Early Saturday morning, 16-year old Abby Sunderland of Thousand Oaks left Marina del Rey on her custom-equipped yacht and embared into the Pacific ocean, beginning a controversial adventure in hopes of becoming the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe solo.
Family, friends and neighbors crowded the Del Rey Yacht Club to wish her well on her journey aboard Wild Eyes, her 40-foot vessel. With a stoic expression, she hugged her father, a boat-builder, goodbye and guided her vessel through the marina’s main channel to begin a nearly 25,000 mile trip.
Before leaving, she hopped off board to stand on concrete one last time for nearly six months. Her brother Zac, now 17, is the current record-holder for the same adventure, and she hopes to beat his record. Though she’s sailing alone, she is able to communicate with her family and with assistance through solar-powered satellite phone and can communicate with fans through abbysunderland.com
While her brother Zac had some stops on land on a 14-month journey, Abby plans no stops and has a fast yachtdesigned for giant swells and strong winds.
Unlike Zac and other past record contenders, Abby plans no stops on land, and she has a faster yachtdesigned for the giant swells and 60-knot winds she’ll face. Her route begins heading south from California, then down and around Central and South America, turning east around Cape Horn beyond South Africa, and then across the Indian Ocean and past Australia before a long run east through the Pacific.
Abby’s nonstop trip gives her new distinction as the youngest solo unassisted sailor, to top Jesse Martin, who successfully made that journey at the age of 18, nearly 11 years ago.
Located just 5 minutes from Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Fort Lauderdale: The “Venice of America” and the yachting capital of the world, Atlantic Yacht and Ship was incorporated in 1959, specializing in quality motor yachts with a commitment to provide product knowledge and attention to detail that is unparalleled in the industry.