View Full Version : California Teen Lost at Sea?

06-10-2010, 01:24 PM
<span style="color: #FF0000"> I don't mean to sound callus here but if you set out on a dangerous adventure like this and your parents allow it, is it a tragedy if she does not make it home? Not sure, but it seems like they just have to chalk it up to experience and got on. I mean, they knew this cound happen, right? </span>

LOS ANGELES -- A 16-year-old Southern California girl attempting a solo sail around the world was feared in trouble Thursday in the frigid, heaving southern Indian Ocean after her emergency beacons began signaling and communication was lost.

Abby Sunderland's family was talking with U.S. and international governments about organizing a search of the remote ocean between southern Africa and Australia, family spokesman Christian Pinkston said.

Conditions can quickly become perilous for any sailor exposed to the elements in that part of the world.

"We've got to get a plane out there quick," said Pinkston, who was in close contact with Sunderland's family in Thousand Oaks.

"They are exhausting every resource to try to mobilize an air rescue including discussions with the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and various international rescue organizations," he said.

Abby last communicated with her family at 4 a.m. PDT and reported 30-foot swells but was not in distress, Pinkston said.

An hour later the family was notified that her emergency beacons had been activated, and there was no further communication. Pinkston said the beacons were manually activated.

Abby set sail from Los Angeles County's Marina del Rey in her 40-foot boat, Wild Eyes, on Jan. 23 in an attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone without stopping. Her brother Zac briefly held the record at age 17.

Abby soon ran into equipment problems and had to stop for repairs. She gave up the goal of setting the record in April, but continued on.

On May 15, Australian 16-year-old Jessica Watson claimed the record after completing a 23,000-mile circumnavigation in 210 days.

Abby left Cape Town, South Africa, on May 21 and on Monday reached the halfway point of her voyage.

On Wednesday, she wrote in her log that it had been a rough few days with huge seas that had her boat "rolling around like crazy."

"I've been in some rough weather for awhile with winds steady at 40-45 knots with higher gusts," she wrote. "With that front passing, the conditions were lighter today. It was a nice day today with some lighter winds which gave me a chance to patch everything up. Wild Eyes was great through everything but after a day with over 50 knots at times, I had quite a bit of work to do."

06-10-2010, 01:50 PM
Several people suggested that the timing of this trip would take her through the Indian Ocean at the height of the winter storm season, and she should consider postponing for a few months.

That being said, it's very sad that this has happened, and I certainly hope she if found to be ok. But I do see your point that some people have a way of using poor judgement, and then are surprised that something bad happens.
I think she, or her parents, should be sent a bill for the cost of the rescue efforts that will be required. Having done search and rescue in the middle of the ocean, I can assure you the ships and aircraft required for ocean SAR is quite significant.

for now, let's just hope she lives to learn a lesson from this adventure.


06-10-2010, 02:11 PM
I caught that story on the 'net....a tragedy.
I remember reading the story in National Geographic(1965...it's been that long?) of a 16 yr old boy, Robin Lee Graham, that sailed solo, across the ocean...he was living out his father's dream. One event always stood out in his story...a huge wave washed him overboard, and the next wave set him back on board. He set up a jury rigged rudder to keep on track while he slept.
What parent let's a 16 yr old, boy or girl, venture out on a trip like that? They can't possibly have enough sailing experience, and don't fully understand the risks. IMO
I Googled Robin's story as I forgot his full name.....the trip took 5 years,and he didn't come home empty handed...had a wife and a daughter. I think the boat was damaged, and luckily, he made it to some small Pacific Island, and spent some time there..and met the future Mrs. Graham. (them grass skirts and a tropical moonlite night, and a couple of years at sea.....I think he would have married one of them natives that put disks in their lips.
I hope this young lady is not lost at sea, but the odds are against her. No GPS tracking device on board?