On January 23, 2010, a young girl of 16 sailed from Marina del Rey in California in her quest to sail solo around the globe and break the record as the youngest person to do so. Now in her 10th day at sea, Abby Sunderland, the 2nd of 7 children hopes to make history by June, 2010.
Abby headed south from the port on a direct line toward the Equator, a 2,000 mile leg that will take over 15 days. Her speed will be affected by the lack of wind as she approaches the area known as the Doldrums. This region is noted for extremely calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, or are light and shifting. Many hurricanes originate in this area. Because of the unpredictable weather patterns, the Doldrums became notorious with sailors because this region's periods of deadly calm could trap ships for days or weeks on end as they waited for enough wind to power their sails. Abby will share her own experience in her blog that she updates periodically.
Abby’s goal had not only been to be the youngest to circumnavigate the globe solo, but also to do so without touching land. This latter goal is no longer possible as she needs to address a problem with her level of fuel consumption and will land at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where she will be met by her team. The problem arose as a result of needing more fuel than planned to run her two alternators. The expectation had been that the solar panels and generator would provide enough energy to maintain her energy needs. This has proven false, and she heads for what she hopes is her only stop until arriving back home months later.
While disappointed, Abby writes in her blog: “I was really upset about having to stop. I've hardly even started and I'm already heading in! I had finally gotten settled in, things were going somewhat smoothly and I was having fun. But I am glad that my team will be there waiting when I get in and I'll be back out here soon, hopefully with a few less problems… It definitely beats being at home doing school. :)”
So after a few days fixing the problem, Abby will return to the sea and her quest for a name in history. This courageous young lady is an example of the best of the human spirit of those who seek to challenge themselves and achieve difficult goals in life.
Stay safe, Abby.