Just as Jessica Watson – the 16-year-old Australian girl whose sights are set on being the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo – crosses the halfway mark in her voyage, another young sailor is hot on her heels. Sixteen-year-old Abigail Sunderland of California set out on her mission to single-handedly sail around the world on January 23, 2010. Mere months younger than Watson (five to be exact), Sunderland launched her 40-foot sailboat, Wild Eyes, from Marina del Rey in Southern California.
According to Dailybreeze.com, “She plans to be at sea for five or six months – alone but able to communicate with her family and troubleshooters via solar-powered satellite telephone and with supporters through her blog (at abbysunderland.com). Having turned 16 on October 19, 2009, she would break the youngest-to-circumnavigate record set in 2009 by British 17-year-old Mike Perham, who had taken the mark from Abby’s then-17-year-old brother, Zac. Zac took 13 months to complete the round-the-world trip last July, heading west across the Pacific.”
Zac Sunderland stopped along the way, however, but his sister intends to sail straight through. Abby will follow in Watson’s wake, although each had different starting points.
Meanwhile, according to Watson’s blog, she has been sailing for 100 days and “is approximately 1,500 nautical miles ahead of where we thought she’d be at this stage of her voyage.” With only 11,000 nautical miles left, Watson is on her way home. Although she recently had a brush with stormy weather, both Watson and the vessel are in tip-top shape to finish her voyage.
We wish both girls luck on their endeavor. Watch this space for updates.
Risky Business: Teen to Carry on with Solo Circumnavigation
Over Before It Began