This week a young lady of 16 years, Abby Sunderland, set out on a journey to break the world record as the youngest skipper to circumnavigate the globe solo. Abby left Marina Del Rey, California to the roar of family, friends, supporters and sponsors. Now in her 4th day at sea, she tackles one of the toughest and longest challenges that humans attempt. Her goal is to complete the trip within 5 months. The current age record is held by a young British lad, Mike Perham, of 17 who set the record in the summer of 2009 and broke the record set by Abby's brother, Zac, just a month before. At the time, he was just 2 months younger than Zac.
Abby is an experienced sailor having logged thousands of miles of coastal cruising under varying weather conditions which should prepare her for the turbulent southern seas. Raised around sailboats and spurred on by the successful transit of her brother Zac, she has the added ambitious goal of completing the voyage by April, 2010. Unlike her brother Zac who sailed 27,500 nautical miles over a 13 month period, Abby intends to complete the journey by April, 2010 or a little less than 5 months at sea. Her plan is to cover the trip without a single visit to land until she returns.
The boat that Abby pilots on her solo, nonstop global trip is made for tough conditions. The Australian built and designed Open 40 was launched in 2001 and is designed for single-handed sailing in the Southern Ocean. It is built for speed and safety which are critical for navigating the rough and stormy conditions Abby will experience in the Southern Ocean. It also has ample water supply and food storage which will be needed during the long and arduous trip without any visits to land. She will be able to communicate on shore through a satellite telephone.
Her adventure can be tracked through her web site (www.abbysunderland.com) and blog. As time permits, she will update her blog and share with her readers the feelings and observations as a person sails solo and pursues her dreams. She was able to avoid the storms rolling through California and is on her way to the Equator, a trip of about 2,000 miles that will take approximately 15 days depending on wind conditions. This part of the trip passes through a stretch of water known as the Doldrums and it will give her time to prepare for the tougher and long days ahead.
What motivates a person like Abby to undertake such a challenging and risky endeavor? According to her as posted on her web site - www.abbysunderland.com - the motivation was the pursuit of her dreams.
"I had begun to think that dreams are meant to be no more than dreams and that in reality dreams don't come true. Then my brother (Zac) left on his trip. It was amazing to see all the support that he got from around the world and to see how everyone worked together to help make his dream reality. Watching him do this really made me believe that I could too."
We will monitor and continue to report on Abby’s journey in the days ahead. We wish her a safe journey.