16-year-old Sailor, Abby Sunderland, Speaks Out about Her Journey and Rescue

by Dan Wooding | Assist News Service

The ‘born-again’ American teenager who had been attempting to sail solo around the world defends herself against the critics of her young age.

Indian Ocean — Sixteen-year-old American Abby Sunderland, a “born again” teenage girl attempting to sail solo around the world, was rescued today (Saturday, June 12, 2010) in a remote spot of the Indian Ocean, bringing to a successful conclusion the dramatic bid to save her life.

Abby, who is part of a Southern California Christian family, was picked up from her stricken vessel by a dinghy launched from the French fishing boat Ile de la Reunion.

Now she has sent a message to her friends via her blog (http://soloround.blogspot.com/ ) in which she said, “Hey everyone, Sorry I haven’t written in so long as you probably already know I had a pretty rough couple of days. I can’t write much now as I am typing on a French key pad as well as trying to stay seated in a bouncy fishing boat.

“The long and the short of it is, well, one long wave, and one short mast (short meaning two inch stub.) I’ll write a more detailed blog later, just wanted to let every one know I am safe and sound on a great big fishing boat headed I am not exactly sure where.

“Crazy is the word that really describes everything that has happened best.

Photo: Abby

“Within a few minutes of being on board the fishing boat, I was already getting calls from the press. I don’t know how they got the number but it seems everybody is eager to pounce on my story now that something bad has happened.

“There are plenty of things people can think of to blame for my situation; my age, the time of year and many more. The truth is, I was in a storm and you don’t sail through the Indian Ocean without getting in at least one storm. It wasn’t the time of year it was just a Southern Ocean storm. Storms are part of the deal when you set out to sail around the world.

“As for age, since when does age create gigantic waves and storms?

“I keep hitting the wrong keys and am still trying to get over the fact that I will never see my Wild Eyes again. So I’ll write more later.”

Since Abby initially went missing, her family has faced criticism for allowing someone so young to attempt something so dangerous.

Paul Harris, writing in the UK-based newspaper, The Observer, said, “..the family have robustly defended themselves. They have pointed out that Abby is a highly experienced and highly skilled sailor. They have even used the debate to criticized the too-careful tendency of much modern parenting advice and said that a certain amount of risky challenge was healthy for an adventurous child.”

Abby’s father, Laurence Sunderland said, “I never questioned my decision in letting her go. In this day and age we get overprotective with our children. Look at how many teenagers die in cars every year. Should we let teenagers drive cars? I think it’d be silly if we didn’t.”

Abby Sunderland had been training all her life in the art of sailing skills and seamanship.

ANS correspondent, Tony Ashlin said at the time that she initially sent off, “Since she was thirteen years old she has been dreaming of sailing solo around the world. Now at the age of sixteen her dream has become a reality. Abby set sail on January 23, 2010 from Marina Del Rey near Los Angeles, California on her Australian built 40 foot solo rigged sloop named ‘Wild Eyes.’

“The Sunderland family lives in Thousand Oaks, California and Abby has an older brother, Zac, along with five younger siblings. Last year, Zac broke records by being the first person under the age of 18 to solo-circumnavigate the world in his 36 foot sailboat, ‘Intrepid.’

“Abby is very well aware of the life threatening risks involved in such a voyage and it is quite a leap of faith for her and her parents who not only granted permission but to assisted, equipped and encouraged both their teenaged son and daughter for such a risky voyage.”

In a video interview posted on her web site, Abby’s father, Lawrence said, “We are ‘Born-Again’ Christians, and we don’t make any decision just based on feeling or even on sound knowledge. We also pray about it. The conviction of prayer and the answer to prayer has led to where we are with Abigail’s campaign and definitely has help in the whole process and scope of making decisions.”

For more information, go to: www.abbysunderland.com. You can also check out her blog which is located at: http://soloround.blogspot.com

Source: Assist News Service (ANS)


Related posts:

US teenage sailor ‘found safe’ in Indian Ocean

Prayer Alert: 16-year-old Sailor Possibly Lost at Sea


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