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Rescued teen says she’ll keep on sailing

Wed., June 16, 2010

16-year-old defends solo trek decision

PARIS – The 16-year-old California girl whose dream of sailing solo around the world was dashed by a massive wave that snapped her mast says she still loves sailing and hopes one day to circumnavigate the globe.

In an exclusive interview Tuesday with the Associated Press, Abby Sunderland also defended her parents, who have come under fierce criticism since the young sailor hit three-story-high waves Thursday in a remote zone of the Indian Ocean. The accident triggered a tense, 20-hour-long maritime search and her eventual rescue by a French fishing boat.

Sunderland acknowledged that her adventure “can look pretty crazy. But the thing is, those people don’t know me. And if they did, they wouldn’t be criticizing my age.”

She spoke by phone from the remote Kerguelen Islands, near Antarctica.

“I think that a lot of people are judging me by the standards they have for their teens and other teens that they know … and thinking ‘she’s exactly like them,’” Sunderland said. “They don’t understand that I’ve sailed my whole life and I do know what I’m doing out there.”

“I was up for it, and my parents knew I was,” she added.

Sunderland declined to go into details about how her 40-foot yacht became disabled.

“You don’t have time to be terrified. If you get terrified, things just get worse. You just deal with what you get given and make the best out of it,” she said.


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