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Teen girl attempting around the world sail is missing(update!!)


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c1main.sunderland.ktla.jpg Abby Sunderland was attempting to become the youngest to sail solo around the world and had reached the halfway point Monday.

A teenage girl attempting to sail solo around the world has gone missing after sending out distress signals in the Indian Ocean, according to a CNN affiliate in her hometown.

Abby Sunderland, 16, of Thousand Oaks, California, has not been heard from since losing contact with her family during a storm Thursday, her brother told CNN affiliate KTLA in Los Angeles.

Sunderland activated her emergency beacon locating devices an hour after losing contact with her family, and a rescue effort is under way. The nearest boat is believed to be at least 40 hours away, according to KTLA.

Sunderland celebrated passing the halfway point Monday on her quest to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat, according to her website.

"I've been in some rough weather for awhile with winds steady at 40-45 knots with higher gusts," she wrote Wednesday on her blog. It took her two hours to repair a torn sail in the wind and high waves, and her internet connection on board her 40-foot boat, Wild Eyes, was failing, she wrote.





June 11th, 2010

02:53 AM ET

Permalink Australian search crews contact missing teen sailor

Australian search crews have made contact with the 16-year-old American girl who was feared lost at sea while attempting to sail solo around the world, according to a family spokesman.

Abby Sunderland's family began scrambling to organize a search-and-rescue effort for her after they learned her emergency beacon was detected just an hour after they last spoke to her on Thursday

Her vessel is believed to be adrift in the middle of the Indian Ocean some 2,000 miles east of Madagascar, 2,000 miles west of Australia and 500 miles north of the French Antarctic Islands.


(Thanks for the update keeastman)

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I don't know, maybe I'm too old fashioned in my views but what parent in their right mind would allow a 16 year old girl to try and sail around the world by herself?

Did she not have a boat following behind her incase something like this happened? I hope she ends up being ok!

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My goodness...I hope she is alright.

And not to digress...but what kind of Parents let their 16 year old daughter sail around the world by themselves? I sure as hell wouldn't, maybe I am a worry wart...but it's situations like this that would back up my worrying.

Edit: Sorry started to reply and stepped away for a second. Now I see the same comment a few posts above me, but I agree...stupid....STUPID idea by the Parents.

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From the article VASkins540 posted in another thread:

Emergency rescue effort is launched for teen sailor Abby Sunderland

A rescue effort has been launched in hope of finding Abby Sunderland, 16, who set off her emergency beacon locating devices from the southern Indian Ocean early this morning.

Sunderland, who had been attempting to sail around the world alone, endured multiple knockdowns in 60-knot winds Thursday before conditions briefly abated.

However, her parents lost satellite phone contact early this morning and an hour later were notified by the Australian Coast Guard that both of Sunderland's EPIRB satellite devices had been activated.

One is apparently is attached to a survival suit or a life raft and meant to be used when a person is in the water or aboard a life raft.

Abby's father struggled with emotions and said he didn't know if his daughter was in a life raft or aboard the boat, or whether the boat was upside down.

"Everything seemed to be under control," Laurence Sunderland said. "But then our call dropped and a hour later the Coast Guard called."

Abby is hundreds of miles from land. The nearest ship was about 400 miles away. The rescue effort is being coordinated by the French-controlled Reunion Islands and Australia. Sunderland had been sailing in 50- to 60-foot seas and it was dark when the EPIRB devices were activated.

Abby's brother Zac, who graduated from high school, completed a solo-circumnavigation last summer at 17. :


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Read the article. Actually, that one's not so great on detail.

From this one: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/abby-sunderland-possibly-lost-sea/story?id=10877108

I did...40-45 knots is 46-52 miles per hour...that's a pretty stiff gust but doesn't seem like it would be enough to tip a boat, unless the waves really got going.

And I figured, her, there is some piracy in the area, it's always a possibility.

Edit* Okay, the second thing posted by China paints a bleaker picture, weather wise.

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How long would it take a boat that is 400 miles away to get to her?

Depends on the boat, but in those seas, too long. With the wind speeds it would be tough to survive in the water long even with a survival suit. The sea gets' whipped into a suffocating foam. In a life raft, she'd have a good chance.

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"I am definitely nervous," Abby told "20/20." "People say you shouldn't be nervous if you are really ready to do this. But I understand [the] ocean, and I understand how dangerous what I am doing actually is, and I understand how careful I need to be out there."

I sincerely hope they find her alive and well! :(

However, I do agree with those that say this was a stupid thing to do. I admire her courage, but then I "admired" the courage of the man who decided to go play in Mount St. Helen's volcano too.

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I don't think the fact that she's 16 has any bearing on her ability to do this. This is not the kids down the street. She's been sailing all her life, her age doesn't make a difference in her ability.

If you want to claim a 16-year-old is not capable of making a rational decision, maybe so, I don't know the girl. An Australian kid just recently completed the same journey and I don't remember the same level of scorn for those parents. I kind of fault this girl's folks also - but I think that's at least partly because things don't look promising.

Hope she makes it.

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She has a blog:


Here is today's entry:

thursday, june 10, 2010

Update on Abby

We spoke with Abby early this morning and learned that she had had a very rough day with winds up to 60 knots and seas 20-25 feet. She had been knocked down several times but was handling things well. The wind had subsided to around 35 knots which she and Wild Eyes are quite comfortable with.

We were helping her troubleshoot her engine that she was trying to start to charge her systems. Satellite phone reception was patchy. She was able to get the water out of the engine and start her up. We were waiting to hear back from her when American Search & Rescue authorities called to report having received a signal from her emergency beacon (EPIRB). We initially thought that the signal was sent automatically from her water-activated EPIRB and that it had been activated during one of her knockdowns. As we pulled the paperwork from her EPIRB registration, we learned that the signal had come from her manually activated EPIRB.

We were referred to Australian Search & Rescue and while we were on the phone with them another signal came in from her handheld PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). Her water-activated EPIRB has not been activated so we are hopeful that the boat is still upright.

We are working closely with American, French and Australian Search & Rescue authorities to coordinate several ships in the area to divert to her location. There are several ships in her area, the earliest possible contact is 40 hours. We are actively seeking out some sort of air rescue but this is difficult due to the remoteness of her location. Australian Search & Rescue have arranged to have a Quantas Airbus fly over her location at first light (she is 11 hours later). They will not be able to help her other than to talk via marine radio if they are able to get close enough. Hopefully, they will be able to assess her situation and report back to us.

Abby has all of the equipment on board to survive a crisis situation like this. She has a dry suit, survival suit, life raft, and ditch bag with emergency supplies. If she can keep warm and hang on, help will be there as soon as possible. Wild Eyes is designed for travel in the Southern Ocean and is equipped with 5 air-tight bulkheads to keep her buoyant in the event of major hull damage. It is built to Category 0 standards and is designed to self-right in the event of capsize.

Thank you for all of your kind emails and calls. We appreciate your prayers and support.

We will update as soon as there is some news.

Laurence, Marianne and Team Abby

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