Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old younger sister of Thousand Oaks record-breaking sailor Zac Sunderland, is on a training session that started in Rhode Island and continues through Mexico as she points toward a solo trip around the world later this month.
Less than a year after Zac became the youngest person to circumnavigate the world solo, Abby will set out in Wild Eyes, a Category 0 Open 20 sailboat, to make her own sailing history — trying to be the youngest person in history to circumnavigate the globe unassisted and without stopping. Jesse Martin of Australia holds the record, accomplished more than 10 years ago.
“My brother, friends, family and even several letters from strangers have made me aware of the power and dangers of the oceans, but I’m up for the task,” said Abby in a release announcing her plan las month. “I’ve been sailing my whole life and am just as prepared to do this as many adults. It is doubly reassuring that Wild Eyes has sailed around the world before. She is built for circumnavigation and has made it around just fine. There will be tearful and restless nights for sure, but we will make it through.”
A 30-week trip is expected to start in Marina del Rey and end there as well in spring, 2010.
Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old from Australia, has already started on her solo non-stop trip, leaving Sydney Harbor in late October (linked here). According to her site (linked here), Watson is heading toward French Polynesia in her pink vessel.
Abby, Zac and their father, Laurence, have been sailing Wild Eyes along the Eastern seaboard. When they return through Mexico to Marina del Rey — they are expected to reach Ensenada by Friday — they will outfit the boat with new sails, hopping to attract sponsorships.
Follow Abby on her blog (linked here) on her website (linked here) for the latest update on her trial run. Monday, Abby reported that she met with Kristy Morrell, a dietitian who advises USC’s athletic department, on different menus for the trip.