What were you doing at age 16? Chasing girls? Taking drivers-ed? Struggling to find your place in the intricate social structure of high school? Not Zac Sunderland.
At 16, Sunderland is trying to become the youngest solo circumnavigator.
Born in Marina del Rey, Calif., and raised aboard a 55-foot Tradewind, Sunderland spent his younger years – once again, he’s only 16 – pouring over latitudes and longitudes, learning the ins and outs of a sailing vessel and acquiring his sea legs. The Sunderland clan has a rich history at sea and among that family of yachtsmen and shipwrights, Zac Sunderland sailed all over the world, visiting Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Mexico. Now he wants to sail around the world, alone.
To prepare for his journey, Sunderland has spent as much time at sea as humanly possible, racing, crewing and delivering yachts varying in size and value. Delivery captains have trusted Sunderland with the responsibility of navigating, sail trimming and resolving mechanical issues on voyages up and down the West Coast. Sunderland is homeschooled, and between maintaining his 4.0 GPA and delivering vessels all over the western seaboard, he works for his father, installing and repairing rigging, fitting thru hulls and overhauling diesel engines.
With funds earned through hard work, Sunderland has purchased an Islander 36 and is currently in the process of garnering sponsors to help outfit the boat for a trip around the world. A date to weigh anchor has not been set.