Zac Sunderland

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=”Zac Sunderland, 16, plans to sail around the world in a boat that he and his father fixed up.”]Some dreams, it seems, probably will remain just that: distant, whimsical, cinematic adventures. That’s what you probably think when “sailing around the world” comes to mind. Not so for 16-year-old Zac Sunderland.

Zac wants to set a record for being the youngest person to sail around the world solo, and he hopes to complete the journey before he turns 18. He grew up sailing and is about to set off on a well-researched trip that will take him to Micronesia; Cape Town, South Africa; and through the Panama Canal in a boat he fixed up with his dad.

Throughout his journey, Zac will be blogging. Aside from his dad meeting him at strategic locations along the way, Zac will be alone. He will have a gallon of teriyaki sauce he’s already bought in anticipation of catching his meals, along with malaria drugs, a gurney-like bed and, after it’s all over, he hopes, a record.

Update: Watch the Live interview

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60 Responses to Zac Sunderland

  1. Rebecca says:

    What are you looking forward to the most on your trip around the world???

  2. Ginger says:

    Traveling around the world must be daunting, what do you think will be the hardest thing for you to face/do on your trip?

  3. Rissa says:

    What are you looking forward to the most on your trip?

  4. Austin says:

    What are you most afraid of on your trip?

  5. Alex says:

    Some people say you are to young to do this, what do you think about that?

  6. Katie says:

    Who or what will you miss most on your year- year and half trip?

  7. Jeremy says:

    You say you have a gallon of teriyaki sauce with you. What is the teriyaki sauce for? And why teriyaki?

  8. Ally says:

    Good luck on your trip! Get home safe!

  9. Andi says:

    What part of your trip do you think will be the longest and hardest?

  10. Bryant says:

    1. How did you prepare for your trip?
    2. How long did it take you to prepare?
    3. What would it mean to you if you succeeded in making a new world record?

  11. Andrea says:

    What inspired you to make this trek?

  12. Chad says:

    Will there be anyone trailing behind you during your journey? Or will you truly be alone during those long stretches across the ocean? Good luck!

  13. Brad V says:

    Have you read “Sailing Alone Around the World” by Joshua Slocum?

  14. Nando says:

    First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your brave, ambitious decision to become the youngest solo sailer to go around the world. I am sure you will be an inspiration to many around the globe; we need real people outside the movie sets.

    Question: where do you find this type of courage? Where is your source of strength?
    My best wishes.

    Mucha Suerte.

  15. protilius says:

    Takes a lot of courage to do something like this, I truly hope you have a safe journey and a life changing experience. It will make a great book.

    Be sure to pack plenty of GPS and get a satellite uplink to keep the world posted on your story. Its a big world out there and we all hate to see bad things happen to good people.

    I’m sure CNN might lend you one for exclusive rights to the interviews. Small price to pay for great news like this.


  16. David says:

    I read your story in the L.A. Times and by the way you were brought up on and around the ocean, I believe that you have enough skill and maturity as a sailor and waterman to pull this off. You exude alot of confidence, as well as your parents belief in you. Best wishes and have the time of your life and a safe return.

  17. Mike says:

    I do not think that Zac is too young to accomplish this. We have allowed teenagers to shirk of responsibility (I am speaking generally here). Instead of challenging themselves or doing something productive, like Zac, they spend most of the day playing video games and on a computer. There was a time when 14 and 15 year olds were in college or had a trade and were making a living.

    Way to go Zac on not giving in to what culture says a teen should do!!!

  18. laura says:

    Good luck on your trip!

    What top 5 songs are in your iPod?

  19. Ewa says:

    This is absolutely fantastic! What an inspiration! Good luck.

  20. Rose Clifford says:

    All I have to say is G00D Luck!!!! Do you have a compass? What about a visa??? I say. “You have no control over what other people do or say. And if I can not help a person in any other way. I can always pray for them.” You would not believe how much power prayer has. Especially when it is done in a Mass.

  21. Ron says:

    Great Adventure Zac !!!! I can identify with you .. I have done lots of “crazy adventures” and will keep doing them ’til I cannot walk.
    My best thoughts will be with you on your journey.
    Ron Jones
    World Traveler
    Vancouver WA

  22. Gail says:

    Have you read the story of “Dove” by Robin Lee Graham who began his trip around the world at the age of 16 from Long Beach and finished up 5 years later at Long Beach a married man with a baby in the future? National Geopraphic financed part of the trip and featured the trip in 3 issues of National Geographic Magazine over the period of 5 years. People seem to forget about his trip and how he worked his way around the world with his wife meeting him at different ports.

  23. Iggy says:

    Fantastic! It’s wonderful to see a teenager such as yourself so determined with a mind set people could only dream off. My only question is, by curiosity, is your schooling and education suffering in anyway?

  24. c says:

    WOW! I cant believe he is going to do this all by himself. Props to him! I could never do something like this. Im scared for this boy. This is very impressive. I will be looking out to see if he completed his trip before him turning 18. I would be freaking out if I was his mother. But from the sounds of it sailing is something that is a part of his family. What a determined young boy. Good Luck!

  25. jp says:

    hi zac!! you sure have my suppport 110%. all i have to say is you got to do what you have to do. believing in yourself is one of the most sucessful keys the future, which i think you totally have it in you. good luck with everything, and keep me posted.

  26. johnny bonner says:

    Zac, we’re with you.

  27. Peter says:

    Dear Reader,

    My Name is Peter Fick, and I had a revelation last night:

    In order to get out the speculation in the oil market, why doesn’t Congress declare a “week off of work” holiday (where noone is allowed to lose their job over it)? Shut down the gas stations, have americans stay at home (just for a week), close the airports and transportation, and have just the emergency response vehicles operating. This might be a pain to American, but it will dump our daily oil use (times 7) into the market, which is way more than were saving by not filling the strategic reserves.

    If this was even threatened by Congress, speculation would be drastically reduced (under $100 a barrel). If it was put into play, oil will be $60 a barrel or less. This is stand up or shut up time, and we would really get to see how effective Congress really is, what the President is really up to, how fast speculators run, and how to get us back to the supply/demand fundamentals.

    Oh Yea, Go Barack 2008!!!

  28. Leah says:

    To Peter Fick

    That is an AWESOME IDEA!! We need to be a bit drastic to clinch the oil crisis

    And to Zac, this sounds like it will be an adventurous trip. May God bless and protect you on your journey–and have fun!!

  29. Kim says:

    Hi! I”m a student at Robert Frost Middle School in California. Im a 8th grader going into high school and just want to know what is your motivation on this trip and what do you thinkwill happen. I think that you are very brave to go on a trip by your self i would not be able to do that.Please reponded to my questions thank you!

  30. Tat says:

    I admire your courage! I am 100% suppoting you in this choice! You will be amazed (and everyone else as well) how much you will mature within this year of sailing. You will come back a brave, mature man and will serve as an example on how to live your dream!

    If I had a son your age I would definatelly let him go too.


    I am always impressed and moved whenever i hear about young people that are doing great with their lives and decided to take their own destiny in their hands.

    I wish you all the best Tucker and will love to meet you one of this days because i also a young entrepreneur from Nigeria, a country where their are so much challenges with the young ones and have made them to feel that their is no future.

    my website is and its the first and only soccer recruiting website in Africa.

  32. Bankster says:

    Peter, that is a terrible idea. One week without going to work will not save enough gas to make a difference. You would also be shutting down ALL refineries, pipelines and trucks that bring gas in. Not to mention the problem with oil is a supply-side problem, not just demand.

  33. Donna says:

    Kudos to your parents for raising such a fine young man. I pray my son will have a fraction of your drive and determination when he grows up.

  34. sameer says:

    rock it homie!

  35. Nashes says:

    Wow! What a voyage you have ahead of you!! We will be praying for God’s guidance, power and protection. We know you can do this with God’s help!!

    You must have amazing parents and friends!

  36. Steve Kelley. says:

    Good luck out in the “Deep Blue.” Our Ford Mustang club in Bend OR will be cheering you along. Write if you get the chance and be safe…

  37. Darla Murphy says:

    Zac, Our prayers are with you on this brave and courageous journey you are on. Your strength and courage are inspiring to us and we are looking forward to your return to hear all about it. May God bless and protect you! The Murphys

  38. yasemin says:

    dear zac…
    my name is yasemin from Turkey,İstanbul. İ’m 14 years old girl. when i read your news in the newspaper i was very excited, because i also wanted to realise to seal around the world.
    you inspired me. you are my hero. i whish you good luck…

  39. Jean Claude Durocher says:

    HI ZAC,
    Build a sailboat in MAURITIUS and sailed into the sunset. Most beautiful thing to do. Now established in the British Virgin Islands.
    Runnng a Compny restoring Yachts.
    When in Mauritius, Visit Black River harbor, close to super surfing spot Tamarin Bay (Santosha Island Movie}
    Read Bernard Moitessier’s book the ” The Long Way”
    It will teach you some ropes.
    You will at some time be depressed by the loneliness and conditions.
    Stand up strong to these feeling as it is only temporary.
    Tomorrow, it will be calm, you will dry things out. a fish will jump out of the water and you will be on your way again.
    We will look out for you here at Nanny Cay Marina, Tottola, British Virgin Islsnds. Yacht Restoration Ltd. 284 484 0403
    Good Trip, Good Luck
    Jean Claude Durocher

  40. Hananh says:

    Hi I am Hannah. You must be really brave to go out there all alone.

  41. MocNhan says:

    I am from Vietnam. I hope that one day, there is a Vietnamese can do this. We have the sea but we don’t have money enough to buy a ship. Good luck to you

  42. Old Captain says:

    sat phone, computer, ipod, stereo ,fridge, solar panel, wind generator and all other goodies. his boat is pimped out !!
    sounds like it would be a comfortable cruise, certainly it’s much harder to sail the world 10 years ago.
    i’m seriously thinking about sailing across pacific now (as soon as i can afford all those upgrade for my boat, hmm… wonder if anyone would volunteer labor and equipments for a 20 something solo sailor)

  43. Paige says:

    hey zac,
    you are so awesome. i cant believe how brave you are to sail around the world alone. good luck!!!

  44. Denise says:

    Zac, I am a 40 year old homeschool mom of six children. My oldest is 17 and just got his drivers license, I thought turning him loose on the road was a big deal. You have a great Mom for encouraging you and supporting you. I look forward to following your course over the next months as well as teaching my children geography by keeping up with your journey. Take care and may God show Himself to you on this journey. God Bless.

  45. Michi says:

    Don’t forget, this guy needs support for his long journey:

  46. t. washington says:

    Why did you choose this sort of adventure to do at such a young age. Good Luck!!

  47. FrogPond says:


    What’s age got to do with it, folks? It’s simply a matter of attitude and capability. Zac, you sound like you have more of both than is likely to be required for your endeavor.

    I salute you, young man, not as a hero or paragon of courage, but as a role model for all young people everywhere. Believe!

    Dream a dream and go for it! Those who reach for the moon likely will reach higher than those who only reach for the ceiling.

    God bless and watch over you,

  48. Hannah Beth says:

    What made you want to do something so drastic and “out of this world”?

  49. Paighton says:

    Wow! I would never work up the nerve to do what you are about to do.Are you scared that something might happen along he way?

  50. Sheena says:

    Will you take me with you?

  51. Ben says:

    I love teriyaki

  52. Janet says:

    Well, I’m older than you but.. I’m very scared of what you will do. Traveling all around the world by yourself? Aren’t you scared? and what will you get from this lonely journey? Simply proving that you’re very brave boy? What is that???

  53. wangmo says:

    hey zac!
    wow! i am amazed to see ur confidence,bravery, strength and whatever so called. so anyway good luck and go ahead.

  54. M. Brown says:

    Sailing around the world alone? Thankfully, not really. There is no place that God is not. This is a good time to meditate on His Word and pray. He is an awesome God.

  55. feyaerts says:

    24nov.2008 i follow the Vendee globe tour 2008 by internet.Can i follow Zac during his trip?My best wishezs to Zac.Frans

  56. Mimi Fontaine says:

    looks like it’s been too long since anyone blogged about our boy Zac!!!
    He’s about to step into history!!!!!!!!!! Yeah Zac!!!!!

  57. Nicole says:

    Zac Sunderland,

    I hope it works out for you and have a great sail around the world. Just great luck with all that you want to do.

  58. Pingback: Zac sunderland

  59. Rosemary says:

    hello ,
    Zac Sunderland

    nice to meet you!!

    I’M 15,BECOME TO 16

    i have saw newspaper and kwon about you“
    you are hero!!!!
    you will be my idol!

    i’m live in Hong Kong (The Pearl of the Orient)
    Hong Kong is the Most Amazing Night View in the World!!




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