Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Miracle Repairs for Zac in Cocos Keeling

by Nancy Knudsen on 22 Oct 2008
Home Island in Cocos Keeling where a fine wood worker has made repairs to Zac’s boat BW Media
With the cyclone season commencing in just a few weeks, teenage adventure sailor Zac Sunderland arrived into Cocos Keeling in the Indian Ocean last week, sailing under genoa alone and with multiple breakages aboard his 36 ft boat, Intrepid. Apart from the fuel problems which have dogged him since Port Moresby, he had broken his tiller and a 'snapped' boom.

The damage had occurred in the heavy following seas and 25 knot winds which are typical of the trade winds in that part of the ocean. Attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the globe, 16-year-old Zac from Los Angeles, needed to make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible to avoid the upcoming cyclone season.

This was to be no easy challenge in Cocos Keeling, which has a population of merely 600 and no formal marine repair facilities as we know them. Fishing boats operate from Home Island, the 'home' island of the local Malay community, but almost the only other inhabitants of the remote community are the administrative community from Australia, on West Island.

'Two nights ago his tiller broke coming off a big wave,' Zac's mom Marianne said at the time, explaining the incident. 'It happened, of course, in the middle of the night while it was raining. He managed to jury-rig it and was making decent progress with the tiller autopilot occasionally slipping off. At about 5am, the autopilot came off the tiller, he jibed and his boom broke clean in half!'


However, Zac found out that the other cruising sailors anchored at Direction Island and an expert wood worker of Home Island would come to his aid. Zac arrived into Cocos Keeling when there were just three long range cruising yachts there, all headed in the same direction as Zac, to Mauritius, east of Madagascar, which is to mark the half-way mark in his voyage..


The wood worker, who normally works on the fine fishing boats which operate from the island, has been able to fashion a new tiller, and mend the broken boom. However, with the constant following winds, Zac can continue on headsail alone without much loss of speed on his way to Mauritius, where he may be able to obtain a new boom. He has also set up a daily 'sched' with the other cruising boats.

Zac departed Los Angeles on June 14 and sailed via Hawaii and Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, to Darwin, with an unplanned stop in Port Moresby because of fuel problems.. '(Port Moresby was) my least favorite part of the trip,' he wrote. 'Even though I had some great people there assisting me, I felt stuck there because of my engine problems and the limited parts and service available there. Every extra day I spent there was a day I could not spend exploring Australia.'

Zac will turn 17 on November 29, and is hoping to spend it in Durban.

Australia's David Dicks currently holds the record for the being the youngest person to sail around the world, having finished his circumnavigation in 1996 aged 18 years and 41 days.

Barz Optics - Kids rangeMackay BoatsNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Finn racers put to the test at Sailing World Cup Final in Melbourne
Paine dominated the Medal Race, winning comfortably to leap dramatically up the leader board and claim bronze Paine dominated the Medal Race, winning comfortably to leap dramatically up the leader board and claim bronze and Lilley came through in fifth to finish eighth overall. The pair stepped away from the men's heavyweight dinghy after the Games to focus on new ventures but they wasted no time in revisiting their competitive streaks
Posted today at 10:29 am
Sailing World Cup Melbourne – Aussies revel in seabreeze conditions
Another day of good sailing conditions in Melbourne made for a memorable day for Australia’s sailors competing in finals In the 470 Men’s event, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan had another strong day winning both of their two races. They currently lead overall, five points ahead of China’s team of Lan/Wang.
Posted today at 9:50 am
Sailing World Cup Final - Finn racers put to the test
The top Finn racers at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover are putting each other to the test The top Finn racers at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover are putting each other to the test and for Rio 2016 Olympians Jake Lilley (AUS) and Caleb Paine (USA), it's business as usual after a period of rest.
Posted today at 7:03 am
Sailing World Cup Melbourne - Volunteers, the source of energy
Energy is not something that can always be measured, but strength that volunteers in sailing bring is critical to events Energy is not something that can always be measured, but the strength and vitality that so many volunteers in sailing bring to the events that and clubs that they help out is an amazing resource that is critical to events such as Sailing World Cup Melbourne.
Posted today at 3:54 am
SWC Final - Melbourne - Nicholas Heiner follows famous dad into Finn
Former Laser world champion Nicholas Heiner is competing at his first international event in a new class he hopes Former Laser world champion Nicholas Heiner is competing at his first international event in a new class he hopes to medal in for the Netherlands at the Olympic Games, just like his father did 20 years ago in Atlanta, USA.
Posted today at 3:03 am
Clipper Race skipper given special honour at French Sailing Awards
Olivier Cardin was recognised with a special award at last night’s French Sailing Federation’s flagship award ceremony. Olivier Cardin was recognised with a special award at last night’s French Sailing Federation’s flagship award ceremony, the Soiree des Champions.
Posted on 6 Dec
2017 America's Cup tickets will go on sale on 9th December
Six teams, representing USA, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, France, Sweden, will race incredible hydrofoiling yachts The six teams, representing the USA, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, France and Sweden, will race incredible hydrofoiling yachts on a stadium-style racecourse on Bermuda’s Great Sound which will make the events in Bermuda among the hottest tickets in world sport in 2017.
Posted on 6 Dec
Connecting Team Bridge at the Sailing World Cup Final Melbourne
Eldest son Ollie is hoping for a top two finish and his 17 year-old brother Guy will be pushing for top three. Consider the logistics of three teenage boys of varying ages all playing the same equipment heavy sport. Now imagine the coordination required for the Bridge family of kiters currently in Australia for an extended southern hemisphere tour that includes the IKA Formula Kite Open division
Posted on 6 Dec
Good start to Sailing World Cup Melbourne for Aussies
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan won the first race in convincing style and finished the second race of the day in second place The Aussie duo of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan won their first race in convincing style, and finished the second race of the day in second place. They are currently in first place overall, two points ahead of the Japanese pairing of Takayama and Imamura.
Posted on 6 Dec
Sailing World Cup Final– Chat with two coaches and a media boat driver
Enjoy the action from two very different, but both successful coaches here at the Sailing World Cup in Melbourne. Enjoy the action from two very different, but both successful coaches here at the Sailing World Cup in Melbourne.
Posted on 6 Dec