The New York Daily News is reporting that 16-year-old Abby Sunderland hit a storm “in the southern Indian Ocean east of Madagascar” yesterday and has lost contact with her family. She is trying to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo.
Remarkably, the teenager has been blogging from her boat. “The last few days have pretty busy out here,” she wrote Wednesday. “I’ve been in some rough weather for awhile with winds steady at 40-45 knots with higher gusts.” Her parents have written a lengthy post today, saying, “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.” They seem remarkably calm, but then again, if you’re going to allow your teenager to sail solo around the world, you have to have a pretty steely mind.
According to the LA Times, Sunderland’s brother Zac says the family remains optimistic that Abby is alive because the “deep-water automatic beacon that is triggered by salt water and goes off when the boat has reached a depth of about 15 feet… has not gone off. The boat is built with water-tight compartments and his sister could be huddled safely in one of those, even if the vessel has capsized.”
The LA Times reports that “two boats are headed toward Abby Sunderland’s vessel but won’t be there for another 40 to 48 hours.” Here’s to Abby’s safe return to shore.
Photo: BasL via Flickr