Inspiration Report

Young teens have been doing amazing things lately, from climbing Mount Everest to making prom dresses out of gum wrappers to sailing solo (non-stop) around the world.

16-year-old Abby Sunderland started her ocean journey on January 23 from Marina del Ray, California in her boat, “Wild Eyes.”  A Southern California native, Sunderland followed in the footsteps of her brother Zak’s sea legs and break his own record.  At age 16, Zak also sailed solo around the world in 13 months, though the record for youngest sailor goes to a 16-year-old girl from Australia who completed her solo journey in 210 days on May 15.

On Wednesday, just when Sunderland reached the half-way point around the world in the Indian Ocean, she encountered trouble with overpowering waves, wind, and weather.  Communication with her parents from her satellite phone was cut off, leading to 20 hours of lost contact, and she eventually activated two emergency beacon signals.

Even though Sunderland had all the equipment she needed for emergencies, Sunderland was believed to be lost at sea.  A rescue mission was underway, but the closest boat was 40 hours away and her remote location prevented rescue by air.

Today, an aerial search team was able to find Sunderland, who was safe and sound, though she will not be continuing her journey.  Three boats were dispatched to pick her up; the closest boat would still be 24 hours away.  Writing on Abby’s personal blog, her parents shared: “We have just heard from the Australian Search and Rescue. The plane arrived on the scene moments ago. Wild Eyes is upright but her rigging is down. The weather conditions are abating. Radio communication was made and Abby reports that she is fine!”


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