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Abby Sunderland

Dec 26, 2009 4 Comments by


Greetings yachties,

16 year old Abby Sunderland is preparing to sail around the world in an open 40, Wild Eyes.

Follow her here and watch this story grow.

Abby’s photos here

Abby’s blog here

Abby’s website here

Abby’s news archives

Abby’s location & route

Abby’s Facebook

Abby’s twitter

Abby’s Flickr

Where is Abby now?

Abby Sunderland: The Adventure begins on Yachtyakka here

Abby – after the crash here

Join Yachtyakka Yacht Club and build your own sailing blog on facebook and link your with yachtyakka.

Poised calmly before dozens of cameras, rescued teen sailor Abby Sunderland on Tuesday recounted the harrowing storm and rogue wave that ended her attempt to sail around the world.

The strongest gales had abated and Abby was down in the cabin working on the engine when a giant wave caught the sails and rolled the boat upside-down. It immediately righted, and when Abby got to the deck, she saw that there was nothing more than a 1-inch stub where her 60-foot mast had been.

During the rollover, she got banged up and briefly blacked out, she said.

“When I got outside, there was nothing there,” she said at a news conference at Marina del Rey. “It was a 1-inch stub. There was nothing to jury-rig.”

Sunderland recounted the terrifying moments, talked about what she had learned and responded to criticism of her parents during the hourlong news conference.

more here

June 2010

more images here

January 26, 2010

So far things have gone well. There hasn’t been much wind during the day, and I’ve been getting a few hours of 15 -20 kt winds in the afternoon. I think I’ve been out here three nights and so far I’ve found that I sleep just as much during the day as I do at night, just napping here and there. I’m pretty far off shore so I haven’t had a lot of shipping or any other boats.

But even without that, keeping the boat up requires being up at all hours of the night. I really need to start working harder at sleeping, the long hours of no sleep are beginning to catch up with me and I’m feeling pretty tired. I’m 15 miles off Guadalupe Island and going about 3 knots. Not the best speed, but for there being only 4 knots of wind its not at all bad.

more here

Just heard from Abby who is sailing in light winds down the coast and due to pass Catalina Island this evening before heading due south. She was a bit annoyed at the light winds but knows that it was now or never. Her goal for this week will be to settle in to the boat and get as far south as possible as fast as possible.

Thank you to the Del Rey Yacht Club, especially Sherry Barone, for hosting Abby’s departure, to Nate N Al’s Deli in Thousand Oaks for supplying abundant bagels and cream cheese and to Kauffman Sports and Susan Hartman from Magnetic Entertainment for coordinating the day.

Laurence got pretty choked up when he tried to talk about Team Abby so that it was hard to get a Thank You out. You all know who you are and you are in our thoughts this evening as Abby benefits from your dedication and expertise.

more here


Abby leaves this Saturday:

If you would like to come and see her off, here are the particulars:

WHERE: Del Rey Yacht Club
13900 Palawan Way
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292-6294

WHEN: Saturday, Jaunary 23, 2010
9:30 Press Conference and Q & A
11:30 Departure

more here



MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — A 16-year-old has set out to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone.

Abby Sunderland of Thousand Oaks sailed into the sunny Pacific Ocean on Saturday after being delayed a few days by a series of violent storms in California.

Her boat-builder father, Laurence, along with other family members and friends cheered at the Del Rey Yacht Club as they watched the 40-foot craft called Wild Eyes depart.

more here


more here

Thank you to Lisa Gizara for her fabulous photos!

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more here




Hey everyone,
Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. Life has been pretty crazy lately, crazy in a good way. I went out for another short sea trial. This time with Allen Blunt, the rigger, who needed to finish up tuning the rig. It was a beautiful night. We went out past Catalina Island and back. The thought of just keeping on going was very tempting, though after some thought I decided that Allen may not be all that happy if he woke up in the morning to find that we were nowhere near Marina del Rey! And so, we turned around a few miles past Catalina.

The trial went pretty well, though we did find even more problems with the charging system. The bad weather this week has ended up to not be all bad, as Jerry Nash, and a new member of our team, Scott Lurie, are hard at work rewiring the whole charging system and I have a bit of a cold. I’m hoping to be well enough in the next day or two to get out in a few of these storms and see how every thing puts up in a bit of weather. Wild Eyes handles so well in rough weather that I’m really looking forward to getting out there!

more here

Hello All,
Abby is out for the night testing sytems on Wild Eyes but we wanted to update everyone as to potential departure dates. It appears that the autopilots are working fine, the charging systems checked out and the dodger was installed today. She is ready to leave Monday but the forecast is for several cold fronts to blow in from the south (which would be directly on the nose). The high winds and building seas would make it pointless to head out and bash for 4-5 days though we are on the lookout for any change to today’s forecast and if a window appears – we will let you know!
Thank you for all of your comments and emails.

more here

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Last Day at Home

I left Tuesday afternoon with the rigger, electrician, and camera man on board. It was really a great day out, except for there being hardly any wind. We calibrated the autopilots, I went up the mast and got some good work done.

After about an hour of working on the rig and some of the electrical stuff, everybody hopped off of Wild Eyes, and I was off for a good sea trial alone! It was so nice to finally get out there alone! I was headed down to Malibu going a good 5-6 knots in the light wind. There was supposed to be a bit of a blow coming in around 3 in the morning, so I was really looking forward to that. The wind was picking up nicely, so after a few hours, when it was starting to get dark I tacked out towards Santa Barbara Island.

The wind picked up to about 12 knots so I put the first reef in the main, so I wouldn’t have to once it was completely dark thinking that if the wind didn’t pick up I could always shake it out. The night went smoothly. The boat was so loud with both of the wind generators going! It is the kind of noise that you’re happy to hear though because it will be what keeps the batteries up enough to run the radar and autopilot during the night.

After I had set up the alarms and made sure that everything was working I was planning on getting a little sleep, but with all the excitement, I wasn’t able to! Anyway, there was so much I could do and why waste time sleeping? I would have plenty of time for that later.

more here

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sea Trial and Photos


Today’s sea trial went well. Sea trials being meant to find problems… we found ourselves a few. Nothing too big or bad but now we have a few extra things to add to our list. We’ll do a bit of work tomorrow and hopefully get out again, this time with the rigger

more here

full sail sun

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Test Sail Today and Departure Soon

Its been a good couple of days. The dodger frame is finished, the boom is on with the rack and lazy jacks, the staysail is on, and the main and jib will get put on this morning. After that we’ll head out for a little bay sail to check on things.

Mark from Maritime Communications has spent the past few days in the very back of my boat (not the most comfortable place) working on hooking up the auto pilots, but today once things were ready to go, they weren’t working right, so there is a bit more work to be done there.

I pulled myself up the mast twice today, and it was a lot easier then I thought it would be! Of course I was in the slip and it will be harder once I’m out there, but I’m glad I got a little practice today

more here

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Preparations

Hey Everyone,
Things are going well over here. I stayed home for a little while this morning so I could write a blog, answer a few emails, and finish some packing. It really is quite amusing reading all your comments and seeing the assumptions some of you make! As if my saying that I’m not much use on the boat these days means that I don’t know a thing about boats and I’m useless! I’m sorry but I couldn’t help laughing a little at that one 🙂

I meant it only as I am not the best at installing watermakers, auto pilots and running complex wiring… and packing for this trip is something that does need to be done carefully. I have spent many days annoying the electricians with my questions and having them carefully explain their installations. As for whether or not I’m rushing, I answered that in an older blog and I’m not doing it again. We are working hard, fast and carefully.

Any way, I really do enjoy reading all of your comments and I have to say it makes me really happy to see those of you who support Jesse and I both! Yesterday afternoon another sponsor hopped on board, so after the meeting we got in the car and headed off to San Diego for the main sail to have a new logo put on it.

more here


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more here

Friday, December 18, 2009

Progress, Progress, Progress

Up early and home past dark. That’s how its been for a while. The media is starting to pick up on my story and I’ve been doing quite a few interviews recently. We’ve been going non-stop since the boat got here and I just realized today that Christmas is only a week away! The main thing that I’m looking forward to about Christmas is that soon after I’ll be leaving on my sea trial! Its all so exciting!
I actually started to pack this morning… I’m the sort of person to throw some cloths in a back pack the night before leaving for anywhere. This time I decided I should take a little more time and care in packing my cloths for this trip.

Boat work this week:
Delamination of hull repaired
Engine overhauled and new alternators by C & C Marine
Radar arch being built
New bilge pump and alarm system installed
Mast pulled, boom reinforced, new hardware being installed
New non-skid on decks and painted
Bottom prepped for painting tomorrow
Inspected keel bolts
Redesigned charging systems for boat
All new wiring run for 2 wind generators and 2 independant solar panel systems by Mike Smith
All electronics being tested by Maritime Communications
Water maker being installed
Winches serviced by rigger Mary Ellen Rose
Menus finalized and food ordered

Abby’s brother Zac

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Abby Sunderland

We had about 10 knots of wind and were making about 8 knots boat speed. We went just as far as we had the entire day before in only a few hours. The auto pilot had broken, but it was such a nice day out everyone was happy to hand steer. We pulled into Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon, still a little tired but pretty happy with how the whole trip had gone. We had been under a lot of pressure to get Wild Eyes to Fort Lauderdale in time to be loaded on the Marie Rickmers for shipment to Ensenada. If we had missed the ship, my trip would have to be postponed.

Zac left us that afternoon not too long after we got in. We all (my dad, Mike Smith and I) spent the night in a small hotel room that night, and I was luckily allowed to sleep on the boat for the rest of our stay there. We got a lot of much needed work done. We replaced the solar panels, fixed the strut, got every thing ready so that when she gets dropped off in Ensenada I can hop on and take her right up to Marina del Rey.

The whole trip was an experience, we had some great weather, we went through some hell, plenty of things broke down, and we had some fun; just what you want in a shake down trip. All in all it was a great trip. We put the boat through a lot, and all of us learned so much about handling her. I am more confident then ever that Wild Eyes and I are up to the challenge of sailing around the world.

more here


Abby Sunderland, 16, obtains boat for her around-the-world solo journey

Abby Sunderland has recently acquired a sailboat–not the vessel shown in the photo–that she will attempt to pilot around the world.

*Corrected to reflect that Abby Sunderland, when this post went live, had not yet embarked from Rhode Island to Florida.
Abby Sunderland has obtained a 40-foot boat named Wild Eyes, which she hopes will carry her around the world swiftly and safely.

The 16-year-old from Thousand Oaks is on the East Coast with her brother Zac, who recently completed a solo-circumnavigation at the age of 17, and her father Laurence. They will sail Wild Eyes from Rhode Island to Florida — about a weeklong trip — and will have the vessel shipped to the West Coast.

Abby, who will attempt a nonstop, unassisted journey, much of it across the Southern Hemisphere, is hoping for an early December departure.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Jessica Watson, also 16, is approaching the equator and the 1,500-mile mark aboard her 34-foot sailboat, Ella’s Pink Lady, which is the color of a flamingo. She and Abby share the same goal: to become the youngest person to sail alone and unassisted around the world.

more here


Zac Sunderland’s younger sister to try to break his sailing record

Abby Sunderland, sister of Zac Sunderland, is hoping to break her brother’s record by becoming the youngest person to sail around the world by herself. (Laurence Sunderland / Associated Press)


Abby Sunderland

A month after Zac Sunderland, at 17, became the youngest person to sail around the world by himself, his younger sister has announced plans to try to break that record.

Abby Sunderland, who will turn 16 in October, is hoping to embark on a nonstop, unassisted voyage in November aboard a 40-foot cruising vessel, and complete the trip in about six months. First, however, she will have to land a sponsor to help cover the $350,000 cost of the odyssey.

“I’ve been wanting to do this since I was 13, and when I was 13 there was nobody doing this,” she told the Associated Press. “So it’s kind of like right as I’m about to finally get to do it, all these other kids start popping up doing it.”

more here


Wild Eyes


I finally get to write a blog with some really exciting news! We bought Wild Eyes, the Open 40 in Rhode Island, yesterday!! My dad, Zac and I will be flying out to Rhode Island tomorrow to sail her to Fort Lauderdale. It should be a pretty fun sail and hopefully we’ll get some good weather. Its only a 6 to 7 day trip and then we have some work to do on the boat while in Fort Lauderdale.

more here

California sailor Abby Sunderland had the determination for a solo circumnavigation, but she didn’t have the boat. That changed when she and her father, Laurence, bought an Open 40 in Portsmouth, R.I., Oct. 19 – Abby’s Sweet 16.

Soundings joined the Sunderlands at the Hunt Yachts yard during the purchase, and between managing a survey and calling Australia in search of a hard-to-find alternator, the American teen looking to claim the title of youngest solo circumnavigator spoke about her upcoming voyage.

“I’ve been wanting to do this since I was 13 – well before Zac was going to go,” says Abby, referring to older brother Zac Sunderland, who completed a solo circumnavigation July 16 at age 17.

Abby is five months younger than the other teen currently chasing the title, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson. Watson sailed out of Sydney Oct. 18 aboard Ella’s Pink Lady, her Sparkman & Stephens 34.

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4 Responses to “Abby Sunderland”

  1. Yachting News 23rd January 2010 says:

    […] Abby Sunderland leaves this Saturday more here […]

  2. Abby Sunderland – The Adventure Starts says:

    […] Abby’s story on Yachtyakka here […]

  3. Yachtyakka Index says:

    […] more links to yachting all over the world.Below is an index of the feature stories so far.SailorsAbby SunderlandAbby Sunderland: The Adventure BeginsBrainaidBrad ButterworthDisabled SailorsGeoff HoltHilary […]

  4. Abby Sunderland – After the Crash says:

    […] all sorts of discussion about age and the ability to make the right decisions. What do you think?Abby on YachtyakkaThe Adventure startsbuy some Abby16 merchandise hereAbby is Almost HereMany people have been asking […]

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