Friday, June 5, 2009

Wishing for Wind

Position: 06/05/09 1500Z 11 25.627N 93 16.879W

Still making slow progress out here. Last night I was up around 2am tightening a preventer on the boom and I heard the sound of blow holes. Looking around I saw I was in another pod of dolphins. It has been pretty cool having them around the boat a couple of times a day. It must be their fishing grounds out here.

After some middle of the night sail trim I was woken up in the middle of the night by my radar alarm. The sun hadn't quite come up yet but the sky had the grey color that comes right before the sun rises. It still wasn't enough light to see what the yellow blip on the radar screen that triggered the alarm on the radar actually was. From the size of it I could tell it wasn't a container ship. More like a fishing boat. As I got closer I saw I was right. It was a smallish fishing trawler. As I got closer I hailed them on the VHF to ask if they were long lining.

If so, I would have had to steer far clear so I didn't get tangled in their lines. The captain didn't speak English and my foreign speak is not so bueno. All I was able to get out of our talk was that they were fishing for yellow tail and Mako sharks and that they were flagged out of Guatemala.

We passed a little less than a mile apart just as the sun was rising. I got a little more sleep but by 10am the sun was already unbearably hot. I tried to keep myself busy in the 100 degrees plus tropical heat. The water under Intrepid is in the 90s so although jumping in has crossed my mind - it would probably not be worth the risk.

I am just off the Gulf of Tehuantepec and I should start to see some wind increase from that in the next 70 miles. Wind always seems to be coming in a day or two. Who is designing these weather models? I am beginning to think it is a plot to mess with my head!

Gotta go do some sail trim before it gets too late.


Link to ESPN web site:

The article that Chris Jones wrote is excellent. The web site has a cool video taken in Grenada as well. As always, let them know you like them following Zac!

Another cool link:

For those of you who have not heard, Part One of Zac's documentary DVD is now available for pre purchase at his store.

It is well under way and should be available in 4-6 weeks.

Very exciting times for sure!

Marianne & Laurence

PS Any body making a trip out for Zac's return (now estimated at June 25th or 26th) who would like to hook up with other bloggers, contact Kodiak Mike at Let him know if you are interested in getting together. Once we get a head count, we will begin to organize hotels, meetings etc.


Blogger BritDee said...

Hi, Zac! I am amazed at the decisions you make on an hourly basis! I hope you know how wise you are beyond your years...
The ESPN article was really well-written and I'm glad the writer portrayed your many layers.
Travel safe!

June 5, 2009 at 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Karyn in Simi said...

I just read the article online, and it is incredible! It so captures what Zac has been feeling and the magnitude of his trip.

Thank you for the link!!

June 6, 2009 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi There Zac,

Just wanted to let you know that we are all praying here in OKC for you to hit the wind again and for steady progress to the home port! Hard to believe you are almost home. Small chunk of time out of a 50 something man's life, a much bigger chunk of life out of a 17 year old man's life. As always and you already know what a joy it has been to follow you each and every day since you first left MDR. We are very proud of you and we are standing and saluting you! It may have been a solo circumnavigation, but you know you were never truly alone! God's blessing has been on you since day one. May you always walk in His light, you will have many eyes on you from here on. You have been given a great gift and a great story. We count ourselves lucky to have been along for the ride. Sail on Zac, Sail on!!
Heart Blessings,
Bob in OKC

June 6, 2009 at 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Grant Fjermedal said...

Looking at Zac is in an area of light air that extends for hundreds of miles, with the forecast not showing much relief for the next week (this doesn't mean that he can't work the local breezes that come his way and still make progress, it just means that he'll be able to experience the light-air frustrations that can only be spun as:

>> Character building at its best.


Those who are planning on traveling a distance to welcome Zac back, might want to wait before making travel arrangements until he is farther up the Pacific Coast and in more predictable wind to help Zac and team set a more precise ETA.

Would be interesting to see some logbook type information, such as daily travel distance and miles remaining to home port.

Meanwhile, a ways south, Mike Perham has been having the opposite problem. A series of low pressure systems have kept him out of the Southern Ocean since leaving Australia. Day by day it looks more and more like he's heading for the Panama Canal. He'd have to do a heck of a lot of southing from his current locaton to make Cape Horn.

The low pressure systems that have kept him north don't show any sign of letting up. Guess that is what the Southern Ocean is in the Winter.

With (or any similar site) it is pretty weird to animate the 7-day weather forecast and watch these gnarly color coded systems rotate through. Seems like these days they all have a heart of dark red (indicating winds of 45 to 50 knots) or deep purple (for winds above 50 knots).

Not the kind of weather that invites a Cape Horn rounding.

If he ends up going through the Canal, maybe someone could post a note on his site providing information about the Web cameras, so his family and friends can watch him go through.

- Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

June 6, 2009 at 1:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the heads up on an estimated return date into Marina del Rey. I hope to be on the south jetty waving Zac in and home. What a joyous day that will be!
Peace - J.

June 6, 2009 at 1:52 AM  
Anonymous Tim Harding said...

Hi Zac,

I've missed you since you left Grenada as I've been to Alaska for my twin grandaughters High School Graduation. (Homer Spit was as near as I got to Mike from Kodiak). Once again congratulations on your progress on your final leg - Your achievements are outstanding.

Thanks for the link to the ESPN article Marianne. It's excellent and ought to be a priority read for all Zac's followers. It's long, I'm busy but hey! it was worth it.

Keep us posted on your next adventure, Zac. I don't think collage and nine to five are for you!

Sadly I can't make your homecoming but I'll be there in spirit.

All the very best.


June 6, 2009 at 2:20 AM  
Blogger ponyscott said...

Here's hoping for some nice winds at your back and find you transitioning for a safe return to port...I'm sure it can't come soon enough and the last days will find you melancholy of all the memories of the past year at sea. Enjoy the ride my friend.

Scott in Dallas

June 6, 2009 at 4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... is the best, click animate. Shows minimal winds for the entire week!!

Remarkable. Under any other circumstance probably considered ideal leisurely cruising weather for that entire region. Particularly if you have got no where to go in a hurry. Not ideal for someone who's got to go somewhere ASAP!!

Of course it could be worse. Next fishing vessels will be from Mexico, grab a case of frosty Corona's from them and sit back, chillax and enjoy it while you can :-)

June 6, 2009 at 4:58 AM  
Anonymous Axel said...

I have no clue what Mike's plan is. Right now he is going 144 degree. In the past he did a few south tacks but than came back up. Since his blog is cen.. ups moderated very heavyly one can't even ask a question LOL.
Marianne and all the ground crew is doing such a great job getting all of us around the world.

June 6, 2009 at 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I so wish I had the opportunity you have to do something so amazing and life changing! I randomly saw your ESPN cover at my sisters house, something I wouldn't normally read, and even though I know its more about the journey than the record breaking, I hope you can hold the record for at least a little while before someone breaks it again. You are such an inspiration to those of us that'd rather live than be tied down by whats expected of us by others. All I can say is wow! What an accomplishment. Sadly at 19 I'll never break your record, but maybe one day I'll get a chance at adventure too. Wish I could be there to see you come home! Best of luck and God bless!

Pensacola, Florida

June 6, 2009 at 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Laura Kelleher said...

I just confiscated my hubby's ESPN mag and read the article about you - so amazing, inspiring and I can't even begin to tell you how much I am rooting for you. It just reminded me of why I used to climb mountains, but more importantly why I don't anymore, and that I need to get out there!! Your age may be 17, but your spirit is much older, and the wind will come!! Thank you for your story, some of us can only dream of adventure, while others get their lazy ass off the couch and go searching!

June 6, 2009 at 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Marianne,

I'd love to see Zac come in especially since we saw him leave the dock in MDR. Here is hoping that it will be on a Sat. or Sun.

KG from Riverside, CA.

June 6, 2009 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger orphanedhanyou said...

I so wish I had the opportunity you have to do something so amazing and life changing! I randomly saw your ESPN cover at my sisters house, something I wouldn't normally read, and even though I know its more about the journey than the record breaking, I hope you can hold the record for at least a little while before someone breaks it again. You are such an inspiration to those of us that'd rather live than be tied down by whats expected of us by others. All I can say is wow! What an accomplishment. Sadly at 19 I'll never break your record, but maybe one day I'll get a chance at adventure too. Wish I could be there to see you come home! Best of luck and God bless!

Pensacola, Florida

June 6, 2009 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Thanks for that great post Zac. The dolphins are always a great treat while sailing. I guess you might have to polish up on your Spanish taking in your immediate location. Like you really have time for that one. You might have to polish up on the Spanish when you finally dock in California. You know English is the second language here in California.

It seems like all the plans are starting to take place now. The news, media, and attention is on Zac now and it's ABOUT TIME. It seems strange for all of us who have been with you from the start. We hear the stories on TV, read the articles in the news papers and magazines wanting to hear something new. We are so plugged into Zac's world that the news and media can't bring us anything we don't already know. I feel so honored Zac.

It will be sad for all us faithful fans of the Zac Man who have followed your last years life on a daily basis. A little part of our lives will have a hollow feeling after you return! This blog has done this for me and I'm also sure for many other out there. Thanks to the Sunderland family for always trying to keep us informed with Zac's sailing life this past year. I almost feel like telling you to go around this earth another time and break another record. I'm sure Marianne and Laurence are about to kill me right now for making this statement.

Thanks to all the faithful fans who have been here from the start and we have many of them. I look forward to meeting you all again at Zac's home coming.

Sail On Zac,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

June 6, 2009 at 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many minutes is the first part DVD?

I hope in the future there will be an unedited series, even if it's in 6 parts or more. If this first set is two parts @ 60 minutes each, it's obviously edited for time and story-line. Unedited of everything in the future can also be of great interest. What might seem mundane to some, is exciting and interesting to others.

Is this first part 60 minutes or 2 hours?

June 6, 2009 at 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Technical question for anyone out there (sailors). How exactly does one return to the US via the ocean?

Once you get to US waters do you have to phone or radio in who you are etc.? Is there a customs office at MDR yacht club where you go once you land? If you've been out of the country for a year like this and say bought a new engine for the boat in another country many months ago, do you have to declare it? Are there in fact customs you have to go through or how exactly does it all work?

June 6, 2009 at 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Zac, Too bad you are not getting better wind. The weather also sounds pretty unpleasant...nothing beats Catalina weather. We just got back from there actualy- had a great time. If you are planning to stop over at the island before comming into del Rey at the end of june, there is a good chance we'll see you, if not we will be in the marina when you arive. Hopefully you will get the wind you need.
Nathan Schaefer

June 6, 2009 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger narenas said...


Not much of a sailor, but I just read the ESPN the Magazine article and just went on your blog (obviously). Wow! I am floored. You are an incredible young man who has done something that very few people have ever done (not just the sailing around the world under 18 which has not bee done). Take a chance and do what really will challenge you and bring you joy. Your parents are fantastic to have backed you and understood what this meant to you. Best of luck until the end.

Live your live to the fullest, and let adventure fill it.


June 6, 2009 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

Let me start again by saying - THANK YOU so Marianne, Lawrence and Zac. It continues to be quite an adventure!

I can't imagine how Zac is going to handle fame and book tours after being at sea for so long...will be weird for sure. Definitely will still need LOTS OF PRAYERS from his "virtual crew" to keep him under the protection of the Almighty and out of the clutches of the beast of fame and fortune.

Great article. Now, I have to say, I don't think I knew about the sat phone call from the astronauts. Wow. Not many people could claim that experience - I wouldn't think!

Another thing that happened along the way that I haven't heard anything else about is the ITALIAN VOGUE photo shoot. What ever happened with that?? It would be interesting to see how they tried to make Zac marketable for Italian fashionistas especially when he had been at sea for weeks... ha!

Well, I would love to be out there when he comes in. We'll have to see if we can manage that.


June 6, 2009 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: The first DVD will be approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.

There are a lot of possibilities for the extra footage. DVD part two will have some interesting 'extras'!

June 6, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger bmdowns said...

Hey Zac,
I've been following your progress since I heard about your adventure. It has been very inspiring to me. I applaud you for your courage and adventurous ways. It is truly amazing what someone can do when they put their mind and heart into something they believe they can do. You have not only made an impact on me, but a whole world. Amazing. Now that you are in the home stretch I wish you continued luck and peace of mind. Keep going, and never look back.

June 6, 2009 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Glen said...

@Douglas Pistone: Las grandes palabras del hombre, solo pueden venir de HOMBRES GRANDES como TU!!!!
I feel the same .

Glen Ingouville
Bs.As. Argentina

June 6, 2009 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger km said...

Zac, Just read the was a great re-cap of your adventure. I've been reading along since the very beginning...and praying for you and your family. I'm a homeschooling mom to kids 7, 6, & 4. Somedays I can just imagine your mom holding her breath. And on the flip side, I hope that my kids grow up to DO HARD THINGS...and do it all for the glory of God. Your parents must be so proud of you!

June 6, 2009 at 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

The excitement just keeps building!

I think Doug P has summed it up for me!

What a great time and adventure!

Go, Zac, Go!

June 6, 2009 at 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Still thinking about you and praying for you many times a day, Zac. It won't be long now!

What would we do without Doug P. and Bob in OKC's posts? Thanks guys...

Marianne and Laurence, prayers are with you as well.

Blessings -
WA St.

June 6, 2009 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger Ptolemy said...

So, if you don't already subscribe to ESPN magazine, where can you find it on a newstand? I tried Barnes & Noble today without success... I read it online, but this seems like a "keeper..."

June 6, 2009 at 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Jen HL said...

Great ESPN article! I am homeschooling my kids and if they accomplish even half of what Zac has, I'll be intensely humbled and thrilled. But the most important lessons aren't necessarily for other teens -- they are for all of us. I have a few dreams to go fulfill...

June 6, 2009 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Sherna Taylor said...

I went to local Barnes and Noble yesterday to get ESPN mag and it was not available and was quite elated last night to find a link thoroughly enjoyed the article, Cover Photo ... me like it

Well said!!

As I look back at this past year, everyday this blog provided me with something to look forward to. Early in the morning as soon as my eyes opened and late at night before i went to bed, I checked in to see what wonderful and exciting news awaited me. It is wonderful to know that Zac is on his way home and achieving his dream, but the end of this adventure will leave us all wishing for more.
I have spent the last year living vicariously thru Zac's adventure.
What a year it has been!

@ Zac, after all that you have done this past year, your adventure is missing one crucial performance. Twenty thousand miles and Nary a fish to eat "Please catch a fish!!"

Praying for winds and a fish or two :-)

Continued safety as you do Hard Things


June 6, 2009 at 9:01 PM  

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