Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zac's Big Adventure

Meet Zac Sunderland--a young man attempting to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world solo. He started his journey from the Marina del Rey in Los Angeles in mid June 2008, and is currently off the coast of Mexico hoping to arrive back at his home port in mid-July... more than a YEAR after he left it. He paid for his 27' sailboat himself, and managing to convince his parents to support his year off. He has managed to pick up some sponsors, but his parents have helped him pay for the rest.

Traveling around the world by sail is not an easy task, even in this day and age. Zac has had some major equipment failures more than once. He was almost crushed by a freighter. But perhaps the most harrowing situation was being pursued by pirates in the Indian Ocean. He called his father on the satphone and was calmly instructed to load the .357 magnum pistol he keeps aboard and be prepared to defend the boat. His father told the L.A. Times that he never imagined he would have to seriously prepare his then 16 year old to "shoot to kill." Luckily, the pirates gave up the pursuit, probably figuring that the small sailboat wasn't worth the effort.

Of course, it will surprise almost no one that Zac's family is heavy into sailing. He is the oldest of seven kids, and as a family they have logged more than 15,000 nautical miles as a family, including several open-ocean long cruises. Still, it takes some very special parents to allow their teenager to attempt this. I wonder if I would allow my kid to attempt this...

Zac has lost a lot of weight from days and days of grueling work and crappy, freeze dried food. But he is very close to achieving his goal, and I imagine that he will receive quite the reception when he arrives back in L.A.

You can read more about Zac and his adventures on his blog. Good for him!


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