Teen girls sail update: Abby Sunderland in Cape Town, Have high expectations of yourself and go for it

Posted: May 06, 2010 01:41 pm EDT

A Cape of Storms gale gave Abby a break when she entered Table Bay Harbor in Cape Town at about 13:15 UTC May 5 just ahead of the heavier wind. Unfortunately a cloud tablecloth covered the prominent landmark for seafarers, Table Mountain.

The wind that was about 25 knots gusting up to 30 knots, calmed down to 15 knots when Abby neared Cape Town, updated and email from one of Abbys support team members minutes before her arrival.

As Abby entered the harbor a big container ship, Ocean Africa passed behind her as if confirming that she is in African waters. Correne Coetzer from ExplorersWebs African office was there to see her docking at the V&A; Waterfront Marina and to have a quick chat with her.

Abby looked a bit tired and a bit intimidated by the all the people after this long alone at sea. She told ExplorersWeb she hasnt slept much the last few days because of the presence other ships in the area. Otherwise she sleeps well on the boat. She usually wakes up several times at night, she said, sometimes to check things.

What were highlights during the 103 days at sea? I love it out there, said Abby. Every day is a highlight, exciting and different. It is where I want to be. She doesnt know if this long time at sea has changed her, but what she knows is that she loves the sea now more than ever.

Sailing around Cape Horn was something she always wanted to do, said Abby, but unfortunately she didnt get to see it because it was too far away.

When she was 13 she knew she wanted to sail solo and got out as many times as she could on her own, she said. Her older brother Zac was her final inspiration to sail around the world when he did in 2008-09.

Abbys 18-year old brother, Zac, who came to Cape Town to support her, is full of admiration for his sister. It is a mind trip and she is doing an amazing job, he told ExplorersWeb.

Asking him about the role that their parents played in their round-the-world trips, Zac said, We were raised on the ocean. They have faith in us and gave us the opportunity. They could have easily said no, but they didnt and it is great.

Abbys father Laurence and Zac were on the support boat that met Abby outside Cape Town.

Laurence told ExplorersWeb that at one stage during the problems with the autopilot they thought the broken autopilot would jeopardize Abbys sail, but Abigail did an excellent job by repairing the one, using parts of both autopilots. I didnt think she would be capable to do such technical work.

Laurence said one of the secrets of Abby and Zacs success is that they as parents are involved in what their children do. [Zac is the oldest and Abby the second oldest of eight children]. It is great that they chose something that is my expertise, he said, and added he wants his children to be functional adults and not big kids; and that parents should have expectations for their kids. If they have low expectations they must not be surprised if their kids dont do anything.

Back to Abby; what was her scariest moment on this trip? I had a few, but got over them quickly. I had to deal with deal with the situations as fast as possible. Only afterwards they scared me most.

If she could give advice to other teens, Abby said to ExplorersWeb, Set big goals, have high expectations of yourself and go for it. Even if you are thirteen, or fourteen, like Laura Dekker. Dont judge by age. Laura has the support of her parents but was stopped by the [Dutch] government. The physiologist that evaluated her doesnt know anything about sailing.

Abby and her father want to get the work on the boat done as soon as possible. It is winter in the Southern Hemisphere and she has to round Southern Australia and sail the Indian Ocean, but she will only go when everything is repaired, said Laurence. There are a few other repairs as well, like the wind generator and GPS antennas. Abby will also stock up on fresh food. She says probably one of the hardest parts is eating freeze-dried food every day.

Abby said to ExplorersWeb she hasnt achieved what she originally intended to do, but she is still enjoying it. She will decide if she would stick to her original plan or see the world by making a few more stops. She has also not decided if she would end her voyage in California or Mexico. For now she wants the repairs to be done as fast as possible so that she could set sail again.

American Abby Sunderland was born on 16 October 1993 and aimed to become the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the world. Due to autopilot and other technical problems she pulled into Cape Town, South Africa for repairs on May 5.

Abby Sunderland left Marina Del Rey, California on January 23. After one week out on her single-handed circumnavigation mechanical problems had her heading in to Mexico. After a list of repairs was done, Abby left Cabo san Lucas in Mexico on February 6, officially starting her voyage again.

Abbys boat Wild Eyes is an Open 40 sailboat and a Scott Hollers Jutson design built in 2001 by ASA Yachts of Australia and went around the world as BTC Velocity in the 2002-'03 Around Alone, helmed by Bermuda sailor Alan Paris. The Open 40 was specifically designed for single-handed sailing in the Southern Ocean. She departed Cabo san Lucas in Mexico on February 6, 2010.

Jessica Watson was born on 18 May 1993 on the Gold Coast and currently lives in Buderim Australia. On 19 October 2009 16-year old Jessica Watson set sail on from Sydney Harbour passing the official start line of her around the world journey at Sydney Heads at 9.49 am. It is a estimated 23,000 mile, 230 day solo voyage.

Jessicas goal is to sail solo around the world non-stop, unassisted. She says she has chosen a route that is a traditionally recognized path and distance for around the world sailors.

Part 1 Departing Sydney and North to the Line Island; Part 2 South to Chile and Cape Horn; Part 3 Cape to Cape; Part 4 The South Atlantic Ocean to the African continent; Part 5 Rounding South Africa; Part 6 Southern Ocean to Home.

Jessica stated on her website, There are a few key targets I must achieve to qualify for around the world status. The approximate distance is 23,000 nautical miles (about 38,000 kilometers). I must depart and arrive from the same port, cross all lines of longitude, cross the equator entering into the Northern Hemisphere at least once and round the southern landmarks of South America and South Africa. This route is very similar to the one chosen by Kay Cottee, who returned in 1988.

Ellas Pink Lady specs according to Jessicas website:
The S&S; (Sparkman and Stephens) 34, a classic design from the famous Sparkman & Stephens, it is known firstly for its seaworthiness, toughness and track record. It is a boat capable of consistent speeds and one that Jessica can easily handle.

The S&S; 34 became famous after Jon Sanders, David Dicks and Jesse Martin used them for their history making solo circumnavigations. There is now an S&S; 34 association and hundreds of other S&S; 34 have made and are making successful circumnavigations and offshore passages.

S&S; 34s are commonly entered in the notorious Sydney to Hobart and many participate in club racing all around Australia and the world.

Both British Mike Perham and American Zac Sunderland sailed around the world assisted. They were 16 when they started their voyages. Zac turned 17 on November 29, 2008 and Mike turned 17 on March 16, 2009.

Mike stayed further out to sea, whereas Zac stayed closer to shore. Zac Sunderland departed on his yacht from Marina del Rey, California on 14 June 2008 and arrived back 13 months later on July 16, 2009. Mike Perham left from Portsmouths Gunwharf Quays on Saturday 15th November 2008 and crossed his finish line on 27 August 2009. He currently holds the record for the youngest sailor around the world, assisted.

A 14-year old Dutch girl, Laura Dekkers dream is to become the youngest to sail around the world, but it her home countrys authorities havent given her permission to go.

17-year old Ryan Langley was born on July 4, 1992. He plans a non-stop circumnavigation with a Contessa 32'. According to the website the voyage will begin by heading westward from the Olympic Peninsula through the straights of Juan de Fuca to the open Pacific.

#Oceans #topstory #interview

Abby during stop-over in Cape Town on May 5.
Image by ExplorersWeb.com courtesy ExplorersWeb.com, SOURCE
Parents should be involved in what their children do, and this one wants his children to become functional adults and not big kids. Brother Zac, Abby and Dad Laurence at the V&A; Waterfront Marina, Cape Town, South Africa in May (click all images to enlarge).
Image by ExplorersWeb.com courtesy ExplorersWeb.com, SOURCE
Ocean Africa passing behind Wild Eyes at the entrance of Cape Town's Harbor (click to enlarge)
Image by ExplorersWeb.com courtesy ExplorersWeb.com, SOURCE
Wild Eyes sailing into Table Bay harbor towards the Waterfront Marina (click to enlarge)
Image by ExplorersWeb.com courtesy ExplorersWeb.com, SOURCE
In the Waterfront Abby left, Laurence right (click to enlarge)
Image by ExplorersWeb.com courtesy ExplorersWeb.com, SOURCE
Docked and Abby ready to step off Wild Eyes after 103 days at sea (click to enlarge)
Image by ExplorersWeb.com courtesy ExplorersWeb.com, SOURCE
Abby not eager to eat a hamburger and chips but gave it a taste (click to enlarge)
Image by ExplorersWeb.com courtesy ExplorersWeb.com, SOURCE

Visit our new website