Zac Sunderland docked Thursday in a coastal community west of Los Angeles, completing a 28,000-mile trip that began last year. His family, friends and hundreds of curious onlookers cheered as his 36-foot Intrepid boat entered the harbor.
He later gave a whoop of joy as he approached a microphone to address the crowd.
"It's awesome to finally get back here," he said.
Sunderland was 16 when he left Marina del Rey on June 14, 2008 -- a voyage that included encounters with pirates and wild storms. His father is a shipwright who has met him at various stops around the world, often to help him repair damage to the boat.
On Sunderland's Web site, a series of videos document his travels.
In one video, Sunderland tells the camera he's about to sail into a "massive squall," adding, "I need to just put away all the sails right now, so I gotta go."
Sunderland's record might not last for long. British sailor Mike Perham is a few months younger than Sunderland and is sailing a bigger, faster boat in an attempt for the record.