Shipwrecked Teenage Sailor Vows To Sail On


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A teenage sailor who ran into trouble as she was attempting a controversial solo round-the-world trip has described the experience as "a beautiful adventure".


Abby, on her boat. She has talked of 'huge seas' in her blog

Sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland had to be rescued by a French fishing boat 2,000 miles west of Australia after her 36-foot sailboat was ripped apart in a storm.

After arriving safely to shore on Reunion island, Abby told journalists: "The past few months have been the best of my life.

"It was a beautiful adventure. You can only plan so far."

Though saddened by the loss of her yacht in the Indian Ocean, the Californian youngster insisted she was not giving up on her dream.

"I'm really disappointed that things didn't go as planned... The shipwreck has not broken my dream."

She said criticism against her family that she had been too young to try to solo circumnavigate the globe was "ungrounded".


Abby took this picture from her boat

She thanked everyone who helped in the rescue, particularly the French and Australian authorities, and acknowledged "the public debate about the cost of rescues".

"I know that the USA would do the same for a citizen of any other country as these countries did for me."

The teenager set sail from Los Angeles County's Marina del Rey in her boat, Wild Eyes, on January 23.

She had hoped to become the youngest sailor to sail solo around the world non-stop but in April was forced to stop for repairs.

After the June 10 storm she spent two nights adrift before she was picked up by the fishing boat and transferred to a patrol ship.

On arrival at Reunion, Abby was reunited with her 17-year-old brother Zac, who completed his own round-the-world solo sail last year.

Their parents, who own a yacht management company, stayed in California where their mother is soon to give birth to her eighth child.