Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vendee Globe Ends

Francois Gabart wins the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe
It is finished.

It took 78 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes for the 29 year old Frenchman Francois Gabart to win the Vendee Globe single-handed, non-stop round-the-world race, now staged every four years.

Gabart was followed by another Frenchman (a Frenchman has won the race every year since it began in 1990) Armel Le Cleac'h and in third place, Britain's Alex Thompson.

A few more facts about the race:

  • Since its launch in 1989 only 100 competitors have completed the event
  • 20 sailors from five different countries were contesting the 2012-13 edition
  • Starts in Les Sables d'Olonne, France and is 27,600 miles long
  • The winner gets £150,000
  • Britain's Ellen MacArthur was famously second in 2001

A hearty congratulations to all who have finished the race and those who will be finishing in the next days and weeks.


For more coverage, videos and updates follow along at www.vendeeglobe.org.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Fever

G'day to all
I apologize for my absence.  Business and family commitments have kept me extremely busy.   February came and went in a blink of an eye.  A special congratulations to Ernie and Cyndi, who competed with us on Season 19 of the Amazing Race.   They officially tied the knot recently.   If I had any advice for a newly wedded couple it would be to pray together.  For those who know the power of prayer, you know what I'm talking about.  For those that don't, take five minutes and look up the stats on couples that pray together;  it might have an impact in your own life.

photo courtesy of CBS
I had a great trip to Catalina Island with some friends.   Although the winds were a little light, we sailed and motor-sailed the whole way over.  We were greeted by a pod of Pilot Whales just off of Arrow Point as we made our way to Emerald Bay.   Yes, we took the plunge into what seemed like icy water.   It was great to see Brian and Judy from camp Emerald Bay . All in all it was a great trip.  Catalina is the bit of paradise as it ever was.  

On a filmmaking note, I was delighted  to  meet Dr. Ted Baehr from Movieguide.org.   We originally met Dr. Baehr at the San Diego Christian Film Festival.  He watched Wild Eyes:  The Abby Sunderland Story - the documentary of Abby's sailing trip, which he enjoyed.  He had many questions about the making of it  and so my wife, Marianne, and I  will be going to lunch with him this week.  I am looking forward to our meeting as Dr Baehr is extremely well-versed in all the avenues of the movie industry and a wealth of information.

Our family has grown again!  Ah, the joy of new birth.   One of our two cats had four adorable little kittens.  With 3 daughters in the house, the joy that the little additions have brought is wonderful. 

Now some of you are thinking. "What about the Iron Man thing?"   It's still going quite well.  I had a cold that lasted 2 weeks and an injury on top of a busy schedule so training has been more sporadic than I would have liked, but my quest still remains. 

Lastly, some exciting news.  My beautiful wife has been faithfully writing away every week at her blog - Abundant Life.   She has blogged fairly anonymously up until today when her blog post on Intrepid Parenting will be featured at a larger and more established parenting blog called the MOB Society (Moms Of Boys).  If you are a parent of boys (or girls) and would like to know how to raise them up to be courageous, head on over and leave a comment if you like what you read.



Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Exciting News - a Screenplay!

The first month of the year has been and gone.  I blinked and nearly missed it. 

The exciting news I referred to in December is that the screenplay based on Abby's Solo-circumnavigation attempt has been written and completed.  It has also  received very positive reviews from respected folks within the industry. This is very exciting and will hopefully soon be in production.  The screenplay includes all the highlights of her trip:  the exciting drama and the rescue that captivated the world back in June of 2010.  This is going to make a very exciting movie to watch. 

Abby will be appearing at the Atlantic City Boat Show this weekend Feb 4/5.  She will have her book Unsinkable and the documentary Wild Eyes:  The Abby Sunderland Story with her.   If you happen to be in the area go and say g'day.

Training for the Iron Man is in full swing and has been very demanding but so are most things in life that are worth while.

21:  Rest day
22:  Rest day
23:  Spin class + 1 mile swim (3 x 24 laps)
24:  2-mile run
25:  4-mile run
26:  Spin class + 1 mile swim (3 x 24 laps)
27:  8-mile run
28:  Rest day
29:  1-mile swim (72 laps straight)

Over the weekend we had the privilege of watching 2 soccer games live at the Home Depot Center.   The 2 top teams from El Salvador and Guatemala played.  It was a great experience that I shared with Jessie, my 13-year old daughter, who earlier in the day played 2 games herself.  We were all 'soccer-ed' out by the end of the day, but had a great time.

We also had a few new additions to the family:   6 little chicks (the feathered kind).  I love watching the children interact with them.  The kids are totally enamoured with the little things.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pursue and Achieve Ambitious Goals

G'day to all,

Well, for all of you who started the year with a New Year's resolution, it's day 21 - a day where no one will know if you just let it all go.  I hope to encourage you to keep with the action.  It takes 30 days to create a new habit so we are 3/4 of the way there. Yes, I'm struggling and although it takes 30 days to create a new habit, it takes only 5 minutes to give it all up. Let's endure together.

For those of you who didn't read my last post, I'm in training to do an Iron Man towards the end of the year.  I've given the quest a name - Fat Man to Iron Man.  In all honesty, I sometimes feel that I may have bitten off a bit more than I can handle.

The training schedule so far has been as follows:


1 - New Year's Day
2 - Rest day (oops)                                                                  
3 - 2-mile run with Jessie (13 year old daughter)                    
4 - 2-mile run with Jessie                                       
5 - 2-mile run with Jessie                            
6 - 2-mile run with Jessie                   
7 - Rest day
8 - Rest day
9 - 2-mile run
10 - 40 lap swim: 2 sets of 20 laps (easy because fat floats)
11 - 5- mile run (hard going)
12 - 1-mile swim: 3 sets of 22 laps (easy)
13 - Spin class (hard going)
14 - 8-mile run (hard going)
15 - Rest day
16 - 44 lap swim:  2 sets of 22
17 - 4-mile run with Jessie (hard going)
18 - Spin class morning and evening
19 - 1-mile swim:  3 sets of 22 laps
20 -  5-mile run (felt horrible - this was going to be a 10-mile run)

So there it is.  Thus far if it sounds exhausting, it is.  Have I have I felt like skipping my training?  I have. However, sticking with it and overcoming the apathy is important not allowing the 'stinking thinking' of  negativity to consume you. The hardest part of this is balancing business and family as the training is very time-consuming.  The up-side is a sense of achievement, loosing weight and knowing I'm on the road to achieving an ambitious goal, something that may be lacking as we get older in life.

As I write about this, a very ambitious young lady has set out to achieve something that is almost larger than life itself.  It is a quest that our family is very familiar with. Just over a year ago, after a battle with the Dutch authorities, Laura Dekker set sail in her 38 ft sail boat, Guppy, to solo circumnavigate the world and arrives today on the Dutch Caribbean Island of St Martin to become the youngest person ever to solo circumnavigate the world.  A BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO HER  for a job well done, holding the course and keeping the spirit of adventure alive. A truly remarkable young lady.

Speaking of young sailors, Zac and Abby are speaking at the Toronto Boat Show this weekend.  If you happen to be in the area, duck in and say G'day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fat Man to Iron Man

G'day To All!
Well, how many of you made a News Year's resolution?  And how many of you are struggling, already?   Hang in there.  They say it takes thirty days to create a new habit. I will confess that I may have bitten off a bit more than I can handle.  But you know what they say... 'a problem shared is a problem halved'.  Or is that 'a problem shared is a problem doubled'?  

In any case, here it is... any of my blog readers out there from planet earth to the outer reaches of the universe, are cordially invited to join me in going from being a fat man to an Iron Man.   No, I'm not talking about the cartoon character.  The idea is that in one year, through careful training and eating habits, I will take this 233 lb of rippling muscle and turn it into a 180lb hard body Iron Man (what was I thinking?). 

For those who dare, please consult your doctor before embarking on this senseless mission.  I will not take responsibility for any dizzy spells, injury or death.  Husbands consult your wives, and wives consult your husbands.

Well, there it is.   This is actually something that I've wanted to do before reaching my 50th birthday. Commitment is important.  Any and all that are interested in participating, I will be glad to help encourage and show you the schedule that I will be following, along with health tips and goals that I have set to accomplish throughout the year to a achieve the full Iron Man in Austin, Texas on Oct 28th, 2012.  

The last Triathlon I did was some 23 years ago.  It was the half Triathlon which is swim 1.2 mile, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles.  I remember seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and the rest was a blur (just kidding).  It was very hard and took some 4 hours and change.  I had a huge sense of accomplishment.  It was the last of a few triathlons that I did. 

The secret is commitment to the training program and staying injury free. In the ideal world, it would be nice to get a small group in the area that wanted to commit and have weekly meetings and training sessions to help hold each other accountable and encourage one another. 

The distance for the Iron Man is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.  Anyone interested in joining me can contact me at info at worldwindproductions dot com.



Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

G'day to All,
A very Happy New  Year to you all!  What a year it has been.   A good year - yes.  A great year - yes.  But not a year without its pit falls and down falls.   It is dealing with these that develops and molds us into who we are.  Not meaning to get psychological on you, but I think looking back at the year in a life of most people there is always a mixed bag; some years harder than others and I know some years some of us would like to forget altogether.

In brief, my year started with picking up the pieces of my yacht management business, Sunderlands Yacht Management & Shipwrights. Dealing with luxury goods and having recently been vilified by the mainstream media following Abby's rescue out of the Indian Ocean, getting back to business as usual was very challenging.   Not to mention, the extra stress of being the sole bread-winner of a large family - you could say I was off to a disastrous start to the year.

With much uncertainty, and for one of the first times in a very long time, not having the answers to turn things around, I can only say that my faith in God grew stronger.   Some will say that faith in God is just a crutch but I would disagree - it would be more like a stretcher.   Through much prayer things started to change. 

The first of the year also found us having a very frustrating time trying to get Abby & Zac's documentaries made with several different production companies.  After much prayer, we decided to start our own production company, WorldWind Productions.  I was thrown in at the deep end not ever having produced anything in the documentary film arena to producing and directing two at the same time, which I enjoyed immensely. 

Producing  and directing Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story and Intrepid:  The Zac Sunderland Story was one thing.  You do your very best and you may think its the greatest ever, but that really doesn't matter.  It's the accuracy coupled with making it entertaining for those watching.

Both documentaries have been well received, winning various awards at the film festivals entered.  We've also enjoyed the many great emails of people letting us know how much they have enjoyed the documentaries.  This has encouraged us and we always enjoy receiving the positive feed back. If you don't have a copy yet, buy ten and give them to your friends!

What started off as a year that was difficult, quickly started to turn around.  Now as we close out 2011 we are running two companies both with bright prospects for the future. 

The latest festival news:
We have just arrived back from the San Diego Christian Film Festival where Wild Eyes:  The Abby Sunderland Story won the Director's Choice Award. We spent a boisterous few days with friends and family in San Diego.  Between screenings, workshops and a few interesting meetings at the festival, we visited friends in Coronado and Del Mar.  I'm sure Marianne will write on her parenting blog, Abundant Life, about the challenging times we had.  I will say that if we hadn't planned to arrive with a sense of humor, things would have gone a lot differently.

We lost a few friends this year due to tragic accidents.  Romario Zeri, somewhat of a fixture in Marina Del Rey, died suddenly after his motor bike collided with an eighteen wheeler whilst he was on the Love Ride, a charity event.  Steve Jobs also died after a battle with Pancreatic Cancer, a tragic disease that took my father-in-law a few years back.  WorldWind Productions helps support the Hirshburg Foundation which is the leading fundraiser for research for a cure for this deadly disease.  

Some of the less known sporting events that caught my attention, Roz Savage set the record of First Woman to Row Three Oceans after rowing across the Indian Ocean. She is a courageous women who must have arms of steal.   More recently, Jordan Romero, the youngest man to summit mount Everest at age 13 finished his quest to climb the highest peeks on all seven continents by summiting Mt Vinson in Antarctica.  A big congratulations to them both.

Ros Savage

Jordan Romero

The LA Galaxies also did an a incredible job winning the MLS Cup Final which I was able to attend with Toby, my 14 year old son, who is proving to be an up and coming soccer player himself.

This year has been a great year for me, not because of what I've achieved, more so because I realize how important it is to have a relationship with the Maker of this world and universe and to understand that without this, there really is very little or no hope.  I've also learned to understand the value of having a loving and caring wife and the privilege to be called Dad, not a long title by any means, but undoubtedly the most important title a man could ever have. 

God bless all who read.

Happy New Year for all in 2012!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

G'day and Merry Christmas to all!

I have been busy like the rest of you and I made an announcement that I had some exciting news to share a while back.  I don't mean to drag this out but it will have to happen early in the New Year.  Good news is that I've just finished what that is.  Stay tuned for more info!

You can imagine the excitement at our house.  With all the wonderful little kids, they can hardly contain themselves with all the excitement of Christmas morning.  Lydia, Katherine and Ben are performing in a Christmas play with our church. They have performed twice already and have one performance left. The 'big one' at the Civic Arts Plaza on Thousand Oaks Blvd. 

All are welcome to come to the performance which begins at 4.00pm tonight. This will be a great time.  Many people have worked very hard in putting this together.  Merry Christmas to all and thank you for the cards and presents, thoughts and support.

Also, everyone here wnats to send out a huge congratulations to Jordan Romero who has recently completed the last of the highest summits in the world becoming the youngest climber ever to do so!  Check it out!  www.jordanromero.com  Our hearts and prayers are with you Jordan!!

PS. Take it easy on the egg nog.
PPS.  Wise men still seek Him.