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Friday, October 31 2014 @ 04:35 PM EDT

SoCal Teen To Become the Youngest to Sail Around the World

Boats and Sailing KTLA.com - MARINA DEL REY -- A teenager from Thousand Oaks is expected to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe alone when he arrives in Los Angeles Thursday morning. Zac Sunderland, who left Marina del Rey June 14, 2008 at age 16 and has been headed west ever since, is expected to arrive in his homeport at 10 a.m. Thursday to a hero's reception at Fisherman's Village. Zac turned 17 off Africa's Cape of Good Hope and is expected to be certified upon his arrival as the youngest person to circumnavigate the Earth alone by sailboat and the first person younger than 18 to have done it, according to the American Sailor's Association, which is also one of Zac's sponsors. "The patience, knowledge and fortitude required for such a journey is immeasurable," said Charlie Nobles, executive director of ASA. "And, it's beyond unusual to find those qualities in someone Zac's age. This is an age group we associate with all things instantaneous -- texting, tweeting at a mile per second." (more) (See Comments)

Editor's Comment: Two things struck me in this article. First of all, congratulations for Zac who is about to complete a tremendous accomplishment. The KTLA reporter made no mention whatsoever of Mike Perham, who is hot on Zac's heels and is three months younger. When Mike reaches England the title of "youngest person to ever have sailed around the world, alone and unassisted" will shift to him. And the other thing that struck me was the change of language - to add line about Zac being the "first person younger than 18" to have sailed alone around the world. I think everyone feels badly for Zac, knowing he spent more than an entire year of his life alone in a sailboat to establish a new world record, and he will most likely hold that title for about a month or so until Mike Perham takes it away from him. In Zac's own words - "that sucks." Mike and Zac actually met in Capetown and according to Mike they got along just fine. He blames the media for trying to create and embellish some kind of rivalry between the two.

(Comments End, Article Continues)

Over the past 13 months, Zac's voyage took him roughly 28,000 miles in a 36-foot boat named "Intrepid" which he bought with $6,000 of his own savings.

Zac crossed the Pacific to his first port of call, the Marshall Islands, then headed west to Papua, New Guinea, then Australia, the Indian Ocean, Mauritius and Madagascar, rounding the Cape of Good Hope, sailing across the Atlantic and finally, transiting the Panama Canal back to the Pacific and Marina Del Rey.

The previously home-schooled senior studied on board to finish his high school education during the voyage. He began his journey with more than 15,000 hours of sailing experience.

Zac, the oldest of seven children who was partly raised on a boat, came to his love of sailing through his parents.

He was inspired by Robin Lee Graham's 1974 book "Dove." Graham left Los Angeles on a 24-foot boat when he was 15 and circled the globe, though not alone.

The American Sailing Association estimated that fewer than 250 people have sailed the grand circle alone. Nearly three times as many people have climbed to the top of Mount Everest, according to the organization.

Zac says he may attempt to climb Everest next.

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