Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Three countries in Search and Rescue for Abby Sunderland

by Nancy Knudsen on 11 Jun 2010
Approximate last known position of Abby Sunderland .. .
Three countries are searching for ways to assist Abby Sunderland who was trying to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the world. Her manual EPIRB and personal locator beacons have activated in the Southern Ocean. The American, French and Australian Search and Rescue authorities are cooperating to find the closest ships to Abby's last known location.

Australian Search and Rescue authorities have already launched an aircraft heading to her last known position.

As Abby's automatic, water-activated EPIRB has not sounded an alarm as yet, this indicates that the EPIRB has not been submerged and Wild Eyes is still afloat. As long as this automatic EPIRB is operative and not damaged, this points to the possibility that Abby has been hurt or that the boat is sufficiently damaged in some way that she can no longer sail it. It is not at all likely that Abby has gone overboard as reported in some of the world's press, as she would have been unable to activate her alarm. One of the alarms was attached to her survival suit, normally used when in the water or in a life raft.

Last know position was reported as Latitude -34.885931, Longitude 74.53125

Latest word from Team Abby is that the boat is drifting backwards at around 1 knot. This indicates that no sails are active and that the yacht is not in an upright position, as it would be drifting at a faster rate in a normal sailing position without sails. If the keel has snapped off, then there would be a good air pocket under the yacht for Abby to wait for rescue.

Abby was 20 days into her leg from Capetown to Cape Leeuwin on the south west tip of Australia, and her last known position was to the north east of the Kerguelen Archipelago, owned by France. A French fishing vessel from the Archipelago has been diverted to her position, but is not expected to arrive for many hours.

Abby's team always knew that the section of water she must pass through after passing the Kerguelens was to be a rough one, as between 80 and 100E, tropical storms moving south easterly can sometimes merge with a cold front, causing a monster low.

Before the alarms went off, Abby had been knocked down several times in the latest systems passing over her. The forecast winds of 60 knots had eventuated, but the winds had subsided to around 35 knots.

A Qantas airbus is to overfly the location to try to make contact via VHF radio or satellite phone.

Her family, brother Zac, father Lawrence and mother Julianne, have been typically cool about the situation, with these assurances: 'Abby has all of the equipment on board to survive a crisis situation like this. She has a dry suit, survival suit, life raft, and ditch bag with emergency supplies. If she can keep warm and hang on, help will be there as soon as possible.

'Wild Eyes is designed for travel in the Southern Ocean and is equipped with 5 air-tight bulkheads to keep her buoyant in the event of major hull damage. It is built to Category 0 standards and is designed to self-right in the event of capsize.'

The boat is an Open 40, a 12.9 metre racing boat, specifically designed for single-handed sailing in the Southern Ocean. It was chosen by Abby and her advisers because 'it has the benefit of both speed and safety necessary to navigate the conditions that Abby will experience.'

Zhik Dinghy 660x82Naiad/Oracle SupplierWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Another day, another Olympic selection decision
The Olympic non-selection issues continued to generate heat on both sides of the Tasman, and now further afield. The Olympic non-selection issues continued to generate heat on both sides of the Tasman, and now further afield. In Australia, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has handed down its Decision without providing reasons after a week of deliberation on the non-selection of their top crew in the 49erFX Women's skiff.
Posted today at 12:13 pm
Brakes off as strong westerly propels the Clipper Race fleet forward
LMAX Exchange is in second place with Derry~Londonderry~Doirechasing hard now just 10 nautical miles behind in third. ClipperTelemed+ is leading the fleet again after emerging from its Stealth Mode cloak of invisibility last night; and boat speeds have been high throughout the fleet as the teams enjoy steady trade wind conditions with spinnakers flying in building winds.
Posted today at 11:52 am
Volvo Ocean Race - Change to Leg 3 and Asian stopovers announced
Volvo Ocean Race organisers have announced a change to the route posted on the Official Noticeboard Volvo Ocean Race organisers have announced a change to the route posted on the Official Noticeboard, and the effect is to have the fleet sail the almost the complete length of the Southern Ocean from Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn. The fleet will now spend three times the amount of time in the Southern Ocean than enjoyed in the previous two editions of the race.
Posted today at 11:07 am
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted today at 7:42 am
A Q&A with Simon Parker about the Clipper Race and trans-USA cycling
Sail-World.com talked with Simon Parker to hear about his audacious sailing and cycling adventure with the Clipper Race. Few adventures top crossing oceans, unless one also involves a multi-sport element such as climbing mountains. Simon Parker, a British journalist, raced across the Pacific Ocean with the Clipper Round The World Race, followed by a transcontinental bike ride, before rejoining his mates aboard Garmin for a transatlantic race. Sail-World.com recently caught up with him to learn more.
Posted on 28 Jun
Mixed fortunes for Clipper Race fleet as Atlantic High causes pain
The frontrunners have managed to escape the grasp of the light winds associated with the ridge of the Azores High As the front of the fleet heads north the wind has been building, and the battle for positions is intense at the make or break stage of the race with roughly 1300 nautical miles to go until Derry-Londonderry.
Posted on 28 Jun
Volvo Ocean Race adds full Southern Ocean Leg and 5000nm to new course
Volvo Ocean Race has announced a new course for the 2017/18 round the world event. Several major changes are planned including a return to a full Southern Ocean leg, and the addition of a massive Leg 5 of 13,300nm - the longest leg ever sailed in the Volvo Ocean Race. By way of comparison a minimum circumnavigation around the planet is approximately 21,600nm to be recognised as, a record for the course by WSSRC.
Posted on 28 Jun
Clipper Race – Will there be successful North Atlantic escape artist?
The winds started lightening yesterday, and boat speeds are low today in the fluky airs at around the halfway race mark. ClipperTelemed+ is now leading the fleet again, with former race leader Derry~Londonderry~Doire in second and LMAX Exchange in third after coming out of Stealth Mode as it attempted to bluff the other teams regarding going for the Scoring Gate.
Posted on 27 Jun
470 Junior Worlds – Spanish women in gold, Spanish men in silver
Before the start of the Medal Race of the women, the podium places were not decided yet. The last of the five racing days sees another Japanese team make it to the podium.
Posted on 26 Jun
Clipper Race fleet makes a crucial decision to miss the Scoring Gate
The brakes have been put on the rollercoaster ride for now after the teams made the turn north around Ice Box perimeter. The brakes have been put on the rollercoaster ride for now after the teams made the turn north around the Ice Box perimeter and now find themselves caught in the lighter winds of the North Atlantic High, but they are at least now pointing towards finish destination Derry-Londonderry.
Posted on 26 Jun