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Zac Sunderland, sailing solo around the world, faces daunting Cape of Good Hope passage

January 20, 2009 |  7:00 am


Where in the world is Zac Sunderland?

It has been a while since Outposts last caught up with the intrepid sailor from Thousand Oaks, who is more than halfway around the world aboard his 36-foot sailboat and currently outside Port Elizabeth, South Africa, as he begins a potentially perilous passage around the Cape of Good Hope.

Zac, 17, is either going to stop at Mossel Bay to await a favorable weather window, or round the cape in a straight 300-mile shot to Cape Town, his next port of call.

It's considered the most dangerous leg of his journey but he has already survived a confrontation with pirates and some of the nastiest weather Mother Nature can dish out, so Zac is seasoned and seemingly unfazed.

He's also becoming rather elusive, but hopefully not reclusive, which is a characteristic older sailors who spend too much time alone at sea tend to develop.

I was supposed to receive a satellite phone call from Zac on Monday, but none came. It's the second time recently that we've failed to connect. Clearly, the teenager has more important things on his mind.

I did notice on his blog that before leaving Port Elizabeth he enjoyed a car safari through Addo Elephant National Park with his great aunt and uncle. He wrote:

"We never did see the lions but we got some excellent views of the elephants. I thought a bone or two from an old kill would be a good souvenir but Mike and Sandy thought it better if I didn't get out of the car."

Now Zac is entering treacherous waters that have claimed many a larger ship than the minnow on which he sails. I hope we finally connect, for a newspaper story on his progress, after he reaches Cape Town.

--Pete Thomas


Photos by Zac Sunderland