Teen Sails Solo Around The World

Seventeen year old Zac Sunderland has become the youngest person to sail around the world solo. The teen docked in Marina Del Ray, Calif., Thursday, completing his 28,000 mile trip.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

He may not have gone to outer space, but another intrepid explorer arrived home today, 17-year-old Zac Sunderland. The teenager from here in Southern California has spent the last 13 months sailing around the world by himself.

(Soundbite of horns)

BRAND: Sunderland docked today, a few miles from here, in Marina Del Ray. He was presented a globe-shaped plaque from Charlie Nobles, head of the American Sailing Association.

Mr. CHARLES NOBLES (Executive Director, American Sailing Association): The American Sailing Association is officially certifying right now that Zac has achieved two world records. First, he has become the youngest person to have completed a solo circumnavigation. Second, he is the first person under 18 to have ever accomplish this.

(Soundbite of cheering)

BRAND: Sunderland was greeted by hundreds of fans and a swarm of media. The shaggy-haired, blonde teenager looked a bit dazed to be in front of the crowd after being alone for so long.

Mr. ZAC SUNDERLAND: It's been a crazy 13 months, and yeah, it's awesome to finally get back here.

BRAND: Aboard his 36-foot boat called The Intrepid, Sunderland braved multiple storms, a scare with suspected pirates and broken equipment. He says he once went 60 hours without sleep, very un-teenager-esque. What does he most want to do now that he's back?

Mr. SUNDERLAND: I don't know, probably go hang out and have a homecoming party with my friends. I couldn't do that out on the ocean.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: Okay, some of the things that Sunderland was able to do in the ocean included what Magellan and Columbus could've only dreamt about: blogging, updating his Facebook profile and talking with his mom twice a day on his satellite phone. Sunderland says he's going to be home-schooled to finish high school, and he's not sure about college.

Mr. SUNDERLAND: I want to keep doing this adventuring stuff and don't really have a career in mind besides adventuring, and you don't need a degree for that.

BRAND: Sunderland's journey spanned more than 28,000 nautical miles, his average speed just about four miles an hour. He said today he wants his feat to inspire other teenagers.

Mr. SUNDERLAND: You know, society puts younger people, like 15 through 18, in kind of a box that no one's really expected to do much and kind of just pretend to go to high school and play football, and that's pretty much it, and you know, there's so much more potential that people could do with the right motivation and the right ambition in life.

BRAND: Zac Sunderland, 17 years old. Today he became the youngest person to sail around the world. He says next he'd like to climb Mount Everest.

(Soundbite of song, "Around the World")

DAFT PUNK (Music Group): Around the world, around the world, around the world, around the world, around the world. Around the world, around the world.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.