Zac Sunderland is sailing around the globe on his own and he's only 17, intent on becoming the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe. He's expected back in California next month, exactly where he started almost a year ago.
Sunderland says he was destined to live the "sailor's life". He comes from a family of yachtsmen and as a young child was "deciphering Lat/Longs, not streets and avenues."
But during what he hopes is his record-breaking voyage, a slightly younger sailor Mike Perham from England embarked upon a similar quest in a larger, faster boat, and threatens to upstage his Yankee counterpart.
Perham holds the world record for being the youngest person to sail across the Atlantic all alone.
I spoke to American Zac Sunderland today who says he and Perham have become good friends since meeting up in South Africa during their voyages. Now Sunderland is in Panama and heading north hoping to reach the California coast next month. Here's my chat with him via skype:
Check out Zac Sunderland's web site and track his progress:
Zac Sunderland's web site: http://www.zacsunderland.com
Follow David Puente on Twitter @puenteac360
Whether Mike beats Zacs time really doesn't matter. Zac has had a real adventure and got to see a lot of the world and experience meeting locals and their cul;ture in all his stops. By going fast without many stops Mike won't have the same adventure.
On the other hand, Mike is setting himself up to become a solo ocean racer-a rare breed.
I've been following Zac's and his family's journey since he left California. Good interview. I wish you had provided more coverage during the earlier legs of the journey. This is inspirational news. Too many people, myself included, drown our dreams to make ends meet.
Great follow up CNN! Has been a fantastic journey to follow with Zac! What a remarkable young man. We need to follow more stories of our young people!
thanks for reporting on this. i've been following his story. it's amazing!
Tks for the interest CNN, young people need all the motivation they can get these days. (a alot of us adults too)
Thank you CNN for covering this great story. Fascinating!
Our family has been following Zac's journey since last June. He is a great example of following a dream with courage, perseverence, and creativity. Thanks to CNN for the coverage. We hope to see even more in the next few weeks!
Thanks for this coverage on CNN... better than all the gloomy stuff we have been hearing over the past year or so.... and as a sailor and a parent of teens, I SO appreciate it!
Good luck, Zac!!
What a great story about a fine young man. After looking over his website and reading his blog, anyone would be impressed by his story and his very supportive family and circle of friends. Looking forward to more news about this amazing young man.
I've been reading Zac's blog and following him for months. Just saw his tiny boat go through the Panama Canal with all the tankers. It was great to see CNN covering this wonderful story. Safe return journey, Zac! You're almost home.
Thanks for posting this interview. Its good to know that some youth are doing positive things!
A "real adventure" indeed! Now how do we go to meet Zac when he returns?
I would like to thank CNN and Anderson Cooper for interviewing Zac about his historical sail around the world. As an air chair supporter from the start of his journey, I am very proud of our local SoCal young man.
Sweet congrats Zack you got Mr. Cooper and Mr Puente to write a story about your journey. Thanks for the coverage...
Zac: It has been more than a year since I started working on your boat. It has been many months, and I have followed your every step of the way. Sometimes I think of the gold coin I put in your head....do you still have it? I am moving to Oregon in June and will miss your home coming. You have done a remarkable job and I,as will so many people are very proud of you. Sometime I hope we will cross paths again. When things settle down, I would like to hear from you. David
Great coverage on Zac and his adventure. There is another young American vying to set a record: John Collinson (www.johnnycollinson.com) is aiming to be the youngest person to climb all of the Seven Summits in one year. John turned 17 last month and has completed two of the summits already, including Everest just last week. Perhaps Anderson could cover John's story as well, and keep us posted on the progress of both of these amazingly motivated young men throughout their journeys.
Thanks AC360 for following these young adventurers. I'm anticipating a win win for both of these guys. Great story!
I have been following this most awesome adventure since the planning stages. It is great to see that CNN is providing this great coverage. We need more stories on youth making contributions to the human spirit.
Thank you CNN!!!
Keep the wind to you back and the sails strong.
Thanks so much for covering Zac Sunderland and his great adventure.
It's been wonderful following him as an arm chair sailor.
I've been able to teach my young daughters all about the cool places he's stopped and even brush up on some of my own geography skills.
If all works out, we'll be there to see him arrive in Marina Del Rey.
We wish him all the best on his travels home.
Sail on friend!!
I've been following Zac's journey from the day he left Marina Del Rey via his daily blog. What a story! What an extraordinary young man and a wonderful family he has.
Thanks to CNN for your coverage. This is a real feel good and inspirational news story.
Wow, great to hear about good things our youth are doing.
Robin Graham circumnavigated the globe when he was 16 years old by himself. His is an amazing story written in the book "Dove" and "Home is the Sailor"
Terrific to hear good news about such an outstanding American teen.
So proud of him!
I've been following Zac's journey from the comfort of my living room for the past 11 months - what an inspiration he is! I hope others, especially young people, are reminded to follow their dreams. Zac and his team have worked tirelessly to make this happen. Way to go! Sail Fast to So Cal!
Thanks CNN i have been following Zac from the start and can't get enough!!
Thanks for the piece. We are proud of you Zac
I have been following Zac a least two weeks before he left California, He is an amazing and courageous young man and his parents should be very proud of him. My prayers will be with you for the rest of your trip as I have through your whole voyage.
Loved the article and hearing about Zac. I wish him the best of luck on his journey home.
Thanks for following Zac! Please continue broadcasting more stories on Zac. . A great journey by an awesome young man! Zac, I salute you!!! Best of luck on the rest of your journey home.
Young people with courage and Pathfinders! This is what the world needs nowadays!
If people are more behind their dreams, they might not be so frustrated!
Congratulations Zac! I hope this is the first audacious challenges in your life!
Way to go Zac! Can't wait to see you when you return to MDR! You are a true inspiration! Be safe and have fun!
CNN thanks for covering ZAC. Please continue its a great adventure and he has a great family supporting him. I think a CNN sponsorship would be a great idea.
The boy should be studying. It is encouraging to bum!
He is slacker!!!
What is this?
Buell Ferris's Day Off or Zac Sunderland's Year Off?
It is so refreshing to hear about a young person on a 'real' adventure rather than on a killing spree.
Cool story – fair winds and safe journey to you Zac, keep her trim home.
Great coverage on Zac's journey. Thanks for airing it! He's an awesome kid and has done a tremendous job on his journey around alone.
Wonderful piece! Inspiring to read about this young man following his dream. Hope you'll do more on him.
Thanks so much for covering Zac's story. I have been following him since his departure and it sure has been a great ride. Like Zac I was inspired to sail by Robin on Dove. Back then you had to wait months if not a year for updates in National Geographic. I still sail but never made the "journey". I'm so proud of Zac and thanks again for the coverage. Brian
I have been following Zac since last June, I am thankful you picked up on this inspiring story. What a welcome relief from some of the news stories we see get major coverage.
Nice story, Mr. Puente. I'm rooting for Sunderland. Nice conversation too. Keep up the good work!
Nice coverage CNN!
Thank you so much for writing about Zac Sunderland. It is so refreshing to hear about a young person on a 'real' adventure rather than on a killing spree.
Awesome, Zac! We are proud of your hard work and are praying for these last 3 weeks!!
I think that's neat there friends .They should do some thing adventures together.I hope Zac wins ,He started first and if the other has a faster boat it's not really a fare race
~This is so cool...go Zac!
What a wonderful story. Hope he returned home safely.
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