, 2009 at 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MasterCard is useful but DAD'S ARE PRICELESS,

Key Wst, FL

June 27, 2009 at 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Daniel Kubank said...

Good work dad! so the journey continues. best of luck =P

June 27, 2009 at 1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am exhausted after reading about all of the work that went on in such a short period of time. The energy you guys have is overwhelming! I can only imagine it is adrenaline induced. Zac, your father's knowledge about how to repair a vessel is a true gift from above. You all are amazing! By the way...after three weeks of resting up in our MDR main channel our young whale has ended his visit, and is now well on his way north headed home (just like you). And Zac, guess what he to was meet by a large pod of dolphins to escort him on his way! Pretty cool!
Peace - J.

June 27, 2009 at 1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac,
Your dad is a blessing, and you are right, he is a hero. Again, I can only repeat my awe for your wonderful family - I know you will be smitten together by this special bond forever.
Keep on looking for these storms and be safe, the hand of the Lord is with you everywhere.
Courage and determination are your strengths - bravo young man!
Greetz from Switzerland,

June 27, 2009 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I just read your ESPN article and was very inspired by your story. I think it is amazing that you had the courage to follow your dreams at such a young age. Good Luck to you on the final leg of your journey.

Brian - Maine, U.S.

June 27, 2009 at 2:34 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Yeah Laurence!!!

Zac, such a great blog. The stop in PV sounded like a whirlwind of activity but perhaps also a little respite for you as well.

As you near the end of your epic journey; may you be blessed with wisdom and the ability to lean on what it is God will guide you to do with your life.

I am so proud of you Zac; I can't even imagine what it was like for you out there, the young man and the sea!

Be safe, have fun and rest assured prayers are sent out on a regular basis!

Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

June 27, 2009 at 3:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news! I've been warching daily for an update figuring the damage was worse than first thought. Apparently, it was. With luck, you'll be fine on last legs. Watch out for the Baja Bash, as you well know, it can be rough...
Best wishes.....

June 27, 2009 at 3:45 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

This has definitely been a family event.. which is really good. Your relationship with them will have changed when you get back home, and you'll struggle a little with them pulling you back into the way you related before. But be patient and let them grow as much as you've grown this year and you'll transition from parent child to best friends with childhood benefits. :)

I'm at the stage with your adventure now where I can only say "Wow, he will soon have done it!" I can hardly imagine how you might feel. Thank you, once again, for sharing this adventure with all of us.

June 27, 2009 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

How absolutely great that all is well. Hope photos of the bulkhead and repairs are shown. Fly home, Zac!

June 27, 2009 at 5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac, it sure sounds like you have everything in order. Your dad is an awesome man and you are so lucky to have parents like you do.

I'm so anxious for you to arrive home. It has been a fantastic voyage for you and I have enjoyed following you on your venture via this website.

I would love to see you arrive but I live in Texas. So will just have to keep an eye on your posts here to see when the big day happens.

Good luck!


June 27, 2009 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger Liz Brown said...

Glad to hear that you're on your way again.

I was wondering, what is the hardest thing, physically, that you have to do while sailing? How strong does one have to be to sail alone?

June 27, 2009 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Wow! You guys are pros! Got in and outta there pretty fast!

So close yet so far! Can't wait to welcome you back to MDR!

June 27, 2009 at 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wishing you smooth and uneventful sailing home. It has been quite a year and I have enjoyed your adventure. Hope to see you at the dock in MDR.

George in Sacramento

June 27, 2009 at 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy belated Father's Day, right?

Life is so much better with a great Dad.

God speed as you head home.


June 27, 2009 at 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Mimi & Desi said...

I'm so happy for you, Zac Homeward Bound! Proud for your Dad, & can only imagine the pride your Grandmother must feel. So, you're all clean & ready for the last leg of your Intrepid sail. So many tales will fill the pages of your story. Desi's dropping coin into his jar. He's going to put your book on the reading list for Aim students. You certainly have earned the right to be there. Have a fabulous, sunny, guiding wind today at sea. We'll check in later. God Bless...from Atlanta, Mimi & Desi

June 27, 2009 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

Although I haven't said much for while, I have been watching your adventures Zac and praying for your safety - held my breath sometimes too! Glad to see that you are almost home - what a story you will have to tell!
Fair winds!

June 27, 2009 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Tomi said...

Again, to save bandwicth, I have posted me comments/thoughts on me blog.

God bless Capt Zac! & Team Sunderland!


June 27, 2009 at 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear the latest news & so heartwarming, as well. I know you're working hard to get home, and you'll be writing your book and basking in fame... but what's your next adventure! :) I am looking ahead.. and enjoying your most awesome past year! Thanks, again, for letting us all share your adventure. >b.

June 27, 2009 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger MindWalker said...

First we read, "...what I did see [of Paradise Village] I could easily remember from my days here as a kid."

And then, "Now, it was just me with Intrepid and the sea."

An amazing, incredibly beautiful story has unfolded between those two lines -- much of it (virtually) before our eyes.

June 27, 2009 at 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

"now it was just me with Intrepid and the sea." WOW!

Let us know the moment you cross the border, okay?

May God continue to bless you and Intrepid.

June 27, 2009 at 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Max said...

Thank God for fathers. Zac, thanks for honoring yours. All of you today give your dad a call and tell him how much you love and appreciate the sacrifices he has made for you. What Zac's dad did is what dads do a thousand times in our lives - be there when we need them. Thanks, dads.

June 27, 2009 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous LJ said...

Dude thats great to hear your dad saved the day. I red your story in espn the magazine and i'm totally impressed man!! It's people like yourself that inspire great things in others. Praying for you and calm waters. Keep doing hard things.

June 27, 2009 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Honestricky23 said...

You are a bad ass kid Zac. I have been following you since the Indian Ocean!! You are a man, a hero, great job!! Maybe I will meet you some day. I was born in Redondo Beach and did some sailing with my Dad as a kid. I wish I could be in MDR when you arrive to shake your hand. You are an animal!!!!!.
Rick Van den Akker

June 27, 2009 at 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So totally awesome!! Can't wait to see the press coverage of your homecoming!

Sure wish I could be there in person for your welcome, but will have to be content with cheering in the blogosphere. So many of us out here will be with you in spirit which is where we've been for all of this past year.

An amazing experience, Zac, and I thank you and your family for your generosity in sharing with all of us along the way. I continually marvel at your collective faith, strength, courage, wisdom and love.

On a personal note, could someone please remind me of the name of the satellite gizmo that Zac used to "phone home" when all other communication systems failed? My college-aged son is about to embark on a worldly adventure of his own and I'd like to look into getting him one. Thanks! CindyinCincy

June 27, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Kodiak Mike said...

Dads ARE heroes!
Sounds like a lot of hard, smelly work with the fiberglas. keep your chin up thru the Baja bash ahead.
Smooth sailin' to ya whenever possible.
Kodiak Mike

June 27, 2009 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Hey Zac and Sunderland team,

Well, the journey is about to sail into Marina Del Rey! It's been quite a year. (Understatement for the Sunderland family I'm sure!) From the booby bird, the 'knock-down', the 'scary boat chase,' the broken boom, the lightening storms, the cracked bulkhead, and many more trials. I'm soooo looking forward to the DVD's and the book, so we can really see 'some' of what you have been through on this wild world adventure.

Thank you all for sharing this adventure on this blog. You didn't have to share this adventure with all of us, but you did, and for that I am grateful.

Oh, and the 'cat' is in the mail! Ha! Every Captain needs a cat, right? This 'cat' I hope the whole family will enjoy.

Sail on safely Captain!!


June 27, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Mouse on a Motorcycle said...

I've been building a small wooden dinghy, and I've noticed that I need to wait for a warm, arid day for the epoxy to set well. With the squally weather, did Laurence have any troubles getting the fiberglass to set up? Of course, with his experience, I'm sure he can make it work in any conditions, but I was just curious if weather made the repairs more difficult, besides the extra motion from the storm swell that got into the marina.

Still praying Numbers 6:24-26
Mouse in Whittier

Buy "Death and Coffee" here!

June 27, 2009 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear your on your way again. You are truly blessed with an amazing dad. I have really enjoyed your blog and have seen what a team effort this endeavor has been. I hope to make my family as strong as yours. What an uplifting journey this has been.
Heather in the east

June 27, 2009 at 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible work, Laurence. Again. I can't believe you replaced the entire bulkhead so quickly, and with the boat still afloat IN THE SEA. It's sure not many shipwrights have ever done that before on a glass fibre hull. Necessity is the mother of invention, eh? I look forward to seeing photographs of the final product. It has to be rough work, but it's bound to be strong, for certain.
Zac must be passing the Baja tip today and within 1000 miles of Marina Del Rey now. The weather looks really good for once, and we are all getting ready for the big day, and the end of a saga that has kept us spellbound for more than a year now. Happy days.


June 27, 2009 at 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair winds and following seas Zac and Intrepid. Stay alert, and safe.

Praying for a safe and wonderful trip home.

Glad you are back at sea.
Bend, OR

June 27, 2009 at 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Craig Schreiber said...


I have been away from all computers and communications for the past week but have thought about you every day. I don't know what I am going to do with myself when your adventure is over. I am back in touch with the world and delighted to find you in good health and good company. Your father is truly a savior in the grand scheme of this adventure. Praise to him and Mom and all those who have been so instrumental in your success.

Continue on in this the home stretch. Wishing you smooth and uneventful sailing.


June 27, 2009 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Thank you Zac for the great detailed update. We were getting a little jealous here since you updated on Facebook before the blog.

It sounds like all the repairs went well. I guess we owe a big thank you to Hero Daddy Laurence for saving the day or should a say the last couple of days. I'm sure this wasn't the Father's Day gift Laurence expected from Zac. Like always, a Dad's work is never done especially when you have a son sailing around the world.

I hope you have some great weather coming into MDR and won't face more weather problems. Enjoy the sailing because it's almost over Dude!!!

Sail On Zac,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

June 27, 2009 at 5:19 PM  
Anonymous The Writer said...

OK, just like I said, you called timeout and the repairs were made by a great head coach (Dad)!....Now you're own your way to cross the goal line soon.
But remember, victories and championships are great to celebrate, but ENJOYING THE JOURNEY is where the real satisfaction comes into play. And you've had quite a journey.
In a way, it's like when you go on vacation. Many times, it's the anticipation of the vacation and getting ready that is the most fun.
Enjoy the moments! The future is now! You're going to cross that goal line soon!
Your family is just SUPER! Be thankful for them because you won't always have them. Give your grandma a really big hug and kiss, too!
And keep blogging!!!!! Godspeed! (

June 27, 2009 at 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you got through safe Zac and enpowered to keep going.Love the photos on Jens website of you.God Bless you. Deanna

June 27, 2009 at 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Mimi & Desi said...

Hi glad you're back! I sure hope the balance of your voyage is a bit more peaceful, for you. It's been very thrilling for us, but I find myself worrying about you like I worry about my own kids. Even though the last days have been a mess, I'm sure it was great to have family around you again. It's dark here already, & the sun'll be setting for you soon. Looks like smoothe sailing along the Baja...with plenty of sunshine to boot, if the Weather warrior is right. Maybe MN is taking a break after all. You're doing so well, Zac. Can't wait to read the next blog/tale. You're, quite simply, the highlights of our days! We're heading for vacation next week, but you can assure, laptop'll be present 2x's a day for the Zac, vacation or not. It's not's fun. Adventure on! Fondly from Atlanta...Mimi & Desi

June 27, 2009 at 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Zac what an adventure and now your so close to home lol!!! I watched the recent videos and read the articles that were posted and thought that they were pretty amazing. God has really been with you!!
Sorry for my ignorance, but what is a genny??????


June 27, 2009 at 8:45 PM  
Anonymous lee/mdr said...

So Zac. Tonight as you beat northward through sundown, I was looking back over this adventure and all the blogs. I haven't commented a lot, so I hope you will indulge me a longer two-part post. Count me as being among the well-wishers who have contributed, and as one who has always been riveted to the news in Captain Zac's Log.

My slip at MDR is 100 feet from Chase Park, and I was walking my dog in the park the day you took off ... but I didn't know about the departure event until after you had dropped your docklines and sailed away.

Now you really have sailed around the world. Today you are back in charted seas -- going over places that you have been before. You might call it "your own personal universe of pervaded space." This is yours, Zac. Yours alone. You personal possession that no one can take away.

This is your prize.

Records aside, the real reward of what you have done is that which is now deeply engrained within you, that which has become a part of your evolving personality, your spirit, and your soul.

I think of what you have learned, and likewise, what we have learned from you. I see that ancient theme of a man conquering himself -- life's most challenging undertaking.

There are 8,760 hours in a year. You have spent most of those hours this past year alone with Zac Sunderland.

I can imagine standing on a dark deck with the wind and rain blowing like stink, your forestay flogging, and being faced with the very real question -- do I live, or die here? You may have had tears of fear running down your cheeks, but you made the choice. You faced the survival question and you prevailed. Not once. Not twice. But many times with tired bleary eyes during this adventure. Minimize it if you want, but you had hard choices to make.

I know the satellite phone made things easier at times, but Zac your hands, your mind, your heart, your guts, your determination, and your will is what moved those choices into the actions you had to take to carry on.

Life is all about making choices. And Zac, you have made some good choices.

... cont ...

June 27, 2009 at 9:19 PM  
Anonymous lee/mdr said...

During the passage, from Catalina to Hawaii, there were moments in your blog where we weren't sure if you were going to make this trip around the world. Your mother even said in one blog that both she and Lawrence had told you that if you wanted to quit when you reached Hawaii, it would be OK. Those of us who have followed you day by day, have been -- in spirit -- crew. We have been aboard Intrepid with you, and we would have accepted your decision to quit in Hawaii, without having lost one ounce of admiration for what it was that you had accomplished to that point. But you persisted.

At each and every turn, you have given us your strength and your uplifting power, and you have enlightened our lives.

I don't believe anyone who has been on this year-long journey with you sees you today as the boy who sailed into the sunset westward from Catalina last June. You are a different person. We have read it in your purpose-driven blogs even through your most recent post last night. Now with almost 9,000 hours of facing the "man in the mirror," we see how Zac Sunderland has defined himself. As "virtual crew" we are proud to have sailed along with you. We are honored to have watched you create the man that you want to be.

Almost every young man has the opportunity to do something that will make him outstanding in the crowd. But few do so in such a profound way, Zac..

Instead of spending the past year running around with your buddies, and shall we say -- going to In-N-Out Burger and to beach parties in So. Cal. -- you presented yourself with the opportunity to grow into the person that you are today. You know that. You parents know that. We know that. And your friends know that. There is a dynamic dimension to you now that you would have never known, had you not sailed off into that sunset. Upon returning home, you may sense a distance from the familiar, and I believe that is because your future has forever been changed.

Your quiet determination has inspired a lot of people, and I'm sure will continue to do so in the months and years to come.

"Do hard things?"

Zac, your motto should be: "Nothing Too Hard!"

Soon you face the bells, and the whistles, and the sirens, and the confetti, and the attention. It's on the horizon. Like landfall, I think you can smell it.

As I look into this future, my prayer is that you never allow the attention to go to your head; that you remain the Zac Sunderland we have come to know. We're going to miss you buddy ... but keep posting to your blog from time to time because we'll be looking back, I promise.

I was given three daughters. But if I had a son, today I would be saying, "I hope you grow up to be like Zac Sunderland."


June 27, 2009 at 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Bill Jamison said...

I'm impressed with how quickly your dad was able to make this repair - I know it couldn't have been easy!

Hopefully that's your last stop until MDR, which shouldn't take long if the winds are favorable. I hope this next leg is uneventful and you can be fully rested and relaxed when you sail back into the harbor. You're going to need the energy once you're back home!

June 27, 2009 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

Zac, I'm so excited to be at your homecoming! You are the Man!


What great posts. You said it all! I wish you had commented more during Zac's trip. You are a gem!

Marilyn in Woodland Hills

June 27, 2009 at 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what an "Old Salt" would do dockside.
What are your plans after your Media Blitz?
I'm sure you'll qualify for some sort of degree.You've learned more about this world and your self then most could in a lifetime!
You must be planning Zac's next adventure!
Straight Wakes,Mike S.

June 27, 2009 at 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Dad is a major hero and big-time supporter that has helped a great deal in keeping your trip moving on. You have a truly amazing family and the support they give you has been so key to you as you head up the Pacific Coast to Marina-del-Rey. Back where you started pretty soon. I have been following both you and Mike Perham via your Blogs. The two of you are amazing individuals, but it would be different without your wonderful families. Mucho respect to both of you.

June 27, 2009 at 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Trevor Leslie, London UK said...



June 28, 2009 at 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Trevor Leslie, London UK said...

@morgan in Montana

genny is short for two things, both applicable to boats BUT in the particular context that's confused you here, it's...


The other is


Note: "The source of mechanical energy may be a... an internal combustion engine" (such as the boat's engine - although an independent unit can also often be found installed/incorporated as part of marine [and other] systems: frequently, the electrical output is routed into an individual or banked array of storage batteries).

June 28, 2009 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger JBo said...

Yea for Dads!!!!

June 28, 2009 at 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ lee/mdr

Ditto to Marilyn's post!

@Trevor,Leslie, London UK

Thank you! CindyinCincy

June 29, 2009 at 8:20 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home