16-yr old circumnavigator forced to stop in Cocos Keeling

Californian teenager Zac Sunderland, 16, who is mid-way through an attempt to become the youngest to circumnavigate the globe singlehanded, has been forced to stop on a remote Indian Ocean island to effect repairs to a broken boom and tiller on his Islander 36,Intrepid.

His mother, Marianne, explained what had happened.’Two nights ago his tiller broke coming off a big wave. It happened, of course, in the middle of the night while it was raining. He managed to jury-rig it and was making decent progress with the tiller autopilot occasionally slipping off. At about 5am, the autopilot came off the tiller, he jibed and his boom broke clean in half!’

Zac managed ‘to pull down everything and is sailing under genoa alone, making good progress. He has radioed Customs and was also able to hear a few boats in the anchorage, so will likely have help when he arrives. It’s been a wild ride in the Indian Ocean.’

The territory of Cocos Keeling consists of only a Malay community and an Australian administration community. There are no marinas or repair facilities on the island, and any supplied will need to be flown in from Australia.

Zac’s next port of call will be Mauritius, east of Madagascar, and will mark the half-way mark in his voyage. Earlier this month he was shadowed by suspected pirates. Keep up with his amazing voyage on his blog.