Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Offshore Tack

With the light winds I have had lately, I am unable to make my small tacks near shore worth anything so I have set my course for a long offshore tack for now. Last night I made all of 30 miles which is painful considering how much more distance I will need to cover with this sailing strategy.
I may go as far offshore as Guadelupe Island or beyond before tacking on port tack towards San Diego or Long Beach. I had hoped with this strategy to get more sleep and rest but last night I passed near five ships which meant very little sleep.
I have been reading some interesting books and thinking a lot about what I will do next after, of course, seeing friends and family and doing all the usual things that I have missed.

Q & A:
@ Uncle Bob: Does your boat heel over? Absolutely yes! Unless there is no wind and I am not going anywhere but even then it rocks side to side in the swells. The only place a boat may not move much is in a slip or a quiet anchorage.

@Anon: Do your brothers or sisters sail? My sister Abby loves to sail. She is 15 and has wanted to sail around the world since she was about 12. She sails with my dad whenever she can. Since our family does not own a boat right now we don't do much sailing. Toby and Jessie are doing a sailing camp at the Westlake Yacht Club this summer. Ben has never been sailing ever!

@South Dakota Clan: If I had to pick a place to live where would it be? Again, Cape Town South Africa was a place that is very beautiful with amazingly friendly people and lots of sailing.
The scariest place I have been would have to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Lets just say armed guards patrolling the breakwater with AK 47s is an everyday way of life there.
Did I have to learn another language? I did take a few years of Spanish but didn't use it. I tried studying some French language tapes between Mauritius and Durban but didn't use that much either.

@Anon: Do I have any apprehensions about being home? It will be good to be home again and have the comforts of home but I wonder what I will do day after day in a normal life. I will be busy with my book and documentary and then planning my next adventure.

@Scott: Would ever like to meet Jessica Watson? For sure, if we are ever in the same town that would be great. She has a great campaign that reminds me a lot of my own. Smaller boat, grassroots support. I wish her all the best and a safe passage.

Dodging ships here so I've gotta go.




Anonymous Kathleen in Palms said...

Hello there Zac!!

I am excited to hear when you will cross into U.S. waters. That was quite the scene with USCG. I did not know they ventured to Mexico. They should be proud of you as we are; I am also surprised they did not know of you and your adventure.

Anyway, I LOL'd at your eyebrow-burning comment. We had many excellent fireworks displays in my neighborhood, as well as being able to see the show at Culver City HS.

I love 4th of July as I really love this country. Americans are first at everything, let's face it, and here you are with another first. It's nice to get friendly with the world though, too, as you have uniquely done.

See you on the 14th or thereabouts!!! God bless.

July 8, 2009 at 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Trevor Leslie, London UK said...


I need some help, peeps

Got back from a long weekend working away a few days ago and "discovered" the ZacCam set up at MDR to capture the arrival back home of our boy (man!)...

on Monday it was working just fine & dandy - great!

on Tuesday, I lost all response from

Today (Wednesday 8th July), I'm getting a response but no image - my JAVA is failing... this has persisted despite me trying some WinXP system restores to "undo" the JAVA updates I've received since Monday.

Not having a 'dig' of any kind: just trying to determine if the issue is specific to me (in which case I'll continue working towards trying to fix my own problem before it's too late!) or something more widespread (in which case this'll hopefully serve as a public information broadcast AND call to remedial action!)?



July 8, 2009 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Lisa from Mt. Juliet, TN said... close and far!!! Bless your heart. It figures the last few hundred miles would be dramatic. But then, you needed a great suspenseful ending to your book just before you get to home base! All things work together for the good....hang in their young Zac, everyone is praying you home!

Psalm 91

July 8, 2009 at 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Enjoyed the Q/A... hang in there... Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

July 8, 2009 at 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Start the Adventurer's Club when you get back!
I'll join!
Straight Wakes,
Mike S.

July 8, 2009 at 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit of clarification for the non sailors who have joined the Pack lately.

Zac's last leg is essentially upwind; sailboats can't go directly into the wind, so he has to zig-zag up the coast. Its the equivalent of having to veer from curb to curb at an angle in your car just to get down the street. Hence he has to travel many more miles over the ground to get a given number of miles up the course.

The whole deal is compounded along the coast as he is constantly being pushed back south by the prevailing current. The slower he sails in light winds, the more effect that current can have on his northward progress.

Most any sailor would rather hang on to a fast reach (wind blowing over the side of boat) than having to nudge the boat along and try to hold on to every precious mile gained up wind. Its a slow mo' to the finish!

Steve in CA

July 8, 2009 at 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

Zac, What makes you truely amazing, ... besides your courage, strength, and the persistence toward your goal, is the way you converse with your fans. Reading your exploits makes us all part of your family. We all worry with you, pray for you, and get excited with you. You will go much further than around the world. Thanks to your parents for raising such a man & love to all your family.

From the high Sierras (of CA)>B.

July 8, 2009 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger MindWalker said...

Hey, Guy! With others, I'm sure, i will be watching for you on Tuesday. Should anything delay your schedule, I'll just find a park bench and wait.

July 8, 2009 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Wahoo said...

I hope someone updates the current position maps soon. I love watching Zac's location through those maps.

July 8, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

Sorry to hear that the winds aren't co-operating and sleep is hard to come by.
Sending good thoughts and prayers for improvement on both.
Hang in there, you're almost home.
Stay safe!
Tucson, AZ

July 8, 2009 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slowly,safely and surely you will get there.
Thanks for keeping us informed and keep dodging those ships...a good nights sleep is not far away.

UK friend

July 8, 2009 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger STEVE B said...


Loved the Q&A. Hope those ships have the nav lights and radar turned on!


July 8, 2009 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Cptn Rich said...

I am so looking forward to your return to MDR and have decided to take the day of to sail out and follow you in. I remember the grand reception when robin graham made his return and im sure yours is going to be even grander im hoping to get some great pictures of your return and the flotilla that will be in your wake. will you be monitoring any special channels on the VHF. im sure you will be easy to find just look for all the helicopters mabee even the goodyear blimp

July 8, 2009 at 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOOD MOVE..... Going off shore at your Lat. and Lon. and being alone, and not wanting to power up the coast like a crewed boat would do at this point, makes a ton of sense... Well done, AB

July 8, 2009 at 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Hi Zac!
Well, the countdown has begun... Less than a week to go! Have a great sail towards home. :)

I think I can speak for many when I say I hope this voyage as been all you wanted it to be, and more! We are ever so grateful for your health and safety --- and for letting us all ride along!

Many blessings to you, Zac!
WA St.

July 8, 2009 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Get post Zac and nice to read the answers to all those questions. I'm sorry you're not making much progress at 30 miles today. Hopefully the winds will pick up soon.

Enjoy these last few days at sea.

Sail Home,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

July 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Mimi & Desi said...

Zac, Zac, Zac...that's what I heard tonight as I answered the phone. Everyone wants to know where you are! I tell them, look him up! He's sailing along, upwind...difficult, sometimes frustrating. All the while, we're here, talking about Zac. Just when we thought life couldn't get any better...we find you, out there on your adventure. We're just visiting, loving the sailing stories, blazing thru our little lives, and living vicariously thru you. What fun! You've certainly proven the world is bigger than we thought...of course, round. A sailor knows that strange feeling when you look out over the water at nite & it looks like you're just going to fall off the edge of the earth? The illusion. The world is really round, and really big. It's no longer "a small world". Not anymore. You've disproven the flat/small theory. I can't remember when I've had more fun. Desi & I can't wait till the next least, anticipated, planned. We will not be on the back end of "azacaventure" again! Watch out for the ships..."No X's for them". Peaceful sleep when you're able...from Atlanta, Mimi & Desi

July 8, 2009 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Tomi said...

@ Trevor, UK -
Don't update to the latest version of Java right now. The webcam is using an older more stable version. IF you can get the updates to roll back, go for it. Me home laptop has no issues keeping it up & running, so will bring it into w*rk for Capt Zac!s arrival. Me w*rk station has to have the latest, so trying to view the marina is jerky at best & I occassionally have to close IE browser (which bites as I often have a good dozen websites up, plus a few half dozen appls running - easy to hide me ck'ing in on Capt Zac! at w*rk, but a pain if something locks & have to restart me IE windows/tabs). had to open Java Console & "tweek" it just to get a view - but it does get a view, even if the "time" is off on the webcam (still can't figure why me home 'puter doesn't have this issue, other than it's the Java version being used).

Keep trying mate, eventually, you'll get it loaded.

@ Capt Zac!/Team Sunderland/Christian - Y'all are doing a wonderful job. The task ahead may be crazy days filled, but am quite sure y'all will be very happy to put this wonderful year behind you. Thx again Christian (& your staff too!).

@ the ZacPac'ers who'll be at Home Coming -
If someone would be kind enough to video it & post it online for those moments when the webcam doesn't capture everything. Many of us not able to attend would appreciate your efforts!

Lastly, yes another plug for Capt Zac!'s Store, if EACH of us donated just $10, that'd put a serious dent in what Capt Zac! still has to raise/earn to pay off Team Sunderland.

Bear HUGS! y'all!

PS ? for Capt Zac! -
When you return, will you have to return all the sponsored items aboard the Lady Intrepid?

July 8, 2009 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger Tray said...

You are an amazing young man! I thought spending a week underground at 16 years old was something, but this is phenomenal! I just discovered your journey a few days ago, but have read the entire blog. It is inspirational, and truly fits into how I would be raising my kids (if I had any). God bless you and your parents, what wonderful people you all are!
Tray M.
Richmond, VA

July 8, 2009 at 7:16 PM  
Anonymous JohnB said...

I read your story in the LA times a few days ago. Amazing story.

It's a shame sailing isn't really publicized more. You don't hear about it as much as say...Mt Everest Climbers, or another sport or adventure.

Some of the remote islands you saw like Rodriquez, and St Helena must have been fascinating. Quite a contrast to rush/rush so cal.

July 8, 2009 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

@ Trevor Leslie

Tomi attempted to answer your question, and I'll do the same. I've tried the webcam about 5 times. I won't need to use it because I'll be at the marina in person. I was just curious as to how it works. I found it to work about 50% of the time, and I'm assuming that there weren't a lot of other people on the server at that time, because nothing much is happening there yet. When it worked, it worked great, but when it didn't, the java loading icon just went 'round and 'round and then I got an error message. Then, the pop-up for Laurence's DVD book popped up (I changed my settings to allow pop-ups from the site, but that didn't seem to make it work any better).

So, you are not the only one having issues, and I'm sure someone is checking on it. Hopefully it will be fixed by the big day, which we hope will be very soon!

Marilyn in Woodland Hills

July 8, 2009 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger royalswin said...

You have been such an inspiration to me and my 3 daughters. We read your blog daily and pray for your safe passage. We pray that you touch many lives as God uses you on your journey. God Bless,

July 8, 2009 at 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Trevor Leslie, London UK said...

@Tomi & Marilyn

Thanks for the feedback - very helpful & let's me know I'm on the right track (or should that be tack? ;-> )



July 9, 2009 at 1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Zac!! I have been sailing boats for 46 years, raced offshore in Cape Town, sailed the Atlantic including a stop in St.Helena where you were too Zac. I also spent a fair amount of time sailing in the Caribbean but none of my long distance sailing has ever been single handed. I know just how difficult it can be out there and sometimes very dangerous too, so for you to do it alone, it really does take serious guts and determination.

To Kathleen in Palms. Have a look at this site where you can read about some other brave youngsters from various other countries.


July 9, 2009 at 6:08 AM  

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