Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 2018 Cousin Constrictors 20% Off 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.

Gul 2018 October - Code Zero FOOTERNaiad 660x82px_SuperyachtWindBot-COACH-660x82

Related Articles

RORC Caribbean 600 Record for Maserati Multi70
The extraordinary events will be remembered for years to come Maserati Multi 70 skippered by Giovanni Soldini (ITA) crossed the finish line of the RORC Caribbean 600 at 20:49:00 AST on Tuesday 19 February 2019 in an elapsed time of one day, 06 hours 49 minutes and 00 seconds
Posted today at 10:17 am
23 years of 18ft Skiff Racing Sponsorship
The Rag & Famish Hotel has been a successful sponsor of the 18 Footers on Sydney Harbour Since the late George Calligeros purchased 'The Rag' in May 1975, the hotel has developed equally strong family values as Peter and Anna Calligeros continue the business under the Calligeros Hotel group banner.
Posted today at 9:51 am
Entries open for Rolex Giraglia 2019
Innovation in 67th edition with the finish line in Monaco There will be an innovation in edition number 67 of the Rolex Giraglia 2019 with the finish of the offshore race in the waters of the Principality of Monaco and plenty of news also in St Tropez.
Posted on 19 Feb
GGR 2018, SailGP's debut and the Caribbean 600
We modern humans live soft lives compared to the Golden Globe Race skippers We modern humans live soft lives compared to the skippers participating in the Golden Globe Race 2018.
Posted on 19 Feb
Prospector team digs in for a second go
Back with a new boat for the Transatlantic Race 2019 The Prospector team—led by Paul McDowell, Dr. David Siwicki and Larry Landry, and Marty Roesch and managed by Landry and McDowell—is one of five returning entries from the Transatlantic Race 2015.
Posted on 19 Feb
RORC Caribbean 60 day 2
Multi70 Maserati and MOD70 Argo have been ripping up the race track Maserati, skippered by Giovanni Soldini led at Guadeloupe by 12 miles, but in terms of time, that is less than 30 minutes ahead of Jason Carroll's Argo. The two rocket ships are expected to finish the race around sundown today.
Posted on 19 Feb
Event No.12 joining Match Race Super League 2019
12 events worldwide in 10 countries on four continents The Match Race Super League is proud to announce that the AIRCALIN Match Race in Noumea (NCL) will be the sixth event of the 2019 season, making it to 12 events worldwide in 10 countries on four continents.
Posted on 19 Feb
Registration opens for 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series
A well-earned reputation for breeze-on sailing and long courses Winter might still be exerting its chilly influence over most of the country, but an undeniable harbinger of the coming sailing season arrived on February 18 when St. Francis Yacht Club, in San Francisco, California, posted the Notice of Race.
Posted on 19 Feb
Am Cup teams check out canting AC75 foil
A first hint of the real scale of the AC75 boats has been given to each challenger representative Less than a year since the Class Rule publication, a first hint of the real scale of the AC75 boats has been given to each challenger representative during a number of visits to Auckland to witness the one design foil cant system (FCS) in action.
Posted on 19 Feb
FD Worlds at Nelson YC, New Zealand after day 3
Szabolcs Majthenyi and András Domokos lead The first three days of the Flying Dutchman World Championships have been completed. The results are close at the top of the leader board with Hun 70 (Szabolcs Majthenyi and András Domokos) leading on 7 points with GER 88 (Kay-Uwe Lüdtke and Kai Schäfers)
Posted on 19 Feb