Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

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.

InSunSport - NZT Clewring AC72Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Advice for young Sailors
Hear the America's Cup skippers' advice for young sailors looking to follow in their footsteps. Hear the America's Cup skippers' advice for young sailors looking to follow in their footsteps. Interviewers talk with Dean Barker, Jimmy Spithill, Glenn Ashby, Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie and get their advice, plus how and when they started sailing.
Posted today at 12:23 pm
Volvo Ocean Race - Enright and Towill ready to go again in 2017/18
Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put their experience to use. Team Alvimedica were the youngest team in the race last edition, and now skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put that experience to use. Volvo Ocean race's Jonno Turner caught up with Mark and Charlie to chat about everything from the transition back into 'real life', their reflections on the 2014-15 campaign - and the future.
Posted on 29 Aug
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA's AC50 well underway in Warkworth
Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand, Core Builders Composites, Warkworth, 40 minutes north of Auckland. The major components for the 15-meter platform, including the hulls and cross beams, have now been built.
Posted on 28 Aug
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA play catch up with Softbank Team Japan
Back in April 2017, Softbank Team Japan mastered the foiling tack in their AC45 Surrogate boats Back in April 2017, Softbank Team Japan mastered the foiling tack in their AC45 Surrogate boats, claiming to be the first AC team to have achieved the move. Two days later Oracle Team USA claimed to have done the same.
Posted on 28 Aug
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted on 27 Aug
SoftBank Team Japan achieve first foiling tack
SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 boat SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked the foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda.
Posted on 26 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
America's Cup - Architect of NZ Qualifier withdrawal steps down
The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role and will finish at the end of the month. The move was confirmed today by America's Cup correspondent Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press.
Posted on 23 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
PredictWind - One stop shop
PredictWind have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software PredictWind the world leader in forecasting believe that more is better, and have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software.
Posted on 15 Aug