Young Sailor Recounts Her Adventures and Defends Her Ability

Abby Sunderland says her difficulties in trying to sail around the world had nothing to do with her age

Facing dozens of cameras, 16-year-old sailor Abby Sunderland thanked her rescuers on Tuesday, recounted how she got through her most terrifying moments at sea and spoke about how her family has gotten through sharp criticism of the voyage.

Responding to those who said she was too young to sail around the world by herself, Abby defended her abilities. On boats since she was a toddler, she has worked as a crew member on sailboats piloted by her father, a shipwright, and her older brother, Zac, who made his own circumnavigation last year at age 17, before departing on her trip in late January.

After she traveled 12,000 nautical miles, her voyage was stopped only because a rogue wave turned her boat upside down and snapped her 60-foot mast, she told reporters at a news conference in Marina del Rey.

“I’ve crossed two oceans and two capes,” she said. “The questions about my age should have been done months ago…. My trip didn’t end because of something I did wrong.”

People who know Abby best say she’s always been a can-do girl. She raised her family’s 25-pound Thanksgiving turkey two years ago. At 13, she decided she wanted to sail around the world. While onboard her 40-foot-sloop, Wild Eyes, she said, she read “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris, which rails against society’s low expectations of teenagers.

Last week, while some other teenage girls were camping outside a Los Angeles theater to catch of glimpse of the stars of the latest “Twilight” movie, Abby was on a French patrol boat making her way back to her Thousand Oaks home after her rescue at sea.

“Never much into vampires,” she responded to a question about whether she had seen any of the wildly popular movies based on the “Twilight” books. Read the rest of the article…

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