The Youngest Solo-Circumnavigator?


We here at OCSC have been following the story of Zac Sunderland, a 16 year old Californian attempting to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the world single-handed.  He is currently approaching Grenada, one of the last few stops of his journey.  He has a remarkable story:

From the first day Zac Sunderland said hello to planet earth, it seems he was destined to live the sailor’s life. Brought home from the hospital to his first home, a 55′ Tradewind in Marina del Rey, California, he was assigned his first bunk and listened to his mom tell the world of his birth over a single side-band radio…he never looked back…

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An Interview with Gar & Nicole, World Cruisers, OCSC Alum (Part 3 of 3)

Gar and Nicole Scuba Diving with Jellyfish

Gar and Nicole scuba diving in Palau, Micronesia ©Nicole Duke

Thanks so much to Gar and Nicole for taking the time for this interview with us.  If you missed the previous posts, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.  Now back to our  cruising couple…

What has been your favorite experience since you’ve been out there?

[Gar]: Honestly, this is a tough one to try to pinpoint experiences, but three “places” have really stood out so far.  The first is the Tuamotu Islands of French Polynesia.  We had two of our best friends on for a month sailing around these beautiful atolls, snorkeling the passes, and just enjoying the peace and beauty of this part of the world.  When you get the opportunity to share such a magical place like this with best friends, it doesn’t get much better.

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J24 Racing Update from Rich Jepsen- CEO of OCSC…

Richard Jepsen- OCSC Sailing CEO racing on J24
Richard Jepsen- OCSC Sailing CEO racing on “Rail to Rail”

OCSC Sailing CEO Rich Jepsen is an avid J24 racer, holding the position of ‘driver’ on the J24, Rail to Rail, owned by Thom Henneberger, an OCSC alumnus. Together, Rich and Thom have been sailing together for 13 years, always with a crew of OCSC alumni.  They’ve always been near the top of the fleet, winning the season championship in 2003.   In fact, Rail to Rail has been a development platform for skilled OCSC members to learn one-design racing.  Larry Ledgerwood learned to sail from OCSC over two decades ago, qualifying to be an OCSC sailing instructor in 2000;  Trena Depel has been an OCSC member for 11 years and Carol Click, 7 years. Following are reports from their 2009 regattas, from Rich’s perspective.

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An Interview with Gar & Nicole, World Cruisers, OCSC Alum (Part 2 of 3)

Nicole with a Stingray- French Polynesia

Nicole with a Stingray- French Polynesia ©Nicole Duke

We hope you enjoy reading this amazing story as much as we do here at OCSC… If you missed Part 1 of this interview please find it here. You can look forward to Part 3 next Tuesday!

[OCSC]: Can you describe the feelings you felt the day you went out the Gate and turned left?

[Gar]: It’s still as clear for me as the day we left. I was a total wreck emotionally and psychologically exhausted from all the work getting ready to actually leave for good. We had been working non-stop for months when we sold our houseboat we lived on, sold our cars, and pretty much everything we owned. On top of that I was working on the boat constantly installing gear and getting our boat ready for the big journey. We had high expectations of doing some smaller trips to prepare for the big event, but never felt like we had the luxury of time to do it if we really wanted to leave before winter storms blew in. So we never did any smaller overnight trips and we had lots new gear we still hadn’t used much like our radar, windvane, etc

When we actually sailed out the Gate a couple of days after Thanksgiving in 2006 it was a powerful experience. It was a gorgeous crisp sunny Autumn day and a school of dolphins escorted us out into the Pacific. Nicole’s folks were on the bridge waving a flag to us and Nicole was waving one back from our bowsprit. We were on a beautiful beam reach and everything was perfect. It finally hit me that we were actually on our way and I was so exhausted, so excited, and so nervous all at once, that I just broke down and cried for a long time.

[Nicole]: It feels like a lifetime ago. I remember being excited scared and open to everything. Mostly I was scared and my stomach was somewhere up in my throat. The universe reconfirmed my capabilities when the darkness of a new moon night descended upon us, and Gar was really seasick. I knew in that instant when I took my watches and when I lay awake listening to him wretch and then the clinking of his tether that I had everything under control for myself and I could do it. My fear evaporated on my 4 am watch and was replaced with peace as I sat in darkness and listened to the ocean against the hull.

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An Interview with Gar & Nicole, world cruisers, OCSC alum (Part 1)

Gar and Nicole, World Cruisers, aboard the DreamKeeper

Gar and Nicole, World Cruisers, aboard the S/V DreamKeeper © Nicole Duke

Gar and Nicole are currently exploring the islands of Palau in Micronesia. The couple took classes at OCSC Sailing in preparation for their big adventure. They are now into their 3rd year of cruising aboard their beloved S/V DreamKeeper, and were nice enough to answer a few questions for us.

Be sure to also follow along on their adventures by reading their own blog and looking at the wonderful photos they post on their site. Here is the link to the S/V Dreamkeeper site with the “where are they” tracker: http://www.svdreamkeeper.com And here is their blog: http://svdreamkeeper.blogspot.com/ Without further ado… Part 1 of our three part interview with Gar & Nicole:

(OCSC) Do you remember how you first found out about OCSC?
(Gar): First we read everything we could on-line regarding the different sailing schools in the Bay and then looked at brochures and courses. OCSC consistently had great reviews. Then we saw you guys at the Green Festival. That pretty much decided for us.

(OCSC) Was this adventure you’re on now your motivation for seeking out lessons?
(Gar): Definitely. One day we sat down and looked at our lives together. What did we want to create for ourselves? What goals did we have together for the next 5 years? 10 years?

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