By Annie Dorasamy

Surely one of the world's youngest sailing prodigies, Zac Sutherland arrived in Durban on his 36-foot yacht Intrepid early on Saturday.

Sutherland, having turned 17 just over two weeks ago, left his California home on the west coast in June to circumnavigate the world.

The teenager sailed via Hawaii, Majuro and Australia and Mauritius before arriving in Durban at 4am on Saturday.

Visibly tired from almost 16 days of sailing, the longest single stretch he has spent at sea, Sutherland said he expected to arrive at the jetty much earlier but south-westerly winds hampered that

"Winds have delayed me by at least 10 days. But it's something beyond my control. I am really happy to be here.

"I think Durban is great. There is an amazing amount of shipping and the atmosphere and people have been very welcoming."

Speaking of his adventure he said "It's been totally awesome. I think I have done well.

"This is something I have been planning for and I am glad I have come this far. I am also glad to have the support of family and friends.

It's indeed been a wonderful experience for me as I have got to learn about different cultures and meet new people and make new friends."

Sutherland said his most memorable sail was to Coco Keeling, an island at the top of Australia, where he had made a lifelong friend.

Asked if he had become lonely or scared while on his expedition, he said, "There was no time to be afraid. The trip has been an adventure and my only focus was to get to the destination I was heading for.

"I speak to my mom almost every day by satellite phone and I have a blog site which I use to tell people about my adventures, so there is always some communication of my trip."

Sutherland will continue his journey down the east coast when he returns from visiting his family in the US.

"I am flying home to California for Christmas on December 22 and I am really excited about seeing my family and spending some time with them.

"But when I come back I will continue sailing through Port Elizabeth and Cape Town before leaving Africa," he said.

He will then sail to the Panama Canal.

But while he is in Durban, Sutherland said he would be shopping for Christmas presents to take back home to his family, working on his yacht, which needs some repairs before his next leg, and reading mail, much of which are cards he received for his birthday.

Asked about his next conquest, Sutherland said he was content with what he had achieved so far and his focus was on getting through the next five months as he completes his sailing mission.