Most parents of a 16-year-old get nervous when the kid takes the car out for the evening. How would you feel if he wanted to take it for longer — perhaps a trip across the country — by himself?

Now imagine that your teenage son doesn’t want to hit the road, but the high seas. And not for a day or two, but for a year.

Meet Zac Sunderland, who will leave California this Saturday for a historic sailboat adventure, attempting to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo. Zac, who grew up on his parents’ boat, has been sailing for years, but has never done a solo voyage of even a week, let alone the 12-18 months this trip will consume.

I talked to Zac about everything from the equipment he’s taking along to what he’ll do to combat boredom to how he’ll deal with the possibility of running into modern-day pirates (it’s not Johnny Depp he has to avoid out there).

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