Second unplanned stop for teenage circumnavigator

A major rigging problem has forced Californian teenage solo sailor Zac Sunderland to make a second unplanned stop in his attempt to be the youngest person to sail around the world.

He is expected to reach Rodrigues Island, a dependency of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, late on Friday.

At midnight last Saturday the forestay of his 36-foot yacht Intrepid separated from the chain plate at the bow while he was battling 20 knots of wind and 10 foot seas. Luckily, the yacht has an inner forestay which kept the mast up.

Zac, 16, immediately called his father, Laurence, in Los Angeles, California. “I was thankful that we had decided to put the cutter stay in because its presence obviously saved the rig,” wrote Laurence, who told his eldest son to tie both spinnaker halyards to the bow to stabilise the mast.

“From midnight to 3:00 a.m. he wrestled with his situation. What made this all the more awkward was the fact that he was unable to furl (wind in) his genoa.”

His next planned stop was to have been Port Louis, Mauritius, which will mark the halfway point in his circumnavigation. Instead he will call at Port Mathurin in Rodrigues, 350 miles to the east. The island has a population of about 40,000 and is a regular stopping point for yachts sailing west to Africa.

Sunderland may have some competition – British sailor Mike Perham , who crossed the Atlantic at the age of 14, is planning to leave Portsmouth on the 15th November in his chartered Open 50Totallymoney.comand attempt the voyage non-stop.

Keep up with Zac’s progress around the world on Zac or see more here