Monday, September 26, 2011

The Amazing Claim

The Amazing Race is an eight-time Emmy Award-winning reality series that pits 11 teams, each comprised of two members, against each other on a trek around the world for approximately 25 days. Teams who are the farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the contest progresses, with the first team to arrive at the final destination winning $1 million.

The show premiere for the 19th season was Sunday night, and this edition has Zac Sunderland and his father Laurence as one of the teams.

At age 16, Zac set off on an Islander 36 to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone. Sunderland departed from Marina del Rey (Los Angeles, CA) on June 14, 2008, completing the route on July 16, 2009. After many stops along his circumnavigation, he claimed that his thirteen months adventure set two world records: the youngest ever to sail around the world and the first under 18.

His successful trip - and the attention it received - opened the flood gates for other teenage attempts. Soon the two record keeping authorities - Guinness Book of World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council - chose to no longer ratify age-related records.

A key feature of record ratification is to insure that a common route is followed. There are shortcuts to take, and as Zac went through the Panama Canal rather than around Cape Horn, his route failed to meet the historic standard.

While you will not find Zac's name in any record books, it does not belittle his accomplishment. It takes some big stones to sail solo around the world. However, perhaps he should stop saying, as he does on the show's website, that he was "the youngest person to sail around the world."

Isn't it enough to just be able to say you sailed around the world at age 16?

Cast details:

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At 2:53 AM, Anonymous ChuckL8 said...

Having been involved in a bit of television production in a past life, I can say with confidence that Zac's comment was most likely juiced-up a bit by the show's producers.

Total accuracy in such matters have always been secondary when selling the sizzle is involved.

It's only TV, after all.


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