Byline: Taylor Hill
LOS ANGELES — Zac Sunderland spent 2009 circumnavigating the globe aboard his 36-foot sailboat Intrepid, becoming the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe alone, and the first person under 18 to complete the trek. This year, Sunderland and his father, Laurence, are undertaking a different kind of adventure together, appearing on the hit television reality series “The Amazing Race.”
The father-and-son team from Thousand Oaks is pitted against 10 other teams of contestants in a race around the world for a $1 million prize.
The show’s first episode aired Sept. 25, with Zac and Laurence starting at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights before flying to Tapei, Taiwan. There, they had to recite a Confucian proverb and paddle a dragon race boat against the other teams. They finished in sixth place, ready to take on the next leg of the challenge, which airs Oct. 2.
The Sunderland family first gained recognition for Zac’s round-the-world record-setting solo cruise aboard Intrepid, which was followed in 2010 with a similar attempt by Zac’s younger sister, Abby.
While Zac’s 13-month circumnavigation ended with a happy return to Marina del Rey, Abby’s trip ended in a much more serious situation, with her 40-foot sailboat Wild Eyes becoming disabled in the Indian Ocean, requiring a rescue effort to be put into action.
Since then, Zac, now 19, and Abby, now 17, have both released documentaries on their voyages. Zac has appeared at speaking engagements at yacht clubs and boat shows, and has offered sailing lessons and charterboat trips aboard Intrepid.