Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Days

The last couple days have been typical Thousand Oaks summer days: chilling with friends, doing whatever to get some adrenaline pumping, but also planning the next adventure. There are tons of ideas going around but haven't decided on one for sure yet though. I've been pulling all my junk off Intrepid and she has gone up about 3'' in the water.

My room in Thousand Oaks now has the smell of a mildewy boat and I've been spending my spare time sorting through swollen books and all the stuff I've picked up in the last 13 months.

I've been meeting with a lot of people in the movie biz that wanna make a movie out of my trip which has been interesting. Another thing I am excited about is doing some speaking engagements. I have been putting down my thoughts on what led to my trip and how I dealt with some of the hardships, etc. I hope to be able to encourage other people with what I have been able to do. It should be interesting.

But other then that a lot of my friends go off to college in a couple of weeks so getting some good times in before they're gone for a year. As for me, I have a few more requirements to finish high school before I can think of my college plans.


Blogger Daveh said...

Hey Zac, keep us posted here and on FB...

Glad you are back and land, for a little while anyhow...

Dave & Skipper

August 5, 2009 at 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



August 5, 2009 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Great job in your success circumnavigating the globe Zac, you truly did it.
Write that book, make that movie, and continue to live a life worth living my friend, and may the Lord Bless and keep you in whatever you endeavor. As for college, think twice before you enter that convoluted world, you’re on the right track now, don’t waver…

August 5, 2009 at 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Hi Zac,
So good to hear from you again. I know there must be tons to do, so we are all grateful that you are taking a little time to keep us up on all the latest!

Just curious --- what are your friends saying about how you have changed while on your voyage? It's always fun to hear another perspective...

Will there be another newsletter? Anxious to hear of any speaking engagements, etc., that might be around the corner.

Have a great afternoon hanging out, or.... cleaning! :)

WA St.

August 5, 2009 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Zac -- It's good to hear that you're just being 17 and enjoying some good times with friends. I definitely look back on that time in my life fondly -- enjoy the free time while you have it! Some of those friends will be friends for life, no doubt. I hope the movie talks you have are encouraging -- could definitely make a good film. But I'm looking forward to the documentary, to see the real deal! It'll be fun to see what you put out from this adventure and what you do next... As for inspiration, you & your parents have provided a lot along the way to me, and I didn't even realize I needed any inspiring... All my best to you all... Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

August 5, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Bill Mann said...

Zac, you cannot believe how thrilled I was to read the 4th paragraph of your post. Nothing you have done in the past nor will ever do in the future should diminish your thoughts of going to college. A college education should not teach you about a certain subject. It should teach you how to take all those random thoughts in your head and make sense of them. It should teach you how to think logically and chart a way through whatever years you have in front of you.

Wishing you Godspeed in all of your future endeavours.

Bill Mann

August 5, 2009 at 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Rick Bauer said...

be yourself.Someday it would be great to meet you.
you could not of said it better.

rick bauer

August 5, 2009 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger unlcebob said...

I think you and Mike Perham should do something together, yanno the two youngest to circumnavigate the globe solo

climb mt. Everest,
deep sea diving,
take a baloon to the highest altitude

something wild, of course your mom might not approve of some of these ;-)

August 5, 2009 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger Tray said...

The real legacy of your trip will be how you use it in the future, and your words in this latest post show your true character. There is a dearth of encouragement in this world right now. I think you'd be surprised at exactly how many people have been encouraged to try new things, or "do hard things" simply by following your trip here on For many of us, this is encouragement that success is mostly determination, heart, dedication, and some skill thrown in to make sure you don't die (but I'm not minimizing the skill involved in any adventure, particularly yours!). Moving on to speaking dates and even a movie helps to spread this encouragement, and I have no doubt that whatever your next adventure is, and wherever it takes you, your strength of character will continue to show the world the best in our youth.


August 5, 2009 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

Hi Zac,

Have you been on Geraldo at Large yet? I hope you will let us know (in advance if possible) when you will be on TV interviews.

Ditto on the college thing. It never hurts to have a degree in business or whatever. It just sometimes is hard if you are not sure what you want to be doing when you are like....50ish.

It sounds like it could take at least a year to 'finish' your Great Adventure. There are fires to put out there it sounds like!

Have fun with college bound friends the next couple of weeks!


August 5, 2009 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...


Don't know where "Ryan" is coming from, but it sounds like he is discouraging thoughts of college. If now, he needs to make himself more clear.

As I write this, we are dealing with a young man, and a fine one, who is a family friend. He had a somewhat privileged upbringing. He had some early success as a teen ager in on-line entrepreneur area which played itself out. His early success convinced him that college was not worth the time, money, and effort. Right now his old peer group is graduating from college and the big talk is about starting salaries and new jobs while he is having a real struggle finding work in this economy. He is very depressed and questioning his own wisdom has damaged his once high (maybe too high) self-esteem.

I am in agreement with Bill Mann's post. College is more than book-learning. It's also something like a period of guided growth. The all night arguments while drinking 14 pots of coffee and are about nothing particularly consequential is more fun than you think. Even the petty gossip is important. From a cultural standpoint, it is how we establish and spread community values. Think about that one.

Education is high on my list of values because I had such a bad time getting through college with no financial assistance, no scholarships, and no educational loans ... but I am proof that it can be done. I still envy those with the new cars they got at high school graduation, the weekly allowances, and the checks from Dad, Grandma, or whomever to cover the tuition.

I heard more than once, "Yessir, m'boy, get all dat eddycashun you can. It's something they cain't take away from ya!" I thought that was amusing because I never had any problems with anyone trying to take anything away from me. Further, it they had to go through what I did to get that education, they probably wouldn't have wanted it anyway!

You are a role model for a house full of little Sunderlands and a world of young people. You can not escape that so if you think college would be a tough challenge, do as someone said, "Do hard things!!"

Do not earn the advice that "Making decisions leads to experience. Bad decisions leads to wisdom!"

Still in your corner and part of the cheering squad.

The Croaker

August 5, 2009 at 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

I still say, consider the academy -- the Navy or Coast Guard could use your mature attitude and use your experiences! I see a lot of other people doing silly adventures, nothing worth comparing to the one you have already accomplished... I also agree with the previous post about the merits of college -- putting life in perspective and getting credit for it, along the way.Four years of academy -- a lifetime of adventure and example setting. Book and DVD first, though... we all want to increase your financial wellbeing by enjoying the sidelines of your last year's adventure!! PLEASE!
God bless you and yours! >b.

August 5, 2009 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi There Zac..

What Bill Mann said times two!

What did you decide to do with that blown main? Never heard what you thought of my suggestion..

Please say some prayers for my son Brandon, gotta start early.. he is planning his climb of El Capitan coming up in October. He's doing some serious training in order to get physically and mentally prepared. An interesting website you might want to explore is:
which is hosted by Tom Evans, a retired gentleman that shoots climbers with his 800mm lens during the climbing seasons and reports the climbers progress on El Cap. Read his 'About Tom Evans' page to see what an interesting person he is.

Blessings to all,
Bob in OKC

August 5, 2009 at 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Follow your heart!

Straight Wakes
Mike S.

August 5, 2009 at 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee Zac, it's hard to believe you've been home for 3 weeks now. I know you've been keeping really busy but in your quiet moments I bet you're still pinching yourself that you sailed around the WORLD.

Thanks for keeping us updated on what's happening with you. Everything sounds so exciting. Good thing you have lots of friends to take your mind off the business end of things.

Please let us know about any future TV appearances and where and when your speaking engagements might begin.

I saw that Mike Perham is off the coast of Florida and 19-20 days from making it home. I hope he gets a nice reception when he steps off, but YOU, Zac, will always be our #1 solo circumnavigator!!

--Sue McGah
Laguna Niguel

August 5, 2009 at 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Hi Zac,

I've read your blog for the better part of a year and can't believe I'm choosing to chime in NOW but I've just read the chorus of unsolicited college advice you've received here today. To me they seem a little off-base. You've experienced the world and appear to have a keen desire to continue to do so. I feel certain that 99% of this year's college graduates (most of whom will be struggling mightily to join the workforce) would trade places with you instantly for the opportunity to host their own adventure television show, publish a book or supervise the making of their life story with help from one of the most powerful media agents in the world. Even if all of those opportunities disappeared tomorrow you've still got a resume that beats almost everyone moving on to the 13th grade this fall. I think getting paid to do what you love is the best possible way to make a living and you seem pretty close to that. I trust that you'll continue to learn and grow as I think we've all witnessed this past year; even if you don't choose to spend the next four years inside someone else's vision of higher learning. I'd also ask the audience of this blog to keep in mind how few mistakes you actually made while getting yourself around the world. College can wait until you're having trouble discerning life's mysteries your own way. I don't see that happening anytime too soon.

Thanks for a great year,


August 5, 2009 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger MindWalker said...

If you decide to do a movie, I want to play the part of the beetle that stows away for the entire trip behind your alcohol stove.

Seriously: it is refreshing to read your update, to learn that you are searching forward, but with caution and guidance. You're receiving lots of great ideas, yet I suspect your best input is that of your Mom and Dad - and I also suspect you know that, already.

I'm still hopeful your Mom will be able to locate that watercolor I got from your online auction. (She's been holding it for your autograph before forwarding to me.)

Now you've got me doin' it, so here goes --

DC, a.k.a. MindWalker

August 6, 2009 at 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Donn Coon said...

-Bill's comment is spot-on, Zac.

Until I was 45 years old, I thought I was missing out by not going to college. Opportunity provided, however, and after working for 25 years, I quit - and went back to school for 4-1/2 years and picked up two degrees.

That was more than 20 years ago. Today, as I reflect, I believe going through college as a 'returning student' was my best possible course. Old enough to be the father of most of my classmates, I attended classes with better questions to ask, better comprehension of the answers I found and a far greater appreciation of that whole process.

Not pushing, mind you. Just describing one alternative.

God Bless -
DC, a.k.a. MindWalker

August 6, 2009 at 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Zac,
Glad to hear you're home!!! Congratulations on your success! God is a mighty God and He definitely takes care of his people.

Elissa Walther
Houston, TX

August 6, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Trina S. said...

must be exciting meeting all those new people. A movie might be fun huh?

What are some of your travel adventure ideas?

Have a great weekend!

August 6, 2009 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Pippin said...

Hey, I just found out about you . . .and I think what you did is pretty amazing. Definitely movie-making worthy :)

August 6, 2009 at 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Kristi said...

i think it's pretty amazing that you did that . . definitely movie-making worthy :) um and you really need to cut your hair if you haven't yet.

August 6, 2009 at 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac and fam:
I just got thru reading this weeks Argonaut, and it looks like you just may be marking another first, in that; as you know, have been chosen to be "The Grand Marshal" for this years MDR Christmas Boat Parade. Congrats! I am pretty sure no one your age has ever held that honor before! (can anyone out there confirm this?) Being the Grand Marshal is going to be a real treat and fun night for you and your family, especially the little ones! Oh, and by the way, your long hair rocks. Hope you don't listen to all those folks that want you to cut it!
Peace - J.

August 6, 2009 at 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Kathleen in Palms said...

Dear Zac!!

It's nice hearing about normal life in Thousand Oaks, and good you came back in time to catch up with friends before they "sail off" on their next rite of passage:)

Among those uniquely mildewy-smelling things did you come across the didgeridoo? And, have you gotten some of that other-worldly sound out of it? LOL. I love that instrument.

A movie is usually preceded by a book. Your agent, I am sure, makes certain you retain all rights and is privy to your conversations with movie-makers. Just sayin'...

The Argonaut is where I first learned of your world sail and I still pick it up every Thursday. Today, they published an announcement about you: Zac Sunderland to be grand marshal for the Holiday Boat Parade and an article about your dear friend and supporter, Mary Ellen Rose, Local rigger recovering from fall

August 6, 2009 at 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Zac,
As a parent of a midshipman at the US Merchant Marine Academy, I strongly encourage you to check out this well kept secret of the Dept of Transportation if considering an education at an academy. The school is awesome and opens up a whole wide world of opportunities into the merchant marine world :-). Check out the school at My son traveled around the world on a commercial ship in his second year there!! Actually he was in the Indian Ocean about the same time you were traveling through, he was just farther north than you :-)
Just my 2 cents.....Glad to hear you are having fun being back home, thanks for taking the time to still post!! Blessings to you and your family....
Gloucester, VA

August 6, 2009 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger John Gezelius said...

Re college: You have a unique perspective and impeccable creds. Thinking marine ecology and the Pacific Trash zone. Does UC San Diego tickle your fancy?

August 6, 2009 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Hiya Zac!!!
I vote along with the others re: College!!!! It will be your next great adventure.

In the mean time be a 17 year old.

Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

August 7, 2009 at 4:43 AM  
Anonymous Kodiak Mike said...

Yawn. Good morning from Alaska. I sent out a pledge for Toby and Jessie
yesterday, wishing them success in the Westlake regatta this weekend. Glad to hear you're chillin' with friends and GREAT to hear that you are considering future plans. I know lots of folks would love to attend one of your talks on your adventure, should you choose to do that. You'll get to meet great folks and do some more travelling --all on your schedule!! No hurry---no worries. Kodiak Mike

August 7, 2009 at 7:36 AM  
Anonymous The Kittiwake Kids said...

Hey Zac, why not do something really "rebelutionary" and go on a mission trip. Live your faith in a more tangible way for the Kingdom. Forget all the attention for yourself and think of those who are living in darkness and superstition. It is clear from Bible prophecy we are in the final days of earth's history and this generation is the last generation. God is waiting for His people to fully reflect His character. Be truly a rebel and allow His righteousness to fill you. Go out and reach souls for the only True Kingdom!

August 7, 2009 at 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Lisa from Mt. Juliet, TN said...

@ Bill Mann and Croaker

Here here and Amen!!!!

well said.

August 7, 2009 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger CNBroncoFrench said...

Have fun sorting through your souvenirs. Deciding what's trash and what's treasure is sometimes difficult and you end up with a very eclectic mix. Start, if you haven't already, writing a journal of your sentiments and observations since you've been back. How you've changed, how things and people at home have changed, and how some things are constant.

Hey, I still want to get you up here in Central California to my high school to enchant these landlocked teens with tales of your high seas adventure.

Daniel Schwartz
Clovis North High

August 7, 2009 at 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Hi Zac,
May I say that after seeing the weather forcasts for the Eastern Pacific the last few days, WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE SAFELY HOME!

Have a great weekend!
WA St.

August 7, 2009 at 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Zac,

Glad to hear about what you've been up to now that you're home.

While I'm sure your planning your next adventure, I agree with many of the posters and think you should take some time and enjoy your youth years (it's obvious you're doing that right now). That definitely includes college. You already have a great item for your resume and not only will it help you get into college but it will add to your skillset when you get out.

If you want to be very adventurous I'd try for a school in a new city or state. You've mentioned Notre Dame which is a superb school but I'm not sure you'd find many opportunities to sail. But do your research, you'd be surprised what you'd find (my alma mater, Villanova, has been mentioned of having a decent sailing team despite the fact there isn't really a nearby navigable body of water).

Have fun enjoying the rest of your summer with your friends.

August 7, 2009 at 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were you my young friend, I would go back to being a kid- finish HS and go to college. Stop trying to figure out how to become famous and make money from your supreme adventure. What would you do next anyway that would be unique enough for anyone to care. The solo circumnavigation was your uniquely unequvivocal achievement. The world will quickly forget about it but many will remember. Do not try to have a reality show nor make a movie. Just write your book and sell that to recoup your parents capital. Good luck

August 7, 2009 at 7:51 PM  
Anonymous KarenH said...

Hi Zac,

I want to let you know just how you have inspired me. Wednesday, for the first time in over 30 years, I went sailing.

That's right--I took a sailing class in the fall of 1978 when I was a student at UC Irvine. We had lots of fun guiding our Lido 14s around Newport Harbor. Usually I shared a boat with two other gals, and we got along great as a crew.

Somehow I never sailed a boat again until yesterday. Reading about your little cruise reminded me of the joys of relying on the caprices of wind for propulsion, and I began to think that maybe I could rent a small boat. So I did, and took my 20-year-old son with me to MDR for his first sail. He picked up the basics pretty quickly. We bounced around the harbor for about an hour, dodging swarms of junior sailors who looked like they were having even more fun than we were. We didn’t bring a camera, so you’ll just have to imagine how much we were grinning. :D :D

On a different topic— I hope you aren’t really planning to wait until you’re done with high school to think about college. NOW is the time to acquire hard data about colleges. What does a given school have to offer you, if anything? What will the real costs be? For example, does UCLA offer sailing scholarships? If you get the information now, you will know better which schools, if any, to apply to this fall. If you decide to postpone college for a set time, indefinitely, or even forever, you will be able to give a reasonable answer to reasonable people who question your decision.

Blessings and prayers go with you!

Homeschool Mom Emeritus

August 7, 2009 at 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Tim Harding said...

Hi Zac

Re college:-

If you were Mr Average from an average home background and looking for a good average job then, yes, you would probably be well advised to go to college.

You don't seem average to me but mature and experienced way beyond your age and that of your fellow students should you choose the college route. I'm with Bill (post Aug 5 10.14). Go to college if you like or plough your own furrow and build on the great start you've already made.

Good luck for the future!

Tim Harding.

P.S. Guess who didn't go to college and never regretted it!

August 8, 2009 at 2:02 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

I'm glad you have been spending a lot of time with your friends. After 13 months at sea it must feel great to see all of them again. I'm also very happy to hear that you're considering college.

I hope these movie deals will work out for you. It would be great to see you on the tube. Hopefully you'll be able to pay your parents back and have extra money for the next adventure coming in the future.

Wishing you all the best. Hopefully we'll see you out on the water!!!

Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

August 8, 2009 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger kevin said...

Many congrats on your awesome achievement Zac.I sent you an e-mail awhile ago about my plan of kayak sailing from Costa Rica to Cali or vise-versa.I've been working down there for the past 11 years with Neil Kahn who you met on your trip.Anyways,keep me in mind as you plan your next journey.Looking forward to hearing from you.

August 8, 2009 at 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just have to give an AMEN to the suggestion of a mission trip. It seems like the right fit for you -- adventurous and giving back to the God who protected you on your first adventure.

I also have to put in a vote for college. I have 4 college age kids who are taking their time getting through college -- fitting in their own adventures -- but making progress toward a degree, too. For example, my 19 year old daughter is heading off this fall to an island of Spain for an archeology dig/seminar, then touring Europe with friends. Eventally, she'll get her degree, but she's experiencing life, too.

Take a look at Evergreen College in Washington State. It is an experiential education. Might be a good fit for you.

Zac, one can often tell the difference between an educated and non-educated person. You'll want education on your side.

Thanks for being the inspiration that you are.

Kathy V.
Provo, UT

August 9, 2009 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Yogurt said...


Something to think about for your next adventure - pick something that you feel is important and will make the world a better place and help use your notoriety to focus some attention on it and move it in some positive directions. And make it something that's fun and challenging and inspiring too - just like your last one ;-) Perhaps try to decide what are some of the most cherished and inspiring memories of your trip - use that to help inspire what happens next.

Easy to say, but oh so hard to decide. Good luck with whatever you decide.


August 9, 2009 at 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was an brief but intertesting item in the news about freak waves in the news. I thought Zacpackers might like to read it.

Michele in Boston
(canoe owner, not sailer)

August 10, 2009 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Zac, glad you're having some "down" time and a chance to just be a kid! You have plenty of time to continue your adventures!
Enjoy life!
Temecula, CA

August 10, 2009 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger Bluesman said...


It's good you're relaxing and enjoying the rest of the summer. Do it. You deserve it.
But never stop learning. Education is way too important. I stress this to my own kids. My middle daughter leaves in a few weeks for her first year at Assumption College in Worcester, MA in 2 weeks and hard as it might be to keep the next 4 years in focus, it's important.
Like the accomplishment you just achieved, education is another nobody can ever take way.
Be well and have fun!

The Bluesman

August 11, 2009 at 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Rebekah Yesilevsky said...

I was just cruising for good subject to use for a "Media Alert/Advisory" for my journalism class at SMC. I have (so far) chosen your attending The Marina Del Rey Boat Parade as Grand Marshal to be my focus.

While researching, I ran into your blog.

It blows my mind how people that don't even personally know you give you so much advice. I'm often too objective to understand the passions of strangers and those they follow under guise of 'advising', and encourage you not to listen. I'm 32years old and have been in and out of college SINCE I was 18 (when I dropped out of JSU with good grades to travel the country with some artsy friends. I landed a small record deal in Boulder, CO. I've learned as much in the real world as I have in college, and don't EVER regret my decision not to rush through school. Every one is different, and it's comical how so many preoccupty themselves with worrying about others- even if they mean well.

If you have any thoughts or information you'd like to share a 32-year old student/mother (me, lol) who has a lot of respect for you, I'd be glad to cover you in my class. I think you serve as s good role model for the students to LEARN from. One thing school can never replace is real life. Congratulations to you on all of your accomplishments!

September 24, 2009 at 10:08 PM  

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