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Global sailor Zac Sunderland in Panama Canal, nearing home stretch

May 19, 2009 | 12:24 pm

Zac sunderland 

Zac Sunderland, well aware that hurricane season off Mexico's western coast has officially begun, is in the Panama Canal and anticipating his last few days of rest and relaxation before embarking on the final leg of an around-the-world solo adventure that began last June.

The concluding leg from Panama City to Marina del Rey will be exhausting; it's an uphill sail covering 2,970 miles and will  occur with eyes of supporters on weather watch for developing tropical storms. If Sunderland, 17, makes it, he will have covered 24,568 miles alone in his 36-foot sailboat and become the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the planet in a sailboat.

(England's Mike Perham, who is a few months younger than Zac and attempting the same feat, has a lot longer to go -- he's currently stuck in New Zealand with his vessel undergoing repairs.)

Sunderland, who lives in Thousand Oaks, will pick up a new sail in Panama City. He'll do some filming for a documentary and tour the city before shoving off, possibly this weekend.

Presently, he's either at Pedro Miguel Lock or en route to Miraflores Locks. For a possible glimpse of his vessel, Intrepid, try the Miraflores Locks webcam. And please check back for periodic updates on the shaggy-haired adventurer.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Zac Sunderland on an earlier part of his journey. Credit: Jen Edney