Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Jessica Watson pounded by 70knots, Abby Sunderland sets off

by Nancy Knudsen on 24 Jan 2010
Abby farewell Lisa Gizara ©2009 Gizaraarts.Com
While our Sunshine coast teenager, 16-year-old Jessica Watson has just received her worst pounding so far, with 70 knot winds and three knock-downs during the gale, Californian sailor, the slightly younger 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, has just departed Marina del Ray in California on a similar quest to that of Jessica - to be the youngest sailor to sail non-stop and unassisted around the world.

Abby, younger sister of Zac Sunderland, who last year became the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the world, is setting off to emulate and eclipse her brother's feat, as well as being in friendly competition with Jessica.

Departing California's premier yachting facility Marina del Ray yesterday, Abby, on her Open 40 Wild Eyes, was farewelled by hundreds of well wishers, and escorted out of calm waters by yachts from the Del Ray Yacht Club.


Her brother didn't keep his unofficial record for long. British teen sailor Michael Perham, already in the news as the youngest sailor to cross the Atlantic solo, had set off after Zac in a much faster boat, and he was about three months younger. Mike took the record from Zac just a couple months after Zac had finished. (Neither of the boys completed their journeys non-stop and unassisted.) Then, in September, Jessica departed, and has since crossed the equator twice, rounded Cape Horn, and is more than half way through her voyage. She has reported that her yacht, Ella's Pink Lady, handled the recent bad conditions and the three knock-downs well.

Abby doesn't hide the fact that she was inspired by her brother's feat. 'Every little kid wants to be a doctor or a princess or a firefighter,' Sunderland told reporters just before she left, while trying to explain the motivation behind her controversial excursion. 'But watching my own brother go out and actually do it; it really made me realize that you can do things like this.'

Abby's father, Laurence Sunderland, obviously attempting to deflect the widely expressed suspicion that parents whose children attempt such challenges are spurred on by their ambitious parents, told reporters that during the last three years he had tried to dissuade his daughter from such a venture by taking her sailing in nasty weather and bad sea conditions, but she only became more determined.

Abby's mother, Marianne, also supports her daughter's voyage. She told reporters before the departure, 'At first I wasn't as supportive as I was with Zac -- with him I never had a doubt. However with the new Abby I've seen over the last months, I have seen an incredibly tough and determined young woman take the place of the sweet girl she had always been. Now I am really excited for her because it is true that this has been something she's been talking about for years.'

Abby and her team are slightly worried, however, about the timing of her journey. While, on her present schedule, she will round the Horn in the height of summer when conditions should be the best they can be, her delayed departure - delayed because of necessary boat preparation - means that by the time she sails south of Australia, the weather will be approaching Autumn, and the weather will be deteriorating.

Sail-World, along with thousands of sailors around the world, wishes her fair sailing.

However, as I write these words, my heart is anxious for Abby.

Her Open 40 yacht is a racing boat rather than a cruising boat, and for this reason offers her the best chance of getting round the world before the worst of the winter in the Southern Ocean.

However, it is also more complex and more difficult to handle - in the conditions she is likely to face - than the sturdy and slow Sparksman and Stephens 34 that Jessica is sailing.

Naiad/Oracle SupplierAncasta Ker 33 660x82Zhik Isotak Ocean 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Nespresso returns to back Emirates Team NZ for AC35
Nespresso has reaffirmed its sponsorship of Emirates Team New Zealand in its campaign to win the 35th America’s Cup. Nespresso, the world wide reference for highest quality premium portioned coffee has today reaffirmed its sponsorship of Emirates Team New Zealand in its campaign to win the 35th America’s Cup. Nespresso has a long-standing history of association with the world of sailing and Emirates Team New Zealand.
Posted on 17 Jan
Volvo Ocean Race - Deck of Boat 8 leaves builder
The deck for the only new entry in the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race has completed construction at Multiplast The deck for the only new entry in the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race has completed construction at Multiplast - Groupe Carboman in Vannes, France. In this video the deck is rolled out of the building facility and is loaded onto a truck, ahead of a 1,200km trip to Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy.
Posted on 11 Jan
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA - Tech Tuesday - Structural Platform
Learn more about the carbon fiber structure of OTUSA's America's Cup class catamaran with Oracle Team USA. Learn more about the carbon fiber structure of OTUSA's America's Cup class catamaran. How does the fact that the boats are airborne for most of the race affect the hull design, structural engineering - structural engineer Kurt Jordan explains in this video.
Posted on 11 Jan
America's Cup - Ashby confirms that Kiwis will sail AC50 in Auckland
Glenn Ashby has confirmed that Emirates Team NZ will launch their AC50, in Auckland and will do a substantial build up Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Glenn Ashby has confirmed that Emirates Team New Zealand will launch their AC50, in Auckland and will do a substantial build up on the Waitemata harbour before shipping to Bermuda. Speaking on Newstalk ZB, Ashby said the Emirates Team New Zealand AC50 had been assembled and was having hydraulics, daggerboard systems and electronics being installed at present.
Posted on 8 Jan
America's Cup - Team NZ has a re-think on launch after Protocol change
As a result of the Protocol amendment, Emirates Team New Zealand, like all of the other teams, face a strategic decision Emirates Team New Zealand is back hard at work this week as 2017, the year of the 35th America’s Cup, kicks off at the frantic pace. As a result of the Protocol amendment, Emirates Team New Zealand, like all of the other teams, face a strategic decision of when to launch their America’s Cup Class race boat
Posted on 4 Jan
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ win 28 day sailing blackout- Updated
The Protocol for the 35th America's Cup has been modified to institute a 28 day blackout sailing period In an deal, apparently brokered by the anonymous Arbitration Panel, the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup has been modified to institute a 28 day blackout sailing period, beginning January 9, 2017. The move follows a Hearing by the as yet unnamed Arbitration Panel for the 35th America's Cup, over the removal of the sailing of the America's Cup Qualifiers from New Zealand.
Posted on 3 Jan
Another WMRT back-to-back heads for Miami
This Easter will present a perfect opportunity to watch World class sailing if you get yourself out on Biscayne Bay This Easter will present a perfect opportunity to watch World class sailing if you get yourself out on Biscayne Bay in Miami. The venue will host not only one but two back-to-back World Match Racing Tour events in the M32 high-speed catamaran during April 2017.
Posted on 3 Jan
Volvo Ocean Race - On for the hat-trick
Meet the man eyeing his third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race win. Phil Harmer, lifted trophy with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Meet the man eyeing his third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race win. Phil Harmer, who lifted the trophy with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2014-15, and Groupama in 2011-12, could get the hat-trick next edition – and we sat down to chat to him about what's he's been up to since the end of the race, his views on the evolutions ahead of 2017-18, and his plans for the future.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
America’s Cup accelerating into 2017
The oldest trophy in int'l sport and a competition that will see six teams fighting it out on Bermuda’s Great Sound 2017 is the year of the 35th America’s Cup. The oldest trophy in international sport and a competition that will see six teams fighting it out on Bermuda’s Great Sound for the ultimate prize in sailing, and, arguably, the hardest trophy to win in sport.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Volvo Ocean Race - Dongfeng Racing take delivery of their VO65
Just before Christmas, Dongfeng Racing took delivery of their good as new, refitted Volvo Ocean 65. After an outstanding result in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Dongfeng Racing now turn to the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race which gets underway in ten months time. Just before Christmas the team took delivery of their good as new, refitted Volvo Ocean 65.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016